Archive for the '"Training"' Category


Sunday, October 22nd, 2017


“Not Me!” 

We hear people say, “I don’t want to be micromanaged.“ And, “I don’t want to micromanage my people.“ Have you ever heard it?

My definition of micromanaging is, “An overly used term to describe management by those who either don’t want to be managed, or don’t want to or know how to manage.”





Most, almost all people need or could benefit from closer management. in professional sports there are more coaches on the sideline than there are players on the field. And the head coach never misses one play. And these are pros!




Think about how many missed opportunities there are in business.

Two things I have found people will resist more than death and taxes are, change and accountability. Ironically those are two of the most important things that they must embrace to create and generate ongoing success for themselves and for others.

Business owners have the right to know what their employees are doing, and how.

No, this is not spying. Watching the behavior of your competition could be called spying, whereas with your employees it’s part of MANAGING.


Saturday, July 15th, 2017

This was published in a Vancouver, BC Newspaper in 2007:


“Winning Systems”

Friday, December 11th, 2015


Winners and Losers
People go to Las Vegas hoping to be a winner. The reality, most leave losing. The casino on the other hand always wins. It doesn’t win every hand, but it does win every day. That’s because they are following a system that’s designed to win.
In selling, unlike gambling, both the customer and the salesperson can be winners.


Systematic Silence
The two most difficult things to teach salespeople are to “Speak Up” and to “Shut Up” at the right times. Good salespeople become great salespeople when they learn the art and the timing of silence. The time to be silent is right after you have said something.


In Control
In Retail Selling Made Easy, I define selling as, “Giving the customer sufficient information to make an intelligent buying decision, whether that be yes or no.” The trick is knowing when the information is sufficient. To find out, offer one bit of factual information and then SHUT UP.
A person who is allergic to cotton may pick up a cotton t-shirt to see the price. But regardless of the price, if it’s cotton, he is not going to buy it. All he really needs to know at this point is what it’s made of. If, however it’s a gift, or he’s not allergic to cotton he needs to know more.
Customers looking at merchandise need information, but only enough to make an intelligent buying decision. Too many salespeople are guilty of either not giving enough information, or of information overload.  Customers will look close, touch, or pick up things that are appealing to them. When they do, they need information, but not too much.


“Your Move”
In the game of chess, the smart players anticipate the next move (or moves) they think their opponent is going to make, and then what they will do as a reaction to whatever move was made. When the customer looks at that t-shirt (or whatever) you simply state one FACT about it and be quiet. That was your first move. The silence says to the customer, “Okay, your move.” You can now anticipate one of five different moves the customer will make and pre-plan your five salesperson counter moves. The five Customer Moves and Salesperson Counter Moves are:

Customer Move #1;
The customer buys it. Nice!
Salesperson Counter Move;
Ring it up and ADD ON!

Customer Move #2;
The customer walks away from it.
Salesperson Counter Move;
Physically step back, remain silent yet mentally connected! Don’t turn and walk away. Wait for the customer to look at something else, and then step back in and offer another bit of FACTUAL (as compared to opinionated) information and then Shut Up!

Customer Move #3;
The customer asks you a question about it.
Salesperson Counter Move;
Answer the question and then Shut Up. Don’t give three answered to one question. Let the silence work for you.

Customer Move #4;
The customer keeps looking at it without saying anything.
Salesperson Counter Move;
Offer a statement of fact, like, “That shirt is 100% cotton.” If the customer continues to look at it, offer another statement of fact about the t-shirt. Say, “And it comes in small, medium and large.” Again wait three long seconds and if the customer is still looking at it, offer another bit of factual information and then wait silently again.
Continue to repeat this process as long as the customer is quietly looking at the product.

Customer Move #5;
The customer gives you an excuse to escape the store, like, “I need to think about it.”
Salesperson Counter Move;
Take the pressure off and then search for the truth; say, “That’s okay, but…”

Know your “Okay Buts” to any excuse. Some of the more popular customer escape excuses are:
“I need to think about it.”
Say, Okay, but perhaps it’s not the right one for you, what specifically MIGHT NOT be right? SHUT UP!
“I’ll be back.”
Say, “Okay, but do you think it’s the right one?” Be prepared to ask again what MIGHT NOT  be right or to say, “If it’s the right one, let’s do it now and you won’t have to come back.”

The excuses are endless, but your reactions are limited. Keep in mind that your goal is a satisfied customer, and the customer will have the merchandise longer than you will have the money. This is the part of selling that separates the pros from the amateurs.  The amateur hands the customer a business card and say’s, “Please come back.” Sadly the true reason for not buying was never discovered. Doping so requires getting outside of your comfort zone and taking customers outside of theirs, but in the customer’s best interest.

“Training” vs. “Coaching”

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015


While I am oftentimes introduced or seen as a “sales trainer,” I do not accept the title. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that you cannot “train” people, especially salespeople. Because the “lower animals” can be “trained” it stands to reason that the human animal can be as well. If you can teach dolphins to jump over a rope in concert and on command, you can surely teach people to greet customers, right? Wrong! There is a difference between teaching someone what to do and getting  him or her to do it.


In pro-football the “best of the best” line-up against one another on Sunday afternoon, all determined to win the game. They have all been “trained” and there’s a lot of money at stake. In spite of this level of training and major financial incentives, there are more coaches on the sidelines than there are players on the field. And the “head coach” never misses a down. If one of these gifted athletes runs the wrong way, it is seen and dealt with on the spot. And these are PRO’s.


Sales Manager
In business however the manager (head coach) is oftentimes in a meeting, out of town, in the back office; somewhere away from where the real acton is. The real action is the communication between the salesperson and the customer. Everyone has heard the old adage, “You have to inspect what you expect.” I would add to that, “And when it’s not what you expect, there must be some consequences.”  I hear managers say, “I don’t want to micro-manage.” I hear employees say, “I don’t want to be micro-managed.”
I consider the term “Micromanagement” to be an over-used term to describe “Management.” This term is usually used by managers who don’t want to, or don’t know how to manage, and by employees who do not want to be managed. Try replacing the word “Managing” with the word, “Coaching” and realize that if pro athletes need constant, intense coaching to function at their highest level, so do your people.


Performance Reviews
For the most part scheduled performance reviews allow a lot of opportunities to slip through the cracks between reviews and bad habits to become entrenched. When I hear the words, “Write her up” I think, “She’s probably going to quit.” When people are “written up” they might think their days are numbered and start sending out resumes. Managers will oftentimes put off taking corrective action thinking, “I will address this at her performance review next month.”


Build and Dump!
Then, after a few too many “little mistakes” the manager begins to get mad (inside) and all it takes is one more little wrongdoing and he or she explodes. This leaves the employee feeling mistreated and and the manager misunderstood. The misbehavior didn’t warrant the “explosion” and in the end nothing is learned. You are much better off dealing with the “little issues” as they occur, and if the occurrences continue, it’s time for a “Hot Bowl of Soup” discussion. More on that later, but for now, remember that you don’t have to eat the soup as hot as it’s served.
I address the art of managing salespeople in two of my books; both available on Amazon Kindle for only $3.99. To peek into each of them:

Questions and Answers

Saturday, July 11th, 2015


Team Surf-n-Sea - Haleiwa, Hawaii
I have been doing Success Rallies in this store for about 20 years now. We meet on a Monday evening after the store closes. In spite of the fact that they have either been working or perhaps surfing all day, they consistently show up excited to listen and learn ways to be better. They take more notes than I normally see being taken at other rallies, and Joe Green, the owner usually has the longest list of notes.


Ask Me:
For our July 2015 Rally everyone was asked to bring one question for me to answer. They did, and it was great. I was amazed at the number of questions submitted and the fact that very few were repeats. While some of the questions were pertinent (and even confidential) to their store only, several others could be asked in any retail store and therefore are share worthy.

How can one handle conflict between employees without the need to involve management?

Conflicts among salespeople are common, perhaps too common, especially when commissions are involved. Keep in mind that the commission on any one sale is NEVER as important as your relationship with your co-worker. If you find yourself in conflict, talk it out keeping in mind that everything you do is for the customer. Think WHAT, not WHO when issues arise.

Would it be beneficial to pay more attention to sales-per-hour than total sales?

This is a question that got overlooked, but the salesperson sought me out at the end of the rally to ask it. I was impressed by that. I explained that the Morning Report does show sales-per-hour, and many of our customers choose to incentivize there, as compared to total sales. The biggest determining factor is how many part-time salespeople there are. When there is a large percentage of part-timers, sales-per-hour is a good way to go as it levels the playing field.

How can I motivate other employees to get more involved, like keeping busy when not with customers?

Although managing your co-workers is not your main job, a friendly reminder that there is something else that he or she could be doing at the moment would be okay. Constantly remind each other that this is a team effort and it takes everyone’s involvement to reach and exceed store goals. This is also why you have bonuses based on sales over-goal.

Do you have any tips on how to identify a thief?

Thieves in a retail store are pretty good at blending in and looking normal. More important than identifying a thief is preventing him or her from stealing. The best deterrent to theft is an alert, aware salesperson. When you see a customer without merchandise in-hand, approach and ask the key questions, “Do you live close by? Have you been in our store before? How much do you know about us?” In other words, start selling. The thief will be dissapointed and leave; the prospective customer will buy.

When a cashier asks someone that I worked with, “Did anyone help you today?” and the customer say’s, “No” or gives my co-worker’s name, is that something I can dispute later? Or, should I just accept what the customer says?

The best solution to this problem is prevention. Be sure that your name-tag is easily visible, and make it easy for the cashier to know that you worked with this customer. Introduce the customer to the cashier saying, “Mary here will ring that up for you, and I will still be in the store if you think of something else you need.” Keep in mind that merely greeting a customer at some point does not entitle you to ownership. And should the customer give the cashier someone else’s name, there’s a good chance that other person made a stronger impact than you did. Learn from that and move on. Disputes after the fact tear down teamwork; avoid them.

When you are faced with a disagreeable customer that comes across as angry, yet is a buyer, how do you go about giving the information he or she needs to make an intelligent buying decision without seeming rude or pushy? Or, does it really matter since they are a 100% buyer?

The answer to this in one word is, “Sensitivity.” Keep in mind that the customer is always right, and is not being paid to behave in any particular way; you are.

What should be done to most efficiently sell when two salespeople are competing for a customer’s attention?

Two salespeople should NOT be “competing” for a customer’s attention. Never butt-in on a salesperson that is with a customer. The only time two salespeople should be talking to the same customer is when one of them has invited the other in to assist.

How do you motivate everyone to re-stock on their down time not leaving their assigned area?

A “gentle” nudge by anyone should be sufficient. It is important for everyone to be professional and keep their priorities in order. The customer is the #1 priority. Other tasks should be done when not with customers.

Should you follow through and push for the sale when the customer won’t take your advice on the product?

Remember that he customer is always right, and the minute you try to sell something that your customer does not like, there is something else that he or she does not like; YOU!

What do you do when attempting to sell when there is an obvious language barrier without looking foolish, yet still giving the customers the attention they need?

People on vacation are usually able to communicate adequately in the language used where they are visiting. They do fine in restaurants, hotels, airplanes and in taxis, but when in retail stores their “language barrier” can become the ideal tool needed to avoid a salesperson doing his or her job. Don’t let that happen. Just speak slowly, point and use body language.

How do you get a co-worker to calm down, not be so intense on the sales floor, and to stop butting in on your sales? Salespeople will ask others for help if they need it! Please stop!

As mentioned in an earlier question, no-one should ever “But in” on another salesperson’s sale. That being said, we do appreciate intensity and excitement on the sales floor, but it must be controlled. If out of control, it becomes a management issue. And, yes you should invite another salesperson into the sale when you are not doing well with that customer, or has more knowledge than you about the product you are showing.

How can we discourage other employees from stealing other people’s sales?  (In a positive way)

“Stealing” is a very harsh word, and I doubt if very much of that actually goes on. Stealing” would be someone going into the point-of-sale system and changing the sale from your name to his or hers. We do however have salespeople that will step in and take over when a customer has been abandoned; that is not stealing. Simply greeting a customer does not give you ownership. If you are truly working with a customer it should be obvious, and it is very unlikely that anyone would be able to take it away from you. 

What should employees say to customers that say that they can get a surf lesson (or something else) cheaper down the street?

Anytime price is presented as an objection, ask, “Is the price your only concern?” Chances are it is not. Find out what is. If it is, simply say, “Our prices are based on experienced and quality instructors and while the price may be a bit higher, our customers are pleased in the long run.”

How do you deal with rude customers?

First of all, never get rude back. Then, keep the main rule in mind that the customer is always right, and is not being paid to be polite to you. After that, keep smiling and “Kill them with kindness.” Don’t take it personal.

What are some good ways to add-on and to keep our customers coming back for more.

A person at the register is 7x more likely to buy something else than the next person coming in the store is to buy anything. Keep this in mind and then ask yourself those three key questions when you see the money.

1.Who is my customer?
2. What is he or she already buying and why?
3. What else do I have that MIGHT serve this customer?

Then pro-actively suggest that item saying, “Oh by the way…”
And to keep them coming back, be sure to capture their e-mail addresses and stay in touch as the year goes by.
Remember Joe Girard’s Law of 250. “Whenever something significant happens in a persons life, as many as 250 other people are likely to hear about it.” Purchasing something from your store is a significant event.

Can you use small talk to open up dialogue about a certain item?

Small talk is not suggested, since it may not not be perceived as sincere, and most likely isn’t. The customer did not come into the store to tell you how he or she is doing today or to talk about the weather. At this point it is best to simply give the customer one statement of fact about the item being looked at, then shut up and get a response.

What do you like to do?

In addition to exercising, my favorite activity is thinking and looking for ways to help my clients enjoy more success.

I enjoy answering questions and would welcome yours. Because I keep myself busy, the best way to communicate with me is via e-mail. I’m easy to reach and return every e-mail I get. Find me at