The most recent price decrease on Museum Glass® gives you a good opportunity to increase profitability at your shop. One of the simplest and most effective tools you can use to improve your profitability is daily scorekeeping at the design table, which is essentially tracking sales of custom framing and the reasons for lost sales. Below you will find the positive impacts of daily scorekeeping as well as how to identify some challenges that your employees may face during consultation.
Importance of tracking sales
Most business owners, especially those as close to their operations as custom frame shop owners, have a strong intuitive sense of how their store is performing. But intuition is not accurate when it comes to the analysis of your business; you must base your decisions on facts. I have worked with many custom frame shop owners who have been surprised at how off their intuition is once we begin looking at actual numbers. By isolating sales of custom framing and tracking them, we discover insights that metrics obtained through point-of-sale systems often can’t, along with a more objective perspective than intuition alone can offer.
Working with Rene and Larry Bauer, owners of Karon’s Frame Center in Port Angeles, WA, and winners of the Tru Vue® Retail Boot Camp, we incorporated daily scorekeeping into their already strong operations. Within a month we saw results that revealed opportunities to increase conversions, establish goals for their employees, and how they could increase their average ticket. For most businesses I work with, once they implement the daily scorekeeping, they see the same type of insights just as quickly.
The program I use with my clients is easy to follow. We set up a chart that, when filled out regularly, tracks on a daily basis the number of opportunities to sell custom framing, successes, and failures. The key to this process is to track lost sales based on the reason. We begin with four basic categories for lost sales: price objection, need for approval from another family member or individual, design, or other. In the case of Karon’s Frame Center, their chart includes a category for converting price objections to sales of ready-made frames because they have a large selection of ready-made frames they make on-site.
Three positive impacts
The practice of scorekeeping alone generally results in positive changes. Here are three examples of positive impact tracking your daily custom framing sales can have on your business.
Once you know where you really are regarding custom framing sales; you can use this information to map out your future success. Once you analyze your sales, you can establish benchmarks, and from the benchmarks, you can create goals tied to employee incentives to increase success. Rene and Larry found this to be one of the best aspects of the practice regarding gaining an employee insight and motivation. Setting expectations and having goals is inspiring and gives employees a sense of pride and ownership in their performance.
It enables shop owners to determine a more precise average ticket price for framing projects. In the case of Karon’s Frame Center, the store’s point-of-sale software did not break out custom framing sales from other types of sales, such as ready-made frames, repairs, or gifts items. As a result, once they began looking at the segregated data for their custom framing sales, they saw that their average ticket for framing projects was higher than they first believed.
These insights not only provided them with a more accurate view of what a typical custom framing job costs at their shop, but it gave them confidence in their pricing. Having confidence in pricing when working with customers, makes all the difference when you are giving a design consultation, enabling you to close more sales.
It can help with customized training for your staff. The scorecard helps by revealing your staff’s strengths along with any areas for improvement during design consultation. Once you have data on your team’s strengths and weaknesses, you now have a training roadmap for improvement that you tailor to meet their specific needs.
Through my work over the years with hundreds of frame shops; I’ve seen some common challenges among employees. Below are three examples of the common types of employee personalities based on some of the things tracking has revealed, and the types of customized training used to help them improve. We’re calling them Employees A, B, and C, but you may recognize them from your experience.
When this employee loses a sale, it is most often due to a price objection. After spending time observing this employee, the shop owner realizes he finds it difficult to work premium materials into the design conversation in a way that doesn’t leave the customer feeling over-sold. Customized training for Employee A focuses on improved communications when a customer is concerned about budget.
This employee most often encounters a lack of enthusiasm from customers for his designs. One common example I have seen is that the employee isn’t spending enough time learning about the customer’s piece. The owner and employee can develop a script for Employee B to follow when beginning a project with a potential customer that includes several questions and conversations starters to draw out more information on the piece.
After tracking this employee’s sales, the owner finds that the reasons for not closing sales fall into two categories — need for approval and design. When the owner steps in to observe, she finds that the employee automatically recommends the most conservative designs and materials unless the customer has a specific request. Customers leave the shop without seeing the best they have to offer. This particular case is where design-driven sales training is helpful.
Design-driven sales training shifts the focus of the consultation from simply making the sale to providing the best design. It shows customers how things like creatively cut mats, stacked frames, intricate moulding finishes, and non-traditional mounting techniques can enhance the focal point of a piece. (Read more about it here.) With this training, Employee C becomes more comfortable offering multiple options, including more creative designs, based on the initial conversation with potential customers.
At WCAF, I reviewed the results of the Retail Boot Camp at Karon’s Frame Center and offered an average ticket scoresheet to the attendees. For your own free average ticket scoresheet to begin tracking your daily sales click this link.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.