A lot of folks will not understand the jargon but some will. Most folks will understand the heart of the matter; at least the retail folks. Especially those who work in a big box retail store. I wrote this Friday in response to a verbal disagreement I had with my sales manager. I asked her to read it and to either give me permission to hand them out to the associates or not to. She gave the go ahead. More details can be given later if wanted. I figure either I will be fired or things will change.
Also, first post.
Revenue is King
The way we are “training” our associates is not working. I think that should be obvious. No amount of CEEs will fix that. Our associates need face to face and hands on training. We have associates whether they are in leadership or not that are very good at what they do, they understand the business, and they understand the things we need to do to be profitable. Not just make revenue but also make margin. Profit. We need to utilize these associates in a better and more efficient manner.
I will outline a few points on some things that in my opinion we can start doing to get to where we need to be. This is a synopsis, it is a summary.
We open at 10 during the week. We need to start scheduling the openers to be here at 9 and every day of the week we need to have something to be a focus of discussion for 30-40 minutes. We can start at 8:30 if more time is needed. I am willing to sit down with whoever wants to help with this and come up with a training schedule. It will give us the opportunity to have an employee or two that are proficient in a certain area to train the ones that are not or are not comfortable in that area.
It needs to be done logically. It needs to be complete and it needs to be followed up on. As an example we can have HT training on audio, consultations, and complete baskets. Not just telling an associate that they need to sell clean power with a television but why they need to sell clean power; the benefits of that product. We need to show them how it affects the end to end solution, the benefit for the customer, and the benefit for the store.
For the people that close we can stay an hour after we close to do the same trainings. The major point is that it is done before or after business hours. We talk about utilizing training hours but we have no clear direction, no set plan to put into action.
At this point in time Chalk Talk is a joke. It consists of we made budget yesterday or we didn’t. We need to focus on how to make budget. We need to be preemptive. One of the things we did at my store in St. Louis was that every day we would send the associates to their respective departments and they were to bring a product back with them to chalk talk. They would discuss what the product was, what it did, how it benefited the customer, and how it could be tied into another department. It fostered cross training, cross selling, and gave the associates a sense of ownership. It could be as small as a flash drive from PCHO and how it can be used with a lot of the newer car audio CD players.
Another thing we did was invite an associate to share a customer interaction, their name, what they came in for, what unknown needs they had, and any obstacles that were overcome in the interaction. It is the 360 selling strategy come to life.
Filling out 10 360’s is great. Taking five minutes to talk to an associate after a sell and ask them the questions on that 360 sheet, give them feedback, listen to their feedback, and talk about ways the interaction could have went better is worth a week’s worth of 360s. Having actual face to face training, feedback that the associate knows is being listened to and not leave them wondering whether anyone will read the paperwork they just spent their lunch break filling out. It is a good tool and it can absolutely be used to teach CARE+ and end-to-end solution selling.
I could go on for pages and pages concerning these issues but I need to feel like I am not going to be wasting my time by doing so. If this is something you will allow me to put into place and try I will do whatever I can to get it into place and working. All I need is time, cooperation, and feedback.
People like to use sports analogies when talking about business. The two have little to do with each other but for the sake of staying in everyone’s comfort zone I will stay with the status quo.
Michael Jordan was never on the bench taking notes, making rosters, and keeping box scores. He was on the court leading by example. He inspired his teammates by performing and letting them see him perform. He was on the court.
We as supervisors and seniors, leadership, need to be on the floor driving business, teaching our associates, training our staff. We need to be seen, we need to be there for answers and for guidance. I was not promoted to my position because of my spectacular paperwork I was promoted for my leadership skills, my knowledge of the business, and my understanding of the retail shopper’s mindset. I am here to drive revenue and profitability.
Thank you for your time,