Let's meet the 2020 sales plan!
Great challenge and I must say boldly also a good headline for a newsletter :)
Probably everyone doing or managing a business works with plans. We plan how much we want to sell, how we want to expand or enlarge our product range. That is correct, for there is something in each of us that drives us forward. But there isn’t a plan like a plan!
When in my previous newsletter I wrote that our plan was to increase sales in our stores by more than 25%, it was not just my wish that I delegated to my colleagues. Behind our plan is a strategy on how to achieve it. Here I want to pause and elaborate more.
Over the years I have been in the lead of NEBBIA, I have met a large number of owners of shops and e-shops, or bosses of distribution companies. What almost everyone had in common was their enthusiasm and ambitious thinking. Usually everyone knew what to do in marketing, how to work with socials or influencers. However, another thing most of them shared was the underestimation of the importance of strategic work with staff in stores. I will be overly critical only in order to demonstrate what I want to explain and not to draw any attention to my abilities.
How do many shop owners work with their staff?
We care about the first impression when choosing a shop assistant, some try to make their staff beautiful young girls who know how to smile nicely. After all, this is the basics, you say. If you look good and have a charismatic smile, selling products will then be just an easy thing. You then throw that shop assistant into the water and tell her to sell. Sorry, I have forgotten. The assistant gets a training on how to work with the cashier, when to tidy up the shop and some advice on how to behave. When she manages to make good sales, she receives praise, perhaps a small financial reward. When your sales are slow, you express your disappointment. Do I find this correct? Definitely not!
So how do we do it?
Our shop assistants receive a fairly comprehensive manual that describes what to do from the moment a potential customer enters the store. How to say hello, how to start a conversation, how to identify a customer's mood and how to communicate differently according to a customer. The manual clearly tells them how to present the goods, how to handle objections, or how to motivate the customer to try on the products. Our shop assistants know they should be with the customer when they are trying on our products. They are able to assess the fit of a model for a particular customer and know what to do to ensure that the customer does not stay with just one piece. They have instructions on how to talk to the customer, how to keep the conversation going, and how to ask questions so they don't attack the customer too hard. They also know when to ease or push. They are aware of how important a customer is to us; they know our philosophy and behave the way that makes shopping at NEBBIA stores an experience for customers.
Our work with store staff does not just end up with the handing over of the manual, it only begins for us. Shop assistants are constantly confronted with the manual and our country manager makes sure that our instructions are not just on paper.
We are also demanding in terms of KPI evaluation. Every store evaluates conversion and average purchase value each day. In the previous article I wrote that we increased the average purchase value in 2019 from €58 to €78. Today, when I write this article (February 1), we have already closed January and reached an average purchase value of €77.84 and a purchase conversion of 45%. These numbers are also seen daily by our shop staff. They know the plan, how to achieve it and if we see that we are not fulfilling the plan during a month, we try to find out why it is the case and then solve the problem very quickly. We do not rely on a shop assistant to know what to do! She does not know it and ultimately it is not her role either. If, from the position of the boss, I think that the assistant knows what to do, I am really wrong, and my plan is just my wish. A good store manager can tell the staff which model to offer to a customer first and tell them why. He/she can set up a strategy for "fitting room" sales and the sale of complementary merchandise. He/she understands why a particular model is displayed on mannequins, or how goods should be distributed and staged inside a store.
At our stores, our staff is not allowed to use clichés such as: "Hello, can I help you, can I show you something?" This is not the beginning of a conversation! Such shop assistant sells only to a customer who actually came to buy something. Most people do not buy at the moment they need things. Fitness clothing is not milk. When milk in the refrigerator runs out, I know I have to buy more. We do not buy milk impulsively; we do not just feel like having it when we are in town and run to buy it. Fitness clothing is a commodity that is above standard and belongs to the category "I want", not "I need". Many customers who come to us stop by only because the shop is on their way to someplace else, or they come because something at our store spoke to them. Then there are those who want to make themselves happy or motivated by buying our products. A good shop assistant can find all that out! An inexperienced one stands behind the counter and watches the customer browse the shop with her eyes, and if the customer holds a product in his/her hand, she goes after them. This is no longer a selling tactic today and only ensures that the ambitious plans remain on paper. If you have shop assistants who work this way, it is not their fault. As difficult as it is to hear this, I must say the wrong is on the management.
The good news is that it is not a disaster. JIf you have functioned this way up to now and have not taken into consideration your potential customer, it is basically good news. When you engage in consumer psychology and analytics, you can easily increase your sales and your ambitious plans will be met.
Our goal is to make our B2B partners content and to increase your sales year-on-year. Our business model is not set for us to be “a stock clerk” and our sales representatives mindlessly push our products to you while we do not care what happens next. We do care a great deal that you sell the products we deliver to you. The faster the better. At NEBBIA, we do not only educate shop staff, but aim for our sales reps to handle the sales strategy and to be able to pass how to be more successful to you.
Should there be anything that has caught your interest and would like to know more, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I will be happy to assist you with advice, whenever I can.
Finally, I would like to let you know it is not our goal to put ourselves in a position that we know everything. We too keep finding out how many things we had not taken into account, what we have not been doing and that we still have room for improvement. However, we continuously strive for inspiration!