Posted on

Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling (Part 5) – The Reception Team Earns Customer Trust

In the ongoing series on implementing a successful retail culture, How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling?, we have touched on the importance of the customer journey, the manager’s mindset & the staff members role in generating sales. Today, let’s discover the 4th key element to growing your retail culture – your reception team. 

    • The Customer
    • The Manager
    • The Staff Member
    • Your Reception
    • Your Marketing
    • Your Merchandising

A pleasant reception experience is essential to the success of any retail shop and spa business as they are the first people customers see. A top-notch reception team can increase your revenue without much effort by simply delivering on excellent customer service with each and every customer. Yes, the reception team tends to juggle a lot – interaction with managers, customers, teams, deliveries, ringing phones…. you name it. And they certainly manage a dynamic environment and situations while being professional at all times. But as your first and final points of contact, it is essential to enlist them in creating a pleasant journey for your customers. 

From a customer’s point of view, the reception team IS you. They see no difference. Whether positive or negative, the reception team reinforces the feelings customers have while engaging with and shopping in your business. The smoother the customer journey, the more your customers will trust you and will leave with a feeling of satisfaction each and every time. The truth is that it’s not solely the products you stock that keep customers coming back. Customers, at their core, desire to frequent environments again and again that make them feel GOOD. 

There is something called the Peak-end Rule, which was explained to me a long time ago as being, “ a natural and psychological thought process where people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak (i.e., its most memorable point) and at its end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.” Our brains are wired to remember the highest point of an experience as well as the end, no matter the in between. When are these critical points happening in your business? Can you identify them? And what reputation are they cementing for you? If you haven’t had an opportunity to reflect on this, I highly suggest testing your current environment through mystery shoppers or by simply asking existing clients for their honest feedback. 

So how can you ensure that you have a strong reception team that delivers great customer experiences? There are 5 areas that you can help your team improve on right away:

  1. Phone Calls

A critical point of all good first impressions. Reception teams need to deliver efficiency and professionalism straight away regardless of what is happening in the moment. It is crucial to help your team understand what you want them to prioritize. Must the phone be answered within 3 rings for example? What happens if there are people in front of them? All great teams will honor your expectations so be clear as to what these practices are but remain open to listening to their feedback.

On a phone call, the reception team is able to create organic moments for up-selling and cross-selling with mindful open-ended questions, collect data and understand the customer’s needs before they even enter your business. Kind communication and setting expectations is important to lead the customer into having a positive experience with you. Having a reception meeting every month can also be helpful for clarifying questions your team might have on current protocols as well as for sharing learning experiences within the group. 

  1. Merchandising

Tidying, facing and restocking of retail products can be looked after by the reception team. This keeps your retail area presentable and easy to shop in. With my store and spa clients, I typically create sustainable systems and procedures for them that ensure this is done at certain times of the day and to high standards. 

  1. Customer Journey

Creating a repeatable process and flow for your customer journey is key to ensure your customers feel good. It is important to train your team on how your business says hello & goodbye, how they offer recommendations or explain products and services, and more. 

As you establish this flow it then becomes your standards and your customers will always feel confident about what they can expect when they shop with you. 

  1. Customer Data

Keeping detailed customer records will earn you your bread and butter! Your reception team is essential in this. With data your business can do so much. Are you launching a new retail line in store that’s organic? Well, thankfully, your database holds notes about specific customers who are ultra health conscious or tend to book an organic facial with you. They’d surely be interested in hearing about it. Or want to send out an appreciation discount to customers who have birthdays this month? Good news, you already have customer birthdays in your database. Data allows you to generate leads for many revenue initiatives and ensure that details are correct. Without capturing data, it becomes difficult to target your marketing so that it generates results (income!) for you.  It is essential to train your team to do this and to carry out regular checks to ensure vital information is entered accurately in the system. 

  1. Retail

As the beginning and end contacts within your customer journey, the reception team becomes the biggest influence on retail sales. With a customer’s excellent experience comes their trust in your business and your expertise. Your reception team is in a role of service and its natural for customers to engage in genuine and meaningful conversations with them.  These conversations can naturally lead to additional service bookings as well as retail product suggestions and purchases. There are many creative ways to organically create these moments. For example, I had a spa client that would spray the spa’s signature room spray in each shopping bag. Naturally, that sparked clients to ask what that pleasant scent was. She could never keep enough on the shelf!

Now, take your owner’s hat off and take me up on this exercise. Spend a day observing the experiences you have wherever you go. How do they make you feel? Why did you feel this way? I personally enjoy doing this exercise at any restaurant or hotel. Someone recently told me about their favorite Italian restaurant and how they are always welcome no matter how packed it is. They feel right at home and are greeted with open arms. They’ve never heard “let me see if I can find you a table or sit in the waiting area until we call you.” Tell me, which of the two above scenarios would you want to walk into?

“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

In our next article, join me in understanding the importance of a heavy hitter within your retail strategy – marketing.  It is going to be an absolute eye opener. 

Love retail and retail will love you back! 


Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:


Posted on

Retail Reflections: Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling (Part 4) – Staff Members Transform Into Experts.

If you’ve been joining along in this special Retail Reflections series, How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling?, we’ve learned that there are 6 key components that activate an increase in sales. And so far we have explored the Customer and the Manager’s vital role in the process.

  • The Customer
  • The Manager
  • The Staff Member
  • Your Reception
  • Your Marketing
  • Your Merchandising

Today we dive into the importance of a staff member’s role in increasing your store’s retail sales. Their individual hard-skills of up-selling & cross-selling is, of course, influential in reaching your set targets. However, we cannot ignore key soft-skills they need to nurture in order to maximize their interaction with every customer that walks through your doors.

I’ll come out and admit this. In the retail landscape of today, it’s somewhat outdated to think about selling in this cookie-cutter way: “find out the needs of the client and answer their needs”. Although true and essential to a strong sale, clients of today come into retail environments more researched and prepared than ever. Would you agree? Thanks to social media, review forums, and digital advertisements, product information is available at their fingertips. They may already KNOW what they want when they walk in your store. This can sometimes leave you or your team members feeling like there is no room for further item suggestions and consultative selling.

To adjust to this shift, many store owners work hard to anticipate a customer’s unspoken needs and focus on creating more and more impulse-buy opportunities in their stores. “Oh I didn’t know I needed a strawberry lip balm as I am finishing my shopping and waiting to pay. I need/want/must have it!”, thinks the customer. Meanwhile, you say a little woohoo! to yourself.

That organic up-sell feels good, right? But let me tell you, there is a significant danger in becoming comfortable with passive selling like this. It’s important not to assume that every customer doesn’t need or want anything more than what they say they walked in the door for. How? Every team member should continue to cultivate their inner expert. Experts are sought after and cannot easily be replaced. It’ll be hard for your customer to take their business elsewhere if you are an EXPERT in their eyes. They’ll always trust your suggestions.

How can staff members quickly ascend to expert status? Here are the skills to get them there:

Know the ‘why’.

Understanding the why of your client is crucial to your retail culture: why are they here? what do they want? what are they looking for? No matter what, don’t forget to ask.

It allows us to gain insight into their unmet needs and establishes a genuine connection. Over time, this connection can only grow. From taking an interest in our customer, we can find natural opportunities to consult and guide. For example you can uncover: the habits that lead to their current want or concern, why they use the products they do today, or if their intended purchase is a step towards them achieving a greater lifestyle goal. How can you support them?

A Customer’s WHY is the heart of everything else that you will create to enhance retail sales because this messaging trickles down to your marketing & merchandising. It also becomes the foundation of your staff member training including that of your receptionists (if you employ any).

The art of listening- really actually listening.

Let me tell you something I experienced recently which happens all too often.
I was asked to mystery shop for a brand in Selfridges London UK in order to uncover what was happening at the customer consultation stage.

The sales associate asked me a few questions (so far so good!). As soon as she learned that I was over 45 years old she immediately overtook the conversation by only talking to me about the brand’s anti-ageing range from that point on. What did I tell her my main concern was earlier in the conversation? The blemishes on my chin.
I left that interaction feeling deflated with both my wrinkles (I didn’t think they were THAT prominent!) AND my blemishes. No solution was offered for my blemishes. Did I buy something? No. I was, however, given a bundle of samples that were not explained to me nor relevant to my conscious needs.

Now, don’t get me wrong, of course I am concerned about wrinkles. I have 20 eye creams at home to prove it! But because the sales associate decided what my main priority should be she unknowingly suggested items which were not going to move me to make a purchase with her. The conversation could have remained on track: what brought me to her counter? Why did I want to buy this specific brand? How long have I been experiencing these blemishes? And did I notice them after a specific incident or using a certain product? Now that could have lead us down so many consultative and product suggestion paths.

The biggest lesson here is: never assume what the customer’s needs are. Customers literally tell you what they are willing to purchase. Listen and you’ll hear these answers.

Believing in your expertise.

To set yourself up as an expert is to ensure that the customer leaves with not only the products that are answering their needs but also with ones they learned about from you as a hot tip. How do you feel when you are lead to discovering an ingenious new hack or trend forward idea? Hopefully, inspired right!? By sincerely believing in your expert suggestions, you invoke this same feeling of inspiration in your customers. Creating this circle of trust makes a lasting impact.

Your team’s commitment to being experts will unveil a thoughtful journey for all of your customers and generate sales that are both meaningful & valuable to them. Price to your customer becomes an afterthought.


Team Member mindset is the soul of your retail culture. Motivation for achieving daily goals and targets simply comes from starting their day with a positive outlook. “Today I will sell 2 products per customer” or better yet “today, I will genuinely listen to and guide our customers.” Look for ways to encourage a mindset of healthy competition with themselves, them sharing their success stories, and digging further into lessons learned as to why a sale didn’t happen. An environment for safe, self-reflection will engage your staff members for the long term.

When you are not present, your staff members are the face of your business. And as an extension of yourself, they make sales happen for you.

Engaging them from the recruitment level will cultivate the thriving retail culture you desire in your business. It takes training and dedication from the manager, the owner, and individual team members to answer and exceed your customer’s expectations. It’s effort well spent.

In the next part of this series, we will be looking at reception teams specifically and their role when it comes to retail sales. Even if you don’t employ a reception team, there are several golden rules you won’t want to miss that will help mam a lasting positive impression on your customer and have them coming back to you again and again.

Love retail & retail will love you back!


Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:

Posted on

Retail Reflections: Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling (Part 3) – The Impact of Managers

In our last Retail Reflections session together, we explored the perspective of The Customer and the importance of defining your customer journey to expand your retail sales.  Today, we take a look at the crucial role of The Manager in building a successful retail culture.   

First, let me remind you of the 6 elements that make a successful retail sales environment:

  • The Customer
  • The Manager
  • The Staff Member
  • Your Reception
  • Your Marketing
  • Your Merchandising

The mindset of your manager(s) is the key to creating an easily accepted retail culture. If your manager is passionate about retail, everyone else will be. If the manager is focused on the minutiae of your business’s day to day administration, the focus on active selling – bringing in revenue – will be an afterthought. 

I see many shop owners quickly resign themselves to accepting the sales as they are because creating change appears to be an uphill battle. However, in doing this, an owner can unknowingly create a ‘passive work’ atmosphere and allow teams to focus on tasks that don’t actively contribute your most desired goals. 

Having done hundreds of boutique and spa trainings throughout the world I am confident in a fact I’ll share with you now. A foundation for a healthy, thriving retail culture is cemented by your managers. 

Unfortunately, managers can be faced with many obstacles when it comes to fulfilling his / her role in nurturing your retail culture:

    • Dealing with HR issues: this spans from staff recruitment to covering last-minute co-worker ‘sick days’. Let’s also not forget their management of a difficult team member. This person is a character that in my trainings I like to call “Flossy”. Let’s face it, we’ve all had to deal with a Flossy at some point (or you may be in the middle of handling Flossy right now!). Unchecked, HR can make up 70% of manager activity. These activities are not only time-consuming – they can be taxing on the morale of even the most competent managers. 
    • The pressure of delivering the numbers: “You are only as good as your last month’s figures” my boss used to tell me… Talk about pressure! Messaging like this creates overwhelm and encourages an environment of individual achievement (‘everyone for themselves’) rather than an environment that rewards reaching goals as a collective unit.  
    • The weakest team: There is no such thing as “the wrong” or “weakest team.” This is a common mental block managers can bring along with them. I have met managers who have stepped into inherited teams and find it a challenge to get everyone to subscribe to their specific way of selling. If allowed to contribute to sales targets in ways that fit their individual personalities, any underperforming team member can be turned around to become an asset. 
    • Getting a pat on the back: In their role, managers can be exposed to much problem-solving. From HR to difficult customers to operations, it is sometimes hard for managers to see glory in their role. This can take its toll in the long run and the passion they once had for building a thriving business WITH YOU can progressively fade away. 

Let’s change this for your business and start creating a retail culture of employees that LOVE to make you proud in reaching sales targets and goals. It can be done! And here’s how. To maintain passion and a strong mindset, these are the 5 essential areas of focus for managers: 

A Clear & Communicated Mission:

A shared mission must be communicated to every employee. A team will rally behind leaders who they feel are including them in a shared journey. I am often surprised how little teams are included in these conversations by owners and managers who tend to be crystal clear on the targets of the business. Active communication is crucial to team focus. The clearer your mission, the clearer the collective action steps, the more your team will follow. What do you want to achieve by the end of the year? Win an award? Achieve 10% over target? Have over 2000 business reviews? Whatever it is, true leadership lays out a roadmap to follow. If you don’t know what you want for your business over the next 5 years then I encourage you to start dreaming and sharing your vision for the future. 

Task Management

Task management makes a significant impact when it comes to building your retail culture. I often see managers in back offices working primarily on operational tasks leaving them with no time to ‘lead by example’ on the shop floor. That creates a break in the chainlink of your teams shared mission. It’s important as the owner of the business to encourage managers to prioritize the tasks that will move the revenue needle for your business. 

Inventory Control

This in itself can fill up an article! However, the main thing is that too much stock is both a confidence and cash burden on the business. On the other hand, not enough stock keeps you from reaching your sales targets. Finding just the right inventory levels for the business is important. 

Retail Strategy Development:

Are all elements of the business aligned with its retail goals and aspirations? This includes your branding, marketing, networking, event management, merchandising, systems, procedures, communication plan, target setting, new product or service launches, etc. It’s essential to check all of these things and ensure they are supporting, not hindering, your team’s sales efforts. If there are things to be improved upon, managers should feel comfortable in sharing these findings with the business owner. 

Team management

The most important aspect of your retail culture is to encourage, coach and nurture your team. The active development of each staff member makes the team engaged. Create and share clear plans of action that play to each individual staffer’s strengths and personality in order to achieve the collective goals of the business. This can allow a business to function whether an owner is physically present or not.  Having a team that is fully behind you is what will make you overachieve your targets. This also gives both the manager and the owner the permission of the group to proactively address any cases of low achievement with minimal, if any, conflict. How great would that feel?

I strongly believe that creating a retail culture one can be proud of takes mindfulness and strategy.  By following the above steps, which is a part of my Retail 360° blueprint, you will be able to create a thorough plan of action that will grow your retail sales, nurture your team and maintain a positive mindset. 

Stay tuned for the next article in this series: Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling. We’ll be taking a look at The Staff Member and what important aspects they contribute to retail sales, Flossy and all…

Until then, love retail and retail will love you back!


Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:

Posted on

Retail Reflections: Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling (Part 2) – What Has The Customer Got To Do With It?

Early on in the series of articles on Retail Reflections: How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling? I defined the 6 elements that make a successful retail sales environment:

  • The Customer.
  • The Manager.
  • The Staff Member.
  • The Reception.
  • The Marketing.
  • The Merchandising.

The impact on your bottom line when it comes to retail isn?t as simple as hiring a good salesperson. It is important to understand that when it comes to selling, it is the customer journey that will make or break the sale. How often have you been somewhere and felt so good that the price tag didn?t matter? It is the same for the reverse: how often have you been somewhere where the customer journey was so disjointed and unpleasant, the money you spent in the place didn?t feel right, the value of it was wasted in an experience that left you unsatisfied. ?

I conducted so many mystery shopping experiences last year and only a handful of them got it right when it came to the customer journey. It?s important to realize that the key to success is understanding what the customer feels when shopping with you and their experience as a whole rather than the purchased item itself.

Everything that you do in your business has an impact and creates a value to the customer, from the music down to the sitting arrangement. I?ve seen this be true for any business. Not sure where to start when it comes to reassessing your current store ambiance? Visit, study and enjoy a meal at your favorite restaurants. ?It?s an experience that can easily be transferred to the retail industry.

Let me give you an example:

I wanted to treat my daughters to a lovely meal in an amazing restaurant in London for a special occasion. I knew we were going to spend a fair amount (over $300) but having been there before and loving it, I expected it to be fantastic as usual. The expectation was high. We arrived and instantly felt the atmosphere was wrong. In many ways, there was a hint of stress and unpleasantness on the staff?s behaviour. Our waitress came to us without a smile and I felt like she slammed the menus on the table. I became irritated.

Being French and of mature age, I wanted to point out what was happening, after all, this was our treat! But my daughters asked for me to go with the flow. So, I didn?t say anything. Most customers don?t. ?It was a truly unpleasant experience. And although the food was as superb as I remembered, the overall experience was tarnished by the customer journey and we never returned there again despite the impeccable quality of the food.

We ended up not ordering additional drinks besides tap water, no dessert, and left there having spent less than half of what I was ready and willing to spend. Who continued to get our business? The little Italian restaurant where, despite the food not being that incredible but decent, we are always welcomed by our names. Where we wait for a table with a glass of wine in hand. And we are spoken to with big smiles no matter how stressful or busy the day is.

I repeat it again and again when delivering retail sales trainings: money comes second. It?s the value of what the customer experiences with you as a whole that must come first.

To add value to their experience is to dissect every aspect of the customer journey:

  • Before they come to your business: how is your website, social media & brand voice represented? How easy is it to secure an appointment or find your hours of business? Are your phone conversations courteous? Do you keep key client notes for future reference in your customer database?
  • When in your business: how are they welcomed? What are their steps to go to the counter? What can they see? How consistent is the customer journey if they come back?
  • After their visits: How do you tangibly measure the customer?s satisfaction? Are you rebooking them for a follow-up consultation or sharing interesting news or upcoming events? What happens if a client doesn?t return to you? How do you entice them to return again?

The littlest touches can be the most powerful. Once shopping for my usual makeup and foundation at a shop I had never been to, I received the best customer experience from the minute I spoke to the salesperson. Feeling taken care of, of course, I spent more than expected but I felt so good! A week later, I received a handwritten note thanking me for coming in and I found samples inside the envelope that were not available for me at the time of my visit. To this day, I still go there for my make-up purchases.

At L?Occitane, our staff had to say to each customer that was coming through the doors: ?Welcome to L?Occitane, would you like a tea while you are browsing?? A winning question every time as it broke the ice and felt sincere. Defining your customer journey is to create the details of that experience.

Without understanding the details of the customer journey, we fail to deliver a memorable experience at all times. Purchasing becomes another chore to the customer. If the customer feels wonderful, she will be more likely to leave with not only the products that will benefit her but also the wonderful feeling of wanting more of the experience only you can give. A good way of defining your customer journey is to have regular mystery shops. Because you cannot monitor everything on your own, these are the best for receiving unbiased constructive criticism that can help you generate new best practices.

In my next upcoming article (Part 3), I will be talking about the critical manager mindset that makes or breaks the retail sales culture in your business. Discover what the Manager has to focus on in order to motivate their teams and deliver their targets every time while never losing sight of the customer journey.

Love retail and retail will love you back!

Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:

Posted on

Retail Reflections: What Is Email Automation? Your Shop’s Next Massive Revenue Generator. That’s What.

As a store owner, it?s possible that you may have mixed feelings about jumping into creating marketing automation for your business. Though there?s no doubt that at some point you, as a consumer, have window shopped on your favorite sites, added items to your cart, and just didn?t quite get yourself to hit that ?checkout? button. You?re not alone in that. According to SalesCycle, 78.3% of all carts in the e-commerce retail sector went abandoned in 2017 and that number continues to rise as the e-commerce market becomes ever more competitive.

When created with value-added content and purposeful design, the core benefits of marketing automation strategy for retailers and direct to consumer brands can dip into efficiency, cost-effectiveness, all the way to creating a robust omnichannel experience that?ll lead to high-profit generating abilities.

The most powerful form of automation is, in fact, Email Automation. This is because it helps generate ongoing conversations with customers and continues to maximize lifetime value. It has become one of the core revenue drivers for customer retention as it allows more personalized recommendations to be presented in a digestible value-added way of communication.

Email automation can come in different forms. Here is a break down of the most common types:


A series (such as a Welcome Series for example) takes the customer through a journey of the most important points of difference for your business all while allowing you to choose what sales-driving content to display first. It gives the customer a chance to get familiar with you in a variety of different ways. What can you share in a series? You can showcase things like Social Proof (press or customer reviews), your shop?s unique point of difference, your founder story (if relatable), and other valuable information that shows who you are as a business.


A nurturing campaign can be a great way to incorporate light customer segmentation without getting overly complex. List segmentation has always been used to do more targeted email marketing. There is a good chance that some of the emails in your inbox right now did not go to an entire list of subscribers. You may have been sent those emails as part of a segment of ?most likely to purchase consumers.? You?ve been grouped and sent more targeted and personalized marketing based on past purchasing behavior or activity. An example of a nurture campaign in retail can be sending an email to specific customers that purchased a luxury ticket item from a store. He or she is more likely to receive continued promotional information that is aligned with the luxury price tier or brands similar to those they have purchased in the past.

Segmentation creates a personalized marketing experience tailored to specific customers and decreases list unsubscribes by not marketing to those list subscribers unlikely to find a specific product or piece of information interesting to them. As you think about this, you may now be picturing the vast number of ways you can group together customers based on shopping history and activity. Ideas for nuture campaigns can be endless! And nurturing series can also be paired with remarketing ads to layer in even more awareness generating capabilities.


When it comes to marketing, it?s a good thing to be trigger happy! In the most basic form, a trigger works like an abandoned cart. A customer adds an item to their cart but doesn’t check out- they receive a targeted email campaign set at a specific time interval trigger to reclaim. Abandoned cart triggers accompanied with a series campaign can be incredibly powerful. Add a layer of lead magnets (like free shipping or another promo) to this and you?ll be seeing additional revenue through recovered sales. Why is this? Potential customers who receive these messages will simply and automatically be reminded to pick up right where they left off.

So with all this said, what could a strong email automation plan look like for a retail store that wants to super-charge their e-commerce revenue? Here?s the strategy I?d recommend to start with:

1. A Welcome Email Series that is delivered in 3 parts over one week.

2. An Abandoned Cart Email Series which has triggers at 24 and 48 hours.

3. Win Back Email Series to re-engage customers who haven’t purchased in a while. This depends on the lifecycle of the products you sell in your store. For beauty and wellness products you could set your Win Back Email series to go out 4-6 months post purchase date.  

With the daily tasks of being a business owner, marketing automation can easily remain an afterthought. But boosting cost-efficiency is reason alone to make this a real priority for growing your sales! Automations run like your own personal team of sales robots, continually trying to capture potential additional revenue without you needing to devoting more effort, man-hours, or money into other forms of remarketing. For larger businesses, it can keep the marketing team focused on new exciting strategy and acquisitions while keeping customer retention a priority! You?ll benefit significantly from happier customers receiving ongoing recommendations of content and products they’ll genuinely appreciate and feel a connection with.


Isabella Sapien is the founder & CEO of Ritual Rebellion a digital marketing agency for beauty, wellness, and retail brands that specializes in increasing customer lifetime value and customer acquisitions. Learn more about Ritual Rebellion and their newly launched Email Marketing Template Shop here:

Posted on

Retail Reflections: How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling?

It?s the $1000 question that is always on store owner & manager?s minds and generates a huge topic of discussion.

Throwing their hands up in defeat, I?ve heard business owners say:

  • ?I have tried everything to get them engaged.?
  • ?I give commission but no one cares.?
  • ?I have created contests but it?s always the same people that win.?
  • ?The retail sales training was great as a boost for 1 month then everyone lost motivation again.?
  • ?I don?t think my staff is able to sell more than they already do.?

How about we add common staff excuses to the mix?

  • ?I am waiting for the brand training.?
  • ?Why try? It?s cheaper online.? (This one is #1!)
  • ?My shift ends soon.? (Goes out of the way to make no eye contact with customer otherwise they?ll have to assist them).
  • ?She can?t afford it.? (Bold assumptions).
  • ?She is a new client. I don?t want to be too pushy.?

Let?s face it, when it comes to the barriers of selling, we can find them in bucket loads. Yet, one day, a star staff member starts with you and she can sell. She is basically showing everyone how it?s done. I have been fascinated by sales people that seem to be ?simply born with it.? How do they do it? Why can they succeed and the others cannot?

Throughout my career, having worked for key commercial brands like Clinique, Clarins & L?Occitane, I?ve learned that making retail sales comes down to two simple things:  the customer journey and how the customer feels the minute they walk into your business. When I joined Steiner UK, in Bliss Spa London, the team was performing at a retail rate of 35%. By the time I finished with them, we reached a retail rate of 45%. This is quite a significant increase when you consider that retail sales contributed to our strict 2.2 million revenue goal.

One thing that has become clear after delivering countless retail trainings is that the old-fashioned way of retailing doesn?t work anymore. Toss away the ?robotic steps for selling?. Trying to recall what to do next when you have the customer in front of you is too much pressure for any team member. What happens? They get flustered. They tense up. And ultimately feel discouraged (or even ashamed) when they hear ?no I am fine, thanks? from the customer.

When it comes to retail sales today, it?s absolutely important to think about it in a different way and apply a much more holistic 360? approach. Here are the 6 key factors that play an important part in increasing your retail sales year on year by positively influencing each step of the customer journey:

  • The Customer

Customer habits have changed. And although they have more choices from where they can obtain their products, deep down they are significantly craving guidance, care, expertise and wellness.

  •  The Manager

Managers have a lot to do with bettering retail sales and morale. She or he is the one that creates the retail culture and expectations in the business. If they have an innate desire of serving the customer and crafting the right solutions for them, this passion and attitude will be contagious.

  • The Staff member

Those that can sell well? They not only get the individual customer consultation right but they also focus on offering product suggestions to everyone that steps in the store. Whether it be showing the latest skin gadget, swatching trending seasonal colors, or pointing someone to a great wellness enhancer, they?ll do it because they are on a genuine mission to provide value.  With this, there is no magic. The law of averages simply comes into play. ?The more I try and sell, the more I will sell.? Their mindset is full of preparation of the day- not excuses!

  • The Reception

The Reception team is the start and end of your success since customers pick up products at the checkout/ reception desk.  The customer journey is made of details that will increase your chances in retail sales.

  • The Marketing

It?s important to create daily buzz around your retail products to inspire customer interest. I am shocked how easily businesses can overlook this. Successfully generating consistent retail sales through your marketing is a long-term strategy. Nurture and commit to it so you?ll experience real results.

  • The Merchandising

This one is the most impactful of them all. Merchandising can make or break your sales. Purposeful merchandising at reception, for example, will always stimulate customer curiosity. What does this area look like for you right now? Too many messages kill the messages. How many can you see? Create focus. Merchandise with intent.

Incorporating the points above will surely allow you to increase your retail sales even more. But the real solution is quite simple. If you want to sell, you will sell.

From a leadership perspective, to motivate your team is to be genuinely motivated yourself.  I meet a lot of owners and managers who are at their wits end about it all; feeling like they have tried everything. If you feel like this, how could you truly expect your team and staff to shift their own mindset?

Retail culture and expectations are created by business owners and managers. You have that power. And once that is defined and the strategy is clear, it?s all about ensuring the 6 key steps above are looked into and applied. Successful retail selling can truly be fun and bring you and your team much joy and pride.  The minute it becomes stressful is the minute you can dangerously slip back into former limiting beliefs and habits.

Love retail and retail will love you back!

Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here: