My son-in-law E is a bona fide retail sales superstar. During the years I have known him, he has earned several promotions. The company he works for regularly moves him to underperforming locations where he inevitably turns the store around in a very brief period of time.
In an environment where many believe location is everything, he proves that effective customer engagement is critical to sales success. From our many conversations I have observed four characteristics that have made him a top performer.
1. Have a Servant's Heart
Perhaps you are familiar with this term. In business, the essential concept is that our primary responsibility is to serve others and from this service we will derive our own success. Retail sales is a classic environment in which to prove this out.
In retail, we MUST focus first on serving our customers before we can sell them. E gets this right down to his core. He always focuses on helping customers, sometimes through simple courtesy and other times by going above and beyond what would be expected. In all cases, he makes clear to everyone he meets that he is genuinely concerned for their well-being and committed to their satisfaction.
In an increasingly competitive environment, E knows that the customer experience is much more than WHAT they buy and how IT performs, it is everything about HOW we engage with them. Because of his demonstrable commitment to serve, many of his customers are happy to follow him to any store he leads
2. Be a Passionate Expert
This isn't simply about technical knowledge about our products and services or understanding our competition. E loves his products, his company and everything about the ecosystem in which he works. Which means he is always learning about solutions that extend beyond what his company provides.
His passion for what he does makes his continuing education a pleasure and his growing knowledge makes him an invaluable expert to his customers. As a result of his competence, E is able to establish a level of trust with his customers that few people in any sales arena, let alone retail, are able to enjoy. His passion for growing and learning make him a valuable resource at work.
3. Pay Attention to the Small Things
So often in sales we get caught up in working to win the big orders. Maybe it's the three-piece suit, the engine overhaul or the wireless tablet device, but we focus on the big sale and forget all the little things.
In reality, the cuff links, the new hoses for the engine, or the car charger may deliver tremendous utility to the customer and terrific margins for the business. I often think about my own retail buying experiences and am amazed by how differently I am treated when I am looking to make a big-ticket purchase as opposed to buying a small accessory.
We can't forget the little things and E totally gets this. By paying attention to small accessories, and the customers who need them, E has pushed stores from red to black and demonstrated the kind of genuine concern for customers that makes them feel truly appreciated.
4. Get the Entire Team Doing the Same
Each of the three keys listed above has helped E become a sales superstar. Unfortunately, creating a successful store or business requires more than one superstar. Everyone on the team must develop a servant's heart and demonstrate a genuine concern for each other and their customers.
Teams must develop collective expertise and enjoy growing and learning together. They must share an attention to detail so that every customer receives the same experience and every opportunity to provide additional value is realized. When an entire team operates under these same principles, everyone achieves greater success.
Not only does E realize this, he is acutely aware that as a leader, all eyes are on him. He understands the need to lead by example so that everyone is crystal clear about how they are to treat one another and their customers. And it's clear because he is modeling the behavior for them in every interaction. Ultimately, he is a great example for his coworkers.
Bob Sanders has more than 25 years experience in sales, sales management, and marketing. Bob has served as President and CEO of AXIOM Sales Force Development from 2006 to 2018. His passion about sales behavior and coaching helps develop people into their best selves. Since Bob joined AXIOM as a partner in the fall of 1993, he's helped dozens of companies around the world generate hundreds of millions in additional revenue. Bob holds a degree in Marketing from Miami University. He has been a keynote speaker at numerous corporate events and industry conferences. He is a founding underwriter and frequent contributor to the Sales Management Association. He co-authored AXIOM's “Selling Sciences Program™” workbook and audio program, and is a contributor on "A Journey to Sales Transformation". When Bob is not advocating on behalf of buyers and sellers worldwide, he is an avid cyclist, father, and husband.