Such a simple concept.  Such an amazing thing do.  Something I need to say to so many.

What I’m saying is “Thank You” to all of you that have allowed me, and my team, to be inspired by  … you.

A while back I hit a wall.  I had been selling sales and management training solutions to our retail clients for about 25 years.  The ‘grind’ hit me hard and nearly stopped me in my tracks.

Then, due to the wisdom shared by some exceptionally smart people I’m lucky to be surrounded by (especially my amazing wife!), I found not only a way out of my ‘funk’, but discovered the reason to do better than ever before.

What does it take to roll out a great training program at store level?  Better yet, what does it take to sustain a great training program at store level?  Do you have the answer on the tip of your tongue?  Don’t fret, from what I can tell, the majority of retailers out there don’t have the answers to these questions either. 

Ok.  Here’s an easier question.  What really gets in the way of training success at store level?  I bet you can rattle off a bunch of ‘retail realities’ that interfere with training.

Lately, I've been catching myself saying to my kids, 'When I was your age I didn't get to go there' or, 'I didn't behave that way' or, 'I appreciated…' 

And every time I start the sentence, my kids get this glossed over look in their eyes. Their eyes literally roll back into their heads.

Last week, I picked up my son from Canada's Wonderland and I said…(yup, you guessed it), 'Do you know how lucky you are to be able to go to Canada's Wonderland?'   My 14 year old said to me, "Mom, what's your point?  I do feel lucky and I do appreciate it, so why do you keep saying that?”

He has a point! He doesn't understand how I was raised; he wasn't there. My kids only know what they know.  It’s somewhat logical to understand why they take their lifestyle and upbringing for granted; it’s all they know. 

We believe the role of the District Manager is probably the one that can affect sales the most out of any other role in a retail organization.  Think about it.  DM’s are out there in the field, hands-on, leading multiple stores per region from coast to coast.  On average, most District Managers are responsible for 10 to 15 stores each.  One region represents a significant portion of the sales volume for a retailer.  An under-performing region can greatly affect the bottom line of a company, yet, DM’s receive the least amount of training when compared to other store operation roles.  Why is this?

In the roles I’ve played in my retail career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Retail District Managers in various capacities.  As a Store Manager, I’ve reported to District Managers.  As a Marketing Director I’ve relied on District Managers to help execute campaigns in their stores.  And now, in my role at Graff Retail, I collaborate with DM’s on rolling out and sustaining new training programs at store level. 

In all of these roles and through all of these initiatives I’ve learned that there are 2 kinds of District Managers; one is The Pencil Pusher and the other is The Sales Driver.  There’s a big difference between these two types of DM’s.  Let’s take a closer look. 

You can’t read much about leadership these days without running across this notion of the need for leaders to be empathetic.

You would be forgiven for thinking initially that this will require you to become a real softy or that this is a ‘touchy feely topic’.

Empathetic Leadership is the ability of leaders to understand, relate to and be sensitive to customers, their team members and even the communities they serve.  That’s going to require a giant leap forward for some, but don’t worry, we can all do it.

With summer quickly coming to an end and we look ahead to the biggest, most important selling season in retail, we wanted to ask you, who’s leading your team to battle during this make-it-or-break-it time of year?  (And yes, that’s our fearless leader, Kevin Graff, suited up and ready to win at this crazy game we call Retail!)

All joking aside, retail is a battle.  To win, you certainly need a strong, well-trained team, with every team member understanding their role and executing to plan without fail, or people die…ok, that’s dramatic, but sales die and eventually retailers end up dropping out of the battle altogether.   

The CANEX teams have been Graff Retail ONLINE clients for several years; growing and developing their teams using the Graff Get Selling and Get Managing e-learning programs.  We often get out in the field and visit the stores, so when our VP, Linda Montalbano came back raving about these two ladies, I knew I needed to find out what it was that impressed Linda so much! 

Meet Nicole Mack and Gloria Keller (fondly referred to as "G Money" by her team … YES, that's what they all call her because of her amazing ability to sell anything, seemingly to anyone!). 

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:

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