Build a consignment store team you can be proud of

For a few years, before I came to Traxia, I worked as the Children’s Ministry Director at our church.  I headed a team of almost 50 volunteers to teach and nurture the children. Together, we ran everything from weekly lessons to summer Vacation Bible Schools and Christmas pageants. My team ranged from teenagers to 70-year-olds. Because they were volunteers, I felt a special need to be their cheerleader. How well do you know each one of your employees? How do you build a top-notch consignment store team?

Understanding their unique personalities

I have quirks. It’s hard to believe, I know. Do not expect anything out of me before 10 am, but know I’m still working at 11 pm. I consider myself creative, but I like guidelines. The desire for perfection is my weakness. How well do you know your consignment store team’s personalities? It makes all the difference. Recently, Hubspot published 5 types of Personality Tests to Help You Learn About Your Team. They range from an in-depth Myers-Briggs test to The 5-Minute Personality Test. Making one of these tests a routine part of your hiring process helps you hire the best candidate. For instance, The 5-Minute Personality Test breaks people into either Lions, Otters, Golden Retrievers or Beavers. Knowing where your team falls, you’ll discover if you’re running a zoo or a consignment store.

Get my Free Trial of SimpleConsign

Play some games

At our quarterly volunteer training meetings, I always added a few team-building games. The very fact that you play games, builds a closer team. Download each of these and give them a try!

The Blind Drawing Game

Web of Memories Game   Build fun sales team rapport by playing the Store Trivia GameSales training through role-playing

Just as there are fun team-building games, there are also fun sales training exercises. Getting your team to practice selling should be a regular habit. Download these exercises and keep them handy the next time you do training.

Practice making a generic sale with your sales team   Use the Selling Through Curiosity sales technique   Build Your Buyer Persona as part of your sales training

If you enjoyed reading this, click here for more. 

3 ideas to celebrate National Consignment Day

On the heels of #SecondHandSeptember comes #NationalConsignmentDay. Started by the online resale store The RealReal, National Consignment Day is celebrated the first Monday in October. This is the third year to observe this important day. According to Julie Wainwright, CEO and Founder of The RealReal, National Consignment Day “allows us to raise awareness about the circular economy, especially as it applies to the luxury market.”

Celebrate national consignment day!Observance #1   Run an Instagram contest

An Instagram contest is extremely easy to run. This year, The RealReal gave away 2 Louis Vuitton bags using an Instagram contest. See The RealReal’s contest page here.

In order to run a similar contest, first, decide your giveaway theme. Obviously, include the hashtag #NationalConsignmentDay as part of your theme. Create an exclusive hashtag using your store’s name too. Next, decide how people enter your contest. Have them follow your Instagram page, like the post, tag friends, leave a comment, or even repost the contest. To enter The RealReal’s contest, participants had to follow @therealreal on Instagram, like the post added on May 4th between 7 am and 12 pm, and tag 3 friends in 3 separate comments. Set a deadline for your contest. Choose your prize. When you post, list the legal jargon. It’s as simple as that!

Get my Free Trial of SimpleConsign

Observance #2    Throw a Party!

After all, who doesn’t love a reason to celebrate? Since the day honors you, decorate like crazy. Balloons, streamers, banners, cookies, and punch required. Offer drawings for a variety of giveaways. Consider partnering with other consignment stores in your area. Create a consignment crawl. The shopper who visits all stores involved gets their name thrown in a hat to win a grand prize. Or, teach a class, “Designing with Consignment.” Whether you’re a furniture or clothing store, show customers how to use your one-of-a-kind items to create something fabulous. If possible, run a fun price contest. Choose any one of the Price is Right games. For instance, play Bonkers. Purchase 3 or 4 flip-chart-style presentation books. Amazon offers these for $11 each. Print the numbers 0 – 9 on letter-size sheets of paper. Arrange the books in random order and give customers 30 seconds to guess the correct price of the item you’re promoting. They can rearrange the numbers in any combination. You tell them whether they’re too high or too low. At the end of 30 seconds, see how close they come to the actual price. Offer a prize based on their final answer.

Observance #3  Make it a “Circle Day”

Celebrate the Circular Economy with the Circle GameSince you’re promoting the “circular” economy, create a circle day. For instance, see how long someone can hula hoop. Play a “Draw the Circle” game. Print a giant sheet of paper with as many circles as possible. Invite shoppers to draw a picture using the circles. No two drawings can be the same. Or, create a giant spinning wheel to earn prizes or discounts. In addition, decorate a selfie wall. Draw a huge circle and add the words, “I am making a difference by shopping at STORE’S NAME. #NationalConsignmentDay.” Give away bracelets, rings, or anything circular.

If you’d like to re-post the National Consignment Day image, click here and download.

If you enjoyed reading this, click here for more. 

How to create a consignment store disaster recovery plan

Don’t wait to create a consignment store disaster recovery plan

I’ve never experienced a natural disaster, personally. However, my sweet 96-year-old mother, Ruth, still remembers the St. Louis tornado of 1927. Just 5 days after her 5th birthday, she recalls being firmly placed in the middle of the bed by her grandmother. “Now, don’t move,” her grandma instructed. “No matter what, stay here.”  Her grandma promptly left to retrieve Mom’s older sister, Dorothy, at school. Alone, Mom heard the almost 90 mph wind gusts. Glass popping and breaking. She felt the walls shaking in their little 4-family flat. After more than 90 years, the experience is still as fresh as if it were yesterday. Fortunately, in their case, everyone was safe.

Now is the time to create your consignment store disaster recovery plan.

 Plan today for disaster tomorrow

Mariners have a clever way of remembering hurricane season. Follow along.

June is too soon

Did you know that the most common disaster is a power outage? Your local energy company often has the power up and running within a few hours, but there are times when it can be off for days sometimes even weeks. Be prepared with flashlights, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries. That’s a simple fix if everyone knows where they are kept. Check power strips. Do you have a surge protector? The beauty of web based software, like SimpleConsign, is you can still access your information on your phone if need be. Plus, we’ve backed up your data so nothing is lost!

July stand by

Does your shop have a designated safe area or room? Is there one nearby in your community? Determine an area where you, your staff and customers should go in the event of a hurricane or tornado. If your shop has a basement area, map out the location that is safest. If no basement exists, decide which part of the interior of your shop could be used as a safe area.

August it must

Should you add business interruption insurance to your disaster recovery plan? This form of insurance will compensate you based on your previous financial records for the loss of income you incur in case of a disaster. The amount is determined by the type of business, the building structure of your shop and any other risk factors such as location, etc. Know what disasters aren’t covered. Furthermore, learn how to file your claim quickly.

September to remember

Would you be able to quickly move your merchandise into another location? A complete disaster recovery plan takes into consideration that your fast-acting sales team will be ready to move any salvageable merchandise. They need to know where to take it though. Do you have an alternative location available? Even if it’s in your basement, your team knowing could make all the difference between re-opening or closing your shop for good. Before moving anything, make sure your insurer doesn’t require an on-site visit first.

October it’s over

Your consignor contract should already state that you’re not responsible for items that are lost, stolen or destroyed due to a disaster. With a web based system such as SimpleConsign, you’ll have consignor names and their inventory at your fingertips. Communicate with your consignors/vendors as soon as possible. Use email, social media and if possible, texts to clearly state the extent of damage and how it will affect them and their items.

Get my Free Trial of SimpleConsign

Additional info for your consignment store disaster recovery plan

The Red Cross

A consignment store disaster recover plan should include info from the Red CrossThe Red Cross provides a wealth of disaster-preparedness supplies. Order Emergency Backpacks that can easily be stored in your back office. Also, have at least one member of your team certified in CPR. Check your local Red Cross for class listings. Their site lists a variety of extra supplies they recommend you have such as water, matches, extra clothing, etc.


Be aware of what particular disasters could or have happened in your area. Check out government sites for a ton of information to help create your consignment store disaster recovery plan. Their plan prepares you particularly for natural disasters. They offer a wealth of information from planning ahead to coping with the aftermath. The site also offers suggestions for a basic disaster supplies kit.


A plan is only as good as the paper it’s written on if it isn’t communicated. Create a disaster-preparedness notebook. Keep it in plain sight in your back room and make sure every employee is aware of it. In times of trauma, it’s hard to remember the plan. Brief your staff completely on your disaster recovery plan. They need to know what to do if the disaster occurs while at the shop or if it occurs during off hours. If the disaster affects your entire community make sure you have a way to communicate with your staff members so you’ll know they are safe. Since texting uses less bandwidth than actual phone calls, set up the ability to send a group text. It will be the easiest method of communication. Consider adding the number of their close relative or friend too. List them under ICE (In Case of Emergency). The psychological toll a disaster can take on you and your staff can be overwhelming. Their well being is of course your first concern.

As an example, when Trader Joe’s in New Jersey had their roof collapse under more than 2′ of snow in 2016, they quickly communicated with their 160 employees and loyal customers. They stated they would be rebuilding in a “realistic time frame.” They even attempted to find employment for interested workers at other locations. In less than a year, they re-opened with employee-designed wall art and a stronger commitment to the community. Your consignment store disaster recovery plan needs to take you all the way through the beginning to the end so you meet everyone’s expectations.

5 hot ideas to boost consignment summer sales

Boost consignment summer sales during the “Dog Days”

After July 4th, but before “Back-to-School” sales, comes the “Dog Days” of summer. It’s that time of year when everyone is tired of the heat, worn out by the lack of routine and basically done with summer. There is very little to capitalize on for marketing inspiration. Stir up a little excitement and boost summer sales with an event that’s both fun and memorable.

1.) Celebrate a new holiday

Did you know Sunday, August 4th is Friendship Day? It’s the perfect opportunity to boost summer sales. A lot of consignment and resale stores are normally closed on Sunday. For this one day only, create a special “Be-a-friend-and-bring-a-friend” event. Choose your top 20% highest-spending customers and make it a special “invitation only” afternoon.  Give customers access to exclusive merchandise that’s been reserved for this day. Offer a discount, prize drawing or interesting giveaways. If Friendship Day doesn’t interest you, go to Holiday Insights. Pick a fun holiday and make a memory!

2.) Host a “how-to” night

July is the time to host an in-store workshop. Whether you’ve done live Facebook sales or video chats, an in-store event is completely different. This time, it’s all about your customers. What do they want to learn? If you’re in an area with a large number of snowbirds who head south for the winter, teach a class on wardrobe planning or how to pack your suitcase. When your best shoppers are young, host a do-it-yourself class on turning a dresser into a shabby chic buffet. It’s important to find what appeals to the demographics of your customers.

Get my Free Trial of SimpleConsign

3.) Awareness/fundraising event

Often charities see a lag in donations during the summer. This would be a perfect time to highlight a local charity such as a food bank, women’s shelter or humane society. Be sure to tie a discount to the donation of canned goods, clothing or other specified items. The organization you choose may even provide a collection bin. Choose National Underwear Day (Monday, August 5th) created by Freshpair and collect underwear items to give to charity. There are many creative ways to give back to your local community.

4.) Consider “Christmas in July”

Summer sales include SantaDress your staff in Santa hats; decorate your shop with red and green; play Christmas music and add the scent of evergreen. Consider renting a snow-cone machine to serve red and green “snow balls” or invite Santa to the shop in his Bermuda shorts. Make it a fun summer sales event for all ages.

5.) Boost consignment summer sales with a clearance countdown

Put together a special 4-week sale that builds anticipation for the shopper and helps you clear out summer merchandise. During the first week, offer 25% off all summer clearance items. The second week, offer 50% off and the third week offer a 75% discount. End the promotion with a “Buy-the-Bag” sale or “Everything’s a $1” sale.

The confession of a one-time Secret Shopper

My name is Deb and I was a Secret Shopper

At a time when my main job (and hardest job) was a stay-at-home Mom, I scoured the internet for ways to make a little extra money. I filled out countless surveys, only to learn at the end they were no longer looking for anyone in my “age bracket.” I entered a ton of contests, writing endless testimonials. Later on, I studied up on my coupon skills hoping to become TLC’s next Extreme Couponing guru. Ultimately, my biggest success was as a Secret Shopper.

What is a Secret Shopper?

A Secret Shopper is someone sent “undercover” to pose as a potential customer. As an undercover shopper, one has to painstakingly provide detailed notes. In fact, I would run to my car afterwards and start writing down as much as I could for fear I’d forget. The questions ranged from the time it took to greet me to the friendliness of the sales rep. I described their appearance, their tone of voice and even our eye contact.

What can you expect to learn?

Bob Negen from Whizbang Retail Training wrote, “Using a secret shopper program is our favorite way to find out what kind of experience your customers are REALLY having…even when you’re not around.” He suggests hiring one to get information on the following:

  • Store appearance, inside and out.
  • Daily housekeeping standards.
  • How soon (or if!!) your employees greet the shopper.
  • Your employee’s general appearance and attitude.
  • How well your employee matched the customer’s need with your products.
  • If you had the products in stock that your customer wanted to purchase.
  • If your employee attempted to add on to the sale.
  • Whether the sale was properly completed and correct change given.
  • If the employee invited the customer to join your loyalty club.
  • If the employee said, “thank you.”
  • The shopper’s overall opinion about the shopping experience.
  • ANY OTHER standard that you expect your employees to keep.

Are they effective?

Yes! Just knowing there could be a potential shopping spy wandering about is enough to keep your sales team on point. Likewise, make sure you have the “shopper” visit on a day you’re not in the store so you’ll get the best representation of your employees.

To tell the truth, I never felt completely comfortable. I am a lousy faker. I wear all of my emotions on my sleeve for all to see. One time I even took my kids along to look a bit more believable. The bottom line, if you want specific information about the effectiveness of your sales team, hire a Secret Shopper. It was a great study in sales techniques. As an undercover shopper, I learned so much about what to do and definitely what not to do. Because I was required to answer a lot of questions, I paid really close attention. After all, no details meant no paycheck. If I’m gonna lie (pretend), I at least wanna get paid for it!

How to take on your store’s holiday competition and win

This post has been updated and reprinted from Oct. 2017

7 tips for consignment stores who want to knock out their competition

With bedrock stores like Sears filing for Chapter 11, many others are running scared. Some analysts suggest the rise in online shopping means physical stores will become a thing of the past. However, according to recent reports, over 70% of shoppers still like to see a product in store before they buy it. As a result, retailers are fighting back and changing the way they do business. Consignment stores should too. Here are 7 tips on how to take on your store’s holiday competition and win!

Tip #1 Create an awesome bargain area in the back

Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, wrote an article titled, How should independents prepare for Black Friday? He suggested shops gather items throughout the store that have been there awhile and slash prices. For consignment stores, choose the “I’m-not-sure-my-customers-will-like-it-but-I’ll-consign-it-anyway” items and gather merchandise that has converted to store inventory. Discount those items heavily and add them to a special sale section in the back. If Black Friday shoppers are looking for bargains, you’ll have them.

Tip #2 Promote an event, not a deal

Black Friday was made for the deal. It’s designed to bring in a crowd with a loss leader and count on them spending more. Instead of emphasizing your merchandise, create an event. MarTechSeries, a marketing tech company, says 60% of consumers are willing to attend a store event, but only 23% have ever been invited. Events are your “secret weapon” against your store’s holiday competition. Consider these dates:

  • Friday, November 23 is Black Friday
  • Saturday, November 24 is Shop Small Saturday
  • Sunday, November 25 and Monday, November 26 are Cyber holidays.
  • Tuesday, November 27 is Giving Tuesday
  • Monday, December 10 is Green Monday

Take on your store's holiday competition with a one-two punchOf course, you can always create your own holiday too. Publicize the event on your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and in-store. Also, assign someone the special task of photographing for additional publicity.

Get my Free Trial of SimpleConsign

Tip #3 Treat shoppers with kid gloves

Every person that enters your store is a gift. With the rise of online shopping, brick and mortar will only thrive if they offer what online can’t…personal service. Your shop should look, feel and smell like the holidays. Here’s a few ideas to boost your service and your bottom line.

  • Invite a Girl Scout troop or senior’s group to offer free gift wrap in return for a donation.
  • Offer a hot beverage and/or Christmas cookies or candy canes.
  • Set aside a place for shoppers to rest their weary bones.
  • Make sure your cash wrap and store aisles are cleared and capable of handling the purses and many packages of shoppers.
  • Partner with another local business. Offer free foot or shoulder massages, makeup or scarf tying demonstrations, even a children’s play area.
  • Provide concierge service to pick up or drop off merchandise. Check out one of Traxia’s partners Truxx for a unique and inexpensive delivery option.

These days, it’s all about the experience. Create a relaxed atmosphere. Show shoppers how they can get the best without spending the most. Have your sales team read, 10 customer service tips your sales team needs to adopt today.

Tip #4 Take advantage of video

Nowadays, video is the medium of choice. From Facebook live to short, animated videos, start using them. I wouldn’t watch a video of someone making an Amazon buy, but I would enjoy seeing fun, behind-the scenes antics of your store. If you do furniture consignment, create vignettes with your merchandise and video shoppers enjoying them. Highlight your salespeople and tell a funny fact about each one. Poke fun at the owner or manager. Show a shopper entering the dressing room. Then, cut immediately to her appearing in her new outfit. Make videos that are short, light-hearted and fun. Even something as simple as Ripl, can dramatically increase engagement in your Facebook posts.

 Tip #5 Run a contest

Who’s looking for a fun contest idea that draws shoppers into your store and builds your brand? (This is where you raise your hand.) I mentioned ShortStack in an earlier post. Head over and see the many free contest templates they offer. Choose from a quiz, photo contest, giveaway or any of the other templates they provide. As always, add a store-specific hashtag and promote the heck out of it.

Tip #6 Invest in your biggest asset

You and your employees are ultimately the biggest asset to your consignment business. Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley, quoted her father as once saying, “In business, you sell yourself first, your business second and the product third.” As I shared in, 6 tips to build your secondhand store’s brand, you are your business. Invest in relationships. Take care of yourself and your employees. It will ultimately show on the sales floor. Even the smallest gesture of kindness will reap great rewards. At Vera Bradley, employees receive a $50 bill in their birthday card each year. As the company has grown, the payroll department asked if they could just put extra money in an employee’s paycheck. Baekgaard refused. She feels that cash is more personal and much more tangible. I would agree.

Tip #7 Be honest about resale

Win over your store's competitionThe only way to take on your store’s holiday competition is to face the #1 reason shoppers don’t buy secondhand. They’re uncomfortable buying items previously used by someone else. As one potential customer put it, “All of this belonged to dead people.” To combat that image, make sure your shop is as clean as it can possibly be. Curate your merchandise and purge the junk. Be diligent about the way your store smells. Make it clear, you only accept items that are in perfect condition. If necessary, tie-in with a local dry cleaner. Let customers know your clothing is cleaned and ready to wear. Often, some consignment and resale shops are their own worst enemies. Remember, it isn’t just about your store, it’s about the perception of resale overall. Let’s work together and we can win out over your store’s holiday competition.

Consignment Employee Training 101

A basic course on consignment employee training

The school season is here. Between buying clothes, school supplies and dorm decorations, families are busy preparing. If you own a consignment shop, it’s time for you to head back to school too. It’s time to take Consignment Employee Training 101. Let’s review the basics of good training practices.

Get my Free Trial of SimpleConsign

Every employee should know your story

Consignment Employee Training begins by sharing your Vision StatementDo you have difficulty talking about yourself? Now’s the time to get over it. In 6 tips to build your secondhand store’s brand, I clearly state that you are your store’s brand. You can’t pretend 24/7 to be something you’re not. Your store reflects you. Share your story and your vision with every employee. What is your background? Why consignment? Where do you see your store in the future? Write both a mission and a vision statement. If you’re uncomfortable talking about yourself, create a Bio sheet that every new employee receives. You can’t ask employees to follow if they don’t know their leader.

Great service is the key to selling

Small businesses, including consignment stores, should excel at offering attentive service. It’s what sets you apart from the big box stores. Bob Negen, from Whizbang! Retail Training, calls it the “ahhhhh!” experience. Surprising the customer with an unbelievable shopping experience. Here’s what he suggests your salespeople do:

  • Each and every customer is greeted warmly and sincerely by a knowledgeable and well-trained salesperson.
  • Warm personal attention is delivered throughout the entire sale. (Heck, a salesperson might actually offer to bring different sizes or styles for someone in a dressing room!)
  • There are many merchandise options that might fill the customer’s needs and desires.
  • The shopping experience goes beyond basic. Customers get a level of luxury, or fun, or excitement, or comfort that they don’t find at other stores.
  • Services like gift wrapping, delivery, or personalization happen at this level of service.

Train your employees to bring the “ahhhhh!” experience and they’ll be making sales left and right.

Sell the dream, not the merchandise

Again, Bob Negen says, “Sell outfits not items. Sell rooms not items.” A good salesperson asks the questions that get to the problem the shopper is trying to solve. In 5 traits of highly effective salespeople, I share a personal experience with one of the most effective salespeople I’ve ever met. He was an excellent listener and went over and above taking care of me. In most stores today you can hardly find a salesperson much less one that’s friendly, attentive and truly knowledgeable. That kind of employee will make a lasting impression on anyone entering your store.


4 tips for negotiating employee time off requests fairly

Yup, negotiating employee time off for pet bereavement is a thing

This article was updated and revised from May 23rd, 2014

Summer is drawing close. It’s the season for weddings, vacations and time home with the kids. Plus, employees need time for pet bereavement, “unsick” days and protesting. Wait. What? Yes, believe it or not, companies like Facebook and Google give employees paid time off for those things too. As the weather heats up, negotiating employee time off becomes a hot topic. Prepare yourself ahead of time with these 4 tips.

1.) Building relationships first

Of course, you would never employ salespeople you don’t trust. Trusted employees become ambassadors for your store. They invest themselves in your business and become a part of it’s success. However, along with trust, an employer needs to invest in their staff personally. Your staff will “go the extra mile” when you acknowledge there’s life outside of work. In their article, Employee relations – Inspiring loyalty, the HR firm Executive Advantage stresses the importance of making a connection with your employees. “Connection involves reaching into the employee’s heart and finding their passions, talents, core values and motivations,” they write. When you make that personal investment, negotiating employee time off becomes a matter of what’s best for the business first. Unfortunately, some will abuse your trust, but a loss of freedom changes that quickly.

2.) Put it in writing

If you already have a written policy in place, you’re miles ahead. Your employees want to know you’re a fair employer. So the best way to communicate is to spell everything out in writing. An employee training manual that states your policies regarding duties, sales procedures and requests for time off is essential. List any dates that are exempt from vacations such as the shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Explain how vacation time is accrued. Most of all, indicate clearly what is a reason for paid time off. Pet bereavement, anyone? WhizBang Training writes, “In your employee training manual, make it clear that schedule requests are just that – requests – not a given.” The bottom line, everyone should be asking how an employee’s absence affects service to your customers. Make sure you include the following in your written policy:

  • How requests should be made (Whether you have a form to fill out or orally)
  • How far in advance they need to be made
  • Who needs to be informed
  • Exact dates and how much time is requested

3.) Negotiating employee time off between each other 

Negotiating employee time off by swapping shiftsAdvanced scheduling is beneficial for everyone. However, allowing your employees to trade shifts with one another has its benefits. Give them greater control and you reinforce your trust in them. This method can only be used when you have a mature and responsible staff. Make it clear that all shift changes must be approved by the store manager first. Plus, both employees must be able to perform the same duties. There are inherent problems with allowing shift trades, but the freedom it allows your staff offers other rewards.

4.) Creating their own schedules

Self-scheduling is another method of handling time off requests. Once again, it requires mature and completely trustworthy employees. To implement this type of scheduling, post available shifts and allow employees to select times. Post your requirements beforehand.

  • Indicate the minimum number of hours a salesperson must work in a given time period
  • Designate how often an employee must work weekend shifts
  • No one can work overtime
  • The manager must give final approval to the schedule

Obviously, only a seasoned staff  who understands your store and how to sell your merchandise can appreciate schedule challenges. To find trustworthy employees, read The ultimate guide to finding the best part-time employees. Successfully train your employees and you’ll have a group of sales professionals ready to take responsibility and work even harder for you.


10 customer service tips your sales team needs to adopt today

Customer service tips to build a stronger team

Building a rock star sales team is not an easy challenge. It takes time, dedication and lots of patience. There are a few skills that every good sales team needs though. Because each of your salespeople represents your entire organization, make sure these 10 customer service tips are part of your regular sales training.

1.) Knowledge

The more your sales team knows about your merchandise and your store, the more they will sell. The majority of shoppers that enter your store have already done a little research. If not, they’ll get on their phones and do it while they’re in your store. Your sales team needs to be aware of the facts beforehand. If your price is higher, point out the quality. If your price is lower, you’ve just made a sale!

2.) Patience

The word on the street is “never pray for patience because you will always receive a reason to be patient.” That’s so true. How does someone learn patience? By going through situations that require patience, of course. Teach your salespeople patience-building techniques such as taking deep breaths, counting to 10 and purposely slowing down. Help your staff recognize signs of fatigue and dehydration. Remind them, patience is a choice.

3.) Self-control

A calming presence can go a long way in diffusing an argument. Staying cool under pressure can be the difference between a satisfied customer or a horrendous Yelp! review. Your sales staff needs to be in control at all times. It’s their job to get the out-of-control customer under control. Self-control also refers to an individual’s personal life. Does someone on your sales team struggle with an addiction? Anger? Insecurity? Take the time to invest time in their lives. You and your company will be the better for it.

4.) Personalization

Last fall, I wrote an article titled, How to implement genuine resale clienteling. Clienteling is all about getting to know your customers individually. It’s keeping track of their buying habits and “wanna have” lists. Building relationships with a salesperson’s best customers should be on the top of the training list for 2018. When it’s so easy to get online and order, a personal relationship with a sales rep will make all the difference in closing the sale.

10 customer service tips to help you close more sales5.) Authentic

Can your really teach authenticity as one of your customer service tips? I believe you can. Being real. Sincere. Empathizing with a customer. Practicing what you preach. Sharing life stories. These are qualities that make a good salesperson. Teach your staff to find a point of connection with a shopper. Did they enter the store with children? Talk to the kids. Can you genuinely find something to compliment them on? Do it!

6.) Persuasion

A good salesperson not only knows how to sell the product, but how to sell the sizzle as well. Persuasion doesn’t make people buy what they don’t want. The art of persuasion helps a shopper realize they can’t live without it. Don’t sell a couch. Sell a gathering place for friends and family. Don’t sell a dress. Sell an image of professionalism or elegance.

7.) Diplomacy

Tact and diplomacy are 2 characteristics that are vital for a strong sales team. Consignment store representatives particularly need a good dose of diplomacy as they deal with not only the shopper but the consignor too. Diplomacy centers around understanding the thoughts and needs of others. It’s putting yourself in “someone else’s shoes” so to speak. As Isaac Newton stated, “Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.”

8.) Enthusiasm

How often have you entered a store and no one even speaks to you? An enthusiastic salesperson greets shoppers the minute they come in the door. They make the customer feel welcome and wanted. Their enthusiasm should spread to your merchandise as well. Read 5 traits of highly effective salespeople to learn just how important enthusiasm can be in making the sale.

9.) Attentiveness

Paying close attention not only makes the customer feel special, it also gives a salesperson verbal and physical cues that the shopper is looking for more. It’s essential to ask questions. To rephrase what the customer is looking for. Read How to increase consignment sales with active listening and learn about using the “hot button” sales technique.

10.) Confidence

Your customer service tips have to include confidence. The only way you can offer confidence is to teach the other 9 tips listed. Shoppers rely on the confidence of the salesperson waiting on them. Giving your team the knowledge they need and teaching them patience, diplomacy and attentiveness will increase their confidence in sales.

How to nurture your best and most motivated employees

Never let motivated employees forget how valuable they are

I just witnessed the best example of motivated employees I’ve ever seen. It’s birthday time at Traxia. Birthdays mean a big, fat bagel pack from Panera. This morning, when I picked up the bagels, the woman waiting on me turned to hug a young man she obviously really cared about. They hugged and talked about how they were going to miss each other and what a joy it had been to work together. I waited at the register until she turned back around. When she did, she was crying. I asked if she was alright. She said the young man had graduated from college and was moving on in life. As he turned to leave, everyone he passed appeared to know him. They shook his hand and chatted personally. At the door, he greeted an elderly couple with such warmth, they hugged him too. Panera should never let that young man go. They should make him a district GM, but they probably have no idea he even exists.

5 ways to nurture motivated employees

1.) Create a work schedule that brings out the best

I am not a morning person. Let me repeat that. The day does not begin for me before 10 am. Because Traxia understands that creativity is important for a marketing person and because they value me as a person, I don’t start my work day until 9:30 am. Of course, I typically don’t leave until 6 pm. If you have motivated employees, find out what time of day is best for them. Be flexible. Let employees tell you their peak work hours and see if you can honor that when scheduling them.

2.) Give them control

Everyone has gifts and talents in particular areas. If one of your employees has writing skills, make sure their tasks include social media posts. Do you have an employee who loves merchandising? Even if they aren’t skilled at it, teach them. Nurture their interest and encourage their involvement. Employee training should be more than just understanding how to use the register. Train your most motivated employees in the things they love and they’ll reward you with extra attention to details. As WhizBang! says, “sales training is not the same thing as product training.”

3.) Recognize there is emotion in sales

A sales associate that’s intuitive to others is usually more sensitive. Train your salespeople to recognize a customer’s body language. If they can pick up on certain cues, how the customer feels about themselves or even your merchandise, they’re more likely to begin building a relationship. They will also be more likely to make a sale. Being sensitive however, usually means that salesperson is more likely to get their feelings hurt when they don’t make the sale. Be their cheerleader. Sales role-playing is excellent to improve this skill.

4.) Right or wrong, let them know what you think

WhizBang! found in a recent workshop that on a scale of 1 to 10, most managers rated their staff as a “2.” Ouch! If your sales staff isn’t meeting your expectations, perhaps it’s because you haven’t made it clear what you expect. Have definite job descriptions in writing. Set goals for sales weekly and monthly. Hold your salespeople accountable to what they agreed to do for you. Publicly praise them when they perform their job properly. WhizBang! suggests giving a “Sale of the Week” award to “one employee who had created an exceptionally Perfect Purchase – regardless of the dollar amount of the sale.”

Get my Free Trial of SimpleConsign

5.) You hold the tool box

The bottom line…training. Give your sales team continuous, motivating sales training. Make sure their sales goals match their abilities. Provide the verbal praise, and perhaps monetary reward that keeps them encouraged. Keep your sales floor filled with the merchandise you know your customers are looking for.