Business accelerators: Leveraging staff expertise to drive more sales

July 23, 2018

When you’re in charge of a small business, you have the final word on products, customer service, marketing, financials, and everything else. But the best decisions are often made with input from others.

For expert help, look no further than the staff on the frontline. They’re constantly interacting with customers, and see what works and what doesn’t. They’re often passionate about the products or services. Many might even have prior work experiences that offer a window into competitors’ practices.

All of this adds up to a goldmine of knowledge about improving the business and moving more products. In this post, we look at simple strategies to leverage your staff’s insights and skills into more sales.

Locate the stars on the team.

Whether through better questions, a tailored sales pitch, or just exhibiting the right attitude, the top sellers know how to engage customers and get them to act. Sometimes it’s obvious who lands the most sales, but not always. A POS system removes the guesswork—if you know how to access the data.

For Clover users, the first step is to set up systems that let you to see how merchandise moves and who moves it the quickest. To do this, start by creating labels for each inventory item:

  • Open the Inventory app
  • Click Labels
  • Click + Add New Label to create a new label, or click the Pencil icon to edit an existing label
  • Select the Show Label in Reports checkbox
  • Click Save

Next, find out how well an employee is selling a particular item by visiting the Clover Web Dashboard > Reporting app > Employees. Alternatively, locate a breakdown of items sold during individual employee shifts on the “shift details” screen, which can be found when viewing an individual shift in the Shifts app.

Gather their insights and skills.

Once top employees have been identified, it’s time to set up meetings to regularly cull and share their knowledge.

Hyper-focused staff meetings are a great option. Even if the team has to huddle before opening, a quick discussion of tips and ideas can get everyone working more effectively. Or, expand on the meeting format and host an inexpensive outing or overnight retreat—both memorable ways to galvanize the team and activate learning.

Whatever the venue, the goal is to find out what the best employees are doing right. Ask them to talk about their sales techniques. Do they remember names, ask questions, and use the answers to make recommendations? Do they have deep knowledge about the products, or a particularly good way to articulate its benefits?

Get employees to role-play being customers, and let the sales wizard show them the ropes. Simulating real-life scenarios makes sales pitches, product knowledge, and even insights into the customer more immediate and actionable.

Spotlight their expert knowledge.

Employees, of course, aren’t just warm bodies assigned to tasks. They’re the face of the business, with the power to drive or stall sales. What about introducing staff members on the website, emails, social media, or special events? Humanizing the people behind the counter adds a personal element to the business and builds bridges to customers.

Merchants might feature employee book recommendations to help customers discover new authors and to trigger more sales. Kitchen supply stores could host cooking classes that tap an employee’s expertise and engage customers in an immersive experience. An outdoor store might profile an employee who scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro, or a restaurant could highlight the chef working magic behind the scenes.

Stay connected with your people. You might be surprised how many possess expert knowledge and amazing experiences that can grab customers’ attention.

Give employees tools to sell even more.

Have you heard of customer personas? In bigger companies, the marketing and creative people put together detailed profiles of customer types, often with photos and biographical details. The goal is to create a unified vision of who is coming through the door, what they’re seeking, and how to better serve them.

Personas can work for smaller establishments as well. Instead of plastering the office with fictitious profiles, encourage staff to brainstorm a handful of personality types that frequent the business. Flesh out the personas with specifics, such as:

  • Who they are: Their age, education, location, income, and family size
  • Why they choose your business: Their immediate needs and interests
  • What they hope to get out of the experience: A place to celebrate, an affordable meal, great advice on flattering hairstyles, or anything else

Once employees have a feel for customers, they can tailor their advice to the persona they’re encountering. Knowing a customer’s needs and mindset can help staff deliver an outstanding customer experience and close the sale.

There are many ways to tap, boost, and leverage employees’ knowledge and skills. Try out a few and reap the benefits of a more personal brand experience and accelerated business growth.

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