Everyday I'm out in stores visiting various retailers.  Some are clients of ours, and others are just on my endless errand list.  Pet stores, grocery stores, drug stores, sporting goods stores … the list goes on.   I’m sure many of you can relate.  

Often, these blogs talk about what’s broken in retail and how to fix it.  But let’s turn the tables for this posting.

I want to share three recent shopping experiences that were all great, and that were all built on a common theme.

It’s summer.  It’s hot.  It’s vacation time.

The last thing anyone wants to do right now is read a long blog.

So, let’s get down to the point right away.

You could, and should, be selling more in your stores every day.  So why not start today?

Here are 5 things you can do TODAY to sell more easily:

Who are the leaders in your company? 

The owner(s)?  The CEO?  The VP’s? We often think of leadership in terms of the most senior positions in an organization (especially if we occupy one of them!).  But what if this wasn’t true?  What if we were to tell you that the most important leaders in your company don’t hold an executive title?  That they work much closer to the front lines than the CEO does?  That they, in fact, spend a lot more of their time in the stores than attending meetings at head office? 

Some will argue that there is no need to even leave the couch in order to acquire anything and everything our little hearts desire.  There is quite a bit of truth to that and many feel that you can’t beat the convenience of it as well.  But consider this question; how inconvenient is convenience?  The answer to this question also answers the bigger question; do we even need retail stores anymore

I want to share a recent shopping experience of my own that proves physical retail stores are still completely needed and wanted and, despite all the talk, are not dying and going the way of the dinosaur.

Take the time to read this true, short story of how a work experience has been transformed from the mundane to the inspiring.

We’re working with an amazing professional services provider, who came to us and asked for our help in driving some additional revenue into their stores.  The idea was to get their staff to sell an add-on to their customers.  Now, these staff aren’t salespeople.  They didn’t sign up to sell.  They really don’t want to sell.  They’re trained professionals in their field and selling runs against their will.

They had been asked to ‘sell’ before and it didn’t go all that well.  It’s then that we arrived ‘on the scene’ and took a bit of a different approach.

Thirty years into this business.  That can make me feel old … and maybe I’m getting old too!  Just think about all the good things we’ve all likely learned over the past 30 years.  Some amazing things.  Some scary things.  Some useless things.

Now, consider how we might all put on the ‘blinders’ after spending so long doing something.  It’s not unusual to get to a point where you think you just might have the right answer to almost everything.  Success breeds confidence.  You just have to make sure that confidence doesn’t get in the way.

Remember … EGO IS THE ENEMY!

It’s a tradition for the team at Graff.  Year after year, we don’t miss it.  You will always find us at the Retail Council of Canada annual STORE Conference and last week’s biggest event in Retail was likely our best ever!  With Kevin taking his place on the main stage as the master of ceremonies and our newly designed, slick booth out on the trade show floor, STORE did not disappoint.  Having supported STORE for the last decade, what made this year a stand out?  I would have to say it was the technology…and for those of you who know me, you know it takes a lot for me to give the nod to tech, so let me explain. 

Summer is just around the corner, and depending on the nature of your business, you may be in full-force seasonal hiring mode. So, let’s say you’re already on track with finding and hiring the best people for the job. Equally important is having a training plan in place so when they do start, you’re sure to get the most out of your seasonal staff. After all, if it’s important enough to put them on the sales floor, shouldn’t it also be important enough to train them?

So, the question is, do you have a training plan in place for your seasonal staff?

I often get asked if Inspirational Leadership can be learned.  The short answer is ‘yes’, however, it requires a change in mindset as much as it requires an advancement in skillset. And, that’s often the biggest stumbling block.

Many leaders are promoted based on their abilities, work ethic and proven track record of results.  However, what we all know is that achieving sustainable results proves to be more challenging the higher up you go in an organization and the more people you must influence.  Getting results in one store is one thing … getting them across a territory of stores or an entire company is quite another. Just think of how well a store runs when you’re on site, but then drops off the moment you leave.

For years, you've heard us talk about building rapport as a critical first step in developing successful, long term customer relationships.  To accomplish this, we've taught our clients to be 'likeable'.  Why?  Because people prefer to buy from someone they like.  It's as simple as that.

Let’s face it … it’s not that hard to be likeable. You just have to put a bit of effort into it.  Challenge yourself to come up with a list of 10 things you could do to make yourself more likeable and you’ll discover you come up with 10 fairly easily.

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