When someone asks how your business is doing, you certainly can answer if business is up or down compared to last year.

But do you know which salespeople are producing the most business? Which ones are consistently selling more than one item per sale? Which salespeople have the highest average sale? Come on now. No opinionating. Just the facts, ma'am.

You may be thinking, "Is all of this information really necessary?" Only if you're interested in significantly increasing sales.

Do I have your attention yet? Is there drool creeping out of the corner of your mouth? If so, read on. If not, either your salivary glands have all dried up, you're already rich, or your staff is made up of aliens — supernatural, high-performance salespeople.

Too many owners and managers look only at the big picture the sales results of the entire store or department without taking a look at exactly how those results are achieved, and by whom. When these details are overlooked, the "recipe" for each salesperson's success is difficult to formulate.

If you don't know how to build the success of the individuals in your store, then you'll never come close to making your store as successful as it can be.

Where do I begin?

For starters, you need to gather the "bare bones" metrics for each salesperson on a daily basis. With any luck, you already have a POS system that gives you this information, or another system for obtaining this data regularly. Here are some of the more critical metrics you should be watching:

  • Hours selling
  • Total sales
  • Conversion rate
  • Total number of transactions
  • Total number of items sold

Now that you have basic metrics, you have something to work with. This information is covered in great detail at our sales management seminars, along with strategies on how to use that information to improve your staff's productivity.

Here are insights on just one of the more important metrics you should be tracking:

Average Sale

This represents the average dollar amount of the salesperson's sales for the day. To calculate this stat, simply take the salesperson's total dollar sales for the day and divide it by their total number of transactions for the day. For example: If Claire's total sales were $1,900, and she completed 15 transactions, her average sale would be $126.66.

This stat gives you one view of a person's selling strengths and weaknesses. For example, if Claire has a low average sale (as compared to store average) but a high number of items per sale, you may discover that she's great at selling accessories, but avoids selling "main items" or high-ticket items.

Now you'll have a much better idea of how to help her increase her average sale substantially. And the answer is not to sell more accessories. The answer is to find out why she avoids the higher-ticket items, and provide the necessary training to solve the problem.

Maybe she doesn't have the product knowledge she needs to sell those items confidently. Maybe she just needs to do a little role-playing with you to see that selling those items can be easy as selling accessories. Whatever the case, it's your job to get to the root of the problem, prescribe the treatment and guide her through the healing process.

Sales metrics provide you with the vital information you need to find the cure for what ails your salespeople. You'll be surprised how many simple solutions are waiting to be discovered and how quickly they can result in stronger salespeople and more sales.