Commercial Selling - The Truth 2

The Importance of a Mission Statement

By Tony DeLorger © 2010

Apart from the obvious aim of making money in your retail business, there must be a specific ‘Mission Statement’ created. This is done to reinforce and maintain focus on the object and manner by which you will achieve your goals in business. It need not just be about business alone, but about the people who work in the business and those who become customers. Remember businesses are about people, their lives, attitudes and well-being.

The following is a Mission Statement I wrote for a retail clothing business. It is succinct and expresses the views and goals of its proprietor.

‘Creating wealth, happiness and fulfilment through the promotion of kindness, aesthetics and elegance in women’s apparel.’

This business is hugely successful because of its focus on servicing its clients both ethically and with kind and positive attention. This statement must of course be instilled in all staff, especially those on the front lines.

Policies and Procedures Manual

The success of passing the focus and intention of the mission statement on to staff is by creating a comprehensive ‘Policies and Procedures Manual’. This manual is the crux of staff training, outlining what is expected from each staff member, and how they are to represent the business. Whether staff are performing adequately can be determined by their adherence to this manual, and if not, it can be re-established by simply referring to it. Too many businesses wing it and admonish staff constantly for issues that have not been addressed in the first place. This is of course counterproductive, makes the staff member feel unfairly abused and without the manual has achieved nothing.

Policies that should be addressed include –

Greeting Customers, Being Kind and Helpful, Sales Pressure, Phone Calls and Manner, Using the Message Book, Staff Support, Gossiping, Information Disclosure, Sales Reps, Store Music, Friends Visiting, Credits and Returns, Problem Customers, Personal Presentation, Clothing and Grooming.

The more comprehensive the manual the easier it is for staff members to understand their role and responsibilities. As a manager it is then much fairer to question and instil these responsibilities to someone not performing. If it’s in black-and-white it can’t be questioned or debated.

The Importance of Training

The manual takes the process so far, but ‘one on one’ training is still the best way for a manager or proprietor to turn that staff member into a valued representative. Everyone that works in a retail business represents, three things: The name of the business or corporate identity, the owner or proprietor themselves and the physical retail shop.

Each staff member is a refection of the best and worst of that business. Someone with a hangover, looking unkept and leaning lazily against a counter does not give a positive image to customers. Customers are not stupid and will not put up with inattentive, rude or slovenly sales staff. They will simply about-face and never be seen again. Conversely, well trained and presented sales staff will engage customers and make them feel welcome and important. These will be customers that return and tell all their friends.

Shop Design and Product Placement

Lastly, but by no means less important, is the layout of the retail shop. To allow customers to want to at least come in it must be accommodating, enticing and feel safe. These factors can be achieved by design, lighting and how the products are placed in the retail environment. Narrow areas filled with activity can appear claustrophobic and lessen a flow-though effect. Dark areas can achieve the same. So when planning the original design make sure the layout appears open and there are no black spots (areas where no customer will go).

Also product placement is paramount, making sure that products at the rear are easily visible and enticing, with a clear path, even when the shop is crowded. You want to achieve a flow-through giving your products the best chance of sale.

Retail Selling is a science and should be treated as such. The days of opening a shop door and making money is over. There is so much competition these days one has to be professional in all aspects of a business to be successful. It is important to investigate all these points and initiate professional help when required. The difference it will make will astound you.

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