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SECRET IN THE NUMBERS
Craig T. Kojima/ckojima@starbulletin.com

8/02/02: Send Ron Martin your raw sales data at the end of the day, and by morning he'll give you a report on which salespeople are leading the pack and which are falling behind. Martin runs his "Morning Report" from his Tantalus home.

SECRET IN THE NUMBERS
Ron Martin's "Morning Report" can spot the star on the sales staff
By Russ Lynch: rlynch@starbulletin.com

Through most of the 1990s, Ron Martin worked with a hand-held calculator and a set of raw numbers to help out pal Joe Green, owner of the Surf & Sea store in Haleiwa.

He and Green were amazed at what they found with a little math. They could track sales by each employee to find out who the sales stars were and when were the peak and low times -- all information that could be used to make changes that would increase sales.

Two years ago, Martin, who operates out of his house on Tantalus Drive, bit the bullet and learned how to use a computer and an Excel spread sheet. The result is "The Morning Report," which now covers performance at some 100 retail stores, mostly in Hawaii but a few on the mainland.

Each client gets an e-mailed or faxed report tailored to its own business, based on confidential sales and staffing information the client provided at the end of the previous day. The report comes as a fact sheet with individual employees' names and performance, the hours they worked and the sales they made. The reports cost $10 a day.

"I have only good things to say about it," said Eric Basta, dive manager at Surf & Sea. "It's a good tool."
The store doesn't use it to criticize, he said, only to build employees' performance.

"It can be used in a lot of different ways. Ron has suggested ways to use it and we have our own ways," Basta said. "Besides the sales figures, he puts in a lot of motivational stuff."

The newest client for the Morning Report is Kaiser Permanente's optical shops, where manager Ann Christian said the report is in response to employee requests.

"Our opticians have asked, 'tell me how I am doing my job,'" and the report answers that for each of them, she said.

Gerry Harbottle, operator of three Harley Davidson apparel stores on Oahu, gets a report first thing in the morning listing sales the day before, by employee. From there, management can pinpoint how well one salesperson does compared to the others, how one store does compared to another and "what's even more important, whose payroll compared to sales is the highest or the lowest."

Harbottle said it shows who has the highest sales per hour and a lot of other information, a basis for employee motivation.

Sharper selling
Among the tips in Ron Martin's "Retail Selling Made Easy":

  • Don't push a customer too hard because you'll push him or her away.
  • A nice friendly greeting, a simple "hello" or "aloha," is fine but don't charge into "how may I help you?"
  • Don't crowd the customer.
  • When you are finally making a sale, ask if the customer would like to look around some more while you hold on to the credit card.
  • Think 20/20/60 -- 20 percent of your customers will buy no matter what you say or do; 20 percent will not buy, regardless of what you say or do; and 60 percent will buy "depending totally on what you say or do."

"You can see if someone is having a problem," he said.

"It also does things like show how much more sales we have to obtain through the remainder of the month to hit goals," he said.

Martin, the report's inventor, said to refine his ideas he first worked with Natural Hawaiian, a local products retailer in the International Marketplace in Waikiki, and for about seven years with Surf & Sea.

"I was determined never to use a computer," he said. But he eventually figured out how to handle the high-tech stuff and found what it could do for his clients.

His conclusion: "If you want impact, measure it. If you want to increase the impact, increase the measuring. What I am doing in the Morning Report is I am showing everyone what they are doing," he said.
The stores fax or e-mail him at the end of each day with details of "who worked today, how much did they sell, how many hours did they work."

His firm, which uses typists as far away as Canada, next morning sends back charts and graphs about sales and identifing the top seller of the day.

"We help management see what is going on when they have time to change it," he said. Part of that is helping retailers understand what it costs them to make the sales they make.

Stores often do their own figuring and use spreadsheets "We just rearrange the facts into a more informative and valuable format," he said.

Martin, who has been in Hawaii since 1981, said he started a home-sales jewelry business in Southern California in the 1960s, selling gold items in homes. For the past couple of decades he has been in the business of motivating and training people in Hawaii.

He has produced two self-published motivational books, "Success Made Easy" and "Retail Selling Made Easy," created through his overall business, Success Dynamics.

 Success Dynamics, Inc © 2006