I spent nearly five years in the retail business. Twenty-six percent of my store’s sales were made during the month of December. To this day, I still remember how brutal Decembers can be. For many managers this is their first year in that position. If I could give rookie managers one piece of advice, it would be:
Take care of your employees first. They’ll take care of your customers.
It’s tempting to get caught up in merchandising your store and maximizing every sale. But based on my experience, I believe that a manager’s number one responsibility is to build an effective, nay, awe-inspiring, team.
Don’t just focus on your customers; watch your employees and help them out when they’re tired or in a jam. Make sure any obstacles they face from corporate or anyone else are minimized. Now is the time for you to be their advocate/defender/back up/help desk.
Lead from the front. Get your butt out there on the sales floor and restock your inventory. Show them that it is possible to stop decorating a window, smile, and immediately wait on a customer. Model effective security procedures. Demonstrate how to be cool under pressure when the store is crowded.
Laugh often and don’t be afraid to use your sense of humor.
Cut your employees some slack when you can (but don’t let them take advantage of you).
Bring snack trays in on the busiest days of the year.
Be effusive in your praise.
Have fun and let them see you having fun. It’ll make the month of December fly by and your sales will probably be higher as well.