STEPS TO MORE SALES
In a recent discussion with a Fuel Retailer who was busy completing our online Dealer Training programme, we were reminded of the value of shift targets.
He said that:
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is natural for staff to start thinking that some rules no longer apply – and this can cost you, as the employer, a lot, especially when they ‘forget’ rules that deal with sales, promotions, and up-selling.”
We definitely agree with him. Fuel Retailers must pull out every weapon in the COVID-19 recovery arsenal. Shift targets is an easy one to implement and it will directly improve your bottom line.
GET YOUR EMPLOYEES’ BUY-IN
We have all realised during these strange times that the ‘old way’ of doing business no longer applies and that a ‘new normal’ has emerged. This provides Dealers with an opportunity to make some changes. One such change can be to look at the best way to motivate employees. Employees can surely be motivated by money, but it often requires much more money than what is feasible.
MAKING IT PART OF THEIR JOB
Every service station’s business model should entail selling to customers. This is, however, not always part of every employee’s job description. Even if it is, many employees regard it as an ‘extra’ and they feel they should get rewarded extra for promoting and upselling. A Forecourt Attendant, a Cashier, and a Food Offer Cashier should have ‘selling’ at the top of their list of duties. This is currently not always the case and it is surely an ideal opportunity to fix this gap at your site.
ROLLING OUT YOUR PLAN
Here are seven broad steps you can follow to achieve this:
1. Decide on a daily, achievable sales goal for each employee in your main sections: forecourt, shop, and food offer.
· Forecourt: 4 oils per shift
· Cashier: 8 promotions per day
· Food offer: 8 upsells per day
2. Make sure you have an easy way to track each employee’s progress. It is ideal to have a report that you can draw, but not every back-office system has that option. If you need to implement a manual system, take into consideration that each Forecourt Attendant and Cashier can keep a duplicate slip of the oil or promotion transaction as proof.
3. Provide sufficient product knowledge training to each employee. If they are required to sell oils, they need to know the different oils, when to suggest them and how to sell them. If they need to sell promotions, they need to understand the mechanics of the promotion and how to sell it.
4. Brief your Site Supervisor on the requirements for each employee and how the process will work. He should be tasked to get the slips back from each employee at the end of each shift. My Supervisors always had to hand in their slips to me or the Manager at the end of each day. Even if they missed a day here or there, it made a huge difference in the long term. Eventually, it became so ingrained in everyone’s routine that any new employee learned the ropes within the first week. Another option used by some Dealers is to provide a clipboard so the Site Supervisor can record the number of slips received and sign for them. Make sure all slips are handed in so employees cannot use them the next day.
5. Choose a date range to which the goals will apply to. Make sure everyone understands that this is now a required part of their normal job requirements. Make it clear that ‘selling’ is a daily task and is critical to the success of the business. Also, stress to them that each employee will be required to hand in their duplicate slips at the end of their shift.
6. Implement the programme and make sure it is in place on every day for every shift. Continue to monitor progress by reviewing the list of names and slips received from the Site Supervisor. Track your overall sales of oils and promotions and check whether it corresponds.
7. This process is not a once-off bonus or incentive programme, but a confirmation of each employee’s basic daily job – every day, month, and year for as long as the site is open. Praise the employees who do well and give the employees who struggle extra training and encouragement.
· DO keep in mind that this is a long-term project. Make sure everyone understands each aspect of it clearly.
· DO keep it as simple as possible. The saying ‘what gets measured gets managed’ is true. Just by checking, your sales will increase.
· DO explain that this is part of the basic job and make them see how they can help the business.
· DO consider increasing the number of oils/promotions for employees who work at the site for longer. For example, if you have been working on the forecourt for six years you need to sell six oils per shift and If you have been there only one year, you need to sell the minimum, which may be three oils per shift.
· DO NOT issue warnings during the first three months. But build these changes into your Code of Conduct and Company Rules from the beginning.
· DO NOT just issue a notice. Talk to each employee and listen to their questions and concerns.
· DO NOT worry about days where it is ‘too easy’ to meet the target. Great promotions will indeed make the Cashier’s job a bit easier during a certain month and special combo days (like Wacky Wednesday, Pie Friday, etc.) will make the Food Offer Cashier’s job a breeze on certain days, without much effort. That is okay – they still need to meet the target on the other days.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The idea is not to overwhelm employees but to get them into the habit of selling every day and every shift and to have fun while doing it. If you set the goals too high, employees will become despondent and negative. Keep it simple and set achievable goals. And why not reward your top performer – this will serve as extra encouragement.
Something I used with great success over the years was to put up a list of everyone’s sales at the end of each month. Nobody wants to be at the bottom of that list, and with only a little encouragement the overall average kept increasing month after month as everyone tried to land at the top of the list.