Four tips for leading lasting change that leads to higher sales

July 21, 2014 | by Doug Fleener

One of the programs I run in my consulting practice helps retailers to substantially improve their average sale. Most participants discover a number of sales growth opportunities once they match up what their staff does with how their customers shop and make purchases.

The real challenge lies in getting the staff to take the actions necessary to maximize those sales opportunities. The store staff has been doing things a certain way for a long time, and simply telling them they need to do something different doesn’t work.

The key to change, and it's not always so simple, is to create new positive habits. As a matter of fact, most retailers and services businesses will try but fail to make the necessary changes, and it's only a matter of time before the staff goes back to doing what they've always done.

Here are four tips for driving those lasting changes that result in higher performance.

  • Focus on what to do versus not what to do.Sounds like mere semantics, but the difference in how receptive employees are to changing is huge.
  • Stop telling.Start teaching, leading, and coaching your team to new behaviors and actions. Frontline leadership is the bridge between old and new positive habits.
  • Coach three times more. Training seems to be the default answer for everything. I don't agree. Yes, we need to train on what to do (which I call teaching) but performance only improves with coaching and feedback. I recommend a minimum coaching ratio of 3-1. Meaning that for every hour of training the staff receives there is a minimum of three hours of coaching. Yes, that's a lot of coaching. Yes, that's how you create positive change.
  • Stick with it. It takes between twenty-one and twenty-eight days to create new positive habits. Anything short of three-weeks, and odds are high that the staff will slide back into their old ways.

So let me ask, what is your greatest sales growth opportunity? Which of these tips will you incorporate into creating new positive habits?

(Photo by Jukka Zitting.)

Topics: Consumer Behavior, Customer Service, Employee Training

Doug Fleener
Doug Fleener, the former director of retail for Bose Corporation, is president and managing partner of Dynamic Experiences Group LLC, a proven retail and customer experience firm that works with progressive retailers and other customer-focused companies. wwwView Doug Fleener's profile on LinkedIn

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