Effective coaching strategies for busy stores

It’s two weeks before Christmas, and your store is packed full of customers and is busier than you expected for this time of the season.
It’s time for some serious coaching

Picture this: it’s two weeks before Christmas, your store is packed full with customers and is busier than you expected for this time of the season.

There’s a great vibe, everyone loves the products in your store and sales are tracking well. You feel a sense of pride because you’ve managed to successfully attract customers into your store, even in this day and age when it’s all about online shopping!

Then, you overhear a team member’s conversation with a customer and you notice he missed an amazing opportunity to sell an additional product valued at $250. You’ve been following the whole interaction and this additional product would have perfectly suited the customer’s needs.

How can he possibly have missed it?

You just talked about showing additional products yesterday! Now is not the time to miss these opportunities, so it’s time for some serious coaching... The problem is that you only do coaching on Mondays when it’s quieter, that’s when you book your 30-minute one-on-one sessions because that’s how it’s done… But is it really?

That’s in four days time and at this rate, you’ll have lost over $1,000 by then!

So you need to come up with a plan… and fast!Well, let me help you a bit here.

When people think of coaching, they often think this means booking a meeting room or looking for a quiet space to have those one-on-one conversations.

And there’s definitely a time and place for that. However, when your store is full of customers and you’re losing a minimum of $250 a day... you need to get creative. Coaching can be done anywhere and it can take as long as 30 minutes or as little a minute.

Here are three strategies you can use to make coaching your team a breeze during peak trade times in retail...

Check our our retail sales training for more information on training your team for peak trade.

The 1, 2, 3 Technique

This technique is about creating small practical steps to change behaviour. It can be as short as only a minute but can be highly effective when done well. Here are the steps:

1. Approach with your observation

Timing is everything. After you’ve observed them, it’s important that you provide the feedback as soon as possible. Ideally, you should do it immediately after for relevance and higher impact, but it’s not always possible. Just make sure you’re discreet and try to pull your team member aside. Never do it in front of the customer!

If we take our scenario as an example, it would be something along these lines: “Hi John, I was observing your interaction with that customer and I noticed you didn’t suggest product XYZ, which would have been perfect for that customer given they purchased ABC.”

2. Set the benchmark

This is about setting the bar. There may be company policies or requirements to be met. Sometimes is just simply a commitment to the standards that came out of a team meeting. When you deliver it, stick to the facts. It may be something like “As we discussed during training/our last meeting, the company standard is that you always need to attempt to offer a complimentary product to your customer, where appropriate”.

3. Tell them what you want them to do

Set the expectation for next time and agree on what specifically you want to see them doing. It’s important that they commit to it. In the same way, you must follow through and commend or provide feedback according to the new behaviour. Consistency is the key to success. You can say something along these lines: “So with your next customer, remember to offer a complimentary product based on the needs you uncovered during your interaction with them.

"Surely, you’re bound to have a broad range of expertise among your team, so here are a couple of super effective strategies you can implement to take advantage of that. Remember, teaching is two-fold: it cements the “teacher’s” learning by sharing their knowledge; on the other hand, it reinforces the learning for the “trainee” as it puts into context.

Leverage the power of a team

One of the most powerful strategies you can use is peer learning support.Whether it’s during a morning team huddle or a team meeting, take five minutes to share successful strategies within your team. They will be more relatable, effective and more likely to be implemented if the strategies come from them, rather than from you.


This is another way to leverage your team’s expertise.

Chances are that you have different levels of expertise within your team, so pairing an experienced person with a less experienced one in a mentoring relationship can be hugely beneficial.

Again, it’s all about spending 10 minutes for them to catch up, discuss what worked and brainstorm new ways to drive more sales.

This will also free you up!

In summary...

For coaching to be effective it doesn’t need to take long or be held in a formal one on one setting.

Sometimes it’s just about resetting the expectations of what behaviour you want to see and how.

During the busy season, don’t overcomplicate it and make it easy for yourself. Be timely, positive, acknowledge good behaviours and leverage the expertise within your team.

Explore our coaching training to learn more.

You can thank us later!

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