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How Cashier-Specific Goals Can Increase Suggestive Selling Success

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators. The author, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, brings to NATSO a wealth of knowledge about our industry.

Join Darren here every other Thursday for his biweekly retail column.

{Great Ideas} How Cashier Specific Goals Can Increase Suggestive Selling Success

I had many conversations with members during The NATSO Show in Savannah about creating suggestive selling programs. The topics covered areas such as:

  • How do you hold employees accountable;
  • How do you create a program that is fair; and
  • How do you track the program?

While there is not one single answer to what makes a good program, or more importantly a successful and sustainable program, there does appear to be a trend that is taking hold when a program is executed.

I have noticed during my travels through the airports of our nation that there has been a significant uptick in the amount of times I am suggestive sold at airport establishments. Returning home on Thursday of that week, I asked many different employees at newsstands, coffee stands and other food establishments what the parameters of their suggestive selling programs are. Across all venues a common trend emerged. The trend I am speaking about is that each of these very different establishments had shift- and/or cashier-specific goals. More specifically:

  1. Some of the establishment cashiers had to sell a certain number of items from a category before their shift was over.
    Example: Sell 10 pastries of any kind with a cup of coffee.

  2. Some of the establishment cashiers had to sell a certain number of items that the location had on special before their shift was over.
    Example: Soda is on sale for two for $1.00 and the cashier needs to sell 20 soda specials per shift.

  3. Some of the establishment cashiers had to sell a certain number of a specific item before their shift was over.
    Example: Sell this entire box of multi-pack gum before your shift is over.

  4. Some of the establishment cashiers had a dollar amount they had to achieve before the end of their shift. This amount was in some cases just a figure or percent increase given to them above their location’s historical shift/day of the week average, while in other cases it was specific to that cashier.
    Example: You need to sell $20 more in merchandise before your shift is over. Your average is $200 for Tuesday when you work, so you have a goal of $220 for today.

  5. Not meeting the goals had consequences. These consequences, like the goals, were all different in terms of severity and timelines.   
    Examples: Not hitting the goal for a shift resulted in a discussion with the manager on what could be done differently and what may have happened during that day to cause the shortfall, such as a significant drop in customer counts. After the second consecutive shift not meeting the goals, the consequence was additional discussion with some type of verbal warning, documented. Lastly, the third consecutive shift in a row where the goals had not been met resulted in disciplinary action taking place.

As one employee explained to me, when she began working at the establishment three years ago, she was told she was a cashier focused on customer service. Today, she is told to be a customer service sales person who just happens to open and shut a cash draw. 


Join the conversation! What cashier goals have you had success with? What do you find best motivates your cashiers? What cashier goal was not successful? What are the consequences for not meeting a goal at your location?

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.