Here are the realities: credit card fees have more than doubled over the past four years; 41% increase in minimum wage from 1997; utility costs up 8.1% from a year ago; healthcare costs are through the ceiling; increased competition from big box retailers, drug chains and dollar stores; declining store count for the first time since 2003; demand that’s barely keeping pace with the rate of inflation, and the worst economic environment since the great depression of the 1930’s. Can you really afford to pay your employees to show up for work every day and not make money for your store? Standing behind the transaction counter ringing the cash registers and taking the customers money is not making money for your store. Taking a customer’s order and completing a transaction is not selling. If there was ever a time to turn your employees into a profit center this is it! How else are you going to survive?
Raise your expectations:
Ask any c-store operator what their expectations are for their store employees and you’ll hear things like: dependable, don’t steal, and show up for work in the proper uniform. Never do you hear generate sales for the store. If you want your store employees to generate sales then make it a job performance expectation and a condition of employment. Store employees pay attention to what the boss is paying attention to. Why? Because they want to please the boss, get a pay raise, get promoted and get some consideration for that unexpected day off that they must have. Expectations drive outcomes.
Select job candidates that can sell:
If you have a tendency to hire introverts, good luck getting them to open their mouths and engage your customers in a conversation let alone pointing out a store special and suggesting an additional sale. Many store employees are great at their jobs in terms of cash control, cleaning and stocking. Just don’t ask them to suggestive sell. Hiring job candidates who are outgoing with strong interpersonal skills and a desire to help others will increase your store sales quicker than you can say would you like fries with that order?
Many store employees cringe when you mention suggestive selling. So don’t use the phrase suggestive selling. Instead train your employees to help their customers. Helping customers save money and time during these tough economic times by pointing out store specials or recommending a related add-on sale is a good thing that your employees will feel good about. Not everyone likes to sell, but we all like having the opportunity to help people when we can.
If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it. Include generating sales on your job description and make it an item to review when conducting your performance reviews. In addition, turn it into something fun for your store employees by posting a leaders board, like they do in professional golf that ranks the golf tournaments top golfers with their scores. Post this board in the back office. Keeping score makes things more interesting and enjoyable, engages your employees, gets their competitive juices flowing and serves as a tool to measure their progress towards improvement. Why else do we keep score when playing golf or tennis?
Coach em up:
Store operators who are good coaches are in the store leading by example, watching their employees perform their jobs, providing coaching tips, passing out motivational pats on the back and saying thank you for a job well done. It’s hard to coach if your store operators spend all their time in the back office.
Employee wages, health insurance, payroll taxes and worker’s compensation represent approximately 30% of your gross profit dollars. Don’t you deserve a proper ROI? If not now when?
To order Hire the Best C-Store Employees – Interviewing tactics for hiring employees who can actually make you money visit www.cstorecoaches.com.