Are You Standing On Your Own Leash Halting Your Ability To Grow Your Retail Sales?

By Bob Phibbs

IMG_4273.jpgI was walking Hallie Mae, my Harrier hound the other morning when I felt a pull.

She was standing still and looking up at me in a Well, what are you going to do? gaze. 

I looked down and saw she was standing on her leash with her front paw.

She was holding herself back.

A lot of retailers are holding themselves back right now in both big and small ways…

Sure you can look at external reasons like Amazon, the economy or a new competitor for reasons why you aren’t as successful as you’d like but you can't affect any of those.

If you really want to grow your retail sales, it takes a critical eye to examine your own four walls and how you might be undercutting your own success in both big and small ways...

I had just picked up my cousin Heather from the train station Friday. She was parched as there was no café car to buy water or soft drinks.  We pulled into a local convenience store where someone had scrawled across the front door, “Ask us what’s new.” 

how to grow retail sales

As she entered the store she said with a smile, expecting to have a fun experience, “What’s new?”


The three employees behind the counter just looked at her like she was a loon.

She smiled, backed up, and motioned to the door.

Finally, a boy sheepishly said, “I think we have a new coffee drink.”

It was memorable because it was so awful.

I’m sure the manager had scrawled those words on the front door in hopes of building excitement in her or his store.  Their best intentions to grow sales had been held back by their own employees.

What does standing on your own leash look like?

In the convenience store example, the manager hadn’t made sure to inspect what they were expecting so the promotion fell flat. 

In other stores it’s saying you give great customer service without ever codifying exactly what customer experience training will look like so you can deliver it.

In other stores it’s having built a great family business but never grooming the children to take over after they are gone.

In others it’s paying the money to create a website without developing goals of conversion.

In others it is looking to cut salaries of managers due to the new overtime regulations without first making sure those managers aren’t doing anything like stocking shelves or tasks that aren’t focused on building sales.

In others it is refusing to include the words selling in their job descriptions so there is no goal of converting lookers to buyers.

In others it's saying you want to improve sales while allowing employees to resist retail sales training as too vampirey.

In others owners hire people dumber than themselves at minimum wage crippling their ability to continuously improve. If you have to answer the same questions over and over each day from the same employees, I'll bet that’s you.

To find your own I ask you...

What change did you half-heartedly make in your store? 

Why didn't your last project or event reach its fullest potential?

Who is holding you back from growing your business?

How could you focus on that employee, that manager, that spouse that is undermining your authority or creativity?

In short, who or what in your own business is standing on your leash?

See also, Is A Cheap Attitude Crippling Your Retail Sales?

In Sum 

We all have the best intentions when we start a project, hire an employee, or add a marketing program. Those new initiatives drive us to see new possibilities.

Unfortunately, unless we look at all the aspects of those initiatives, we stop ourselves from moving forward. The old saw, the devil is in the details, still holds weight.

So it’s a simple message today… 

Look down…

Who or what is standing on your drive to grow sales?

Searching for ways to convert more lookers into buyers?

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