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Seven Tips To Avoid Holiday BurnOut
by Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor

With all the demands of retail, including longer hours, employees calling in sick or quitting, etc., it is easy to turn into a grinch.


But, if you let that “grinchy” feeling in, you are especially likely to have, as the media loves to tell it, “The Worst Holiday Sales Since 1991.”

So how do you avoid it? Here are seven tips.

1. Embrace the idea of the holidays—and its music.
I get so tired of hearing retailers complain about Christmas music. Get over it; it makes the shoppers feel merry. Instead of fighting it, look at it as a reminder that these are the money weeks.

2. Make a schedule policy, and stick to it.
No one gets Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas off. No one. Not your daughter, your son, your mother-in-law or you. No one. If it is slow, you can always let them go early. But you don’t want to be swamped from noon to 5 and have no one to help last-minute shoppers.

3. Plan in advance to offer shorter holiday shifts for your employees.
This is your business, not your employees’, so give them six-hour shifts or split shifts, if you can, so that they can get off early or in the middle of the day for errands or shopping. Giving them choices ahead of time makes for much happier and more productive employees.

4. Have a meeting with your staff.
I always like to do this as a breakfast meeting on the day after Thanksgiving. It gives me a chance to bond with the crew outside of work, set the goals for the season and remind them of anything they can do to upsell. Free food ensures they’ll show up. Oh yeah, make it mandatory.

5. Develop your sixth sense.
Always have your head up and looking around your store to see who has been waiting a long time, who has a question, which salesperson is not up to par, and so on. Step in as appropriate to keep the store moving along. Consumers are more stressed and have less time than ever, and they are going to “punish” anyone who makes them wait.

6. This is the season to build your customer list (including e-mail addresses), so get every customer to sign up for your free newsletter or a drawing. (I always like to give away a train set with the drawing on Christmas Eve at 3 p.m.)
Include on the entry slip the customers’ name, e-mail address and phone as well as the name and birth date of the person they are buying the holiday gift for now. You can use all of this marketing information during the first part of next year.

7. Don’t listen to the mindless talking heads on the news tell you how awful retail sales were, are or could be.
Instead, remain determined to be remarkable in the minds of your customers, from the moment they enter your door to the time the gifts they purchase are unwrapped. Consumers want to see someone brilliant on the basics of great retail — not someone who is burned out and bitter. You can do this; just embrace this season and all it entails.


Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor®, is a nationally recognized expert on business strategy, customer service, sales and marketing. He has more than 30 years experience in retailing and management.

His consulting company, The Retail Doctor, provides training and inspiration to small and medium-sized independent businesses and teaches them how to successfully compete in today’s retail environment.

A frequent guest on MSNBC’s Your Business, Mr. Phibbs and his work have been featured in Entrepreneur magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

He also is the author of The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business and You Can Compete as well as the Sales RX™ DVD Sales Training System and HUDDLE Sales Training Program.

Call Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, at (518) 444-8082, or visit his website, www.retaildoc.com, to find out how he can help you improve your sales and marketing efforts.


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