Every quarter they arrive like clockwork.  Your sales plan for each month and week.  Descending from upon high, they become the gospel upon which schedules, incentives and more are based upon.  What you need to know is that more often than not, these sales plans curse you to a life of complacency and mediocrity.

Yes, it’s true that sometimes your sales plans look like they were created by the executive team while consuming a few great bottles of Bordeaux.  But, more often than not your sales plan is based on a smallish increase over last year.  You know, 3% more will normally do the trick.

That’s exactly what the curse is.  Those ‘low’ increases really don’t require you to change much, do they?  Raise a couple of prices, short change a few customers (kidding!), and you’re halfway there.  Not much is required to change or be challenged for that matter.

Ask yourself though how much you would need to rethink your store operations if you were asked to produce 20% more.   We’ll get to why that’s not a crazy increase in a moment, but for now just think about how you would have to completely change your thinking about your staff, their performance, your schedules and much more.  Your training, coaching and sales management practices would suddenly have to get a lot better.  You’d become a more driven manager, regardless of what level of the organization you’re at.  3%?  Not much change needed to win.   20%?  Hold on tight, everything is changing!

Now, back to that little matter of suggesting a 20% increase in sales should be your new sales plan.  I’m not really suggesting that corporate throw that at you.  However, the reality is that the current sales plan is based on what you did last year, NOT WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE!  It’s not based on the true potential of your store.

Consider your current Conversion Rate.  If you’re a store that’s running at a 20% conversion, have you become so complacent that you don’t think you could sell to just 4 more customers for every 100 that come in?  That would move your Conversion Rate to 24% … a 20% increase!

What about your Average Sale?  There’s what your customers spend on average right now, and what they could/should be spending.  What would an extra $2 to $5 dollars on your Average Sale do to your sales results?   It’s not unrealistic to think you could, with the right sales approach, sell a bit more to every customer, is it?

There’s also the matter of human nature that says that if you aim for a 3% increase you’ll normally fall a little short.  It’s just the way things usually happen.

Respect, and be sure to hit, the corporate sales plan you’re given.

Just don’t fall victim to the curse of that plan and underperform below the true potential of your stores by falling into the complacency trap.

Kevin Graff is the main guy behind all things Graff Retail. A renowned retail expert, Kevin is recognized in the retail industry as a speaker, author and expert trainer. Kevin's main passion is to help retailers drive staff performance.

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