Business consultants work with a variety of companies, including retail, in particular shoe stores. They have accumulated vast practical experience, which they are always happy to share. We asked one of our regular experts and participants in the business program of the Euro Shoes Premiere Collection exhibition, Evgeny Danchev, to share our latest experience, information on statistics of retail sales in the shoe segment, and tell our readers about the secrets of increasing sales. All the examples that are given in this article are based on practice and supported by the positive results of corporate clients.
The first and most important thing that affects sales and the sales funnel conversion is the availability of sales plans.
In the conditions of fierce competition, the retail store simply can’t work on the principle "The seller sells as many pairs of shoes as he is comfortable selling." Managers who have not yet rebuilt the system of motivation for sales personnel become dependent on the “comfort zone” of sales consultants. Consequently, the store’s income will be limited by the internal desire of sellers to sell as many pairs as they want.
Example: in one store of a retail network, the motivation system was salary + interest on sales, in the second store of the network, the motivation system was changed to salary + interest, depending on the fulfillment of the seller’s personal sales plan and the store’s general sales plan. After six months, in the store where the motivation was salary + interest on sales, the turnover for six months decreased by 14% (compared to the same period last year). In a store where sellers' motivation was tied to personal sales plans, sales for six months increased by 7% (compared to the same period last year). Since customer traffic in stores did not increase over the year, but decreased, it is logical to conclude that the usual sales model of sellers in the first store did not contribute to an increase in the sales funnel conversion. Therefore, with a decrease in traffic and maintaining conversion, the turnover decreased. In the second store, the presence of sales plans automatically stimulates conversion growth, since each seller has his own guide in the form of a specific figure in rubles per month, per day. And since the psychology of people is such that they are 2,5 times more afraid of losing something than gaining something, they are forced to work more efficiently so as not to lose in wages due to non-fulfillment of the sales plan. That is why, amid reduced traffic, sellers in the second store were forced to work - to approach each customer, not to divide them into convenient and uncomfortable. They used their hidden resources and at the expense of them offset a smaller number of customers, working more efficiently.
The second thing that affects sales is the amount of goods in one check.
After spending hundreds of hours in the trading floors, watching the work of the sellers of my clients, today I can share with you an important conclusion. The vast majority of sellers, after the customer decides to buy shoes, do not offer him to buy something else (bag, shoe cosmetics, wallets, accessories, etc.). They simply transfer the goods to the cashier and leave to find a new customer.
In fact, it is much easier to sell when the customer has already agreed to the purchase, and not when we meet a new customer, and we need to go through several stages of the sales technique with the person again and, most importantly, gain his trust.
The right strategy is to offer each client who agrees to a purchase to buy something else - another item on the check. In modern business this is called CROSS-SELL technology. Just persuading sellers, this technology is not embedded in the sales system. It is necessary to track the indicator of the quantity of goods in one check, setting the desired coefficient on it. For example, the minimum for the shoe business is the 1,3 coefficient. If it is less, then your company has lost profits. If the statistics of sales in your chain of stores shows that the quantity of goods in one check is already more than 1,3, you can gradually increase this indicator.
And, of course, this ratio needs to be tied to the sellers motivation system: if it is less than the established one according to the results of sales per month, sellers are depressed, if more, then they are rewarded.
The third thing that affects sales is knowing your product. The seller, who is standing next to him in the process of trying on shoes and silently watches him, will never be able to sell as much as the seller, who is constantly telling interesting facts and characteristics of shoes while trying on the client. Successful sellers know how to “sell” to a client a solution to his problems, because a person does not buy shoes, but a way to solve their problems. When buying a drill in the store, we plan to use it to drill a certain number of holes in the walls, screw in them and hang favorite photographs on them. You don’t need a drill by itself. So with shoes: people buy the opportunity to walk comfortably for a long time and not have pain in their legs, or vice versa - women buy shoes with high heels in order to attract attention to themselves, to be more confident, attractive and elegant.
Therefore, the seller must perfectly know the features of the shoes that he sells - both by type of material and by the convenience of the shoe. The key question that managers must answer their sellers and check the knowledge of the answer to it is: “How does our shoes differ from competitors' shoes, and why should it be bought in our company, even if it costs more?”
The fourth factor affecting sales is the availability of sales standards in the company.
The dream of most managers is to find as many good sellers as possible, who themselves, without their control, will give stable sales results. A dream is good, but, as a rule, it remains a dream. In modern business, those companies that build a sales system where the risks of the human factor are minimized come to the forefront. And if we rely on specific unique employees, then two extremely negative consequences are possible:
With the departure of such employees there is a sharp drop in sales.
There are very few levers of influence on such “unique” sellers, and their sales are often subject to recessions due to changes in their emotional state and mood.
In meetings with company executives, I often discuss the topic “How to increase the sales funnel conversion by 14% in 25 days.” The key idea is the opposite. It is necessary to reduce the dependence of the company's sales results on unique sellers through written scripts and instructions. When the company has a document regulating what and how to tell the customer during the sale process, even a novice seller, having read it several times, will be able to show sales results at the level of more experienced colleagues in 14 days.
Example: in one company, after analyzing why the best sellers achieve sales results an order of magnitude higher than that of colleagues, I found out that the key to their success is the ability to work simultaneously with two customers. While some sellers serve couples to a client and silently observe the fitting process, others manage to approach two different customers in turn and at the same time make a presentation of shoes telling about the benefits and values. Some sellers silently wait for the customer to decide whether he will buy or not, the second unobtrusively “incline” to the purchase, work with customer objections.
The question arises: where to get these sales standards or scripts?
Develop independently, based on your successful sales experience, or from the experience of your most successful sellers, whom you will need to actively ask how and due to what they achieve results.
Buy finished products on the market.
The fifth thing that affects sales is what product sellers primarily offer.
I watched the work of sales staff in dozens of companies many times and I can share some conclusions with you. For fear of “falling into” an objection at a price or fear of customer refusal, sellers first offer shoes at a discount or at a discount. Yes, of course, this sales model works, but if the company is faced with the task of increasing sales and the sales funnel conversion, then you need to understand that at least half of the customers who buy shoes are not due to discounts or promotions. Customers want to get the model that they not only like outwardly, but also “sits well” on the leg. But with the second selection criterion, things do not always work out quickly. I think that readers themselves often found themselves in a situation where, having bypassed several stores and tried on a dozen or more models, they did not decide to buy, despite the presence of profitable promotions or discounts of 50% or more. This once again confirms the rule of shoe sales: "First, offer the product without a discount, and only then, if the client doubts, can you offer a product with a reduced price." If you immediately offer a product to a client at a discounted price, then after trying on a model from a new collection that will “sit well”, some customers will protest: “Why should I buy goods at the first price without a discount, I’m better still and I’ll look in other stores ”- and people leave without a purchase. Therefore, it is always easier for customers to switch from a higher price to a lower one, but not vice versa.
The sixth factor affecting sales is your system of managing all the previous steps for sales growth.
Without a systematic approach to sales management, significant progress you will not be able to achieve. What is a system? This is when even minor changes in one element change the whole system as a whole. No matter what the innovative motivation system has been introduced in your company, it still needs to be maintained through key control points, through setting sales plans, developing and improving sales standards. In order to implement sales standards in the company, it is necessary to regularly monitor their compliance (through checklists, “mystery shopper”). Never will sellers themselves change their usual strategies and work according to standards until you create the conditions so that they cannot violate them with impunity. At the initial stage of change, the leader should force people to do what they feel uncomfortable. But after some time, a habit develops, and employees work according to the new rules without resistance, and new strategies become the norm for them.
And the last: the main changes should occur in the work strategies of managers (top managers and line managers), and only then can you demand changes at the level of sales personnel from your sales consultants. And then there will not be a question about how it is possible to increase the sales funnel conversion by 14% in 25 days, but simply set new goals, for example, how to increase sales by 50%.
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