5 Expert Tips to Boost Retail Employee Sales Performance

Is there a science behind making a sale? Here’s a rundown of foolproof ways to improve the sales performance of retail staff – and how to make these tactics stick.

  1. Begin each shift with an optimistic outlook.

    It can be easy for retail staff to get stuck in a rut, particularly after a day in which it was difficult to close a sale. Noted sales and retail expert Bob Phibbs is a proponent of staff “talking themselves up” before a shift. He even goes as far to say that employees should be mindful of what they’re watching or listening to before work, as it may affect their mood and have a negative impact on their sales performance.

    Research has shown that when people perform interrogative self-talk, like ‘Can I do it?’ they outperformed people who simply talked themselves up in a declarative way.

  2. First impressions are highly important at the start of any interaction, whether it’s a personal or professional one.

    Retail staff only have a fraction of a second to make a good impression on shoppers. With such a short frame of time to work with, it’s very easy to completely lose someone and make them disengage.

    To get someone on your side, be genuine and refrain from being pushy. For instance, allow them to speak first by simply asking them how they’re doing. Sharing something positive with them – for example, remarking on how nice the weather is, will led to organic small talk. Shopify points to research that indicates that five minutes of chatting increases the amount of value created during a negotiation.

  3. Rehearse potential scenarios or interactions.

    In the retail industry, quick-thinking and thoughtfulness can easily save a sales situation that has turned sour. Employees should be prepared to mitigate or resolve any conflicts or misunderstandings. Think about envisioning certain scenarios and how you’d react to them in the most professional way.

    During a busy shift, it can be instinctive to quickly provide an answer without thinking it through, or simply brushing someone off because you’re serving someone else.

    For example, if you don’t know the answer to a question, assure the customer you’re going to find someone who does. Simply acknowledging a concern or question and then finding a solution often goes a long way.

  4. Be mindful of your body language.

    While it’s certainly important to use discretion when speaking with colleagues and potential customers, it’s also equally important to ensure your body language conveys friendliness.

    For instance, unclasp your arms and hands, as people who cross their arms generally look unapproachable.

    If possible, greet someone with a handshake – Shopify cites research that proves that people are twice as likely to remember you if you shake hands with them.

    Finally, maintaining a ‘power pose,’ (standing with arms and legs open) will give you a confidence boost and convey that self-assuredness to others

  5. Cutting down on choices is key

    Steer clear of overwhelming potential customers with too many choices – Carmine Gallo, a communication and presentations expert, says that people’s short term memory can only retain three bits of information at a time. By providing shoppers with too many choices, it can run the risk of frustrating them to the point that they won’t buy anything.

Retail Sales Performance Training

Many employees have their own style or technique of building rapport and ultimately selling to customers. While it’s great to see staff inject their own personality, it may be necessary to have them brush up on strategies or new best practices to keep their sales performance up to snuff.

Bob Phibbs notes that many retail staff are complacent and set in their ways, making them non-receptive to new training. In addition, staff may have no inkling or desire to learn something new, especially when they feel that they’re forced into it.

As well, front-line staff can feel that training and their real-world experiences are two vastly different things.

Tackling resistance to employee learning can be simple. Put an incentive system in place that not only encourages engagement with the training material, but also motivates staff to adopt the behaviours necessary to boost their sales performance. 

Making the training process simple, effective and worthwhile for employees by attaching incentives will also go a long way in terms of employee retention. It’s a long-lasting investment that every retailer should consider – learn more here.