How Retail Sales Training Can Be Available to Remote Employees
By Bob Phibbs
When you have just one brick and mortar store, it can be easy to deliver a training program in-person. You either train the sales associates on the sales floor one-on-one or in groups.
But what about when you have multiple locations both near and far? It can be expensive to try to bring together your retail sales associates due to airfare, hotels, meeting rooms, food, and the loss of your best people on the floor that day.
Yet in the current retail environment, most any retailer understands that any talk of sales increases has to happen with the training of your associates. Promotions and discounts just don't work - there's always someone cheaper online.
Benefits of online retail sales training
For remote workers or larger retail chains, online retail sales training can be delivered anywhere in the world no matter the time zone.
Online training doesn’t require a lot of explanation. Anyone should be able to start training immediately.
Train-the-trainer courses teach the sales managers exactly what is in the system as well as how to coach the online sales training and make it stick.
The best online training programs have comprehensive tracking and reporting tools, so managers see how their employees are faring in real time.
Employees can be held accountable through certifications that show they understood what was taught and how to use it on your brick and mortar sales floor to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Every store associate gets the same information and an individual can never ignore or modify it . They can’t say, “Oh no, no one ever showed me that.”
When associates use the training, you'll find they move from selling in a transactional way to selling with a process that builds long-term relationships and loyal customers.
Where to find retail sales training courses online
A good place to start is Googling online retail sales training. There are thousands of sales training programs, even some on similar platforms. What makes the difference between a great online learning program and one that won’t do the job? Look at their number of courses and depth of knowledge.
My online training program, SalesRX, has over 90 lessons covering everything from how to engage a stranger, discover the shopper, close the sale, and much more.
Best online retail sales training courses
The best online retail sales training will give you a step-by-step process to take anyone from the new employee to the seasoned veteran through a branded, customer interaction.
Online training courses that are a collection of sales videos or topics rarely move the needle as there is no foundation of learning. Quite simply, what do you want the learner to do? No matter where they are lacking, they need a step-by-step process in order to grow sales.
If they don’t know the right sales techniques at the end of a lesson, they’ll never deliver great customer satisfaction to those shoppers willing to drive by your competitors to give you a shot at their business. You'll know if it was successful because of the number of people walking out of your front door without having purchased anything from your retail salespeople shrinks within 3-6 months.
Effective online training is short so it can be watched over and over. The days of a 30-45 minute filmed speech or workshop where the instructor repeats the same point three times just won’t fly with today’s multi-tasking learners.
In addition, the online retail sales training is just the tip of the iceberg. Unless you practice and role-play the step-by-step process to building rapport with strangers in your stores, the training will remain in your associates’ brains – nice to know but not a part of them.
This is one of the hardest things for many retailers to understand; just because you expose an associate to training concepts and best practices doesn’t mean they are trained. It only means the learner has just been exposed to the training program.
Until the associate has had to wrestle with extinguishing their bad customer service habits of asking, “Can I help you?” or “How you doin’?” no new training can take place. That’s why the best retail sales training has exercises for store managers to do with staff on the floor during a 10-minute huddle before a shift starts to one-on-ones during down time.
When this is done in combination with the online training, you can hold employees accountable. That only happens when you’ve done the hard work to get them to master the subject, not just be exposed to it.
This takes repetition of lessons, further role-playing, and having mystery shops to check if they are really doing what you taught. Unless you hold the associates in your brick and mortar store accountable to actually use your training, you’ll complain that the training didn’t work.
But it’s not the training’s fault.
The training did the work - it presented why and what to do - but you didn't do the practical work to make the new behaviors stick.
Unless you commit to taking your employees from clerks who ring up merchandise to sales professionals who can add-on to every sale, you’ll fold when you get pushback from a few associates or store managers.
And your customer experience will continue to suffer because shoppers want to feel a genuine connection when they go into a store. If they didn't, they would just order everything online.
The retail industry is waking up to the need to training; make sure you join in before it is too late.
Online retail sales training is the perfect answer for retailers struggling to increase profit margins because every shopper the associate touches will benefit from the training. The ability to do the training whenever you need it, however you need it whether on a tablet, desktop, or laptop, and the ability to see in real time who is taking the training as well as their passing percentage, helps you hold your associates accountable.
Employee training also helps cut down on employee turnover because when a staff member is trained to do the job and meets with success, they stay longer.
In the end, you’ll be about as successful as you want to be with online retail sales training. When you use the best practices of in-store role-play, practice, and the rewarding of employees who use the sales training to increase the number of items per sale and average ticket, you’ll find online retail sales training cost-effective and easy to manage.
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