posted: Friday, February 19, 2010

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I talk to hundreds, if not thousands, of retailers on a regular basis, and it continues to amaze me how many of them are hoping that things get better and the economy turns around. I know that HOPE and about two dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and that's about it. To sit back and hope that things get better is going to do absolutely nothing to insure that things get better for your business.

If you have a competitor or two in your town, you have an opportunity for a sales and profit increase. If you have had a competitor or two go out of business recently, you have an opportunity for a sales and profit increase. The retail pie isn't going to get any bigger in the near future; however, your piece of the pie can get bigger. The days of the retail clerk are dead and gone. The person working on your sales floor has to be a trained, professional retail salesperson.

What are doing this year that is considerably different from last year? What changes need to be made in the business to insure its growth? From a sales and sales management perspective, it is time to manage the business and the people using factual, statistical information. It is time to implement non-negotiable sales and customer service standards. It is time to leave the ego at home and realize that maybe there is a better way.

For example: I know that retail store owners spend a fortune to get customers to come in the front door, and yet many owners don't know what happened with them once they got in the front door. With the retail industry averaging a 22% closing rate, what happen to the other 78% of the people that come in the door? Did the sales person capture their contact information with permission for follow-up? Was the customer that didn't buy turned over to another salesperson to give them a chance at the sale? Or was the customer given your typical "Get out of the store free card" (a business card) and told "Come back when you are ready." (OUCH) The customer was ready, they were in your store, they really wanted your merchandise, and yet something went wrong. Oh well, Let's HOPE they come back!

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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