Pareto in Retail Sales People’ Results

If you think that my previous post was just exaggerating (when I was writing about Sales People handling your money), this one will, for sure, make you think twice…

So – let me ask you a question first. What are the buyers like comparing to, let’s say, just 10 or 15 years ago? More demanding? Complex? Hard to talk to? Know what they want and can’t be influenced? Well – that’s our new reality. But the fact is that the customers are the same. What has changed is that they became informed. To be honest – I don’t know what the exact numbers are, but let’s say that 80% of customers behave just like that.

On the other hand – there are less excellent Sales People then before. This profession is not even perceived as Profession – we usually see it as some temporary „gig“ until we find something better. You feel it on your own skin when you go to a shop and ask Sales Person about, let’s say, the fabric some item is made of. „Fabric…hm…let’s see…“ and then (s)he goes, looks for the label and reads from it. I can read myself, honey! I don’t need you for that!

So, let’s be very compliant and say that there are still 20% of gifted salespeople, who just know how to close the sale (without any training) and 80% of, well, mediocre ones.

Now, let’s look at our reality:

So, as you can see from the table, the statistics usually looks like this:

Out of 100% of all visitors with whom your salespeople speak, they sell in just 36% of the situations. And yes, they lose 64% of potential customers mainly because of their poor Sales Skills.

Someone might say that not all of that 64 % of lost sales are just due to poorly developed Sales Skills – some can be, for example, because you don’t have the Customer’s size or preferred color. Yes, that’s true. And do you remember a situation in your life when you were looking for some item and they didn’t have your size? And do you remember a great salesperson who found a completely different item instead of the one you were looking for and eventually sold it to you? That’s the kind of Sales Person I’m talking about!

Now is the time to put the question: „What can we do to fix the situation?“ I mean – more than half of the opportunities lost due to poorly developed Sales Skills – that’s too much!

The average Business Owner will tell: Oh If only all salespeople could be like that 20 % – the best ones! The truth is – they probably won’t! But it doesn’t mean they could be much, much better than now. By training. But not just ANY training. We’ve tried the usual ones (classroom 2 days sessions) – don’t work. No (significant) long-term result. Not to mention ROI!

Then we have tried on-the-job coaching – it gives better results, but takes lots of resources (read: time and people) to do it on a daily basis. Because if you don’t do it on a daily basis – well – you know…

Therefore – the best „formula“ for upgrading that 80 % of your salespeople would be – training on a daily level and knowledge sharing (that means that 20 % tell the other 80% how they solved some situation). And if you think that ONLY this knowledge-sharing methodology will give result  – I can assure you that it won’t. ’Cause very successful salespeople can’t really tell what exactly are they doing in order to be so successful. And they usually prefer selling, not teaching how to sell. Therefore – you still need (in-house or external) trainers and Sales Managers to do their work.