The Winter Sale – a post mortem

Adam Hankinson, Managing Director at Furniture Sales Solutions, talks about the ‘Winter Sale’ and how to maximise its effectiveness beyond the period.

By the time you read this article the most important eight weeks of the trading year, the Winter Sale, will be a distant memory. It may be one you’d rather forget – industry sources tell me a 30% drop in like-for-like performance is not uncommon.

You may have had an OK time of it reassuring yourself that results in line or just below last year puts you on par with your competition. I hope that makes you feel better!

Allow me to give you an insight into two anonymous retailers who performed +15% and +17% respectively throughout January and February.

These retailers are in different parts of the country, have different ways of marketing and operating, completely different sale discount structures and completed different leadership

and management systems and styles. So, while there are many differences between them, we can leam what made them successful by studying their similarities.

Similarity 1: Both had a vision and goal to have their “Best Ever” Winter sale. This was decided on in the previous September.

By setting this big, hairy, and audacious goal they set in motion a whole raft of things that left no stone uncovered in their genuine desire to perform exceptionally and to record breaking levels.

When you set and articulate this type of goal and you really believe that it’s very possible, you carry the team with you. It’s called leadership.

Similarity 2: They came up with a plan. To deliver exceptional results they had to plan the best ever marketing campaigns. Every part of their marketing plan was looked at with fresh eyes and new perspective and old ideas and practices were challenged. What got us there last year won’t cut it this year!

Their plan was jointly created by all departments with best ever results in mind. Truly working together to ensure that every aspect of display and merchandising was taken to new heights.

Similarity 3: Targets were broken down into daily and weekly achievable goals. These were then split amongst stores, departments and individuals in a realistic and fair way (i.e. everyone believed that their goals, whilst stretching, were possible).

Similarity 4: Great thought was given to the ongoing and continuous motivation of managers and their sales teams. They were rewarded and acknowledged for their contributions in 2023 and given new “spirit” prizes to win in every week of the sale – from beginning to end.

“It’s a marathon not a sprint” is the old adage – Regular new and exciting competitions for all sales KPI’s ensured relentless focus on excellent performance.

Similarity 5: Both businesses engaged with a sales training company before and during the winter sale.

Despite decades of experience in both businesses the teams were taken through “the most exciting, thought-provoking and change-creating” training programme in their history. Poor performers became good, the best improved by 10% and most importantly the ‘middle of the pack’ performers became great.

Both teams were trained for weeks in-person and virtually with daily reports of orders generated “that we wouldn’t have got without your training”.

They say that if you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Who was that training company I hear you ask…

…hang on a minute I have their business card here somewhere.

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