Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before when it comes to running a retail store: “Good help is hard to find, and even harder to keep!” Anyone who has ever managed a retail business knows how difficult it can be to find the right help, even if you pay above the going rate. A great salesperson, a reliable delivery driver, an excellent technician — any retailer who currently has these people on staff knows how important it is to keep them.
Good employees want new challenges, greater responsibility and more pay. Without these growth opportunities, the best staff members often look for a new opportunity elsewhere that can provide one or all of these benefits. But how can we offer more when we already believe that we offer enough? Perhaps the job itself only lends for a certain amount of growth.
Going forward, I am going to assume one thing; warranty sales are already an important part of your business. If they aren’t, then may I suggest taking a good hard look at all the benefits that a good warranty program in your store offers to your customers, your salespeople and your company’s bottom line. Your customers want them, your staff wants the extra commission for selling them and the margin on the warranties themselves can be an excellent boost to overall store numbers. Drop the excuses, and get plugged into a good warranty program.
We know that the best employees are often the ones that look for new ways to become more relevant in the business. We also know that warranty sales, while important to your business, might not be where you want them to be. They can always improve. Let’s combine these two principles and create the Warranty Champion position in your store. Here’s how this works:
You, the manager or business owner, set a company standard for warranty attachment. For example, in order for the store to meet its goals, then it must be at a 5% to sales mark. For every dollar that comes in at retail, 5% of those dollars are attributed to warranty sales. Depending on your product mix, 5% might be low, and that is where the Warranty Champion comes in.
Identify the person who is looking for growth and opportunity and offer them the chance to earn more money and responsibility as they influence the growth of warranty attachment on the retail floor. Task this champion with setting individual goals with each salesperson. Be sure that they set up adequate tracking and reporting so that they can provide periodic updates to you on their progress. Have them develop a missed opportunity program where customers who did not include warranty options are given one additional chance to add coverage. Challenge the Champion to include delivery drivers in warranty sales – they are the last face-to-face interaction with a customer who might still want to add coverage. The company standard must be met, but if the Champion is able to influence growth above and beyond the standard, set a separate commission structure and reward this employee for the total program growth that they achieve.
When setting this up in your business, phrasing matters. To some salespeople, becoming the warranty champion would sound like a chore or a new task that they must complete as part of their job. With the right salesperson, there is a positive response to responsibility. Presenting this as a promotion rather than an assignment is key here. This challenge represents the potential growth opportunity the salesperson desires in a job. It checks all the boxes of increased pay, increased relevance to the company, and a new challenge to keep the job interesting. It can also be presented as a step towards management duties.
The Warranty Champion is just one way to encourage positive results in key areas of your business. This model can work for consumer financing, builder or commercial accounts or in your parts department.
If you’ve found good help, keep them happy by providing them the opportunity to do more ‘good’ in your business.
This article was first published in the October 2020 issue of Retail Observer.