Even Abraham Lincoln once said (we're paraphrasing here) "If I had 6 hours to chop down a big tree, I'd spend the first 2 hours sharpening my axe."

Powerful advice from a very successful man.  In a few words, it speaks volumes about the importance of preparation, doesn't it?

As a District Manager, Store Manager or salesperson, take a minute to reflect on this.  Just how prepared are you before walking out into your store and onto the sales floor?  What have you done to 'sharpen' your management, leadership and selling skills?  'Hone' your product knowledge?  'Put a new edge' on your coaching or service skills?

Unfortunately, most people tend to rely on old habits and hope for success.  Some of these habits are good, while others are just 'OK'.  Then you have the ones that can only be classified as 'terrible'. Consider some salespeople: They greet customers the same way every day, they introduce products like a robot and they even say "Thanks" at the till in the same monotonous, unfeeling, uninspired tone.  Could this behaviour be any more boring or ineffective?

Well, it's time to try something new, to give yourself a much-needed kick in the pants!  What do we mean?  Cast a critical eye on the way you do things and look for specific behaviours to change. 

Start with "listening" and "watching" how you act, behave and perform in every situation.  Find new and better ways to sell, coach and lead.  Think about your attitude and whether it could stand for some improvement.

Need some help with this?  Open a book, take your company's training programs again (but this time, actually make use of it!), or spend your breaks observing how others around you are performing.  Just decide that you want to improve and discover that there are plenty of resources at your disposal.

Want to sell much, much better? Check out www.graffretail.tv.

The point is, you won't perform any better by doing the same things over and over again.  It's time to change.  It's time to sharpen your axe and "Be Prepared".  Your success depends on it! 

Linda Montalbano is a true retail operator with a history of leading large retail teams to success. If you need a fresh perspective on what's going wrong in your stores, Linda is the one to tell you like it is and come up with a solid game plan to turn things around!

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