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Retailers: The Most Important Person You Forget In Your Training Plans

retail sales trainingHave you ever gone to a store and purchased paint, only to discover when you get home that you have no brush?

That’s kind of what it’s like with many retailers’ training programs…

They may have had an outside company (like me) develop their material, or they may have spent hours, weeks and months developing their own program…

But when it comes to the actual training, they forget their most important person, their Learning Manager, the one who will actually assign and monitor their training. Continue reading Retailers: The Most Important Person You Forget In Your Training Plans »

Training Retail Employees: What Is Your ROI?

ROI retail sales training“What if I train my retail employees, and then they leave?”

It seems like every time I hear from a manager who’s trying to talk themselves out of retail sales training, they come around to this line of thinking.  They’re afraid of spending the time and money to train their employees, just to have the employee leave a few weeks or months later.

On its face, that seems like a valid concern. You certainly don’t want to invest a lot of money in short-term employees. However, that thinking is flawed, and overlooks a far more important question…

“What if you don’t train them, and they stay?” Continue reading Training Retail Employees: What Is Your ROI? »

5 Pitfalls of DIY Retail Sales Training in Your Store

pitfalls of retail trainingWhile I love to speak to retailers and train them how to sell better in their stores, I have another passion for fixing up old houses.

The first bathroom I remodeled, I decided to tile the tube walls myself and add a tin ceiling. The tin panels were 4’ x 8’ and when doing it yourself (DIY,) it is next to impossible to get flush, straight and looking like the ceiling I expected. Tiling a wall is not something for a first project as they slip and slide easily. While I finished it, I was always keenly aware I didn’t have the skill, time or inclination to do it right – rather I just wanted to get through it.

I learned without the proper experience, it’s almost impossible to foresee, and avoid, all of the pitfalls of a DIY project.

Retailers have been treating retail sales training as a DIY project for decades, often with the same lackluster results. DIY training doesn’t fail due to ignorance or laziness, but due to a lack of experience and organization.

Five pitfalls of DIY training in your retail store:

Dusty Training Manuals

If you look around long enough in the back room of a retail store, you’ll eventually run across a bookshelf full of “training material.” These 3-ring binders are chock full of outdated materials that are either too complex to be intelligible and actionable, or too simplified to be of any use. Worse yet, if you dig some more, you may find some old VHS tapes that trainees are expected to find the time to watch. Of course, these outdated video training tools feature actors performing retail sales tasks under ideal conditions, so their training value is limited.

One thing that all of these training materials usually have in common is a healthy layer of dust. That’s because your employees either don’t know they exist, or do and have avoided using them. Either way, the standardized training materials are left on the shelf and your employees end up being trained on an ad hoc basis.

Blind Leading the Blind

Without a train-the-trainer program to follow for your retail store, how are your employees being trained? They’re learning from the employees that came before them. And those employees learned from previous employees. Each new generation of employees is getting a more-diluted version of the original training. Even the best training probably has little or no resemblance to the original program you set up. It’s like making a copy of a copy of a copy. With each iteration, the lines get a little more blurred, the process gets a little more faded, and the end result is unrecognizable.

No Time

When things are busy, your floor staff won’t have time to properly train a new salesperson. When things are slow, there’s usually a cutback in staff and no one to teach the new salesperson. Your staff is left with a difficult decision—they can try to administer training during busy periods, jeopardizing their own performance or they can leave the newbie employee to sink or swim on their own, jeopardizing your business. Either way, the trainee is unlikely to properly learn much-needed skills, and the trainer is likely to end up frustrated. For a brick and mortar retail business that lives or dies on the performance of its salespeople, neither is a good outcome.

Overpaid Training

If your floor staff doesn’t have the time to administer training, that leaves it up to your managers. This puts the highest-paid members of your staff out on the floor, teaching someone how to stock merchandise or ring up purchases. You promoted your managers because they could handle the most important responsibilities in your retail store—now you have them performing basic training. That’s not a good use of their time, or your money. Retail sales training e-learning lets trainees learn basic tasks quickly and efficiently, without pulling your managers away from greater responsibilities.

Luck of the Draw Training

This happens far too often in a retail sales environment. Your new employee gets paired with whoever happens to be working when they start their first shift. This is often random, and done without considering the overall abilities or attitude of the person doing the training. What if you’ve just paired the trainee with someone who never got to complete their own training? Or, worse yet, what if you’ve paired them with a disgruntled employee who’s just counting minutes until they find another job? You could unknowingly be creating two poorly trained salespeople with attitude problems. And, as luck would have it, they may go on to train other people themselves!

How to avoid these pitfalls?

Retailers are making these mistakes, and suffering the consequences, every day – often more than once a day. To avoid these pitfalls, and the problems they can cause, consider online retail sales training for your sales staff.


Because your sales crew gets the same training every time. My SalesRX.com online retail sales training program certifies your crew that they know all the material and will use it – making your training and HR issues much easier. The fact it is raising conversions by as much as 30% is a bonus.

8 Proven Strategies For Retail Success

retail holiday sales tipsI had been hired in my business consultant role by a guy looking to open a new retail shop.

After assessing the location and merchandise ideas, I turned to the would-be retailer and asked, “Who is your customer and why is she shopping with you?”

He replied, “I want everyone and everywhere, from old to young, guys, women, straight, gay – all of them.”  That sounded familiar – every beginning retailer thinks they can just put their arms around an entire town, region or state and be successful.

I have news for you, your arms aren’t that wide. You have to narrow your focus…

The best retailers know who their target customer is and why those customers are shopping with them… Continue reading 8 Proven Strategies For Retail Success »

Retail Sales Training Will Never Be The Same

coursesWhile working for some great retailers, I found I was naturally good at selling merchandise and retail sales training. Little did I know that during those years I was creating a philosophy that would later drive my brand as the Retail Doctor.

And that is…

Retailers can make the world a better place by giving their employees the tools they need to meet a stranger with an open heart, build rapport and sell them something.

We all want to be noticed. To be valued. To be seen.

Too many of our customers are still walking around, tweeting, Instagramming – complaining really- about what someone in a retail establishment did to them.

  • How they endured the worst wait ever.
  • How the barrista totally ruined their latte.
  • How they had to wait five minutes before someone - anyone - came over.

You get the picture. Continue reading Retail Sales Training Will Never Be The Same »