One day I was catching up with two friends over coffee when the conversation turned to how bad the traffic had been recently.
One friend told us how it was killing his productivity. He's an outside rep and the traffic kept him from seeing all of the accounts he planned to see.
The other friend is also a rep, but in a different field. The traffic also kept him from seeing all of his clients, but in the end he had a terrific sales week.
He had decided that he would use the time sitting in traffic to phone accounts he doesn't normally get to call on. As a result, he picked up a couple of additional orders he wouldn't have gotten without sitting in traffic.
Two people. Same traffic. Different results.
One person had better results because he had a different perspective. Instead of seeing the traffic only as an impediment, he took advantage of the challenge.
Here are three traffic perspectives store leaders will do well to remember.
1. Maximize every customer opportunity. I once had a store outside of Chicago that had to deal with terrible traffic but still produced amazing results. Their center simply didn't attract much attention, so the store leadership and staff quickly learned that every customer mattered. You don't have to be a slow store to apply that lesson.
2. No labeling customers. One word I never allowed my staff to use was "looker." The minute we label a customer a looker, we're really saying they aren't going to buy anything. It's funny how that is proven over and over.
One manager who recently took my coaching class had her staff stop using the word. Guess what? Yep, conversion went up. Our perspective has a huge impact on our results.
3. Own it. If you’ve heard me speak you’ve heard me say that when you own something, you have the power to change it. One of my coffee friends owned the bad traffic last week. He didn't sit in his car and fume or complain. He took action.
Traffic is a real challenge for most stores. No way to sugarcoat it. At the same time we have no alternative but to own it. We have to take responsibility for driving existing clients and new customers into the store.
Make sure the entire staff is using downtime to reach out to customers. Plan small events. Set appointments for your top customers to come in and see the newest products. Refuse to let lack of traffic keep you from obtaining your goals. Own it!
Got too much traffic? First, thank your lucky stars. Then, have the staff practice working with multiple customers and group selling. Whatever your traffic... own it!
So let me ask, how is your traffic perspective?
How to use this article
Discuss your leadership group's traffic perspective with your managers. Which perspectives could benefit from a change? Identify three actions they’ll take to get an even better perspective.
About Doug: Doug Fleener, the former director of retail for Bose Corporation, is a speaker and consultant known for bring fresh approaches and powerful actionable ideas to clients and audiences around the world. Learn more at DougFleener.com.