When you’re running a retail business, the effectiveness of your employees can make a major impact on your sales. If you’d like to increase those numbers and create a better experience for customers, retail sales training is a must. However, many small businesses don’t have a ton of time or resources to dedicate to this area, so they don’t always dive as deep as they should.
Whether they’re ready or not, retail employees typically hit the floor on day one. Help give them a head start with these 10 retail training tips.
Retail Training Tips
Hire Team Members Who Are Willing to Learn
Even the best retail training program isn’t going to make an impact on employees who aren’t willing to learn or change. There are things you can do to encourage them to be open to positive changes. But some simply aren’t the right fit. If someone shows an unwillingness to learn and try new things, it may be best to go in another direction.
Find a Selling System That Works
Instead of training store employees to try a variety of sales tactics or just generally improve their interactions, opt for a retail sales training program with a specific set of steps and objectives. This helps you to narrow down a goal and keep your training sessions focused on your the outcome that you want to achieve.
Once you have a goal and system in mind, it’s time to get your team on board. Instead of just telling them that they have to do this training, explain why and actually get them to buy into the concept by explaining why it’s so important and what the benefits will be.
Bob Phibbs of The Retail Doctor and SalesRX, a retail sales training system, said in an email to Small Business Trends, “I always recommend a team meeting. You want them to choose to do the training, not feel you put it on them. They’ll resent you and not learn if you don’t get them on your side at this meeting.”
Use Online Training
If you have limited resources to work with, there are still training programs available that can help you easily give your employees access to training materials. Consider online training platforms that give you targeted training videos and step-by-step processes that you can pass onto your employees.
Include Actual Steps
No matter what type of training program you go with, make sure that it includes actionable steps rather than general tips that are open to interpretation.
Phibbs explains, “They must know what to do at each step not “value every guest” – whatever that means.”
Practice One Thing at a Time
Retail training isn’t just about telling or showing your employees a new process. You need to actually let the try it for themselves. Ideally, let them practice specific steps until they master them before moving onto the next one.
Phibbs says, “Most people confuse training with exposure. Exposure is watching Serena play at Wimbledon then saying you can do that. No you can’t. You can understand what she did but until you’ve put time into doing the backhand 500k times so your body is able to do it without thinking, you’re just exposed to the training.”
Additionally, it’s helpful to let them practice steps in a low leverage environment. For example, your cashier training program could be done with other employees during slow times.
Phibbs says, “You have to give them a chance to do what you taught in a safe environment without the pressure of making the sale.”
Keep It Going
Phibbs says, “Training isn’t something you did, training is something you do – ongoing. There is no once and done.”
In a small store, you may not feel like you have the ability to dedicate a ton of time to training existing employees. However, a quick brush up every now and then can help you make significant improvements over time.
Look Out for Trends
Once you implement a sales and training program, you need to make sure it’s having the desired effect. If sales or customer satisfaction isn’t improving, gather feedback to find out why. It could be that you didn’t spend enough time practicing a specific step and your employees aren’t getting it. Or you may have a specific employee or employees who aren’t following instructions.
Hold People Accountable
Your cashier training program or retail sales training process can only go as far as your employees are willing to take it. If your training has gotten through to them and some employees certainly aren’t using it, you may need to introduce consequences or cut ties.
Phibbs adds, “You have to hold people accountable to do what you taught them. If you’re not willing to do that. Save your time, get used to lower numbers and going out of business.”
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