With most stores currently on lockdown, it may be a good idea to take a step back and focus on what you can do for your business in the meantime. There is no point in getting depressed over a situation that needs time to be resolved, but there are all the points to be pro-active and use the time you have to offer your employees smart sales training tips. There is always more they can do to improve customer service and boost sales. Most of these tips come from our own sales department, and we sell a lot. So, let’s get right to it!
Sales Training Tips for Your Store Employees
Simply hiring people and placing them in a store to say “Hi, how can I help you” and process sales transactions isn’t enough. Training is necessary, even for tiny shops.
#1 Hire People Who Are Willing to Learn
Even the most effective sales training tips and programs won’t work on people who just wouldn’t be bothered. Sure, you can try and persuade them to change, but that has low chances of turning out the way you want it. So, it is best to avoid such risks altogether by not hiring this type of employee.
#2 Choose Team Players… (or don’t)
This does not apply to all store-based businesses. If you’re selling cars, most of the really good salespeople in the industry aren’t team players at all. So, evaluate the ideal salesperson for your type of business first, and then look for those traits in your employees.
#3 Find and Choose a Unified Selling System
Instead of pitching different selling systems to each team member, choose one selling approach/tactic, and train your employees to follow it. You can find retail, car, and other industry sales training programs online that you can readily apply to your team. Or, you can teach them the tactic that has historically worked best for you (in case you have a long-term observation and experience to back that up).
#4 Utilize Online Training
If your store isn’t shipping or doing deliveries during the pandemic and your employees are staying at home, you can resolve this by using online training courses and videos. There are many platforms like Lynda and Udemy, and you can find a wide variety of free sales training tips on YouTube. Encourage your team to go through the one you have chosen and make sure to schedule online meetings to discuss it after everyone has seen the video/s.
#5 One Thing at a Time
Divide the sales training process into steps and pause to review each one, so you can look at examples and let people try it out. It may sound like a lot of work, but now is the time to solidify and gain new skills that will pay off later on.
#6 Do Role Playing
If your employees don’t have someone at home to help them practice what they have learned, you can have employees role play with one another instead. Make them run different scenarios where one of them is the client and the other one the salesperson, and then make them do the opposite. Try to include more than two people per role play so you can increase the difficulty and range of different situations your team can encounter in real life.
#7 Keep an Eye out for Trends
Trends are everywhere. In fashion, cars, technology, and sales. Especially in sales. Much like there are evergreen techniques that work, there might be something new and trendy you can capitalize on. There are many sales gurus in virtually any industry that you can follow for tips on the latest. You can find them online, be it through a quick Google search or platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Quora.
#8 Once the Program Is Set in Motion, Gather Feedback
Just because your plan is great, it doesn’t mean it will go as you’d expect. When your team starts applying your training in their interaction with customers, take the time to evaluate the efficiency of the approach. Gather feedback from customers and from your team to identify points that need emphasis and ones that require restructuring and a new strategy.
#9 Hold People Accountable
To make sure employees are applying what you taught them in action, you shouldn’t rely on their good faith to do it alone. There have to be consequences for those who aren’t using your techniques. The success of your efforts depends on how serious your employees are willing to take them. Make sure to incentivize them with bonus schemes, so they feel encouraged to actively use their sales training.
The Bottom Line
Times are tough, and training your employees when there is no guarantee there will be a business for them to come back to once the lockdown is over, may seem like a worthless idea. If that is the case, just remember this quote:
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Those who survive and thrive in these testing months will be those who are actively employing their available resources to build a better-prepared, more resilient business. It falls on you and your business partner to choose on which side you want your company to be. Invest in your staff and business, so they can do the same for you in the future.
You got this.