Positivity is proving to be a winning formula for Laura Daly and team at her award-winning Bellissima…
Chatting to my industry retailer friends, it really does appear that the predictable sales patterns of old have well and truly died. Gone are the days of just about ticking along during the week only to find ourselves without enough hours or staff or energy to cope with the inevitable onslaught at the weekends. Overstuffed January diaries and eerily quiet August sales are but distant memories.
From what I hear, this is something of a national trend and I draw a certain amount of comfort from that. It’s good to know that we’re almost all riding the same rollercoaster together – and the same occasional shrieks of joy, or panic, or sheer bewilderment can be heard in bridal stores across the land.
At Bellissima, in recent times, we’ve seen midweek days that have been busier than the best of good old-fashioned Saturdays; and Saturdays when I swear there’s been tumbleweed rolling around the shop floor and more thumb-twiddling going on than any other activity. To keep the customers coming in, we extended our December 2018 sale into January but then we very nearly collapsed under the pressure of a super-busy summer diary that saw record sales. ‘Unpredictable’ sums it up pretty accurately.
Believe me when I say I know just how easy it is to go home depressed when things are quiet and convince yourself that it’s just you and that every other shop has countless brides queueing at the door, wildly waving their credit cards in the air. You start to question whether or not you really know what you’re doing and, if the week had been particularity quiet, how on earth you’re going to pay the bills. Then, woo-hoo, the next day is busy, the till is ringing and all the previous day’s angst is forgotten. But is it really?
I’m sure it’s not good for anyone to live such an extreme bipolar existence for any length of time. Without a doubt, it will have a huge influence on our general wellbeing and we run the risk of casting a negative influence over our staff as well. The chances are that the difficult or pessimistic atmosphere will soon be affecting the customers, too.
At this point, even the good days in the shop may not be properly capitalised upon because the atmosphere created in the shop isn’t conducive to selling. Either that, or everyone is so desperate for a sale that they become needy and pushy and frighten off their customers!
A light bulb moment, complete with the free gift of a coping mechanism came to me via one of my oldest friends who works in the entertainment industry.
She started out as an actress but has now moved on to become a film director and writer. Swimming resolutely against the tide, and with little track record, she secured the funding from Amazon to finish her second feature film. Against enormous odds, this film has just made it into a film festival in New York and she’s walking the red carpet as I write.
To make ends meet, and whilst working on her next couple of scripts, she’s been working part-time as a sales assistant. I asked how she copes with rejection, how she is always so positive, and how on earth she keeps the faith that money will appear to pay her bills. She told me simply, ‘I bank the wins’.
Every slight victory, every compliment, every positive meeting goes into the bank. Nothing negative goes in. Slowly her bank balance of wins grows, until she is rich in wins. This helps her keep positive and believe in herself. So, as an experiment, the next day at our staff meeting I told the girls to start banking their wins. Every customer’s smile, every happy dance, every life changed – bank it. Even on the most dire of days there’s always something to bank.
Bolstered by their banks full of positivity, my team have just achieved a 15% increase on their sales for August and September. I can feel the positive effect that it’s had on me, too – recently my Basil Fawlty moments have been tamed and it feels uplifting to let yourself feel good!
I’m not by any means claiming it’s the magic bullet to end all problems, but banking those wins may just help to keep you happier, keep your team happier, keep your customers happier.
Give it a go… bank the wins!