- Ask each staff person to “brag” about three favourite products (that you sell!) at your next staff meeting. Have a fun contest for best story. “Bragging rights” wins a gift certificate for dinner. If you have three employees, the goal is to generate nine great stories (three each) – nine more products to tout.
- Distribute “free” product to your employees. (If the cost is too prohibitive, “loan” product.) Encourage each staff member to try out the product; wash the product; share the product with family and friends; and come to the next meeting with an evaluation of the product. Again, offer small prizes for the best anecdote. And do remind the staff that honesty prevails! If your staff dislikes the product, tell us why – state valid reasons why you would not buy this product. As a business owner, you need to hear this criticism. You are looking for honest feedback.
- Encourage staff to re-assess products and collaborate on “features and benefits” lists. Once staff members recognize that their opinions are valued, they will feel more empowered and voice their concerns more readily in the future. Display a “features and benefits” detailed list on the bulletin board, as a frequent reminder to the staff.
- Encourage staff to exchange stories in the future. Write down customer success stories in a counter book. Ask for permission from the customer and publish the best story in your next newsletter and e-zine. Offer small prizes for success stories. Do not hesitate to relate dissatisfaction, also. Customers are always impressed with a retailer who is honest about the product. (Obviously, you will have to re-consider that product!)
- Ask the staff for input when you are merchandising the product. Sometimes a little “tweaking” of a product display or placement can generate more sales. Listen to your staff’s suggestions and implement changes. You will be surprised how the staff will sell more product because they have an “investment” in that product now. Also, try placing display signs that outline a staff’s favourite product and the reason why it is his/her favourite. Change the signs on a monthly basis to keep staff and customers interested.
It is important to constantly re-assess and evaluate the top sellers in the product mix. Ask yourself if you are “married” to these products. Re-assess the “features and benefits” of each of the top sellers. Remind yourself and your staff that customers deserve the “right” product, not necessarily your favourite product. And that, above all, will remind your customers that they can trust you, and continue to buy from you.