The Grapevine

Small Business Tip – If It Matters, Measure It

March 19th, 2013

Tuesday means business tips. This week, let’s talk about retail selling smarts. There’s lots of stuff out there about how to set yourself up mentally to do a better job each and every time a customer walks through the door. For my money, though, nothing is more important than this:[level-members]

If it doesn’t get measured it, it doesn’t get done. 

How does that apply to your shop? First, understand the motivational aspects of this. What’s easier, deciding, “I’m going to eat healthier from now on” or deciding to lose 6 lbs.? The goal makes it easier. And while you might say, sure it’s easier to lose 6 lbs. than to commit to eating healthy for the rest of your life, that misses the point. If you commit to losing weight (and keeping it off) you’re going to achieve the larger goal.

So, whether it’s losing weight or improving customer service, it’s much tougher to succeed if you don’t have a goal. And you can’t have a goal if you’re not measuring your progress.

Here’s a simple example you can try easily and without additional expense. When you’re in the shop, instead of stepping on a scale, track the number of customers you have throughout the day. Now track how many of them made a purchase. Whatever that number is, you can make it better. (And we don’t mean by applying the hard sell!)

Simply by paying attention to the percentage of your traffic that generates revenue, you can increase sales by doing the things you know you should be doing: engaging the customer, asking questions that provide more information on their likes and dislikes, etc.

Feeling adventurous? Take it a step further and track not only the percentage of customers who buy, but what your average sale is. Again, don’t be pushy – that’s going to backfire 9 times out of 10. Simply track your averages so that you can strive to exceed them.

No worries if you’re not the geeky type. No need for a spreadsheet. A simple pencil and pad will do. (Though your PoS system may track everything for you except the number of people who walk through your door. Worth investigating.)