The secret to any great relationship is, without a doubt, communication. That is especially true in hiring, training and retaining great salespeople. I believe that every jewelry store’s sales manager should conduct a weekly, sit down, documented One-on-One conversation with each staff member. The One-on-One is a great way to communicate with staff members. In turn every sales manager should have a One-on-One with their supervisor as well. Whether that person is the owner or the district manager, everyone wants and needs open communication with their direct supervisor.
It is amazing to me how little communication takes place in some organizations that I deal with. I was in a store talking to the owner and reviewing each person. One person was singled out as being a top producer, always very punctual, volunteers for extra tasks, producing great sales results and potentially could step up and become a manager at some point. Later that day I am talking to this person that was singled out and asked her “How are you doing here?” She said that she wasn’t real sure and that somebody that got hired after her was laid off recently and she was afraid she might be next. I asked her when was the last time she had a One-on-One conversation with the owner. She replied that it was probably during her final interview; that is simply not OK in my mind.
During the One-on-One conversation, you will want to talk about productivity, how they are doing toward their goals and objectives, compliance with the non-negotiable standards, any issues that need to be addressed in a private sit-down, formal setting. During this time you can talk about specific training issues that the individual needs to work on. I would also use this time to stimulate any concerns or issues that the staff member has as well. Don’t let the mole hills become mountains by failing to address them.
Prior to conducting the One-on-One it is essential that you listen in on two or three presentations so that you have true, objective information to discuss, no matter if it is positive or negative. An effective manager will never talk opinions with a staff member - only facts based on the statistics and observation. It could simply be a matter of sitting down for a few minutes and telling people how much you appreciate them and their efforts and that they are hitting their goals and all is good. It could be that some people have specific things that they need to work on. You will never get people to change things that they don’t realize is an issue or a problem.
These One-on-Ones also need to be documented. Then you will have a record of the positive reinforcement that you have given and the specific issues that need to be corrected. Should the time come that you have to release someone for some issue, you will also have documentation that the issue has been communicated, change has been expected and the change hasn’t happened. Furthermore, should anything ever happen to the manager and they leave, get promoted, etc., then there is a record for the next manager to come in and start where the old manager left off.
If I owned a store and was having a One-on-One discussion with my manager, the documentation from the One-on-Ones that he/she is having with the staff members would be the first order of business. Should the manager not be doing the One-on-Ones, then it is time for the owner to have a serious discussion with the manager. A manager’s number one job is to provide the leadership, knowledge, training, incentives and consequences in order to recruit, hire, develop and maintain a successful staff. The One-on-Ones are essential in this effort.