7 Skills Every Retail Manager Needs To Succeed

September 10, 2017

retail manager trainingMost retailers promote from within and while that can be good for morale, many times, it is bad for business.

In business, success is determined by the bottom line – your profits – not your loyalty to family or to your employees when it comes to leading your store.

What is needed to increase your bottom line may not be clear-cut, but there are certain skills that go a long way to ensure any retail manager has what it takes to succeed.  

You shouldn’t have to find ways to get your managers to do the basics.

The rewards come when they exceed your expectations; adding on to every sale, driving average check, and increasing average number of items in a sale are the things that should get them a bonus.

Any potential raises are achieved by raising sales. Period.

If you or your manager don’t have these skills, hire to fill any weaknesses.

All managers hold the key to leading employees in the direction the business needs to go, but this is especially true in a retail business. That’s because retail management wears many hats.

These seven skills are essential in a retail manager:

Multi-tasking. A manager must be able to oversee all the employees, keeping their abilities and weaknesses in mind while prioritizing multiple projects. I call this being up the blimp, looking at the action on the field rather than being in the game. The best managers multi-task and balance these priorities without losing productivity.

Decision-making. An effective manager has the ability to evaluate and decide which are crucial to the success of your store. Retail often means actions must be acted upon quickly, but making the right decision rapidly without mistakes means evaluating information to weed through what is important and what isn’t.  You don’t want a manager who looks at a situation over and over without making a decision – right or wrong. Keep one and you’ll lose sleep, profits, and lots of sales opportunities.

Leadership. The best managers know how to get the most out of their employees while building them up in the process.  That means using judicious, constructive criticism instead of belittling.  It means treating others with respect instead of my-way-or-the-highway.  It means leading by example instead of do as I say. These leadership traits inspire employees to give their best.

Motivation. This goes hand-in-hand with leadership. To be effective as a manager, being able to motivate employees is a must.  Even though I’m a motivational speaker, motivation to do well is internal. A successful manager is able to nurture that along using clear performance expectations.  Setting goals will keep the manager focused on the long-term success of your company.

Business Development Skills. A manager must be able to look for areas in which the rules or procedures of the company can be improved.  Millennial employees are very good at seeing these things when they first start, so be open to them. Streamlining procedures, hiring the best associates, training them correctly, and cutting costs are several ways a manager demonstrates these skill.

Effective Communication. Only a small percentage of communication is the spoken word. Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice all combine with words to convey a message. The best managers have developed the ability to not only communicate the points they are trying to make but also to truly listen to those around them.  That means smartphone off and eyes looking at the person as they strive to hear, rather than speak.

And They Can Make The First Sale Of The Day. When your employees see them actively selling that first customer, it makes it much harder for those associates to stand behind your counter and groan, No one's buying. Maybe that means your manager has to wait on several people until they make that sale, but the example to your crew is better than any caffeinated drink, breaking news, or Facebook notification.

And this is on top of the most basic expectation to be on-time every day, stay late when needed without grousing, and pitching in when it is busy without having to be asked.

And these skills give them the ability to create and sustain customer experience excellence in their store.

See also, What's Important To Train A Retail Manager

 
 
 
 
 
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In Sum

When a manager has the seven skills listed above, they are able to receive information from multiple sources  - including your employees - and then use that information to benefit your bottom line.

And while I’m all about giving people a chance, it’s up to them to provide results for the money you pay them, not act like charity cases who require you to look the other way.

If you’re struggling, you need to either begin retail training for managers or get someone else in there who has demonstrated these key skills.

Bless his heart, he’s trying is fine for a grandma to say to a child but not for you to say as a manager’s boss.

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