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When to Draw the Line

Dear Friend,

This morning when I got up, like most mornings, I jumped on my Spinal Exerciser machine. 

It's like a massage machine for the spine. Fifteen minutes on it really gets the blood flowing. It's a machine I sold for a couple of seasons at our local Minnesota State Fair.

***
While I'm lying the machine, I'll often pick up a book I've read before, and review a chapter or two. The machine helps get my blood flowing; the reading helps gets my
brain waves flowing. 

And almost always I notice something in whatever book I pick up, that I missed the first time through.

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This morning, the book I picked up was "Sacred Hoops", by Phil Jackson. Phil Jackson is the current head basketball coach of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.

And the former coach of the six-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls - when they had Michael Jordan.

In the section I read this morning, Jackson shared a story about famed Green Bay Packer football coach, Vince Lombardi:

***
"When Vince Lombardi was a basketball coach at Fordham University in the early 1940's, he used to have his players make a pledge before each practice.

He'd stand them behind the end line and say, 'God has ordained me to teach you young men about basketball today.

I want all those who WANT that training to step across the line.'"


***
This wasn't just an empty symbolic gesture. 

Lombardi understood the POWER of making a conscious act of commitment.

That's why he wanted his players to cross that line every day.

***
That story reminded me of my first holiday season in the mall, and of two young girls that worked with me that season, Anne and Natalie.

They were only fourteen or fifteen years old. About as young as you can be in Minnesota and still work. And they each looked only about eleven.

***
In their job interview, they were both pretty shy. Not exactly an ideal quality for a sales position. Anne, in particular, seemed to hide behind her braces.

But I remember that I was pretty shy myself at times when I was younger. And I turned out ok. So I decided I'd give them a chance.

***
I sent them home with my sales script. And asked them to learn it. Which they did.

As I recall, they treated it much like a homework assignment.  They wrote it out several times. And practiced it with each other.

***
When they came back, they had the script learned down pat. So I let them get started.

Natalie actually sold pretty well right from the beginning.  But Anne was still pretty shy.  So I had her run the register for a while.

***
Then, late one Sunday afternoon, as traffic was winding down at the mall, I let her try selling. That afternoon she made her first sale. 

To her mom. Who was at the mall to pick her up.

That gave her a little confidence.

***
The following Monday, I let her try selling again. That night, she sold well enough to hit commission.  Just by a little bit.  But still, she did it. 

Then she hit commission the next time she worked. And the next time. And the next time.

By the end of the week, she was moved permanently from the working the register... to selling our products.

***
That season, Natalie and Anne together sold a little over $13K, which was about 10% of my total sales.

For them, that translated into a higher pay rate than what their friends were earning.

For me, that translated into about $4K in additional profits.  

***
Anne and Natalie made things work out because they made a commitment to make things work out. For them, learning that script was probably a lot like crossing the 'Vince Lombardi line.'

And each time they came to work and used the script, it was like stepping across that line again. 

They also did much better than a number of other more talented prospects, who were unwilling to make the same commitment.

***
So it might be worth it to ask yourself:

Is there a line that you can draw for your employees to garner that same kind of commitment?

You'll find out who's committed, and who's not. And you'll likely end up with a much more committed group of salespeople.

Your business, and your bank account will be the better for it!

***
Best,

Brady Flower
612-605-1115

P.S. For more tips on how to run a successful mall cart or kiosk, subscribe to the Specialty Retail Report at: http://www.kioskexpert.com/srr.htm

 



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