Finding great people has never been as big of an issue as it is today. The day of operating a jewelry store with clerks is long gone. It is the day of the jewelry sales professional. Putting people in the right positions has always been a very difficult part of owning and managing a jewelry store. Keeping great people is even more difficult. It seems as though the great people are always on their way to bigger and better things and/or just passing through.
While this may be true in many cases, I still believe that there are plenty of great people available. The jewelry store owner of today has to hire the right people, train them, and then create an environment where they will want to stay and build a career.
How can a sales manager or jewelry store owner maintain great people on their staff?
The number one thing that people want out of their jobs or careers is the ability to be and/or feel successful. Therefore, it is up to the owner and manager of the store to create an environment of personal growth and development. I believe if you surround yourself with great people, those that want to get better as professionals and human beings, then you can’t help but be successful. When hiring people I would take them through a pre-determined set of interview questions, test them for their sales, math and reading skills, administer a personality profile selection tool and only hire people that fall within certain parameters. Once you have the right people in the right positions then you can work to grow them into superstars that will be loyal and productive and thus successful and want to stay with you.
Great companies are those that create a winning culture where people want to stay. In order to create a winning culture the company must have:
1) A vision statement that everyone in the company believes in and works to achieve.
2) The company and the people within the company have to be committed to constant learning. Through training, seminars, book reports, reading the trade journals, doing research on the internet, etc., learning must be a primary focal point of all concerned.
3) Immediately eliminate the “brotherhood of the miserable.” In other words get rid of the people that will not live up to your expectations and that become a cancer within an organization. These people are terrorists within an organization and will completely destroy a company.
4) Make sure that your people are the right fit. People that share the same values as the company are the people that you want to stay. If they don’t share your values and aren’t performing, they have to go. If you can’t change the people, then change the people!
5) Communicate. In a winning culture there is constant communication. Morning huddles with the staff, weekly one-on-ones with each staff member and weekly staff meetings are all great ways to communicate. In your communication you should constantly talk about the vision, goals, productivity, strengths, weaknesses, standards, etc.
6) Engage both your customers and your employees. With customers, ask them for their feedback, their perception of your store and your people. Is it a place where they will want to come back again and again? Engage your employees through your weekly ones-on-ones. Do they have all the tools necessary to do their job and make productivity quotas? Are they getting the positive reinforcement that they want and deserve? Are you listening in on real live presentations a minimum of 3 times per week? How are you going to know what they are saying if you are not listening occasionally?
7) Continuity. Everybody on the same page, working for the same company, with the same values, all working to accomplish the same things. The bulls-eye of the target of continuity is productivity and happy customers. Through happy customers you will have productivity, which leads to profits, which leads to added commissions which leads to a happy sales staff.
8) Everybody working to get better every day and sharing in what was learned and how it will help to achieve productivity numbers, added commissions and more and more happy customers.
9) Celebrate. Celebrate every win that a team member has and that the total team has accomplished. Bring in lunch, take them out to dinner, high fives, pats on the back, let people know how much they are appreciated.
In addition to creating a winning culture a company must consistently apply good, solid, basic business principles. Those are:
1) Give people all the training that they need to be successful. There are four areas where sales people need training: sales & communication techniques, product knowledge, customer service and company operations.
2) Hold them accountable for their performance. Statistics are the only true measure of performance. If you want to improve something you have to track it. People will improve what you inspect, not necessarily what you expect. Pay them accordingly based on productivity.
3) Give them goals and objectives that they need to achieve. Goals have to be attainable, based on factual information (statistics), written and posted and continually discussed.
4) Implement non-negotiable sales, customer service and operations standards. Sales standards are those things that will have a direct effect on sales and profits. Customer service standards are those things that will have a direct effect on first and last impressions. For example, how and when customers are greeted, how the telephone is answered, making sure customers are sincerely thanked and invited back, etc. Operational standards will have a direct effect on how the business is operated. For example, areas of responsibility for maintenance, opening and closing procedures, etc.
People want and need to have fun at their jobs, the culture that you establish within the store will determine their level of success and thus sustain them as part of the workforce. If you have done all the right things to enable your salesperson to be and feel successful and be financially and emotionally rewarded, then they will want to stay and grow within the organization you have created.