Can you get out of your own way?

JenniferI find a portion of the nation’s brick and mortar powersports retailers struggle with multiple issues that hinder sales and sales growth in their stores.  Below is a checklist of items that may be in your way of such sales growth.

You can’t change the world, but you can change your world.
1. Leadership and drive
• Keep your eye on the prize!
• Make and set goals.
• You have to believe in you, your store and your people.
• You have to give up complaining.
• You have to give up all your excuses!
• Don’t like your outcomes? Change your responses.
• E+R=O  (Event +Response=Outcome)
• You heard there’s going to be a recession and you decided not to participate in it.
• Someone needs to drive change (products/motivation and stores presentation)
• Regular rotation of the store’s merchandising and display.
• Salesmanship: Sales skills are practiced and trained (managers and principals responsibility)
• Promotional ideas with vision and persistence — you stay in your customers’ mind.
• Housekeeping issues (clean carpets/bathrooms/showrooms/burned out light bulbs ….to be done regularly!)
2. Cycle of completion

Anything you do in business has these steps. Use them!
• Decide
• Plan
• Start
• Continue
• Finish
• Complete

3. Professionalism issues
• The maintaining of product and industry knowledge.
• Store employees will tend to dress for sitting on the couch all weekend rather than working in a professional sales environment.
• Poor or no salesmanship: Learn how to have an engaged sales conversation.
• Eye contact/customer acknowledgement.
• Eating or taking a break on the sales floor.
• Personal conversations that customers can hear.
• Texting or IMG.
• Pushing staff from comfort zones (product knowledge/daily responsibility).

4. Worldly outlook
•  It’s not about you! Understand consumers have different taste than you or your staff.
• Knowing that products you did not sell yesterday you may need to sell today.
• Don’t stereotype that consumers are all cheap.
• Understand consumers don’t always have discretionary time, but they do have discretionary money.
• Women are riders too! Yes, even if it’s only twice a year, carry products for them.
• Off-season is a time to regroup, reconnect and prepare for seasonal sales
• Not all your customers are locals.
• Just because a customer asks for it doesn’t mean they would buy it. But when a customer does ask for a product and you don’t have it or sell it, at the very least write it down as a “lost sale” so the store buyer knows it was asked for.
• It’s not uncommon for a product you bought to not sell. Just move it to a new spot (remerchandising) or mark it down. Do something!

5. Showing, telling and selling (retail is in the details)

• Your showroom needs to be a buying environment, not a stock room!
• Trying new products and hyping products and services you offer with enthusiasm.
• Customers like to learn about new things and products (try store mini-seminars)
• Demo product: Have invited product launches (Once a month? Your call)
• Technology and tech products need to be sold and are in demand
• Be competitive — not just with price, but with effort.
• People like to buy from people.
• Give a show. Your customers gave you their time, don’t blow it off!
• Marking down old, stale product: If it has not sold in 6 months, time to mark it down!
• All retailers have to deal with mark downs. You’re not special if you have to as well. It’s part of retailing.

  • Do not get emotional about your products: Unfortunately, selling at a loss at times is part of the reality of retail.
  • • It is more lucrative for you to sell products rather than return products — improves cash flow.
    • Customers love sales, so occasionally have products on sale or sale events. This also stimulates needed cash flow this time of year. January/February are excellent months for sale events. Plan now.The list goes on and on, so take a look at your challenges. What you can do? No store is perfect, nor no people are perfect, myself included. I can always improve and find a way to be the best. Know that you do not have to have a large store or a large budget to succeed. But you do need the right attitude. That’s what divides those who progress and those that may disappear.
    What are your thoughts? What are your top 10 challenges from this list that you’re willing to share?  

How about the next blog topic be a merchandising “Do’s and Don’ts” checklist?
Happy selling!


One comment

  1. Jennifer – Hi. I really liked what you had to say. I’d like to talk to you – I have a software company with all the Biker’s Choice products in it. But also, I’m the biggest small business advocate you’ll ever meet. I am the Northern CA Retails Solutions Provider for Quickbooks as well. I have a bundled package just for dealers (MFR’s too) – great hardware, kiosks and I’d be glad to do a training class or showcase if you’d like.

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