3 Steps For How To Motivate Yourself And Increase Retail Sales When It’s Slow

By Bob Phibbs

how to motivate retail salespeople

When business slows down, as it always does this time of year, it is easy to become despondent or lazy. Whether you had a great year or not-so-great, it’s easy to feel like the wind is out of your sales.

For all retailers, once January 1st hits, there is no immediacy anymore and personal motivation can be tougher.

There’s no finite date when everything has to be ready and there’s no finite date to build towards. It’s just winter.

As Judy Holliday sang in her last film Bells Are Ringing, "The party’s over…”

Here’s what you need to do to stay motivated.

1. Find some why’s around your store.

Why do we always put that there?

Why does it look so dark in here?

Why have we let the store look rundown?

Why don’t we have more names on our email list, followers on our social media accounts, visitors to our website?

Why is our average check lower than the last year’s?

When the why’s become big enough, your mind will naturally have to devise the hows.

2.  Ask yourself what if we could?

What if we could relight that area of the store?  Then it’s easy to ask how would we do it?

What if we gave retail sales training to each of our team members?  Then it’s easy to ask how would we organize and hold them accountable?

3. Ask yourself how you could do it.

Entrepreneurs are a resilient lot.

We come back from things: a missed sale, an over-ordered product, a great employee having to move along.  

When we don’t ask those questions about our business... and about ourselves, we have no challenge.  Nothing to potentially go right or wrong, just limbo.

While that can be OK for a day or two, stay in that mode long enough, and you’ll just become another Bitter Betty who calls her friends to complain about how slow it is.

Bouncing back and setting new directions is what makes retail...life really... fun.

If you are a salesperson, this three-part system works just as easily for you as well...  

retail sales training postureWithout a steady stream of traffic, you might find yourself with your hands clasped behind your butt in felon pose, waiting behind the counter for a long time.

Don’t end up in felon pose.

First ask yourself about your customers.

Why don’t I know more about my best customers?

Why don’t I track what they have in their closet?

Why haven’t I seen them in awhile?

Second, ask yourself What if I could

What if I could find out more about my best customers?

What if I could come up with a list of items they or their spouse have purchased from us?

Third and finally allow the answers to come to you, How would I do it?

Could I search LinkedIn and Facebook when I have time?

Could I find out more about my best customers by setting up Google alerts for their company or them?

Of course you could.

Planning is what draws us forward and out of our own heads. Focusing on what if we could keeps the past in the past and puts a fire in our bellies.

I can tell you the best salespeople and entrepreneurs are hungry for how to stay in that place.  But when you just complain, you’re leaving that what if we could attitude out of your life and out of your store.

The belief in challenging yourself is what will renew you every day, not just in the winter, or when it is slow.

For those Delta agents, that new challenge and their creativity in answering what if we could helped make their own day as well as their customers’ day go much faster.

See also, Excellent Customer Service Starts With This

In Sum

Try my three part system to stay motivated and you’ll find once you start, you’ll find your momentum.

The key here is to not just sit and make lists and lists. Ask some why’s, prioritize,  then go on to the what if we could and give yourself some space so the how’s can naturally appear.

What makes this resilient spirit fun is on the other side, as you break through setbacks - the doing after you discover the how’s is just as important as asking those questions in the first place.

And if you’d like some help with training your crew how to sell, remember the Retail Doctor makes house calls.

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