What would the impact on your bottom line be if you could achieve and sustain a significant increase in sales with the same level of customer traffic? Are your teams performing up to their potential? Here is a proven approach to achieve an almost magical breakthrough in performance!
A little math
What would the impact on your sales be if you could get your conversion rate (customer purchase vs traffic) up from 12% to 18% with the same labour coverage and overhead? Would that result in a 50% increase in revenues? What would the impact on your revenues be if you could get your UPTs (units per transaction) up from 1.5 to 2.0? Would that give you a 33% increase in revenues? What would the impact on your bottom line be if you achieved and sustained these increases?
Easy to say, you say – and harder to do, of course. But it makes an interesting case to investigate the opportunities of what you really can do with what you have? How good can you be, if you do it right?
Let’s take some of your media advertising budget and invest it in invertising – in your people – those on the front lines that are the face of your business for your customers and who hold the success of your enterprise in their hands everyday.
There is a better way!
Many people in many organizations experience “meetings” as a waste of productive time, and in my experience, many thousands of hours are wasted in poorly planned and utterly mindless exercises. “Meetings” however, are a vital element of communications in any organization and particularly so within challenges of performance improvement and culture change.
The brutally honest truth is – the way you conduct your meetings is the way you conduct your business. If your meetings are unfocused, irrelevant in terms of your strategic priorities, a resented imposition on your people and boring to boot – sorry, that’s who you are. But there is a better way.
The High Performance Team Meeting Model is much more than a meeting format. It is a “proxy” of how to do business and the point of leverage to affect sustained culture change for exceptional service!
Here is how we “tailored” the High Performance Team Model for a chain of menswear stores.
Case Study – Canadian National Menswear Retailer
The goal – increase sales and productivity, and create a culture of customer service and high performance.
How – by increasing conversion rates, average sale, units per transaction, sales per hour, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
How2 – by a system wide implementation of high performance team meetings, led by line management, attended by all associates, focused on the fundamental drivers of success in the business, and bringing a high performance retail culture to life on the front lines.
Key words: focused, structured, productive, participative, interactive, informative,educational, relevant, engaging, energizing, inspiring and fun!
Let’s make it so.
- We will schedule store team meetings every two weeks with all associates. Why? We are moving forward with an aggressive “intervention” to significantly improve our performance and get everyone aligned and intensely engaged in our new mission.
- The meetings will take place in stores before opening or after closing hours. These meetings are important business; let’s conduct them where we do business.
- The team will agree to the most convenient time for the meeting for all to attend. All advance communications must include an agenda and the expectations and pre-work required of the participants. We value and respect our people and want them to know what to expect and also to consider their needs before finalizing a meeting date.
- We want to establish a very consistent format for the meetings. Every meeting for store associates, store managers, district and regional managers will follow the same format. We believe we have a format that will work to engage our people in very meaningful and mindful work that will result in greater personal and organization success.
- Equipment requirements: flip chart, rolling racks, work/display table and your products.
- Information requirements: store performance reports, personal performance tracking worksheets or reports.
- Administrative details: yes we will provide coffee, soft drinks, juice, water, sandwiches and perhaps pizza for all and yes all are paid to attend. Why? This is important to your business – it is business!
The meeting format
All meetings employ a consistent format to: focus on results and the fundamental drivers of performance; engage all team members; foster personal performance management; evoke peer review; celebrate success and heroes; acknowledge shortfalls; and recommit to the vision, strategy and personal performance objectives.
- Welcome, introduction of all participants, ice breaker and review of the agenda.(Welcome your team, keep it quick and light and help your participants feel more at ease.)
- The leader (CEO, VP, Regional Manager, Store Manager) reviews overall team performance (company, division, region, store) compared to targets.
We celebrate our victories – with enthusiasm! We acknowledge our shortfalls – externalizing to a degree to assess the impact of events but then quickly internalizing to own up to our collective accountability to achieve our intended goals.
Focus on the measurable drivers of performance:Sales vs target
– Earnings vs target
– Average sale
– Units per transaction
– Conversion rate
– Sales per hour
The leader clarifies his or her learning, and how he or she will adjust priorities, resources, time, etc. to expect to meet targets going forward.
- All participants in the meeting (VPs, Regional Managers, Store Managers, Assistant Managers, Store Associates) individually present to the group his or her own performance as measured by the established performance indicators and also his or her personal action plan.
– Personal sales vs target
– Personal average sale
– Personal units per transaction
– Personal sales per hour
– Personal business development initiatives
– Personal commitments and action plans
Victories and successes are enthusiastically acknowledged by the team. Shortfalls are acknowledged by the individual with his or her learning expressed to the team and a renewed commitment to personal targets going forward.
- The developmental activities – training, practice, role playing and demonstration/performance of the key elements of the business that will help the team and individuals achieve our objectives – including product knowledge, wardrobing, customer service and selling skills and personal performance improvement. For example:
– Two associates present the complete research on your new assortment of polo tops – including the unique features and benefits, complete colour range, and competitive analysis. You leave it on display as it is an awesome visual of what you offer;
– Two associates present a rolling rack with the five business casual “looks” and demonstrate the multiple ways of wardrobing. The rolling rack is left in the store in full view of customers – and it’s a mental trigger for associates. Guess where the sale come from – from customers asking about it!
– An associate’s prework is to demonstrate a 16 UPT sale of your products. One suit – dressed up with two shirts and ties, dressed down with two more casual tops, belts, socks, underwear etc – and this becomes your most effective peer learning tool and mental trigger for all sales. It’s left on display in the suit room.
Imagine a customer looking at this and asking this very young associate what this was all about? And the young man said in all honesty, we’ve been having these training sessions about how you can take a suit and dress it up, or dress it down, and always be dressed right. The customer changed one shirt and then bought it all. Wow!
– An associate wants to demonstrate golf wear – and prepares a 14 UPT sale of everything you have for the course. It’s left on display on a table at the front of the store along with the business card of the associate that prepared it. The table had to be replenished daily!
– Share service hero and service recovery stories – so many amazing stories but we will save that for another time.
- Conclusion. The leader (CEO, VP, Regional Manager, Store Manager) thanks the group and acknowledges his or her most memorable moments and learning from the meeting. He or she invites every individual to do likewise – and they do. (Very serious learning here for the leader.)
Team involvement – the whole team is important. These meetings are the way we engage our people and invite them “to the party” as full and active participants – to create the culture and the results we need for our business!
Assigning parts of the meeting to different associates to prepare and present is an integral part of this process. Involving your associates in researching and presenting best practices, wardrobing looks, business casual principles, and product knowledge on specific items, results in a more productive and interactive learning experience.
This meeting format allows us to create a high performance learning environment where all of our associates can:
- surface issues with our team and managers;
- engage each other in our business and share experiences;
- identify blockages and then prioritize and take action;
- unleash the ownership of all associates and encourage pride in our business;
- energize learning in a positive and results oriented coaching and training process.
The keen focus on the measurables is very important. Reviewing the numbers in every meeting keeps the team grounded and focused on outcomes. The investment in time and resources directly addresses the drivers of performance and the measures provide the dashboard to monitor progress.
It’s a relatively easy process, but then again, it’s not that easy. It requires a serious personal commitment, the investment of time, and the courage to engage your team in honest and open dialogue.
Ideally, your managers who will facilitate the meetings should receive a few hours of training. A few hours of orientation will do, as this is an experiential learning and development exercise.
In the first meeting your managers/facilitators will stumble and muddle through. Your associates may be somewhat reserved and quiet. There will be very few questions. Everyone will seem to go through the motions to get this done. On a scale of 1 to 10 the passion, interest and fun index will be 1 or 2. That’s fine and par for the course.
In the second meeting your managers/facilitators will have taken their learning from their stumbling to sharpen their planning and preparation. They will exhibit more confidence in leading the session and engaging individuals in a very positive way. Your associates will be focused on “getting it right” in terms of their personal performance calculations and their demonstrations. It’s a time for major positive reinforcement and very appropriate for the District Manager, or HR or other support role to attend – just to provide positive comments and reinforce that this effort relates to an overall important strategic priority for the business.
In the third meeting you will begin to see several very magical transformations. Your managers will be “in full flight” leading with confidence and sharing their experiences authentically. Your high performing associates will thrive on the recognition and will be intensely focused on leading the way on all performance measures. Your more average performers will already be buddying up with your superstars to learn how to excel, and your below average performers will either be asking for additional training or preparing to leave. Your team results on all dimensions will be improving, even without any increase in customer traffic. This is a very good time for your VP or CEO to attend to observe and say a few words.
How many meetings? It depends. By definition an “intervention” is short lived. It is a catalyst for change in the way we do business. However, when we establish a new and more effective way to conduct our meetings to communicate our vision, values and priorities – we have a more effective way to do business.
This process worked for this enterprise and very quickly created a culture of high performance that almost magically drove all of the performance measures upwards. Conversion rates increased – resulting in increased sales with the same level of customer traffic. Units per transaction and average sale increased as awareness and skills in product knowledge and wardrobing became personal performance issues for all associates.
Store associates “got it” where “it” was what the company valued and where it needed to go. Store managers experienced a learning process and a “context” that they could live within to lead, coach and manage their business to results. Market Directors or Regional Managers started to learn how to be coaches and leaders of leaders. VPs and CEOs learned how to attend these high performance team meetings, answer questions and concerns sincerely and honesty, and be very powerful forces to move their strategy forward.
Leaders lead on the front lines, and there is no better way to engage your enterprise than by requiring your leaders to be the agents of change to bring your vision and values to life on the front lines.
The high performance team meeting model can help supercharge your sales and service teams to achieve breakthroughs in performance on the front lines, where breakthroughs in performance are defined as: significant and sustainable increases in sales and bottom line profits; accompanied by aligned, positive and committed people; and exceptionally satisfied and loyal customers.
© 2011 – 2014, Rick Sidorowicz. All rights reserved.