Back To Basics – How Focusing On Fundamentals Creates Better Business 

Last month I spent five days in Atlanta working for the fine folks at SnapRetail and Gourmet Catalog. During that time something really struck me…

The educational sessions on social media were standing room only, but the sessions about how to create a sales culture always had empty seats.

As someone who deeply cares about independent retailers everywhere, this troubled me, because turning your staff into a customer-focused selling machine will do lots more to build your bank account than any single marketing tactic.

As I reflected on it, I realized it’s because of Entrepreneurial ADD. As entrepreneurs, and especially as retailers, we’re enamored with what’s new, what’s hot, what’s sexy.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for hot, new and sexy. And I’m a believer in social media.

But continuously shifting from one new idea to the next does not create an extremely profitable, easy-to-run business.  

Focusing on the fundamentals does!

Who knows, Facebook may be gone in a couple years (can anyone say MySpace?) and the same is true for Twitter, but having a staff on the floor that knows how to sell and loves doing it is guaranteed to put money in the bank.

Listen to what Jamie Bush, co-owner of Point Of Origin, a home accessories and gift shop in Lakeway, Texas, says about sales training…

“We were very nervous that we were going out of business. Every month was going down. We knew that if we didn’t make a change we wouldn’t make it to the end of the year. We needed to generate more sales.  We needed more cash flow. And quickly.

“You know, it seemed we were just too busy for sales training. But we decided to get serious about it because we had to.

“It wasn’t an easy process. My staff came into it with reservations. They didn’t want to seem pushy or be a nuisance. We had to make it fun and it took several of weeks of effort, but it was really worth it.”

The proof of success is in her sales numbers.  

“After we got serious about sales training our numbers just kept growing. Our sales were up 32% the first year after sales training and we’re tracking to be up over 30% again this year.”

I love Facebook and encourage every independent retailer to have a Page, but I can tell you that you won’t get a 30% annual sales increase from it.  No matter how well you use it!

You can – and should – pay attention to the new, the hot and the sexy.

But stay committed to the fundamentals. That’s where the money is.

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