Slow Times

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Managing Sales Performance during Slow Times

During really busy times it is more difficult to get an accurate read on your associates’ performance. When customers are in a buying frenzy, and even desperate (think Christmas), it doesn’t always take a lot of skill and knowledge for an associate to make the sale.

When customers are not so plentiful and those who come into the store don’t necessarily have to buy anything, the skill of the sales associate becomes much more important to your business.

Here are a few pointers to help you manage sales performance in your store.

For evaluation purposes it will be necessary to prepare work schedules that give every associate an opportunity to work during premium shifts and during quiet shifts. This will ensure accurate comparisons of Sales per Hour between one associate and another. Obviously, you still need to ensure your top performers are scheduled when you need them, but for those you are unsure of, or for those who are average performers, you need to level the playing field by scheduling this way.

Carefully review each associate’s KPI’s (key performance indicators) for the past couple of months (the busier times). Look at past schedules to get an idea of which associates were performing well and which ones were not and see if there is any correlation to the scheduling.

Use the KPI’s of your top performing associate as a benchmark. Ranking all others compared to this individual will give you a place to start.

Be relentless in your follow up after every shift and/or day. Check all KPI’s for each associate. Make notes on your sales reports so you are able to recall your thoughts and conclusions when it comes time to speak with the associate.

Discuss performance at the beginning and end of every shift and/or day. Feedback and coaching is much more helpful when it is current.

When coaching for performance, be sure to mention the behaviors that you have observed and how those behaviors relate to the results – good or bad. Offer tips for changing unproductive behaviors and watch to see if the associate actually does change them.

Make sure product knowledge is available for associates to review. Have them read and then initial that they have read the material. Don’t accept any excuses for not staying current with product knowledge.

Ensure your management team members understand what is expected of them when they are in charge. Associates need to see consistency in the way they are managed. If what you are coaching them on is important, then the rest of the management team would find it important too, right? Associates must see this united front, or consistency.

A management team member must always be available to answer questions and generally assist associates in their efforts to ‘make their sales’.

If you have provided feedback, suggestions, coaching and a reasonable amount of time for improvement of sales performance and the associate is still not performing according to your requirements, you need to start an official performance management process.

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