7 Reasons You’re Afraid Of Retail Sales Training And What to Do About It
By Bob Phibbs
Have you passed on retail sales training because for you either didn’t think it would work or you had a bad experience in the past? You're not alone.
Many business owners and managers have tried all kinds of in-person and computer programs, retreats, and more but couldn’t get their associates to use what they've learned. Then they felt like they wasted their time and were left wondering why it didn't work.
Good customer service seems intuitive enough, so why are some people so unwilling to put into practice what they've learned? Besides, better service could ultimately mean more sales, bonuses, or commission for them, right?
Here are seven reasons why training doesn't work and what you can do about it:
1. People Hate Change
As humans, we get comfortable doing what we've always done; that’s why many people are so resistant to change. That's why it's important to have regular sales training meetings so that anything new you are proposing will become the norm and not the new, unknown, and uncomfortable.
2. The My Way Is Better Mentality
Some of your associates might have been in sales for years and feel as if their techniques and tactics are why they've been so successful. This sentiment could result in the fear of lost sales. Those associates might feel that if they change their ways, they could lose sales and, therefore, they don't even try. This is a hard mindset to overcome. However, if you try team collaboration prior to purchasing the training, give proof that the training works, and implement regular retail sales training sessions, these tactics will ultimately help those associates overcome that fear.
3. No Input From Salespeople Prior
Many business managers and owners see a training program they think would be fantastic, and they buy it without consulting their sales team first. Then they wonder why it didn't work. Consider talking with your sales team before investing in any sales training program. Their insight will be invaluable as to their fears and concerns. If you have not had a sales process prior, most any system - from the most basic to the most advanced - will initially feel constraining. Addressing all concerns before you start a training program helps them not feel so powerless to change. By the way, I'm not saying you have to ask for their permission, just for their thoughts. The decision is still yours.
4. Selling Is Perceived as Manipulative
Let’s face it, ask a room of a hundred if they would want their kids to grow up to be salespeople and less than a handful will raise their hands. When you ask them they will feel selling is manipulation, dishonest, and fake. Without dealing with those perceptions prior to implementation, the simplest sales tactic might be seen as slick or disingenuous and the entire program gets trashed. If you consult with your team about the pros and cons of any potential retail training program before you purchase it, you can uncover any potential negative aspects from different points of view.
5. Associates Are Not Being Held Accountable
When directing a sales team, there has to be a system of accountability with clear objectives and goals, suggested improvements, and sales metrics for them to follow. Otherwise, you will be allowing your associates to drift in their performance. Without performance metrics - say 2 lessons per week - employees will feel as if they can do whatever they want. The whole point of introducing retail sales training is to increase each person’s sales numbers.
6. Perception of Too Much Work for Not Enough Sales
There’s an old saying, Is the juice worth the squeeze? which simply asks is something worth the trouble of trying to get it. You have to be able to share stories of how the training is working; a customer who you thought was just looking opened up to you, a repeat customer exclaimed how something had changed, or your KPIs have gone up. You must share the early results often and with everyone so they see how others are meeting with success. Some associates might just need some solid proof that what you're asking them to do will ultimately work if given enough time.
7. One Rotten Apple Can Spoil The Barrel
Attitude is everything, and if you don't hire people who genuinely like people and like selling, you will probably end up with an even bigger problem when one negative attitude spreads to the rest of your team. You can try to mold that person into the salesperson you want them to be, but that almost never works. If they were a bad employee before you offered retail sales training, they’ll still be a bad employee who frustrates your efforts to elevate your customer service. If you have someone who has a negative attitude or seems disinterested in selling your products, cut them loose.
With so much competition for your shoppers’ money, you can’t afford to let your store devolve into a warehouse of pretty items you hope will magically sell themselves to people who walk in your store.
The merchandise can’t do the heavy lifting of converting a passing interest into a purchase.
That takes a human being. One who can greet a shopper like a friend, build rapport, and become a trusted advisor.
That takes retail sales training. And to go a bit further, online retail sales training is now far more effective than any one "trainer" position. When matched with an in-store daily coaching strategy, the one that really can increase your sales.
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