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Best of the Retail

Doctors Holiday Sales Blogs
By Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor
Your Employees
10 Retail Training Tips For The Holidays
15 Things You Must Teach Seasonal Employees
Too Many Choices Equals Just Looking
How To Give Feedback To An Employee
5 Tips To Convert More Sales

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Your Customers
7 Retail Customer Trends To Be Aware Of For The Holidays
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5 Incredibly Easy Things You Can Do To Bring The Holiday Spirit To Your Customers Page 8

7 Tips For Retailers To Avoid Holiday Burn Out
5 Keys How To Manage The Beast Within Your Own Mind
4 Tips: How Retailers Can Succeed This Holiday Season
Make The First Sale Of The Day

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Your Store
Retail Holiday Sales Tip: Why You Must Stop The Inter-Store Transfers
The Scheduling Secret To Building Your Retail Sales
How To Help Men Shop Like A Hero
How Retailers Can Make Money After Christmas

How To Close A Sale If They Put Up Objections (Video here)

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Your Employees

10 Retail Training Tips For the Holidays

The holidays are here and Im convinced some of you are going to have banner sales. Why? Because you have set
aside the belly-aching and TV for action.
You dont have much time so here are my retail training tips:
1)Have a plan. If you havent had a formal training program, create one even if it is on a
legal pad. Make it logical with the most basic at the start and the most advanced at the
2)Continue the audition. Just because an employee passed the interview only gives them
entree to the game, they still have a lot to show you.
3)Train black and white. We dont need to know all the exceptions that happened
however many years ago, in the rain, with a customer who did something so outrageous
everything you just taught them would have to be thrown out the door. Think of a four
year old reaching up to touch the stove when it is on. You dont inform them that if the
dials are set to off and there is no heat it is OK. You say, Dont ever do this. Period.
4)Reward initiative. Once youve trained someone to say stock a section and they go out of their way to do it better
-doing something you didnt think ofbut was smartgive them a Starbucks or independent coffee house gift card for
a free drink. Carry extra gift cards with you and reward on the spot for showing initiative. Trainers frequently focus
on what was wrong rather than the glimmers of hope. Yes, you could give cash but people dont remember cash like
they do a product or service.
5)Focus on the merchandise, not the register. I am finding management stretched so thin in most retail stores that
the DMs or managers are behind the counter ringing sales. That doesnt make you money. They should be working
with staff or customers to grow sales. If you need to hire moredo it now.
6)Have a designated trainer. Training is not easy. You need either someone who truly enjoys it and wont deviate
or someone who understands how vital it is to making their job easier at the holiday. Under no circumstances do you
spring it on someone to train that day.
7)Remove the trainer and trainee from the schedule. So many times I see trainers called away to deal with
something leaving their trainee looking dejected and adrift. If your staff cant be able to make decisions for an hour
or so they need to be trained how to think. Or how to find a new job.
8) Ask them questions throughout a session to see how well they can comprehend.
9) Train in bursts. No trainer or trainee wants to train for 3, 4 or more hours. Keep each lesson very pointed,
related and short with plenty of time for them to role-play or accomplish the tasks.
10)Be quick to correct and slow to promote. Just because Janey quit and you need someone right now, dont
throw the new hire to the wolves with minimum training or expect them to shadowanother employee to figure it
out. You, your customers and your business deserve better.
The phrase Happy Holidays has to be more than something on a greeting card. You have to train employees that is
the spirit you want to create in your store. Once they are trained, ask them how they can help make the store a fun
place to shop.
For more ideas, order my book The Retail Doctors Guide to Growing Your Business.

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15 Things You Must Teach Seasonal Employees

Your full training is most likely more thorough and involved than for your holiday
seasonal employees. But dont throw up your hands and make the mistake of
teaching them only the register!
To move sales they need to understandquite simplythat they must concentrate on
the customer.
1. When you see a customer, stop what you are doing, look up so you can
meet their eyes and then approach them in a non-threatening way with a greeting
like, Good morningor Good afternoon.
2. If a customer is at the register waiting, take the initiative to see if you can
ring them up.

Listen to the customer to find out why, on this day, they came in to your store. Your time will go by more
quickly, when you see every interaction as different.


Say we not them or they. Otherwise you sound like an outsider. You are a part of our success. We will not
survive in business without you.


Be on time. There will be traffic. There will be parking off-site and having to wait for a shuttle. Theres still
no excuse for being late for a shift.


Turn your phone to vibrate and put it away while on the floor. Were not paying you to look in the palm of
your hand, so use your phone on your time.


Customers can be rude, angry and unreasonable. Dont share your stories of how awful they were with
other employeesand especially not to our customers. The pace of the holidays will be crazy busy; keep
your own attitude above the fray.


We all have stress, family and personal concerns. We will all get along much better if there is no additional
drama brought onto the sales floor. When you walk in the door, leave your problems at the door.


Patrol the floor. If you see it, step over it or kick it pick it up and dispose of it. That goes for anything
from a ripped price tag to a used diaper- yes, we get those now and then.

10. Its great to have friends, but please dont have them visit you while you are working; youre working.
11. Since we spend a lot of time on scheduling, a manager has to approve any switchingof days, times or
12. We take theft seriously and will investigate and prosecute accordingly. We also conduct random checks of
the trash.
13. Just because you may not be able to afford some of our more expensive items, doesnt mean our customers
cant. Your goal is to help us sell that merchandise and make our customers holiday gifting fun.
14. You are an important part of our business. Youre here to make some extra cash for the holidays. Were
here to make our customers holidays joyful. We cant do it without you. Its never a sin to wear a grin.
15. Remember to keep a sense of humor. If you dont know the answer to a question posed by a customer, tell
them you dont know and that youll find someone who does.

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In Retail Sales Too Many Choices Equals Just Looking

I was intrigued by an article in the Los Angeles Times entitled, Too Many
Choices Can Tax the Brain Research Shows. It said in part, Americans have
come to expect a wide array of choices, and most companies, be they car
companies, clothiers or coffee shops, have been more than willing to pony
But more choices do not always equate to happier consumers. In fact, some
studies show that having to make too many decisions can leave people tired,
mentally drained and more dissatisfied with their purchases.
This was detailed in Matt Haigs 2003 book Brand Failures. He noted that
Procter&Gambles brand strategy in the 1980s seemed to be: why launch
one product, when 50 will do? However, increased choice equaled increased
As a result, Crest lost market soon as there were 50 Crest toothpastes, its market share dipped to 25 per
cent and fell behind Colgate. When they had one product they captured above 50% of the market.
I would add because it was easy for the customer.
The LAT story said as much in their helpful tips, Sometimes its good to rely on habit-put the blinders on and
get the same toothpaste you always get, says Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College.
How too much choice impacts your retail business
What is so deadly about this for retailers is that we think giving our customers more choice is better. But if the
customer cant quickly get why one product is better than the other, they become overwhelmed and put blinders on.
Thats because its easier to settle.
If there is no one there to help whittle down their choices or find out what they are trying to do and then matching
product to their use, you lose the sale.
And the higher the ticket, the higher your stakes.
Thats why you need salespeople, not clerks.
The evidence is overwhelming that customers are over-choiced, from the menus in restaurants, to the products on
the sales floor. We just dont want to make the wrong choice. Salespeople, true salespeople can make the difference.
What to do to drive conversions
Do the hard part of hiring people who can sell, who can funnel down hundreds of choices of paint, of carpet, of
furniture, of black dresses, of whatever, into what customers can easily decide on.
Salespeople are out there looking for work, whittle down your resumes to those who have proven they can sell the
Your competitors are putting blinders on and hiring whoever will fog the mirror, work the hours and be grateful
for a job.
To get your store moving, take the time now to whittle down your choices of who you allow on your sales floor,
train them how to sell and youll be able to help customers choose, not settleor worse, walk out the door emptyhanded.

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How To Give Feedback To An Employee:

Here are the six steps to giving positive feedback:
1. Remember this is a person in front of you, not a thing or an action so reprimand away from others.

Connect as a person by acknowledging something theyve done right.


Share what they did wrong.


Ask them if they noticed and ask what they think they could have done differently.


Restate what they said theyll do the next time.


Find something else they are doing well.

You dont have to do this for every trained action that is not 100%, but if it happens on key training or a couple
times, you should say something.
Here are four of the worst ways to give feedback: Dont use:

SarcasmWay to go with the sale there Henry. Yes, if you know them well it can be delivered as a joke
but it may just do more damage than good.


DisapprovalA sneer. A shaking of the head. A roll of the eyes.


SilenceThis happens when the employee clearly knows you saw what happened and when they try to give
you an excuse, you just walk away without saying anything.


Yelling- The worst, like a storm, your anger touches everyone and everything leaving damage and fear in
its wake.

Sounds a bit like marriage counseling. And in many ways it is. Relationships with employees in this age can be
fragile at best. I know of no one bragging about their own job security.
If we are truly trying to create a culture of exceptional experiences for customers, it only can happen when we give
exceptional thought to how we give feedback.

Five Tips To Convert More Sales

I was in Hudson, New York with friends Saturday night for dinner when I spotted a new shop, C.M. Cherry. From
the windows you could see this was a unique operationit was primarily lit by candlelight. It made me curious as to
what was inside.

That illustrates the first tip, display your store so well that your window draws us in.
The average customer only goes into three stores on an average shopping visit so make sure they will include yours
as one of those three.
I entered the store and was greeted and encouraged to explore our shop. This set the tone for my visit;
graciousness, hospitality and a pride of ownership.

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What made this store so very unusual is that they feature antique glass candlesticks lit with modern oil filled glass
tapers. The effect is magical.
Have you ever seen anything like this before? Amanda asked. No, I havent, I replied. She went on to explain
how the owner Claude, who was also in the shop at 6pm on a Saturday night had created a very special store
including glass candle holders from Baccarat to Tiffanys and various time periods and price points. The glass
tapers are included in the price of all of the candlesticks or you can buy a set for $39 in five different sizes.

Second tip, always present information you think a customer would be curious about.
She had pre-sold me I could also purchase the glass tapers separately as an add-on.
Claude came over and picked up the new glass ornaments he had commissioned for this holiday and showed my
friend Karen. He concluded, And weve pre-wrapped them so you can take them with you now. Karen purchased
two which shows the power of tip three, make impulse items look special.
As I was considering a pair of glass candlesticks in the display unit Amanda provided more detail when I noted the
price tag. Which leads me to tip four, dont fold your tent.
So many times when customers are shopping more expensive items, clerks say nothing to justify the
price. Because of that, the customer often is allowed to believe it may not be worth the price. So they remain
lookers instead of being converted to buyers.

Tip five is simply ask for the sale. No need to hem and haw or have that awkward pause. Simply ask
something like, May I put this on the counter while you continue to shop? or Would this be wrapped as a gift or
for yourself?
There are a hundred things you could sayjust say them. Remember: Those that dont ask dont get.

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Your Customers

7 Retail Customer Trends To Beware Of For The Holidays

Fueled by technology and instant communication, the world is rapidly changing, and your customer is hopping on
for the ride.
Although many larger retailers are taking advantages of technology to reach a growing
geographic market, when it comes to working in a brick and mortar store, the connected
customer can be a more difficult customer.
Here are 7 retail trends that could derail your holiday sales expectations if you dont
proactively train how to deal with them.
Shorter Attention Spans
People are hyper scheduled, have less time and are used to instant results. If you cant
make a viable attempt at building trust in a few minutes, youve probably already lost.
Current retail trends indicate that consumers are more likely to make purchases online to
find the perfect product via Amazon, rather than wading through pages of Google. Or
retailers who appear to not care.
Easily Distracted
The growing generation consumers-those in their late 20s to early 30s-are much more distracted than Baby
Boomers. Thats because they are used to multitasking, checking their work email while on-the-go, and keeping up
lengthy conversations via texting. Sales people and stores must work overtime during a sale to keep the customer
A Culture of Returns
Small companies may have a hard time keeping up with retail trends when it comes to returns. Online shopping and
big box stores offer lenient return policies that reduce the customers responsibility when making a purchase. Instead
of deciding on the item first, retail trends indicated that many customers feel like they can give it a free trial,
returning the item if they are not satisfied. Some luxury apparel retailers send two sizes automatically to customers
because their fits can vary so much.
Free Shipping
Big box stores offer free in-store pickup on online orders and the growing Amazon Prime customer base is used to
free shipping perks on many of their orders. According to current retail trends, almost every online business offers a
free shipping discount on orders over a certain amount, and customers are primed to look for that offer. Without free
shipping, you may lose customers to the competition.
Bullies are Rewarded
You never pay full price, has become popular advice in many online blogs and articles. Tips on haggling, finding
deals and arguing for free shipping or delivery have resulted in retail trends that are unfortunate for store employees.
In many cases, customers are so bent on getting a great deal, they throw basic courtesy out the window and treat
sales staff poorly. Not only does this mentality make it harder to make a sale, but it can also impact morale among
your employees, especially in the upcoming holiday season.
Decreased Browsing Impacts Sales Ability
Todays consumer is well-educated and connected. Before making a large purchase, the consumer has already
researched online and enters a store with a single goal in mind. Even small and medium purchases are usually
backed by a bit of research. The lack of browsing in current retail trends reduces the potential for display-driven
sales and impulse buys can be reduced.
Bargain Hunters
There is almost always someone offering a lower price. Retailers like Best Buy and Toys R Us are trying to keep up
with the low-price retail trends and offering price-matching. Even though a smaller business may offer more service

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than a bigger store, shoppers are often blinded by the dollar signs. It can be
hard to justify a higher price, even if the customer is getting a better value
through your quality or service.
Despite these worrisome retail trends, you can still have a great holiday sales
season. Embracing the new culture and working with these new realities
instead of against it can help a great deal.
For more information about selling to the Millennial generation, snag this
special report.

5 Incredibly Easy Things You Can Do To Bring the Holiday

Spirit To Your Customers
What is the biggest problem facing quick service restaurants (QSR,) hotels and most all retail?
Weve devalued our customers. Weve believed the myths of Analytical that the customer just wants to get the
room key, the widget, the burritoFAST.
And so, the employees treat those customers like receiverssomeone getting what is dispensed.
The trouble with that is that the more you devalue the customer, the more angry, perturbed, pissed, upset, furious,
enraged, wild-eyed, irritated, indignant, incensed and generally exasperated they will be if they have to explain
something, have to rephrase, or have to wait.
And customers at this time of the year have to wait.

Here are 5 ways to bring the holiday spirit to your customers:

1. Empower managers to set a positive intention.
When the manager shows up for their shift they are in charge of setting the mood and tone for the rest of the crew.
Its managements job to set the intention and its up to the crew to help people have a happy holiday. If a manager
arrives at work thinking its going to be a terrible day or shift, nine times out of 10, thats exactly what will happen.
By keeping a positive attitude and a high-level spirit even during the busiest of times, the crew will follow suit.
2. Remind your employees the customers come first.
Many employees fail to realize that its up to them to make the customers holiday happy, not the other way around.
If a customer is having a bad day, looks harried or otherwise stressed, a kind word, friendly smile or other gesture of
kindness will go a long way. Nobody kicks an employee they like.
3. Bring the interaction back to the experience.
Many new technologies have removed some level of employee/customer interaction. Employees should look for any
and every way to communicate and acknowledge customers. The moment the customer comes into your store is the
moment they have a chance to have a better holiday.
4. Let employees take 5to process negative encounters.
If an employee has someone yell at them or some other altercation, let them take five minutes to compose

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themselves after the encounter occurs. Your employees need time to process and shake off the rattling interaction so
they can leave the situation behind them. Managers tend to leave employees on the line instead of letting them
process the encounter. If you dont let them process what has just happened, they take it out on the rest of the crew
or the next person in line.
5. Recognize a job well done.
Employee recognition awards during the holiday season are one way managers can keep the crew in a positive frame
of mind. Giving a gift card at an unexpected time to an employee (rather than the entire crew for hitting a goal) goes
a long way. You might give one for one employee having managed a big rush, went out of their way for a customer
or had a great spirit while doing a dull job. It also helps to keep employees in the holiday spirit.
You might also want to read 50 Things Retail Employees Should Never Do During the Holidays

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7 Tips For Retailers To Avoid Holiday Burn Out

With all the demands of retail including longer hours, employees calling in sick and returns, it is easy to throw up
your hands and become the Grinch. You cant let that comfortable oldgrinchy feeling in or it will cost you sales.
So how to avoid it?
First, embrace the idea of the holiday music. Instead of fighting it, look at it as a
reminder these are the money weeks. Remember holiday music makes shoppers feel
merry. And happy shoppers buy more than unhappy ones.
Second, make a schedule policy and stick to it. No one gets Christmas Eve off or the
day after Christmas. No one. Not your daughter, your son, your mother-in-law or youno
one. The speed of the leader is the speed of the group. If it is slow, you can always be
generous and let them go early. But you dont want to be swamped from noon-5 when the
dads shop and have no one to help these guys.
Third, offer shorter holiday shifts for your employees. This is your business but it isnt
theres. They can become Grinches much quicker than you. So do them a favor and give
them a six-hour shift if you can or a split shift, they may have to open four hours and close for four hours but they
can get off during the middle of the day for errands or shopping. Giving them choices ahead of time allows for much
happier employees.
Fourth, set a daily goal for your store. I dont care how much, but set it in two parts. You could also set a goal that
by close of business Christmas Eve youll have done X for the month and by close of business December 31, youll
have done Y. Track your progress daily. Give the employees something for achieving both. And that reward
includes yourself.
Fifth, have short meetings with your staff. Set a goal for their shift of some of your most profitable products, and
show them how they can upsell.
Sixth, develop your sixth sense. Always have your head up and looking around your store to see who has been
waiting a long time, who has a question, which cashier is not up to it. Step in as appropriate to keep the store moving
along. People are more stressed than ever with less time and they are going to punish those who make them wait.
Seventh, remember this is the season to be building your list so get every customer to signup for your free
newsletter or a drawing. (I always like to give away a train set with the drawing on Christmas Eve at 3pm.) Include
on the entry slip the customers name, email, phone as well as the name and birth date of the person they are buying
the holiday gift for now. You can use all of this marketing information during the first part of 2011.
Finally remember: the holidays will still come with their promise of good things. Dont turn on the TV and watch
mindless talking heads tell you how awful retail sales were, are, or could be in some place in the US. The only thing
to tell yourself is how determined you are to be remarkable in the minds of your customers; from the moment they
enter the door to the time the gift is unwrapped.
Your customers want to see someone brilliant on the basics of great retail, not burned out and bitter. You can do
this; just decide to embrace this season and all it entails.

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5 Keys How To Manage the Beast Within Your Own Mind

When the Great Depression hit, my parents both lived in rural Virginia. They knew hard times were out there but
kids were still able to be kids, businesses were still able to do business and life went on, not as it had and not as it
would in the future. It wasnt the Walton but it also wasnt the disaster of the day.
Is it because they didnt know how to monetize news of the Great Depression? Maybe. One things for certain, the
media know how to hype fears during a recessionit is what feeds the beast. And many times is the dog with the
[Montel Interview] It was about a year ago Heath Ledger died tragically. Montel Williams was a guest on FOX
and when they wanted to beat the drum endlessly about Heaths death, Montel tried to get the focus on what he
thought was important. The hosts got upset. The woman host said, Were just trying to feed the beast.
Yeah, along with a hell of a lot of what ifs thrown in for good measure.

5 Keys How To Manage the Beast Within Your Own Mind:

1) Know you have a choice what you listen to and what you dont. If you are reading a story, make yourself
find a glimmer of hopeeven if it is buried 7 paragraphs down. Dont linger on the headlines.
2) Concentrate on one thing you will do to move your business forward before you get out of bed.
3) Dont watch the news before going to bed
4) Just before you fall asleep, recount three good things that happened that day -no matter how small.
5) Get and listen to the greatest motivational recording ever made by Earl Nightengale, The Strangest
Secret. Theres a reason millions have been sold because he shows how we are all about as happy as we
make our minds up to be.
If we are going to be able to do anything with our lives or our businesses this year, we need to manage the space
between our ears and stop feeding the beast.

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4 Tips: How Retailers Can Succeed This Holiday Season

How can you succeed in your holiday sales? Youve got to be thinking ahead.
It isnt about having enough gift wrapthough that is important.
It isnt about making sure everyone knows where and how to change the
register paperthough that too is important.
No, you need to think about who will come back for you next year.
So number one is to build a website so new customers can find you next year.
Dont do this yourself, hire someoneIve given you whats needed in my
book, The Retail Doctors Guide to Growing Your Business(Wiley.)
#2 is to be remarkable. Thats not adequate, thats not OK, that means your
service is so great I would crawl over glass naked to shop with you.
#3 is to build your list. That could be a physical mailing listthough that is expensive. That could be an email list or
even a Facebook Fan page.
#4 is to track your numbers this holiday so you know who is doing the job. That goes for your employees, your
brands and individual products.
Pay attention to these four tips now and youll be positioned to
grow your business both this holiday season and next year.
Watch the entire interview of Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor with
Rod Kurtz, Senior Editor of Inc. magazine expand on these four
points retailers can use right now.

You Must Make The First Sale Of The Day

Have you ever heard the first crack of the bat at a baseball game? One that goes soaring into the outfield far enough
to allow the hitter to get on base?
It is a tremendous amount of energy released. And thats just to get on base, the energy from an out-of-the-park
home run is even more spectacular.
That first hit is crucially important because the team that gets the first hit usually wins the game. That hit is a
confidence builder for the team.
So it is with the first sale in your retail store.
As a retail sales consultant, Im often asked for best practices and one I discovered early in my retail career was that
the best retailers, the best retail owners, the best retail managers were determined to make the first sale of the day.

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They didnt just wait for someone to come up to the counter and say, Ill take it; they dropped everything to make
that sale happen because they knew it would energize themselves and their crew.
The Hindu have a word for it, Bohni. Bohniis based on the belief that the first sale of a day establishes the sellers
luck for subsequent transactions during the remainder of the day.
When you walk in the door to your retail shop, turn on the lights and open for business, are you believing that the
first sale of the day will be yours? And that it will happen in moments, not hours?
Do you make that first sale of the day the first goal on your to-do list? You should; making that first sale pays big.
Look no further than your favorite, winning baseball team..

Success builds success.

Contrast that to many retailers I see as a retail sales consultant, where the first customer of the day is seen as a
distraction from the morning Big Gulp, personal gossip or news of the day.
When you set out to make that first sale of the day, like the batter looking to get that first hit, you set the tone for
what sales will follow that day.

Making the first retail sale of the day sets into motion five things..
It gives your crew confidence that they can do it. It sets the tone for the rest of the crewtheyre expected to sell, not
stand around talking. It shows the customer they are most important, especially if you stopped talking mid-sentence
to greet them. It focuses you down to the person who can most influence your profitabilityyour customer. It sets up
a bit of a competition between employees.
Many retailers go through their day not thinking a lick about setting up a positive mindset. Of directing their own
retail sales. Of setting and achieving goals.
For those retailers, each person, each situation, each sales encounter leaves them aimless and adrift.

Now imagine setting a goal to make that first sale of the day.
How you would feel after you finished that sale?
Youd be on top of the world. Invincible. It would be your Rocky moment.
Doing this is so simple you can do it every day.
Maybe that would mean you have to wait on several people until you make that sale, but the lesson and example to
your crew is better than any caffeinated drink, breaking news or idle gossip.

The other way

Have you ever been in your store when no one was buying? Technically, each one of your employees is where they
should be; one behind the register, one fixing displays, one roaming the floor. You are all hoping sales will get better
but no one is actively taking the initiative to drive a sale.
You dont want to wait until the third inning to decide you have to go out and sell. You have to make that sale
happen right at the start of the day.
That way, when a big sale happens at the end of the day, it just caps off an already great day.
When your retail employees see you actively selling that first customer, it makes it much harder for them to stand
behind your counter and groan, No ones buying.

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Your Store

Retail Holiday Sales Tip: Why You Must Stop the Interstore
Customers are opening their wallets in a big way this holiday so you are bound to be out of certain products, sizes or
colorsespecially if they are on sale. Emphasize to your staff to sell what they have in store.
Some store employees with no sales training feel theyhave to call another store because
to them, that is good customer service. No it isnt.
Customers who ask you to call another store should told the hard truth, it is just too busy
to accurately check an item. Suggest other colors or other products you have plenty of.
Heres why transfers do not make you money..
When an employee calls another store, especially the week of Christmas, it takes them off
the floor and their attention from customers wanting to purchase, to someone whomight
It also pulls an employee at another store off their floor and away from their customers wanting to purchase for
someone who mightcome to their store or require them to ship it.
That employee is harried and probably wont diligently check the racks, the displays and back stocksince that could
be ten minutes or more. (Now if you are Tiffanys and were talking a $100,000 bauble, by all means but most
readers of this blog are working with items for far less.)
There are six things that can happen during a store-to-store transfer: The item arrives too late. The wrong item
arrives. The item arrives damaged. The customer changes their mind. The customer never picks it up. The customer
comes in and pays full price for it.
When it is February, probably not as big a deal but two days before Christmas?
While were at it, no holds or layaways either. If someone wants an item that much, they should be encouraged to
purchase it and they can return it if need be. When they ask if you can hold it just say, Im sorry we cant.
I cant tell you how many holds Ive seen in retailers lately behind counters. Holds cripple your good
salespeoples ability to sell your merch. All because someone wants to benice. Great, let that employee buy it with
their credit card.
This is the money week so if you want to give good customer service, focus on the customers in front of you
wanting to buy. Not those unable to decide.
For more ways to grow your business, check out my book from Wiley thats getting great reviews The Retail
Doctors Guide to Growing Your Business(Wiley.) You can even download the introduction and first chapter at that

Page 14/18 MMXII Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor

The Scheduling Secret To Building Your Retail Sales

Your part-timers are returning to school shortly, the rush is over and you are
probably looking for places to cut costs.
If you build staff o meet sales you could be ramping yourself downlow sales
become a self-fulfilling prophecy because customers will have to wait for
And with consumer confidence still low, if a customer has to wait, they will
walk away.
The wrinkle is they will share your uncaring service, your employees who are hammered by trying to do it all
during a rush, your brand as a fourth place-retail hell. And tweet, post and blog about it..
And how does that begin in the first place? Using a scythe to reduce labor when you need a scalpel.
Heres the secret:

Staff for the rushes so the most people see you at

your best.
If you are a restaurant, that means you need to make sure to have enough servers on at key times they can have the
necessary time to upsell the drinks, the desserts and the appetizers.
If you are a hardware store, you need to make sure to have plenty of people on at key times so they will have the
necessary time to talk to the customer and suggest new tools, services and products so they dont just walk out with
the necessary 25 cent washer for the job.
If you are an apparel retailer, you need enough people on key shopping times so there wont be a line and employees
can be on the sales floor upselling, instead of at the register ringing up.
Sophisticated software scheduling is quite expensive. How to do without it?
If you are a restaurant, take half-hourly readings of transaction counts by day for two weeks, you can see when you
are busiest on which days and schedule accordingly. If you are a coffee house, you already know 90% of coffee
drinkers drink their coffee before 11am but knowing how many you should have on during that time can only be
found by doing this analysis.
If you are a hardware or other retailer, you can also take half-hourly readings of transaction counts but a better gauge
would be total sales per half hour. If you can find better software and can afford it, by all means make the
investment to know, really know the patterns of your customers.
Without this detail, you are bound to guess. With it, you can build your sales to your staff, training if it isnt busy,
taking care of customers when it is.

Page 15/18 MMXII Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor

How To Help Men Buy Like A Hero On Christmas Eve

If youre a retailer, you have to love the week before Christmas Eve.
All the planners have purchased with their lists of must have items that unless you had it- they were out the
The men are now considering going shopping
On Christmas Eve, the malls gradually thin out and you begin to notice more and more men the malls are
practically fueled by testosterone.
Men can be the easiest to wait on this week because we just want to be a hero. Here are a few tips (no matter
what sex of a salesperson you are) to help you sell to men this week.

Understand this about your male customers:

We are not that price driven. We may say we are but remember, youre basically dealing with a boy
discovering your merchandise for the first time.
We often show how much love we have for the person we are buying for by the price tag or size of the gift we
choose; whether thats a toy, jewelry or clothing.

Its almost like we are treating ourselves when we splurge on someone else, so dont try to limit us.

We want to win, be admired from the gift we give.

Above all, men hate shopping, its not a thrill its a chore.
Help us by getting us to laugh or at least smile when we deal with you so we can acknowledge we want your
If it were me Id put a sign over the most expensive bike or other toy that read, Yes, you can buy their love.
If I owned a liquor store I might put up a sign, Alcohol always makes the in-laws nicer.
If it were a lingerie store it might be, Guys: Always guess smaller if you want to be a hero.
Get the idea?

How to treat men:

Dont leave us alone well walk.

Dont follow us around or youll spook us; check-in every few minutes by pointing something out about what
were looking at.

If you wrap, let us know that up front it makes a difference.

Acknowledge your return policies right away make it safe for us to buy.

If we trust you and pick something out ask us, Who else is on your list? We only want to do this chore once.

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Figuratively take us by the hand if weve never been in this type of store before whether its lingerie, cameras
or jewelry. Give us options; dont expect us to know what we want.
If we cant decide between a couple items (and its not Christmas Eve,) suggest we purchase the best item and
return it if we change our mind before giving; that way well at least have something. Remind us that otherwise
well have to return to the chore of the mall again and worse, you might lose out because the item could be
If youre an apparel store, dont make a big deal if we dont know the size of our wife, girlfriend, buddy or
child. Instead ask us to point out someone in the store about their size. Remind us it can all be returned.

What to show men:

Big, bright, or cool.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more likely we are to splurge.

Instead of a gift card, suggest an outfit or item of equal value so the giftee has something to unwrap that looks
like he tried to get something just for them.
What not to do:

Ask for our budget. If you allow us to limit ourselves, youll dumb-down our choices and youll lose out.
Men when shopping have different needs than women. If you use these tips, it wont matter what her size; he
can still be a hero on Christmas.

Page 17/18 MMXII Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor

How Retailers Can Make Money After Christmas

You have one mission after the holidays: to minimize returns to grow sales.
By proactively deciding to grow sales you will have a better mindset and your
crew will keep from feeling overwhelmed.

Here are 7 tips to grow your retail sales after Christmas:

1) Greet at counter; even if someone greeted them as they came in and you
have signs everywhere saying,20% off. When customers arrive at your counter
with their receipt and a return, greet them with something like, Good morning. The whole store is 20% off, would
you like to look around first?
Even if customers tell you they only want another size, still mention your sale. Look at this as an opportunity to get
a second item; not to have your employee give them 20% off a return. You can tell the customer your sale makes
their gift go farther.
2) Tag. Make sure every return is immediately tagged. You dont want to lose sales because someone threw it into a
big pile to get to at the end of the day. Price it and get it back on the sales floor with the rest of the items quickly.
3) Knowledge. Make sure everyone knows how to do all types of returns, sale items, closeouts, layaways, checks ,
etc. -employees and customers dont want to wait for a manager. Patience is gone this time of year for everyone.
4) Bend. Dont get into it with someone doing a return against your policy. It isnt worth the aggravationgive them
a refund if there is any way possible. Remember our goal is to BUILD sales, not antagonize customers. Battling over
a $20 sale item ruins your day more than the customersmove on and build sales.
5) Greet at door. Greet people returning with your bags and merchandise to interrupt them before they get to the
counter wanting their money back. Let them know what is on sale with, Good morning. The whole store is 20%
off. Your goal is for them to, Look around. Even if they tell you thats what they want, you can counter with,
We can certainly do that for you as well, we just dont want you to have to stand in line twice.
6) Hustle. You want to touch as many people as possible. Now is not the time to let someone lazily size a rack or
lazily hang merch. or lazily do a return. Now is the time to actively get onto the floor and minimize those returns. If
employees are too slow, customers will give up, get angry and just say, give me my money.
7) Grab em. Get them on your mailing list so they can signup for special deals throughout the year. If you have to,
post a sign at your register like this one for one companys Buzz Club e-marketing list.
Encouraging people to buy more is easy when you are already offering discounts whether on clearance or storewide. Getting their information now will come in handy in 2011.
Thanks for taking the time to read these popular posts to grow your business. Remember I speak to large and small
groups about retail sales skills, marketing, merchandising and motivation, visit my speaker page here speaker page
here. I also have a number of products in my online store online store you can order to help you grow your sales.
And beginning next month, Ill have an entire virtual online sales training program like nothing youve ever seen
before. Sign up here Sign up here to get first notice with no obligation.
Good selling!

PS Make sure you connect with me and my 4000+ fans on Facebook here..

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