By now you may have heard about Alex Frankel, the journalist who went to work for a variety of companies to see what it was like working as a frontline employee. His experiences can be found in a book he wrote on the subject called Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee.
You can read an interview with Alex on thestreet.com, which uncovers a few key management takeaways he offers.
You can also read about his experience working at an Apple store in this article at fastcompany.com.
Finally, you can read excerpts from the book at Alex Frankel’s website.
His book is a great read with a host of experiences you can take away and apply to your business.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Success comes from human capital. Hire the right people who have a passion for what they’re doing or selling and you’re so much farther along than your competition.
You wouldn’t hire a person who loves power tools to sell furniture. And you wouldn’t hire someone who loves furniture to sell power tools. But you may hire someone who loves kitchen tools to sell furniture.
The difference is that items for the kitchen are ultimately about cooking. And cooking is ultimately about lifestyle. And lifestyle certainly involves furniture. And that’s the common thread.
Too often, retailers hire someone with retail background instead of diving deeper, looking for the connection to their business.
So how does this apply to you? It all comes down to whom you hire and the working environment you create.
- In the interview process, probe the applicant as to what they know about the category of business you’re in. Probe what they like about it. Probe their personal connection to it.
- In the job setting, create an environment that’s team oriented, with goals shared among the team members. That way, the productivity of the group will exceed the combined individual productivity.
- Make it about sharing information, not about selling. If you’re imparting knowledge to your customers, you’re going to give them something they don’t get very often in their retail experiences. And that sets you apart and makes your store the go to place.
Pick up a copy of Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge inside.