3 Deadliest Words In Retail Sales Training

By Bob Phibbs

retail sales training checklistThe three deadliest words in retail sales training are, "I get it."

They are a form of short-hand that discounts the need for further explanation as in a friend talking to another friend about being dumped, "I get it, you're bitter, go on."

How often do you hear that in a film, on the TV or say it to your friends? I'll bet a lot.

I have created some fairly expansive sales training programs that take about a month for an employee to fully be trained. They all end with a form of certification; either the employee gets a certificate after having taken a test, role-played they knew what to do or signed off agreeing they will use the training going forward.

Sounds great in theory, doesn't it?

After we implemented the training with one location, I saw that the mystery shop scores had not gone up. I called the manager, "Are all your people certified?"
"Yes."
"How do you explain this?"
"It was a bad day."

I asked one of the employees later that day to, "Tell me about your training."

"Oh he had a checklist with all this stuff on it. He'd ask, 'So you know how to clean the floor, right?' and I'd answer, "Yes," then he'd check it off.
I replied, "What if you didn't understand something?"
"He'd start in until I got the gist of it and said, 'I get it,' and we'd move on."
I asked, "How long did it take to do it?"
"A couple hours."

All the planning, detail, preparation lost by the person who trained it. I got it, they hated training and wanted it to be over.

Has that ever happened to you?

At a BBQ this past weekend I was talking to Roger, a retired Arrow Shirt executive. He recounted how when he was in high school, they were given the task of proving 10 Algebraic Theorems.

It took his group about four months to prove that the shortest distance between two points was a line. They had to disprove everything else to land at the final conclusion this theorem was true. Roger told me that logical way of thinking shaped many of the decisions he had made in business.

Recently Roger was talking to a young man in high school and asked if they still taught the 10 Theorems. They did, "It's a page in the book." What was missing was the process to really understand it.

Going back to our training, we had to find someone else, write out exactly what they were to say, train them using the form, certify they knew what was expected, why that was important to train for understanding - not checkmarks and how "I get it," wasn't acceptable on any level. Mystery shop scores improved along with average check and daily sales.

In Sum

My advice for you today is be careful of who you allow to implement your changes, training and policies.

If they say, "I get it," while you are explaining it, your training will be rushed and probably less effective, find someone else. Someone who is patient and understands the need to train so the learner can demonstrate the training.

Otherwise you'll have somone trying to get through the program, rather than get with the program.

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