Guerilla Retailing – Where Everyone is Above Average

How to Get Above Average Performance from Everyone

by Guerrilla Selling Speaker Orvel Ray Wilson, CSP

How would you like to see a 10% sales lift on a $10 investment? Start by making individual production public.

Go to the office supply and buy a white dry-erase marker board, a set of colored markers, and a couple of rolls of black border tape (that skinny, vinyl tape used for making lines on your whiteboard).

Use the border tape to divide the whiteboard into 9 columns.

The first column is NAME, then a column for each of the seven days of the week, and a column on the right for TOTAL. Now create a line for each salesperson.

Hang it on the wall in the warehouse, break-room or back office where everyone (except customers) will see it.

Each day, require each of your sales associates to write their sales figures for the day in the appropriate box before they go home. A blank indicates that they were not in the store that day. You may have to enforce the rule at first; if they skip (or just forget) fine them a dollar for the coffee kitty. But soon, everyone will be eager to play the game.

This works on several levels. First, your stars will set the pace for the rest of team, because salespeople are genetically competitive. That alone will increase their overall sales performance by the promised ten percent. Great sales trainers and coaches capitalize on that trait to help team members improve their skills.

It will also make everyone more consistent, because no one wants to post a zero for the day. And nobody wants to be consistently in last place, so they will work to improve their product knowledge and sales skills. And that one person you have on your team who you wish you hadn’t hired? After a few weeks he’ll get the message and leave on his own.

Raising the Bar

You can produce even more dramatic results by tracking all of the associates’ performance on three key performance indicators. At end of the month, calculate their total sales volume, their average ticket amount and their gross margin, then compute the overall averages for each variable across the store, and compare each associate’s performance to the average.

Post the results, or print them in a spreadsheet to hand out, for example:

Total Sales Volume
Number of Transactions
Gross Margin %

Table 1

Congratulate those who beat the norm, then meet individually with each associate to discuss his or her individual performance. “You’re doing a good job over all, and I noticed that last month, you were above average on (parameters) while your (parameter) was just a little bit below the average. Why do you think that was? How could we work together to help get you up to the average (on this parameter)?”

This is a highly motivating combination. Nobody wants to perform “below average,” but suggesting that you just expect them to work up to the norm will always be perceived as reasonable and achievable. It should be easy enough. After all, you’re not asking a low performer to shatter any records, just to improve in one specific area enough to make the middle ground.

In the example above, the average sales volume per associate for the month was $21,557.14. So you might take Ted aside and ask him to suggest ways that he might sell an additional $1,300 this month. After all, he only needs $1,300 to get up to the average.

You’d have the same conversation with Jeannie, Chris and Michelle, and suggest ways that they could increase their overall sales. Maybe they just need to put in more hours, or take a Sunday shift or two. Perhaps they need to pay closer attention to customers when they’re in the store, or be more proactive about suggesting companion products or accessories. Perhaps you can coach them on effectively handling more than one customer at a time.

In the same example, the average number of sales per associate was 26.9, but Jeannie, Ted, Michelle and Ryan all fell below that average. You can talk to them about qualifying customers more carefully, or help them improve their closing skills. They only need to close a few more sales next month to move into “above average” territory.

Similarly, while the average gross margin was 30.7%, Ryan, Pat, Chris and Jeannie made above-average profits, while Ted, Aaron, Linda and Ryan were below the bar. Perhaps they’re over-emphasizing sale merchandise. You might coach them on up-selling to full-feature products, or adding high-margin accessories. Or show the best first. After all, they only need to cross-sell or up-sell every now and then to be above the average.

From time to time, you can change the parameters to help associates improve in other areas such as closing ratios, total accessories sold or extended warranty penetration.

Very quickly, you’ll find that the averages start to climb, as each associate gets exactly the coaching they need from month to month to improve their most critical skills.

To learn how we can help you built a top-performing guerrilla sales team, or to order your own copy of Guerrilla Retailing, call us toll-free 800-247-9145.


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