In my role at Graff Retail, I speak to Store Managers on a daily basis.  At some point in the conversation we end up "talking shop" and managers share their biggest challenges with me (kind of like a retail therapy session!). 

I've learned over time that the challenges aren't unique from manager to manager and, since I am in charge of our award-winning online retail training system at Graff, I happen to have access to a ton of tried and true techniques to take a manager from struggling to ALL-STAR!

In short order, here are 8 things you need to do to ensure you're an All-Star this Christmas selling season.

1.       Start conducting shift starter meetings

Shift Starter Meetings are your first and best opportunity each day to coach your staff and get better results. They are short, high impact meetings or one-on-one conversations that happen at the beginning of each shift. In just 3 to 5 minutes, you get your staff started out of the gate quickly by clearly defining expectations and goals, providing feedback on performance, informing your staff of key promotions and new products, recognizing top performance and more! Store management should run about 25% to 35% of the meetings. Have your staff lead the rest and keep them involved!  In a nutshell, they are perfect coaching opportunities to increase your store’s results.

2.       Walk the store with your team every day

After your shift starter, commit to talking a brisk walk through the store with your staff every day.  Along the walk, discuss new products and new product placement, point out any standards issues that might need attention throughout the day, identify items that are sold out or are low in inventory, and if there’s time, choose a few hot items and get your staff to ‘sell’ them to you to keep them on their selling toes!

3.       Get out of the backroom

If you are bogged down by paperwork and find that you spend most of your time buried in the backroom, get out of there right now!  A backroom manager is never a successful manager.  Administrative functions are not your priority.  How can you run your store successfully when you can’t even see or hear what’s going on? 

4.       If you aren’t talking it up, start talking it up!

We know that whatever gets talked about the most, is what your staff will focus on.  So, if your sales are down, ask yourself, “Have I been discussing sales and sales goals lately?”  Selling has to be talked about…goals for total sales and key metrics like average sale, items per sale and conversion rates. Don’t forget to coach the sales behaviours that are behind these metrics.  If you want to see your sales increase, you have to talk about all-things-selling all the time. 

5.       Know that you are only as good as your team

If you aren’t continually growing and improving your team, you aren’t growing and improving either.  When I was a Store Manager, I would always be striving to work myself out of a job.  The more developed and cross-trained my staff was, the better my store performed and it always reflected back positively on my own individual performance.  So, if you aren’t continually training and coaching your staff (even staff who have been with you forever), you’re losing at this game.  You have to know that you are never done developing your team. 

6.       Don’t try to do it all yourself

Once you get on board with the whole idea of continually training and coaching your staff, you can start to delegate with confidence.  Don’t play the martyr role and try to do everything yourself.  We all know that you’re just doing that because you don’t trust your staff to do it as well as you.  If you don’t start delegating, you’ll end up with an un-promotable team…and that looks bad on you!

7.       Don’t be afraid of conflict

Conflicts are usually very stressful for a Store Manager.  Little things like a staff member repeatedly coming in late, or a sales associate not dressed appropriately for his/her shift, or even two staff members bickering on the sales floor, can stress out the management team and certainly get in the way of productivity.  Most people are afraid of conflict, but when it comes to leading your retail team, it’s in your best interest to learn how to have these more difficult conversations with your staff and don’t procrastinate.  Have the discussion in the moment each and every time.  You’ll find that these non-productive behavioural issues will start to subside and you’ll find yourself with more time to deal with your top priorities!  If you need help with this, we dedicate an entire lesson to it inside our Get Managing online training system!

8.       Selling stuff is your #1 priority

If you’re wondering what your top priority is as a retail Store Manager, it’s driving sales!  A retail store is only successful because of sales, so a Manager that knows this and maximizes every selling opportunity in his/her store will always be successful.  Start build a selling culture in your store today!

Retail Store Managers wear a lot of hats and sometimes, despite your best laid plans, your day will often go off the rails.  If you really want to be a retail ALL-STAR Store Manager, implement these 8 best practices today and you will notice successes in every area by Christmas…if not earlier!  And, if you want to really get serious about it, I encourage you to find out more about our Get Managing online training system!

Mary Gordon and Kim McCutcheon have been supporting retail front lines for as long as they can remember. A dynamic duo, Mary and Kim understand what it takes to make training work at store level and know how to inspire, coach and support retail teams in all of their training endeavours.

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