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Retail Greatness Blog

5 Ridiculous Questions Field Sales & Service Reps Should Never Ask the Retail Customer

Customers need to feel comfortable with their salespeople in order to make a purchase.  Sadly, what follows are five common and ridiculous questions that salespeople often ask their customers.  Don't allow your sales force to make these same mistakes.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness field sales selling at the shelf retail sales training

5 Lies Retail Customers Tell Themselves (and Field Sales & Service Reps) and How to Work Around Them

Everyone who has tried to make a sale, or who has been tapped for advice by a customer who may potentially want to buy a product, has undoubtedly heard one of several white lies that customers will tell in order to ultimately get out of making the purchase. 

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

4 Ways to Avoid a Lack of Accountability in the Field

One of the greatest challenges Field Managers face is to try to build a culture of accountability when their Field Reps are constantly on the road and in different geographical locations at all times.  It's hard to nurture a team spirit when it feels like there's no team there to begin with.  The key is to foster a strong sense of engagement across the board so that all reps feel connected to each other despite being in different places at different times.  Here are fout tips to help you to build accountability in the field.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness improving communication field team accountability

3 Ways to Avoid Failure in Sales Promotion

Your in-store promotions are only as good as the Field Reps you have promoting them.  Your reps, to become best-in-class, need to become aware of the 4 Ps:  "Product," "Placement," "Price," and "Promotion," as well as four tips on how Field Reps can excel at Sales Promotion.  These four tips are summed up below.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness promotions

Staffing Field Labor: W2? 1099? or Third Party?  Why Not All Three?

When it comes to getting tasks done in store, companies are faced with how to staff labor against those tasks.  Given the three most popular ways of staffing field labor, which will be most beneficial to your company? Follow along as we explore the pros and cons of W2's, 1099's and Third Party Services.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness w2 staffing field service 1099 third party labor

6 Ways to Avoid Failure and Ensure Success with Your In-Store Execution Software Roll Out

Implementing retail merchandising software successfully is paramount after the decision to deploy.  You want to have a streamlined process in place for on-boarding your Field Reps so that efficiency is not lost during the process of a retail merchandising solution software roll out.
Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness in-store execution software roll out implementation

11 Amusing Retail Quotes -- and What We Can Learn from Them

Whether during your time working behind the counter or paying for a purchase in front of it, you can probably relate to the following quotes pertaining to the retail business.  However, each has something to teach us about merchandising greatness.  Read on learn...

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

3 Ways to Unlock Field Force Productivity and Inspire Representatives

Something that every business leader should know is that an employee who enjoys their occupation is a significantly more productive employee. So, how do you encourage your field force to find a reason to invest themselves in their labor?

Here are 3 ways to unlock field force productivity and inspire your representatives in the field.

Topics: Improving productivity inspiring your field force creating company culture company culture field force productivity

Prioritize Field Force Performance and Reap Rewards

Field service performance often gets overlooked by CFO's. It's a fact.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Executive Greatness measuring field force performance field force performance

Build Your Confidence to be a Better Field Force Leader

When you are in a leadership role, it's important to dedicate time to learning and practicing the qualities of great leadership. One quality that makes someone a good field force leader is confidence. Employees subconsciously lose respect for leaders who lack confidence.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness leadership becoming an effective leader leading your field force

How to Leverage Workforce Management Software to Drive Field Service Performance, Increase Sales and Boost Productivity

It's one thing to say you need to increase performance, but it's another thing to actually know how to do it. This post will walk you through some of the performance-enhancing features built into the ESP Toolset and provide some valuable information about how they can help you to gain the performance edge you're looking for.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness Workforce Task Management workforce management software managing a field workforce

Create Perfect Moments of Truth by Creating Perfect Stores

Proctor & Gamble's moment of truth is an idea that can help manufacturers better their business. According to Proctor & Gamble the first moment of truth comes when a customer sees a product on the shelf in a store. Consumers make up their minds very quickly about whether or not they are interested in a product; they decide in about three to seven seconds.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

8 Tips for Successful Field-Rep Retention

Field Rep retention is actually one of the most important things for a Field Manager to keep on his/her regular "to-do" list.  For one thing, turnover is expensive -- particularly if your company is one to invest in thorough training programs for their new hires.  For another, if you have managed to land that magical employee who forms genuine customer relationships as second nature, then you certainly don't want to see him or her go. 

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

3 Ways You're Underutilizing Your In-Store Execution Software

Cloud-based field management software makes supply chain management more streamlined than it was in the past.  While there can be many tasks that are made easier with this type of software --  manufacturers, retailers, and merchandising service organizations could form a tighter, more efficient bond by integrating technologies that have been around for a long time and are very mature at this point.  This is not an exhaustive list of underutilizations, but here are three ways that are costing the supply chain a great deal of pain and lost retail sales...

Topics: Improving productivity Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness EDI increasing retail sales

Choose Your Weapon: BYOD, CYOD or COPE?

BYOD, CYOD, or COPE -- which mobile strategy best fits your company?  Well, the best way to find this answer is to evaluate what type of mobile technology your mobile merchandising field team feels most comfortable using.  Though, perhaps even they don't know, which is why a quick breakdown of each of these strategies is in order.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

Field Executives: Hold Your Staff Accountable for Their Actions

Torben Rick authored a blog post that was right on the money with regard to holding people accountable for their actions.  Have you ever experienced an incident where everyone thought something was someone else's job, and then that job never got done as a result?  And then, to top it all off, everyone starts blaming everyone else for their missteps? 

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

15 Tips for Being a Better Field Rep: Part 2 of 2

In continuing with the theme of a prior post on this blog, here are some additional tips to help you be the very best field rep that you can be for your company.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness

15 Tips for Being a Better Field Rep: Part 1 of 2

Even the best field reps in the business can benefit from suggestions on how to improve on his/her performance.  Here is the first set of tips on how to do just that.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

6 Simple Secrets to Clear, Effective Field-Based Communication

If you think effective communication can only be accomplished in small companies that seem to have more time on their hands, you may want to reconsider. You may also be wondering how it is, in this information age where we have a veritable plethora of tools to communicate with, that there is a lack of communication within your company.

As you well know, communicating between a geographically diverse field team is harder than communicating with a team that is all under the same roof — which is already hard enough.  

Topics: improving communication with your field force clear communication communicating with field force Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness improving communication

How Managers of Field Reps Create Clearer Communication

Working with people in the field requires a manager in a central office or a mobile office to have some faith in their field reps' efforts. All operational concerns and issues that arise require effective communication. These are easier to deal with if a field manager can create clearer communication with all field reps and then sustain it over time. We recommend these tips for keeping in regular communication with your field reps and ensuring they understand your expectations as a manager.

Topics: clarity in communication clear communication communicating with field force Field Manager Greatness improving communication

Six Tips for Perfect Store Visits

As a field force representative, you want to be sure that you're doing your best for every store, but what exactly does that look like? You know that you need to be polite and professional, but what other aspects of the trip should you be considering? 

The perfect store visit will look a little different depending on your individual company and the individual store, but there are some characteristics that every successful visit will have in common.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness store visits perfect strore visit improving store visits

5 Tips to Make Field-Force Training More Effective

Offering your staff adequate training is worth its weight in gold -- not only for you, but for your staff as well.  Amidst the fast pace of the retail environment, it can sometimes be difficult to get everyone on the same page, but when properly trained, field reps can feel more confident in their roles and have less questions about what it is they should be doing on a daily basis.  

The truly great field teams develop a culture of sales and service and become known by retail store managers for being the go-to-reps to have in stores.  But they don't happen by accident.  You've got to invest in their training, and it needs to be often.  Of course, training can be expensive, and therefore you'll want to make the most of your training efforts.

Here are five suggestions that can help you and your staff make the most out of every training opportunity:

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

Preventing Inventory "Shrink" as a Manufacturer

As a manufacturer, finding ways to minimize and manage shrink is imperative to your success. Losses from shrink can be hugely damaging, and one needs to be steadfast and vigilant to even begin to control it. But, even with the right team and all the willpower in the world, you'll still find yourself asking, "How do I prevent shrink?"

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness fraud prevention shrink eliminating fraud fraud preventing shrink

3 Tips to Help the Customer Feel Like Time's Flying When They're Having Fun

The last thing you want a customer to do when you're trying to make a sale is to check their watch, so to speak.  You want a customer to enjoy the time they spend in your store, because the longer they linger, the more likely that even the most frugal customers among them will pry open their wallets and make a purchase.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness

Fix Merchandising Field Service and Sales Execution Problems

Merchandising field sales and service execution is no cakewalk.  From crushing deadlines to strangling budgets, there is no arguing with the fact that field service project & task management is downright brutal. When faced with angry customers, volatile fuel prices, last-minute project requests, and high turnover / absenteeism consumer goods executives don't often think of the guys and gals at the shelf as their top priority.  

It sounds great to say the field should run smoothly, but much harder to achieve in reality.  But achieving full potential from your field force can save consumer goods companies a lot of money, and make huge strides towards customer goodwill and the ever looming goal of higher retail sales.

With proper focus of reviews and plans for improvement targeted at field service execution you can improve your entire business, and for that reason, focusing on solving field service execution problems should be a priority within your company.

How to Change Field Merchandising Software Providers Safely and Not Put Your Field Team or Your Business at Risk

In-Store Execution Software can easily become as important to your business as your circulatory system is to your body.  However, your business has an advantage the human body does not -- you can replace this critical system, if it is under performing, where as the human body can not.

Possible as it is, for some companies it's really a nerve racking change.  The list of things to consider is long indeed.  Here's a short, not complete by any means list of things that give people pause:

  • How can I be sure I don't lose anything I depend on?
  • How can I be sure the solution will be up nearly 100% of the time?  Like 99.99%?
  • How can I be sure what I show my customers will be attractive to them -- and their service will be un-interrupted.
  • How can I be sure my field team won't hate it and launch a mutiny?
  • How can I be sure the implementation process will have minimal to zero impact on my business?
  • How can I be sure the system will grow with me, and not leave me stranded behind my competition?
Topics: Field Executive Greatness

The Importance of Paying Attention to Demographics

Being a Field Merchandiser (and even more so a Field Sales Rep) involves many marketing and sales goals.  In fact, without the hope of selling products at retail there would be no need for the jobs.

One important topic when it comes to sales and marketing is demographics -- meaning information about the population in an area.  And in the retail business, demographics is one area that you do not want to neglect insofar as measuring a retail trend -- because when a retailer understands its customer base, it can maximize their shopping experience while also maximizing sales.  As a rep working for a Merchandising Service Organization (MSO), or a manufacturer, it also help you to sell the products you represent -- and helps the profitability of your company.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

How CG Companies Can Increase Store Coverage of Their Field Sales and Merchandising Teams -- and Why It's Important To Do So

When it comes to sales and merchandising by field teams, we like to think in terms of targets.

For example, without targets for sales, distribution, merchandising, and store coverage, we would have no way to work on incremental improvements every month.  In other words, if you want to increase store coverage, you must first know how many doors you're covering and then set a target for improvement.

While that sounds good, in reality it's really, really challenging to increase store coverage without a plan and the abilities to communicate and execute that plan.  So, in this post we'll lay out how to go about doing just that.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness increase store coverage increase field service productivity

5 Tips to Help Field Managers Prevent Employee Theft

It's well known that employee theft is a major cause of shrinkage.  It's also a threat that field manager faces, and one that can be minimized with proper care.  Here are 5 tips to help you avoid employee theft as a field manager.  Here are five tips to help field managers nip employee theft in the bud before it even has a chance to bloom:

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

How Can Consumer Goods Companies with a Field Sales and Service Team Improve Workforce Task Management?

Have you ever sat in a conference room full of grumpy people with laptops and Excel spreadsheets who are trying to figure out how to get stores covered?  What wasn't covered last week?  How you can get stores that are already late to be covered this week by people who already have too much to do?

It's not fun, especially when you're the vendor on an early sales meeting learning the current process of a field sales and service organization (and I've seen more than a few) -- much worse for the companies with those monumental problems.

Worse yet, the field is in complete disarray.  Their team is calling people, trying to get them to commit to working stores.  The people they reach forget what they committed to.  There are constant no-shows and emergency back-filling in some stores, and too many people at other stores.  Then, their team is trying like crazy to get status updates from those who actually worked stores -- all before you owe your reports to your customer.

All of this pain can go away with workforce task management.  Here's how:

Topics: Field Executive Greatness Workforce Task Management workforce management software

Communicating with Store Management: Be Understood.


Have you ever felt like you would be more successful talking to a brick wall than with store management? Here are some tips that may help open the lines of communication a bit further so as to reduce frustration on both of your ends.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

Bad Customer Service Can Cost Thousands: Keep Your Field Team Happy to Improve Customer Service


Sure, bad customer service can cost a company money, but how much?  The National Retail Federation cited a study that was conducted by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield -- the authors of Crucial Accountability -- in which this loss was actually calculated, and it was found to be, on average, $54,511 per employee!  Who knew that being disgruntled could be so expensive?
Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

5 Tips for Listening to Your Customers


Retail Field Managers and Merchandisers:  it's always important to work on selling skills.  Remember that in the background, behind every task you do, the reason you're doing it is to sell.  Often times, reps get concerned with fronting-and-facing and forget who their fronting and facing for.  So here's some information to use the next time you engage a shopper to make yourself and your company proud -- and really help someone get exactly what they want in the process!

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

7 Things Great Field Teams Do Differently


There are good field teams, and then there are great field teams.  Keep these seven tips in mind in order to do your part to be more of a member of the latter, rather than the former.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

5 Tips for Motivating and Inspiring Field Reps


Does it seem lately like your team could use a pick-me-up?  Here are five tips to help motivate your team and encourage them to improve on their results.

1. Make It a Friendly Competition

To make things fun, you can always employ a bit of friendly competition amongst your team members -- just be sure that it remains friendly and doesn't take a quick turn for the antagonizing. 

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

Happy New Year!

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!