When we ask retailers what questions they have about the industry, many say that they want to know what works for other retailers.
And mimicry is the most sincere form of flattery, so if something works for another retailer, there’s a chance you can make it work for you.
Broad River Retail has a laundry list of company initiatives that work for them, so The FAM caught up with COO Manny Rodrigues to see what they are and how they work.
Million Dollar Memory Makers
As we discussed previously on The FAM, Broad River’s Memory Maker Experience has been a huge success. Starting in 2014 with just one salesperson who sold more than $1 million in product, the next year it went up to four salespeople, then seven, and so on. In 2021, the company celebrated a whopping 98 Million Dollar Memory Makers.
But how do you motivate salespeople and encourage them to believe they can sell over a million dollars of product?
Heather Greenwood, head of the program, helps her people be their best by focusing on how to create better programs supporting employees to help them get to the next level
Greenwood also makes sure she’s nurturing them through learning and development, pledging to be beside them throughout the whole journey, good or bad. That kind of support is invaluable and led to a record-breaking number of Memory Makers this year.
Each year, Broad River comes up with a different word or phrase that they can live and work by for the next year. In 2020 it was “United”, last year it was “Forward Together, and in 2022, it’s “Thrive.”
“Over the past several years we’ve done this, and it’s really been impactful for our folks,” Rodrigues says. “We still wanted to hold on to the sentiment United and reinforce the sentiment of perspective — we just went through a survival time period, and now we want to move into a thriving period.”
The interesting about the word thrive, according to Rodrigues, is that it’s deeply personal. How do you answer the question of what thriving means to you?
For one person, it might be about health and wellness, and for another, it may be about finances. Another might be focusing on professional development. And that’s why the company decided to make a town-hall-style Thrive and Purpose Series that touches on different topics.
“Each month we have a question based on the topics that our Memory Makers have asked us about,” he explains. “The first month we talked about mental health, with a couple of testimonials. We then had someone come on board and talk to us about work/life balance. We had someone come in and talk to us about financial planning, like how to set budgets, and our next one is about food and nutrition.”
At the beginning of May, Broad River holds its Sleep Summit, which helps educate employees ahead of Memorial Day and the summer holidays that follow.
“We were able to bring in all of our Memory Makers from across the region to a central location and team up with our amazing sleep partners. Tempur Sealy was there talking about new mattresses we’re going to carry, and Ashley Sleep spoke about what makes their products different and unique. We also introduced Purple at our last summit, which was huge.”
Because of the Summit, Rodrigues says the company saw the momentum that it built and the impact it had on Memorial Day just a few weeks later.
“We have a lot of new folks on our team that have not gone through a Sleep Summit before, ”he says. “Sleep products are typically where a new RSA is probably most uncomfortable because it’s more of a technical sale. So giving them the confidence to speak to it helps that sales process.”
Coming out of Covid, Rodrigues says the company wanted to get a sense of what was on its Memory Maker’s minds. So they sent out an engagement survey, and he says the response rate was unbelievable.
“My caution to our leadership team was to listen and understand that we have a tremendous responsibility to get feedback and actually do something with it,” he says. “We set up an advisory council for this, and the feedback has been great. Even just small things, like the way we structure out PTO, were talked about, and for the first time in our company’s history we did a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).”
As a result of the survey, Broad River also introduced PTO for parental leave, a first for the company, and Rodrigues says it was very meaningful for the parents to not have to use their PTO as parental leave.
“The council is halfway through the year, but they’ve already done so much already,” Rodrigues adds. “It’s been great to have them be that advocacy group for our employees.”
Broad River is an example of an innovative company doing big things in a way that’s rarely been done before in the home furnishings industry, and they don’t plan to slow down any time soon.
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