How To Promote a Competitive Atmosphere at your Retail Location

If you are in the business of retail, your success lies in the ability of your sales team to attend to the customers promptly, cross sell items and engage the customer. You need to work up your sales team so they can get the customers excited about your merchandise. If they feel positive and optimistic, it will translate to dollar sales for your business. One way to do this is to foster a healthy but competitive atmosphere in your store.

  • Hire the right people. The first order of business is to make sure you hire people that are enthusiastic, hard working and highly personable. You need people who are highly motivated self-starters.
  • Do verbal reinforcements. When someone does a good job, you should praise it. Most people thrive on affirmation, so give it. A pat on the back is sometimes good enough to keep someone motivated.
  • Don’t reward what is basic or expected. The first thing you should remember about fostering competition and offering incentives is that you should reward what is beyond the basic. You don’t want to reward mediocrity, but instead, you want to encourage stellar performances.
  • Set clear goals. If you want to foster competition, you need to be clear about expectations and goals. Your staff needs to know what they are working for and how much they should be selling.
  • Offer multi-tiered rewards system. One way to raise the bar in your business is to set different levels of achievement. At the very least, you should set the bare minimum in sales that each person should meet to keep their jobs. Next, start offering small rewards. You may offer two to three levels. The more sales, the better the reward. You may start increasing commission percentages as more sales are brought in, or you may offer larger bonuses after certain sales levels have been achieved.
  • Offer tangible rewards. Aside from verbal reinforcement, you need to offer something to your people that they can see, hold and touch. It doesn’t always have to be money. It can be as simple as a coupon for a large latte, gift certificate to a nice dinner or a designer item from your store. During the holiday season, offer a honey baked ham to the person who brings in the most sales.
  • Have a visual tracking system. To foster the competitive spirit, place a production chart where your staff can see how they are doing. If a person is at the bottom of the rung, it may motivate the person to do better to improve his standing. It’s also impressive to see how far up a person is doing. If an employee is in second or third standing, it will help him get more motivated to move up to first place.
  • Update employees. You need to let the people know how they are doing. This is where the visual tracking system comes in. However, you may also want to meet with your staff once a week or do a one on one to find out what you can do to help. Get feedback from your employees. However, be careful about employees tattle telling on their coworkers. You want to foster healthy competition, not backbiting or a crab mentality.
  • Make it fun. No matter how serious your sales situation is, you need to stay positive and upbeat. Make your competition fun. Give each level a quirky name or create a theme that is fun. When you do your charts, use cute figures. Inject humor and excitement and don’t pressure your team so much that they stop working as a team.

A healthy but competitive atmosphere in your retail business will encourage your sales people to do their best. If they have their own sales goals to meet, they will be more likely to push the products, attend diligently to customers and provide great service.


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