Every person is a sales person
A client that I had many years ago who was in the retail sector, in fact, he was a pharmacist. And when I first came about getting his team to start realising the importance of maximising the average dollar sale, his answer to me was, ‘But Ben, my team don’t like sales. In fact, they aren’t sales people.’ My argument with him was that every person in the business is actually a sales person. I’m going to challenge you to think the same way. That every person in your business is a sales person, and they’ve got the opportunity to help you grow the business through serving your customers better, and by making sure that the customer gets everything that they need.
Now in this particular example, in the pharmacist, most of the sales assistants or the people that he hired inside the business were young ladies. And they were... most of them were a personality type that they didn’t want to go and get a sales job. That’s why they had a job in the pharmacy. And that’s not to say that most of the people working in pharmacies are like that, it’s just typical. And it’s typical of a lot of retail businesses.
Overcoming your staffs fear of selling
In this example I’m going to talk to you about how we overcome that. Now rather than talking about sales, we started talking about how can we maximise the benefit to the customer when they come into the shop? How can we make sure that each and every customer gets value when they come in? How do we make sure for these people that don’t like being called sales people, that we give them an incentive or a way to think about whether they’re actually maximising the average dollar sale.
Asking the right questions
So what we did a couple of things... First of all, we educated people as to the importance of asking customers the right questions, because you know yourself, if you go to a retail outlet, you don’t buy everything that you need. You leave and you need something or you’ve forgotten something that you need. The likelihood is you won’t go back to the same retail outlet. The reason for that is for the feeling of embarrassment, or maybe it’s just not convenient, who knows. But the reality is you don’t go back to the same retail outlet when you forget to get something. You go somewhere else so you don’t look silly or it’s more convenient. By making sure we ask the right questions of the customers in our store, we can make sure they get everything.
What else can you offer?
For example, if I had come in to a pharmacy to buy headache tablets, maybe there are other things I could be offering you that you may want. Maybe you’ve come in for headache tablets because you’ve got a cold. Maybe you could get some tissues. Or maybe you can get something else that can soothe your headache like one of those beanbags you heat up in the microwave, who knows. But it’s about helping them out. It could be reading glasses. It’s about helping the customer not just with the bandaid that fixes that particular problem right then, but maybe something to help them solve the solution more long term as well. By having checklists in place in your business, you can make sure that they continue to ask the right questions.
Product displays at checkout
The next thing to think about in retail is it’s vitally important that you get really good with your point of sale displays. And it’s about having something on your point of sale that can be totally unrelated, by the way. One thing we did in this pharmacy was we put ceramic porcelain dolls on the counter at the point of sale, and we would say to everybody, ‘Hey, by the way, we have these porcelain dolls. They’re on special. Would you like one?’ Now three out of ten people took one for whatever reason. And we’d say, ‘Would you like one? They make great gifts, they’re good for kids,’ whatever.
We had a list of things suggesting why they were good, and then we said to people, ‘Would you like one or two?’ And they would say, ‘I’ll take one,’ and off they went. And three out of ten people said yes to a porcelain doll. They came in for something totally different. One of those things might have been they had a headache, they had their prescription filled, whatever it might’ve been, and they grabbed that.
The other thing we would run on the counter would be things like measuring cups. You can put things like those little fold-away glasses that go inside of the tube, always very popular. It could be little things, bags of jelly beans. And all of these things have a good margin and help each individual increase their average dollar sale.
Measure everyone's sales
The final tip I’m going to give you, and this is the tip that worked the absolute most. All those strategies are fantastic, you can up-sell, you can cross-sell, you can brand switch, you can bulk deal, you can do all of that. But the number one thing that worked really, really well was we started measuring each individual person’s average dollar sale, and we put a chart at the back of the staff room, and that chart had everyone mapped on it as to where their current average dollar sale was. Of course, when you see a chart and everyone’s got a little bit of competitiveness in them. It’s very rare that you’re not competitive at all, that would be extremely rare. So everyone’s a little bit competitive, and that’s all you need. They come out, they look at the chart, and you don’t have to say anything. They doesn’t even have to be anything around this chart, there just has to be a chart. And it has each individual’s name on there and their average dollar sale.
Testing and measuring
Now of course, you’re not going to be able to chart that if you’re not testing and measuring everything in your business. So my final tip to close off this video is to say to you, make sure that if you are looking to increase your average dollar sale, then it’s vitally important that you’re testing and measuring. And the good thing about retail-- now this works in any business, by the way, especially if you’re in retail, the best thing to do is to make sure you’ve got some sort of point of sale software where when a sales person puts an individual sale through the till, that they have to swipe their card or wristband or something that tells the system who they are. Sometimes it’s just imputing their staff ID number, something like that. So it’s very easy to do it. If you don’t have software like that, well then you have to manually get a piece of paper and a pen and have to log down exactly what sales each person has, and what the average dollar sale was. So there’s many ways to do it, but it goes without saying that if you’re not measuring it, you can’t manage it. And if you can’t manage it, you won’t improve it. And if you don’t improve it, well you’re a sucker.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.