If you’re reading this, then you’re likely:
a) not meeting your retail sales targets; or
b) meeting your targets but want to find ways to blow past them.
Whatever the case, this post can help. We know how big of a deal sales are to retailers, so we’ve compiled a number of pointers to help you and your associates meet — and beat — your targets.
Check them out below.
Setting the right retail sales goals
Want to meet (or beat) your sales goals? Start by setting the right targets. There aren’t any hard and fast rules for doing this, as every company is different. Generally, though, you’ll want to consider the following factors when setting goals:
- Historical sales data
- Sales initiatives and events throughout the year
- The capacity of your sales team
- Employee input
1. Come up with sales targets that are challenging but achievable
Goal-setting can be tricky. On one hand, you need to set sales targets that are achievable but challenging at the same time. In other words, you don’t want to come up with goals that are too easy or too difficult to hit.
So, how do you find the right balance? Kevin Graff over at Graff Retail offers excellent advice. According to him, you need to apply the 70% rule to your sales goals.
“Goals should be achieved at least 70% of the time. If not, they’re too high and risk de-motivating your staff,” he wrote. “By the same token, if goals are achieved 90% or more of the time they’re too low and aren’t pushing your staff.”
2. Properly manage sales quota frequency and timeframes
When coming up with your sales targets, you’ll likely start with your annual revenue goal then break that down quarterly and then monthly. But when dealing with your sales team, you may want to set goals for shorter timeframes — think weekly or even daily.
Frequent sales quotas can give your associates continuous motivation. As the Harvard Business Review put it, “Under a monthly plan, salespeople who started off the month poorly might become less motivated after realizing they weren’t going to make their quota for that month — in essence giving up in the current month. Daily quotas would theoretically help prevent such behavior.”
To put that theory to the test, they conducted a study at a large Swedish retailer and compared sales results between stores that were given monthly versus daily quotas.
HBR found that having daily quotas increased sales productivity by nearly 5% and that the improvement was more pronounced for low-performing salespeople, with the bottom quartile experience an 18% boost in sales productivity.
What’s the reason behind this?
According to the publication, daily quotas seemed to help prevent those individuals from giving up for the rest of the month after having a slow start, which is typically the case for low performers.
That said, the study did find that while daily quotas increased sales volume, frequent quotas seemed to motivate salespeople to “to sell more quantities of low-ticket items, probably a result of shifting their mindset toward the smaller daily goals.”
This led to lower profitability because sales associates kept pushing the low-margin items.
If you experience this in your store, then try to find ways to incentivize employees to sell higher-ticket items. In other words, stick to frequent sales quotas, but look for creative ways to put your high-margin products front and center.
How to communicate your sales targets or goals
You’ve set your targets. Perhaps you’ve even mentioned them to your staff. That’s a good start, but if you want to drive those goals forward, you need to communicate them clearly and constantly.
Here are some ways of doing just that:
3. Talk up your goals throughout the day
Talk up those sales targets. This isn’t just about mentioning it at the start of the day and then asking about sales when you’re about to close. You need to talk about sales goals and performance throughout the day to keep those targets top of mind.
Spend a few minutes at the start of each shift talking about the team’s goals and how they’re doing. This will keep them accountable and motivated to achieve their targets.
4. Make those sales targets visible
Display your sales goals and achievements in the back room. Put up a board dedicated to sales and make sure it’s updated.
Another idea? Make your sales goals visible on your POS system. Look into your point of sale solution and see if it lets you set sales targets. If it does, find out how to make those numbers visible to relevant employees.
In Vend, for example, the Home screen shows the targets for the user currently signed in. This can be a very useful tool for identifying top performing cashiers or sales reps, and for tracking goals for each team member.
Once the targets have been set, the user will be able to monitor their progress from the home screen. There will be a section called ‘Your Sales’, which will show a progress bar of the user’s sales target. There is also a graph which shows the user the history of sales made across the period they have specified.
Are you a Vend retailer? You can use the software to set sales goals for each user, and then make those targets visible on their home screen.
Motivate your sales team to meet and beat their targets
Putting those sales goals out there is a good step, but to really drive results, you need to keep your staff motivated. Here’s how to do just that.
5. Have your team share the store’s sales goals
Offering commission and giving bonuses are common — and recommended — motivation tactics for sales employees. Sometimes, though, certain commission structures can create unhealthy competition in which employees are only looking after their own interests rather than helping the store succeed as a whole.
In a recent Facebook Live video, Bob Phibbs shared an interesting method for preventing this. He recommends setting a sales goal for your store, and then offering rewards to those who hit their quotas.
But here’s the thing: your staff will only be able to “unlock” their incentive if the overall store goal is met. In other words, even if an employee achieves their own target, they won’t get a bonus if the store’s target sales aren’t met.
As Bob put it, “you’re sharing the rewards as well as the risk, and that seems to motivate people really well.”
Watch the video below to learn more about this method. He talks about it at the 19:30 mark.
6. Gamify the process
Another great motivational tool? Games. According to Cara Wood, a former retail sales associate, regular contests did wonders for the performance of their sales teams.
“Running contests to encourage harder work was actually something the retailer I worked for was very good at. They regularly ran all kinds of contests, with excellent results from their teams,” she shared.
Some ideas? Check out the following:
Offer gift cards for opening store credit cards – Cara said that one of her favorite store contests was one in which the store gave out $5 to $10 gift cards for every store credit card that an associate opened.
“I was always good at opening cards, but I was extra good during these contests. I typically opened one per shift, but during one of these contests I opened 14 cards in three shifts, netting myself $70 in gift cards to the store.”
Give out prices the whole store can enjoy – Want to motivate an entire store? Consider a shared reward that everyone in the shop can enjoy if they outperform other locations.
Cara’ former company, for example, threw pizza parties for the store that achieved the highest average units per transaction
Use games to encourage certain types of behavior – Running contests to encourage certain behaviors could also work. One idea comes from Ray Riley, CEO at People in Progress Global.
“Borrowing from our retail education products, I’d focus on exceptional greetings this holiday season with a game: Pass the Buck,” he suggested.
“Whoever creates eye contact, squares their body to the customer, and genuinely greets them into their store within an acceptable period of time, gets a dollar. The next sales professional to do the same gets the same dollar, and the objective is to hold onto that dollar the most throughout their shift.”
Invest in employee training
Are your employees still not meeting their sales targets despite constant reminders and motivation? Perhaps you need to invest more in training. When it comes to effective retail selling, you need to teach your staff what to sell and how to sell it.
(It sounds obvious, but so many retailers fail to invest in proper employee training.)
Don’t just put them on the floor with minimal knowledge and expect results. Put in the time and effort to educate them.
7. Make sure employees know the store’s products inside and out
First, teach them what to sell. Talk to them about each product and make sure they know the key features and benefits of every item.
Use the “FAB” formula – A good way to instill product knowledge is through the “FAB” formula, advises Reese Evans, a former retail associate. FAB stands for features, advantages, and benefits. It’s a great tool for coming up with ways to approach or talk to shoppers.
Basically, features are the characteristics of a product while its advantages pertain to what the product or the features can do. The benefit, which is the most important part, is what the customer can get out of the product and its features. For best results see to it that the benefit you pitch to the shopper is unique to them.
“Let’s say you’re selling a jacket. A feature could be that is has a pocket on the inside of the garment. The advantage could be that the pocket is ‘hidden’ inside the jacket and could be opened and closed using a nifty zipper. And then the benefit could be that the customer can use it to subtly store small but important items like extra cash or their IDs.”
Conduct unboxing sessions – Do you have new stuff arriving in your shop? Set aside time to unbox them with your team.
That’s what Elevator, an accessories and jewelry boutique in Toronto is doing.
“Having a well-informed sales team is absolutely essential for the sales experience and actually driving more sales. The aesthetics of a particular product is very important, but people will always want to know what something’s made of, or a little bit about the designer,” says store owner Niko Downie.
“Whenever new designers arrive at the store, we sit down with the product in front of us, look at it really thoroughly, talk about the materials that it’s made from, who the designer is, what’s particularly unique about this product, and how to demonstrate it. We tend to do that as new items, new designers, and new collections arrive in the store.”
8. Train employees in the art (and science) of sales
Retail selling is a broad topic and there’s a whole range of things to tackle here. So rather than cramming all the info in this post, we thought we’d point you in the direction. Here are some retail sales resources to check out:
- Suggestive Selling in Retail: How to Increase Add-On Sales without Being Sleazy
- Retail Sales Tips: How to Read Customers and Sell to Them Like a Pro
- Vend’s Guide to Increasing Retail Sales
- How to Upsell and Cross-Sell in Retail
- 4 Smart Ways to Help Associates Overcome Their Fear of Selling
- 7 Common Types of Retail Customers (and How to Sell to Them)
- 5 Common Sales Objections and the Responses to Overcome Them
- WEBINAR: How to Turn Lookers into Buyers
- WEBINAR: 21 Proven Tactics to Increase Sales in Your Retail Store
Build a store that’s conducive to increased retail sales
Finally, if you want your team to achieve the store’s sales goals, you have to ensure that your shop sets them up for success. Here’s how:
9. Drive ample foot traffic
It’ll be difficult to meet sales goals if there aren’t any customers to sell to. See to it that your store has a steady flow of traffic that your associates can convert. You can accomplish this by sprucing up your window displays, holding events, running promotions, and more.
10. Have a winning assortment
Even the best salespeople will struggle if they’re trying to sell something that doesn’t resonate with shoppers. That’s why it’s incredibly important to have a deep understanding of what your customers want and need.
Talk to your customers to figure out what they want to see in your store. Pay attention to consumer trends and get a handle on the market. Then, use that knowledge to influence your buying decisions.
And once you’ve stocked up on the right products, see to it that they’re showcased properly. Be strategic with your merchandising. Identify the key areas (i.e. the high traffic and high-profit sections) of your store and constantly refresh them with great-looking assortments.
Are you always meeting (or beating) your retail sales targets? Tell us about your strategies in the comments.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.