Trust: The Key Ingredient to Keeping Luxury Retail Employees Motivated

Trust: The Key Ingredient to Keeping Luxury Retail Employees Motivated

While 2022 has been an economically turbulent year for all types of business, luxury retailers have witnessed another strong year of sales activity. A recent Bloomberg article cited how handbags, watches, jewelry, and cars are doing just fine in 2022, with Louis Vuitton and Chiristian Dior (LVCD) experiencing a 22% increase in sales this year.

While location and traffic are critical for luxury retail stores, more often than not, the bulk of sales come from regular clientele, and that clientele want to consult with a specific selling professional. After the pandemic and the great resignation, luxury retail stores are evaluating on how to keep valuable sales staff.

Sales is a mindset, and one of the most common challenges for sales staff and selling managers is motivation. For sales staff, staying motivated is a key priority to tracking with goals and keeping up the selling mindset by staying positive and focused. Traditional management thinking has centered on fear-based motivation but the study of neuroscience, or how our brains work, is shedding new light on things.

Sales Management: From Fear Tactics to Better Practices

New research shows that the best way that selling managers and leaders can motivate is through praise and support. Dr. Judith Glaser has drawn on the neuroscientific evidence of how praise can create a flow of positive neurochemicals in the brain that will lead to employees internalizing an intrinsic motivation, one that can open new pathways for thinking creatively, remaining engaged in work, and ultimately achieving their sales goals.

Lead Your Team with Trust and Reap the Rewards

Another aspect of motivation, and a more critical component to leading a team, is the notion of trust. Trust in the brain produces the same neurochemicals as motivation and the two go hand in hand. When trust is activated in the brain, we produce dopamine, the feel-good hormone that gives us a positive, glass half-full attitude. In addition, oxytocin, a bonding hormone that makes us feel connected to others, and endorphins, another feel-good hormone, are produced when we pick up signals of trust. Activating trust in the brain can lead to your selling team having a more positive outlook on the future and can further develop their internal motivation for success.

The best way to signal trust in the brain when working with your sales staff is by asking open-ended questions, specifically questions that are posed from a place of curiosity rather than judgement or frustration. Focus on listening to the ideas presented and give cues that you are excited to hear their thoughts and ideas.

Quite often, sales staff focus on aspects external to their own efforts when faced with roadblocks to achieving sales goals. For instance, they may claim that sales are down because the POS procedures are not easy, or the store doesn’t have the right merchandise the client is seeking. While these may be true, they are not things the selling associate can control.

To activate trust and the positive neurochemicals associated with it, redirect the conversation to what aspects they do have control over and how they can focus on those things to drive business. This will leave them feeling more empowered and motivated to put those behaviors in place that they can actually control, which will lead to better results in the long-term. Follow that up with authentic praise and your selling associate is primed for better performance.

Getting Started with Team Motivation

You can use new discoveries in neuroscience to help build trust and ultimately motivate your team. To learn more about building trust, check out Dr. Judith Glaser’s book, Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results.

Author: Keila Tyner, PhD – Ms. Tyner is Selling Director – Women’s Designer Shoes at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York. She also teaches and writes about everything from the industry, to the psychology of fashion.

How to Implement an Omnichannel Retailing Strategy

Consumers are finding brands via so many different channels now, so how do retailers keep up? Read our Retail Omnichannel Guide and understand the complexities of today’s retail landscape and how a unified software platform can move your business in the right direction.

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