Can You Believe Retail Sales Training Lifted Sales 100%? No
By Bob Phibbs
Anyone telling you a retail sales training program will work 100% of the time is very likely a liar.
I recently sent my own ROI survey to current and former users of my SalesRX.com online retail sales training program. I included people who had used the system for days as well as those who had used the system for years. (In hindsight, next time we’ll only poll those who have been in the system two or more months as some who responded having been in the system a week noted it was too early to tell if the program had lifted sales.)
In support of transparency though, here are the responses.
83% reported SalesRX helped them increase their sales.
72% reported a high to much higher rate converting lookers to buyers
78% dedicated 1-5 hours per week training with SalesRX.
So you might be asking, why did only 83% say it helped them increase sales? Part of that was not enough time for some but the numbers will never be 100%.
Just like hiring a great person is only part of a way to grow sales, unless you put them with a great manager and to a lesser extent a great crew, and reward and encourage accordingly, a training program is only a part of the answer.
If you had a lousy manager to begin with before you started training, you’ll probably still have a lousy manager.
And that leads to less follow-through.
Less mentoring and more forcing - forcing to take the training, rather than helping the learners come to the training.
If you don’t spend the time to bring the manager and employees into planning the implementation, you’ll probably get push back.
If you don’t show them what they get out of the training at the outset, they’ll feel like you’re making them do something they deem as unnecessary.
And let’s face it, most people don’t like change.
That’s why so many retailers have abandoned sales training programs that teach the soft skills of engaging a stranger.
Because they didn’t look at the whole ecosystem of their retail stores, the need for a dedicated trainer, or how unreasonable their expectation for managers to train everyone was or their passive purchase of a series of sales guides resulted in zip results.
Which leads to the refrain training doesn’t move the needle.
And there are plenty of training programs that talk owners into something quick and easy with no examination of how to make it work. I've seen some say their training was a set and forget system.
Nothing is further from the truth.
If you expect employees to actively engage strangers, to get them to build rapport in a natural way and yes, sell the fully-priced merchandise, you cannot set and forget.
That’s because your employees already have set and forget in their minds.
They say the same bland and bored, “Can I help you find anything?” “Looking for something special?” Do you have a budget?” and embrace the world of low conversion rates.
The Good News
However, when you have several people on your team dedicated to embracing training, who see it as a competitive edge in a world of me-too, cookie-cutter retail, and are willing to schedule employees and inspect what is expected, great things can happen.
When you make it easy – just two lessons per week – training goes up, sales go up and customer satisfaction improves.
In my SalesRX case, some users of the system already had high sales and high customer satisfaction, and an overwhelming majority saw an increase as well as with their sales conversions.
One of our SalesRX users reported they doubled their conversion rates and average sale went up 20% after six months. Your results, as with any employee management will vary depending on your skill set.
The reasons some don’t succeed with sales training programs whether online or in-store is not bringing the crew up to speed with why it is necessary, not believing the training will work, not wanting to change and personality clashes between those who are expecting the training to work and those who want it to fail.
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