Here go 6 stories I have experimented at Retail:

–          Pamela was a saleswoman in a sportswear store. As she was rather shy, she didn’t look her customers in the eyes and her voice seemed to fall off at the end of sentences. Her working day seemed like it would never end. This meant that her sales performance was low to medium. Today Pamela has regained her spark. With her very personal style and communicative smile she now shows much greater assertiveness and has become the leading sales assistant in the store.

–          Jane, a franchise owner for the past five years in the home decor sector selling furniture and curtains, had an average ticket value (the average value for each sale) of $420. Taking this indicator as an area of opportunity and placing products in her shop window and by the checkout on a whim, she increased her average ticket value to $635 in just two months. 50% more!

–          David, the section manager in a hypermarket, became embarrassed when talking to his colleagues, especially those who were older than he was. It got so bad that he stammered and blushed at times. His embarrassment was “stronger” than he was. Working with himself and setting regular meetings, he now says that communication with his team is “one of his strong points”. Through his tone of voice and his eloquence, he transmits trust and confidence. Just a look from him could convince people.

–          Gerald, the owner of a chain of seven shoe stores, was tired of calling or visiting his store managers, asking them how sales were, and being told “slow” or “the competition has lower prices” or “no one comes in when it’s raining”, with the blame always eventually falling on the economic recession. Today, he has managed to turn this self-pity around by introducing a system based on taking responsibility with an individual and visible weekly balanced scorecard. He now looks on with satisfaction, noting how even his sales staff are now taking responsibility for customer problems that previously would end up on his desk various times a day.

–          Charles and Michelle had worked for twenty years as business managers for multinational firms and lived with their two children in a European capital city. Some years ago they considered making a “lifestyle change” without ever fully defining it. They thought about setting up their own company, but the lives they enjoyed with their regular salaries were very comfortable. Making that “leap” gave them both “vertigo”. Michelle liked going shopping for clothes and had even designed her own clothes on occasions. Another of her passions was flowers, and Carlos frequently delighted her by giving her a bunch of her favorite pink roses. Today, after a selection process, a business plan and a period of reflection regarding their most closely-felt aspirations and the way of life that would make them happiest and most fulfilled, Carlos and Michelle are now the happy owners of a women’s clothing franchise in her home town, close to the sea. After just six months, they could not understand why they had waited so long to make the change that was making them so happy.

–          Nicholas had managed to consolidate a chain of fifty cosmetics stores and had various takeover bids on the table. 62 years old and always “going at 1000 miles an hour”, he had never stopped to think about passing his business on despite frequent requests from his wife to do so. His oldest son had studied to be a pilot; his youngest daughter had studied Fine Arts in Paris while Daniel, his middle son, worked in the business. Nicholas had brought together a strong and able management team. Sometimes he invited Daniel to meetings, although he sought to keep him in the background. Finally, Nicholas has managed to organize his succession at the head of the business. He has spoken to all his children, but especially to Daniel. Nicholas has told him of his confidence in him and how proud he would be to see him take over the reins. Today, Daniel is following a specific program which will enable him to assume leadership of the company within three years.

These six stories all have something in common. At a certain point, the people concerned, all of whom work in the retail sector, have all stopped to think:
–          What is my current situation?
–          What would my ideal situation be?
–          What do I need to get there?
–          What action plan am I going to implement?
–          Do I really want this?

Ah! They all have something else in common. Throughout the process of asking these questions and seeking to respond in the best way possible, they have been accompanied by a coach.


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