Three Ideas to Motivate Employees to Sell


Bob-PhibbsBy Bob Phibbs

Motivating employees. It’s always tough in a retail store.

You want to be as successful a retailer as Apple, as Nordstrom, as Lululemon, but you know you haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of seeing that kind of success unless you can truly engage your shoppers and keep them interested in what you have to sell.

And the only way to do that is to get your employees to engage those shoppers, to get them to commit to creating an exceptional experience for visitors so they buy from you, instead of scan and buy online from a competitor.

The big question is how to get your employees to focus on the customer? Employee motivation is an elusive creature.

I know a manager who asked his crew what would motivate them during the holidays. They wanted a Secret Santa. So he went along, that is until one clue was he had to sit on Santa’s lap and ask for his last clue.

Motivating employees is perhaps the hardest thing any manager ever has to work toward.

You worry that you are not connecting, that your words don’t resonate deeply with your employees and you struggle to figure out a magic formula.

And that’s good—that’s because employees don’t come to us hard-wired to perform well in a vacuum. Unless you can find a way to connect powerfully with your crew, your sales are doomed to failure.

I know, it seems easy to say just pay them more. But many times, no matter how much you pay them, after a period of time, their self-motivation wanes.

That’s because when you employ people, you are also taking on all of their innate hardships and challenges, the things they deal with at home, along with the things that keep them up at night.

You are taking on the whole person, for all of the good and the bad that brings. Their natural tendency is to do less and less unless someone encourages them to do more.

When it’s time to open the store and welcome your customers each day, it becomes your daily challenge to help your employees put their best face forward, focus on serving the customer and keep their eyes on the goal of closing as many sales as possible. And off of Facebook or WhatsApp.

For some retailers, this challenge is settled by simple performance metrics: dollars. You close X number of sales, you get more money in your paycheck. For many retailers, especially luxury retailers, a commission or performance bonus-incented sales metric makes sense.

However, if you find yourself in a position where commission-based sales don’t work for your company, like with most hardware retailers, you still have to find new ways to motivate your employees.

Here are three ideas to help motivate your sales associates that don’t involve paying them based on the number of units they move.

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