Keeping Score

One great benefit of doing sales training, and consulting, on a national basis is that I get the opportunity to observe a large and varied amount of sales staff in action. One glaring observation that I have arrived at is that most of these sales people need one thing that appears to be sadly lacking in most operations: some constructive and active management. I’m not talking about someone who makes out the schedule and has the ability to approve offers. Every store has someone who fits this description. Their primary job seems to be to manage people. I’m referring to someone who is routinely analyzing and adjusting sales performance. This is a task that extends far beyond just reviewing sales totals.

I often ask myself why this critical task seems to be minimized, if not completely ignored.  Decision makers in many retail businesses seemingly do not prioritize managing the performance of their people. They seem to spend time and energy on everything from store location, relations with current vendors, seeking new vendors, advertising expenditures or other big picture issues. Many times it appears to be an issue of spending so much time and energy on the “urgent” that they forget to do the “important.” What is gained by trying to always “buy a dime cheaper” or to invent the “next great promotion” if your staff is routinely letting sales and profit opportunities walk out the front door?

Ask yourself: do I know the actual close rate of each salesperson? Do I know what each salesperson’s average ticket is? What percentage of each salesperson’s sales are good quality items as opposed to what is on sale? What percent of their sales contain an upgraded or add-on purchase? If not, then why not? My guess is that you keep score when you play cards, golf, or go bowling. It’s the only way that we can measure our performance that day. Why then, do so many not keep score at work? Isn’t your paycheck at least as important as your golf handicap?

Tom Jennings

Monday, June 3, 2013