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Retail Consultant Sales Training Lessons [Case Study]

As a retail consultant, I partner with clients to increase conversions, attract more customers and become more profitable. In  this series of blogs, I’m sharing several case studies from some of the largest brands to some of the smallest mom and pops with lessons on your physical location, merchandising, branding, targeted marketing and of course, retail sales training – all of which you can use in your stores. This time I’m sharing how we used  intense retail sales training to increase sales by over twenty percent in three to six months.

The challenge

A company that had used me as their “go-to guy” for sales training at their large quarterly meetings was looking to provide additional training for their independent dealers to help them standout from their competition.

The situation

The independent dealers, who had committed tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade each of their store interiors,  wanted to get a higher return on their investment.  The company was looking for ways to deliver that higher expected return. One salesperson shared, “I thought our owner paid a lot for those fixtures which we didn’t utilize.”

The prescription

We created a 2 1/2 day intensive sales training course.  The goal was to raise the average sale and increase the closing ratio.  We created a custom program which incorporated the new store design, product scripts, a more detailed sales process, and new ways to follow-up on leads. Special emphasis was placed on limiting participant size. We offered lots of hands-on training, personal coaching and role-playing for owners and their salespeople. The weekend concluded with the dealers in teams teaching what they’d learned to the rest of the group.

The results

The stores who participated in the sales training weekend saw their sales rise 22.3% over the next three to six months. Five stores, who did not attend the training in the region, saw their sales decline during the same time period.

Participants shared some of their “aha” moments including, “My personal relationship to the customer makes or breaks the sale, I’m not just selling a product, I need to now sell myself,” and, “I never had an ‘approach’ – I winged it, but I now have a process for myself to be consistent with my approach.”

Lessons for you

You’ve probably attended sales trainings before. You’ve heard about features and benefits and making a customer feel important, but a lot of sales trainings don’t stick because people need to internalize the training, get over their own fears of selling, and have a chance to practice in a safe environment. My retail sales training does exactly that.

I don’t mean to toot my own horn but if you can’t hire me for a custom retail sales training program, here are three things that I include that lead to “aha” moments.

Try sharing these three sales training elements with your crew:

  • Role-play a customer and salesperson and ask the group if they would have purchased based on that presentation. You are looking for honest feedback on how it looked and felt.
  • Have your sales crew write their thoughts about admitting to family or friends that they are salespeople. Have them list three emotions they feel when they tell someone. Then have them share it with the group.
  • Everyone takes a trip through your store looking for a fixture or display that is not used to its best advantage. Then brainstorm on how to improve the use of those fixtures or displays to better sell your merchandise.

An added benefit of these sharing moments is a closer connection to your crew.

The more time you can devote to getting your sales force comfortable with selling, the more impact these training moments will have. Having participants teach it back shows how well they learned and can transfer that knowledge to others.

It may not be new fixtures or a lack of return on investment that leads you to call me. It might be that sales are suffering, or you feel you’re in a rut, or wondering how much higher your business can go, but whatever the reason, if your store or region is not where it needs to be, if you’re not getting that higher conversion and higher average ticket and you still intend to win at retail in 2012 and beyond, I can help you demystify the sales process and upgrade your salespeoples’ ability to sell. And isn’t that what success is all about?

What in-store exercises have you used to increase sales or lead your crew to becoming more comfortable selling?

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About Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor

Companies from some of the very largest, to some of the smallest, from luxury brands to startups, from franchises to regional chains contact me as a retail consultant because they are looking for results.

While every client and project is different, the ability to enlist me as a retail consultant who has a fresh set of eyes to look at the challenges you are facing can result in a focused, effective and creative path to profitable sales.  No matter what your size, let’s see how I can help you as a retail consultant that gets results.

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Posted by Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor on January 21, 2012.

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