An informed and engaged staff is the single best way to sell product. Employing a staff that wears the product and/or talks about products with customers is the first step in creating consumer excitement toward an item (and buying it).

Here are some simple ideas in getting your staff up to snuff and excited about the product in your store –

  • Make sure your manufacture sales reps consistently clinic product. Make it a fun process that happens over breakfast or beer. Give your staff a surprise quiz and offer fun, silly prizes to the winners as well as some product you want to highlight. Make sure the reps also get involved.  For example, we offered a free Nixon watch to the person who sold the most watches. It was a great conversation piece for the staff and the brand. Small items like chocolate, movie tickets and local coffee shop gift certificates are always good, simple motivators too.
  • Hold staff meetings in the same place at the same time every month.  Make sure you focus on different ways to sell different types of products. Don’t just tell your staff about the meetings:  get them involved and engaged. This is a good time to have your staff teach each other. We all have a different approach to sales and sometimes it is nice to understand what methods work for different people. Give people assignments before you meet.  For example, come up with three ways to sell books. Break the staff into groups and discuss the different ways to sell add-on items like socks, jewelry or books. Keep it light and fun.
  • We all love a little competition. Lets face it: you work in an outdoor store… fun it what you are selling. Create a sales game and use the competition to spike sales and educate and engage staff. For example, a game we all know and love is BINGO. At the Lizard Lounge, we use it to incentivize add-on sales items that most often get forgotten in the day-to-day but are the items that have the highest margin. Your staff learns how to sell these items and, in the process, work towards ‘free stuff’ rewards. We all love free stuff. For every named item on the BINGO square they sell, they gain $5 towards an in-store credit. It is a win-win for everyone. A sales game is fun and gives the staff something to work toward.

— Kelsie Morrow, Lizard Lounge Store Manager, Women’s buyer and former Portland Art Institute Professor of Merchandising