Finding and retaining great Sales Associates is a perpetual problem for store owners. The very nature of the Sales Associate position is typically lower paying and part-time or temporary. Couple this with the high cost of training and it isn’t hard to imagine why it’s so difficult for retailers to keep their stores staffed with high performing employees. According to a survey by Hay Group, “retailers report a median turnover rate of 67 percent for part-time store workers.”
When you find employees with the following ten traits, you’ll know you’ve found your superstar associates. Nurturing their skills and talent will have a positive impact on your sales, as well as employee morale.
THEY ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS – Great Sales Associates (SAs) will be truly eager to learn all about your business and the products you sell. If they ask a lot of questions during their training, taking mental or actual notes, you have a future sales superstar on your hands. It shows they are self-motivated and are apt to adopt your company’ mission as their own.
Effective training and communication will fuel your Sales Associates’ natural ambition to succeed. Clear communication, especially regarding setting tasks and goals will keep your employees informed and engaged in daily activities, as well as overall company goals.
FasTraxPOS allows you create and assign tasks for your associates from your corporate computer and receive notifications when the assigned tasks are completed. You can also use the built-in messaging system to send dashboard messages to all of your stores from your corporate office. This is an especially helpful way to communicate with your Sales Associates via the POS when you don’t offer WIFI in your store.
THEY’RE QUICK LEARNERS – A Sales Associate has a lot of diverse job requirements that can range from stocking shelves, to customer service, to ringing up sales. Having an employee that can easily and quickly learn the skills required for each facet of their job is an asset. Adequate training and an easy to navigate point of sale system help your Sales Associates transition quickly between their different job functions.
FasTraxPOS’s extremely user-friendly touch screen point of sale system walks cashiers through transactions in an obvious way. Nesting multiple items in a single button instead of spreading them out across multiple screens streamlines transactions for your Sales Associates.
THEY KNOW THE PRODUCTS – Good Sales Associates get to know your products extremely well and even use them themselves. Keep an eye out for employees who recommend products to your customers based on their personal experience. If your associates are also your customers, they become brand ambassadors and your customers are more likely to take their recommendations seriously.
A good way to nurture these employees is to offer them discounts on your merchandise. This increases the likelihood that they’ll purchase and recommend your products to customers. According to a report by Time Trade.com on retail choices by consumers, “93 percent of customers are likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate” and “85 percent buy more when helped by a knowledgeable associate.”
THEY VOLUNTARILY PARTICIPATE IN ONLINE TRAINING – Although many retailers are hesitant to pay for online training programs for their staff, statistics show that higher levels of training for Sales Associates translate into increased sales. According to a study entitled Do Online Trainings Work In Retail? Improving Store Execution Through Online Learning, “SAs who took at least one (training) module sold 46 percent more on average compared to SAs who did not engage with a module.” Making online training programs available to your Sales Associates creates knowledgeable employees who in turn make more sales.
One way to maximize the potential of your top Sales Associates is to assign them to your busiest shifts. Looking at the impact of employee shift rescheduling, the same study concludes that, “From the SA’s perspective the OTM (online training module) had a 6 percent impact on her sales (a higher value than before). However, from the retailer’s point of view by rescheduling the SA, the net benefit is 8.6 percent more than the original sales for that SA, before she took the OTM and was rescheduled.”
THEY ARTICULATELY SUGGEST PRODUCTS – Being able to confidently and intelligently suggest products to customers is a skill you want your Sales Associates to possess. While confidence can be an innate quality, you can nurture it by arming your employees with adequate tools and training.
For example, FasTraxPOS features a premium Uplift module that enables you create a sales pitch to entice customers to purchase related products at checkout. Your pitch will appear on the point of sale (POS) system when the UPCs you designate are scanned at checkout. With Uplift, you know that the quality and consistency of the message will be conveyed to your customers every time no matter which employee is articulating it.
Sales Associates are also given the option to select a button on the POS indicating whether they “Won” or “Lost” the sale. Uplift can motivate your employees to increase sales by creating a friendly competition. When SAs can track their sales success in relationship to other employees in your store or across your entire retail chain, they become more motivated to make sales.
THEY UNDERSTAND CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS – Sales Associates have a unique opportunity to develop relationships with customers. Your top SAs will be ones that go out of their way to be friendly, listen to the needs of your customers, and suggest products based on those needs. These customer relationships not only have the power to increase sales, but they also have the potential to give you unique insight into the customer experience with your store.
Create incentives for your Sales Associates who know how to accurately and effectively gauge consumer needs and sell products based on those needs. FasTraxPOS makes it easy to create commission based campaigns that reward your Sales Associates with either a dollar amount or a percentage of each sale they make.
THEY SUGGEST IMPROVEMENTS – It’s important to have an open line of communication with your employees. They are your eyes and ears on the ground floor of your business. They are the ones in regular contact with your customers so it benefits you as retailer to listen to their suggestions. By giving you feedback on the products customers are looking for that you don’t currently carry or suggesting ways to improve the management of your store, good SAs are demonstrating their loyalty and commitment to your company. They can give you valuable insight that you might not get just from looking at sales reports.
THEY POSSESS A POSITIVE ATTITUDE – It’s essential that your Sales Associates have a friendly and positive attitude. They deal with stressful situations daily and they need to maintain a calm demeanor at all times. They have to know how to reassure an unhappy customer, approach customers to ask if they need help, and juggle multiple responsibilities without letting their frustrations show. Running a store-wide competition based on customer feedback is great way to foster positive attitudes in your Sales Associates. Consider using consumer surveys or online reviews to reward employees for great customer service and positive attitudes.
THEY ARE PUNCTUAL – Your top Sales Associates are the ones who are punctual and reliable. Having a point of sale system with a built-in time clock will allow you to keep accurate records of employee hours. Run time clock reports to see who your most punctual SAs are. Reassigning these employees to preferential shifts can reward them for their punctuality, while also ensuring that your busy shifts are covered by employees who understand the value of your company’s time.
THEY SHOW IMPROVEMENT – No matter how great a Sales Associate is when they first start, you should continue to see steady improvement in all areas of their job performance. Sometimes employees start off strong, but fail to show continued growth. Your truly valuable SAs propel themselves forward. You can capitalize on these intrinsically motivated individuals by putting them in charge of more responsibilities, promoting them, or having them lead peer training programs.
More knowledgeable, friendly, and motivated employees improve your customers’ experience with your store and drive sales. Once you know how to spot your most valuable Sales Associates, you can take steps to retain them. Whether it’s through investing in training programs, offering them discounts on merchandise, creating fun store-wide competitions, or assigning preferential shifts, cultivating your best employees is simply good for business.