One advantage that athletic coaches have over sales managers is their whistle. When an athletic coach blows the whistle, everything stops and people listen. More than once I longed for my Acme Thunderer to get the attention of one of my employees when they were messing up on the sales floor.
Ongoing coaching is critical for the development of effective and efficient retail sale people. The ability of managers to effectively communicate with their employees about their performance is often the difference between success and failure of both the employee and the store.
With so many retailers feeling the squeeze on payroll, many store employees receive little or no training before they are set free on the sales floor to see to the needs of the customers. With limited training, sales people are left to learn, typically through trial and error , on the floor. With an attentive and observant manager that is willing to coach, the salesperson will develop much quicker.
That is where coaching and SBIA model come in.
While there are many coaching models out there, I prefer using a variation of the SBI model. The Situation Behavior Impact model is attributed to the Center for Creative Leadership and is used successfully by many companies. It is noted for its simplicity and clarity. I learned and used this model years ago in my management work.
Here is the model.
Situation: In the first step, the coach describes the situation where they observed the behavior. (To use this model effectively, the coach must see the behavior, a strong case for Management By Walking Around.)
Behavior: Next, the coach describes the behavior that was observed.
Impact: Now, share the impact that the observed behavior had on those present or the business.
Sometimes when I finished coaching an employee, they would ask, “So what am I supposed to do about it?” So I added a fourth step to the model, Action, making it the SBIA model.
Action: The coach guides the employee’s future performance.
Here is an example:
Situation: “Todd, I saw you working with a woman and her young son this morning in the Kids wear department.”
Behavior: “When you were helping the young boy try on hats, I saw that you knelt down next to him and moved him in front of the mirror.”
Impact: “Once he could see what you were doing, he stopped fidgeting allowing you to quickly complete the sale.”
Action: “Kneeling down and using the mirror are both effective techniques when working with kids. I hope you continue to do these in the future.”
Using this technique provides simple and effective feedback.