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Employees thrive when they are given clear expectations. | Source: Freepik
Employees thrive when they are given clear expectations. | Source: Freepik

Measuring success in sales and thriving with high expectations

Employees thrive when they are given clear expectations. DOUG FLEENER explains the importance of measuring sales performance.

One of my favourite quotes, which I love to share, came from Jerry Kohl. He is the co-founder (along with his wife, Terri) of Brighton.

“The only thing my bank takes is money.” I love it. You can’t deposit effort and high-fives, training and practice, compliments, and likes; you can only deposit money.

Sales revenue is the number one measure of success. Of course, effort, motivation, training, practice, and customer appreciation are vital to your store/business success. But those are the means to the result—sales revenue.

Here are three ways to measure sales success.

• Sales increases: The cost of doing business is not going down. Even with the recent lower inflationary pressure, it continues to increase.

If you’re not increasing your sales, you’re not depositing enough money. That’s why my clients and programs all aim for double-digit expansion annually.

• Vital KPIs: Measuring and tracking the right key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential to understanding and driving sales. KPIs serve as quantifiable measures that reflect your business' critical success factors.

Focusing on the metrics that truly matter to your business can help you gain insights into performance trends, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions.

My favourite sales KPIs in retail are average sales, conversion rate, and dollar per traffic. I know many people like UPTs (units per transaction), but I find that a secondary KPI when understanding what’s happening with the average sale.

"What was the easiest major sale you ever made? I once sold a bunch of jewellery to a guy who left his wife during dinner to ‘take a call’ and rushed into the store to buy her a gift."

• Individual staff sales performance: Tracking individual performance is vital. I’ve worked with stores that didn’t want to do this out of fear of impacting teamwork. The bank doesn’t take teamwork either. This is merely a data point – don’t overthink it.

You can choose to give individual goals or not, and you can choose to share the individual sales numbers or not. With that said, you are missing sales if you don’t know who is selling how much.

If you don’t ring in individual sales, you can always track the store’s performance for each employee working that day. Over time, that data can show you when employee X is working, the store does well, but when employee Y is working, it falls short.

For your information, most stores that add this are shocked by what they learn. It is a good shock so they can take action to increase revenue.

So, let me ask two questions:

  • What was the easiest major sale you ever made? I once sold a bunch of jewellery to a guy who left his wife during dinner to ‘take a call’ and rushed into the store to buy her a gift.
  • What was the worst excuse an employee ever gave for falling short in sales? I once had an employee tell me he missed his monthly sales goal because he had trouble with his girlfriend. There's nothing like blaming the girlfriend who had nothing to do with his work!
Setting high expectations

Ultimately, a leader’s impact is in the results they produce. For a retail leader and coach to make a high impact, the path is as follows: impact staff, impact customers, and impact revenue.

You impact the staff to improve the customer’s experience and actions, which influences the store’s results and revenue.

You don’t make a higher impact by having the staff do what they already do. You make changes and improvements. Most people overcomplicate how to achieve this. It is simple.

You either need your staff to do something better or different. That’s it! Everything falls into one of those two categories.

Those are unique for each store and even each employee. That’s why a one-size-fits-all training program for a seasoned staff isn’t necessary. What isn’t unique is how you achieve those changes.

It all starts with setting new and usually higher expectations of those better or different employee actions.

Expectations are a manager's specific standards or objectives for an employee's performance (actions and behaviours), outcomes, and results.

• Have a weekly expectation: Remember, you are expecting something better or different. This could be the same for everyone on staff, or everyone can have their own.

Meet with employees at the start of their week to agree upon the week’s expectations and desired outcomes. You can also roll the same expectation over to the next week but always have a weekly expectation.

• Set a daily expectation of specific actions and results: Say, for example, you want the staff to increase the email capture rate of buyers.

Each employee should have a target for the day and specific actions they will take to achieve it.

• Set tracking and reporting expectations: Many managers miss this one expectation. This is the only way to ensure that better or different actions occur.

For example, we know that getting customers to engage with and try on products dramatically increases the likelihood of purchasing. The only way to know if that is happening is to have the employee track how many customers they do that with.

Many owners or managers have told me that’s not realistic; however, it is. I know because the leaders who make it happen are the same ones who consistently increase their staff and sales.

Doug Fleener

Contributor • Sixth Star Consulting

Doug Fleener is the author of a new book titled The Day Makes The Year (Makes The Life). Learn more:

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