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

March 5, 2019

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: https://valeriedelforge.com/