Last week I had a chance to spend five days out on the sales floor of one of our favourite retailers.  I wasn’t selling or servicing customers, if that’s what you’re thinking.  The Graff Team was invited to produce a custom training video, so naturally, we used the actual store as the backdrop for the video.  But, I’m not here to talk about the amazing video we were producing.  I’m more excited to dish on my observations from the sales floor. 

I've been at Graff Retail for 11 years now and as many of you know, my role has been primarily focused on consulting & speaking. I love what I do and I'm very passionate about helping people succeed in the retail industry. But, let’s be honest, we can all get a little comfortable in our roles and sometimes not be as effective as we are capable of.

In the retail sector, we’re pretty good about holding our store managers accountable.  We crank out all kinds of objectives and measurements to make sure that each location can ‘hold its own’ as a separate business unit … and heaven help the Store Manager who isn’t up to snuff!

But are we just as diligent in holding District Managers accountable? 

There’s no doubt that the growing popularity of e-learning has made it easier for retailers to deliver consistent, cost-effective training to the masses.  More and more, retailers are reaching frontline staff by way of video modules hosted on their own Learning Management Systems, interactive modules and even apps designed to keep staff informed, engaged and motivated out on the sales floor.  All positive steps for retailers, but it does beg the question, “Have you lost the human touch when it comes to training your frontline teams?

The title of this blog is actually contained in my signature line on my emails.  That’s a pretty recent addition that began a couple of months ago when we changed the tone of ‘why’ we do what we do here. (I wrote about that in my blog here … http://bit.ly/1UEyyDK)

When I put that addition into my signature line, I wasn’t expecting to move mountains or create a lot of discussion.  But, I’ve had more than a few comments come back my way related to it.

Set clear expectations ... and they'll be met!

Frustrated because you can’t seem to hit your targets? Disappointed because it often seems like your staff just doesn’t get it? Tired of banging your head against the wall?

Before you jump all over your team again, ask yourself this simple but very important question ... “How clear have I been in communicating performance expectations?”

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.

As we prepare for our upcoming 2-Day Advanced District Managers Leadership workshop, I cannot help but think about the question that I am continually asked in regards to getting an entire store or region to do exactly what they are supposed to be doing with commitment and passion.  I'm committed to helping people succeed and feel good about what they do in this industry and I truly believe that there are 3 things that are critical to inspirational leadership.

It’s summertime.   So, for this blog, let’s just have some fun and leave all the ‘you could and should be selling more’ ideas on the sidelines for now.  Have a look at the partial logos below and see how many you know.  Challenge your peers and friends to see how many they know.

While you’re at it, consider how many people would recognize a partial logo from your store.  How well known is your brand?  Good luck.  If you get stuck, drop us a line and we’ll help you out.

It’s that time of year where a good majority of our retail clients are renewing their subscriptions to our online training system; Graff Retail TV.  So, as part of our client success services, I spent some time this week reviewing training performance reports for many retailers.  The backend of our system can reveal a lot about who’s using the training to the max and the retailers who just dropped off and never really got their training off the ground. 

Since our online sales and management systems are award-winning and I know first-hand that the system works and gets impressive results, I have to ask “Why do some retailers sore like eagles when it comes to rolling out training in their stores and why do others, well … act like sleeping hound dogs?” 

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