by Steve Pruitt

Q: I heard Blacks talking about how to rebuild sales momentum after the store closings. Can you tell me more about the strategies I need to embrace as I start welcoming customers again?

Steve Pruitt: At this point it has been almost eight weeks since the stores began closing. During this period, merchants have reworked sales plans, reevaluated inventory, cut and shifted on-order, trimmed expenses, and generally right-sized their businesses.

Will the business you get look like your current plan six months from now? Probably not. There is still a lot we do not know or understand. We are still very early in the recovery cycle. If we think in terms of a sales curve, we are in the “building rapport” position of the curve — right at the beginning of the sales process.

It’s going to take months to reestablish normal selling activity. We must rebuild our client relationships. A series of emails talking about safety will not be enough. A bunch of beautiful Instagram posts will not be enough. A bunch of markdowns will not do it. We need to focus on the core of your client relationships: trust, and knowledge. If you treat every client relationship as special, you can and will have stronger relationships than you did eight weeks ago. This needs to be your goal.

What we do know is that every merchant at least has a plan that leads to success. Your sales momentum will determine whether or not you reach your goal. You can build momentum quickly to accelerate your plan and grow your opportunities. Or, you can start soft, and miss the plan. A miss here could be troublesome because most all of these plans have a goal of building new cash reserves. Remember, cash is still king.

It is time to start selling. Smart selling.

If you would like a copy of the Blacks’ “Selling Momentum” report, drop me a note at info@blksretail.com.

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