Here's how you can deliver retail sales training to remote employees effectively...
When you have just one brick and mortar store, it can be easy to deliver a training program in-person. You train the sales associates on the sales floor - either one-on-one or in groups.
But what about when a business owner has multiple locations both near and far?
It can be expensive to try to bring together your entire staff 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 retail employees.
Promotions and discounts just don't work - there's always someone cheaper online.
Training remote employees
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 your sales manager exactly what is in the system as well as how to coach the online retail courses and make the learning 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.
Benefits of online retail sales training
A good place to start is Googling online retail sales training. There are thousands of 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 the 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.
Features of the best sales training courses
The best online retail courses 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.
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 and retail fundamentals at the end of a lesson, they’ll never deliver great customer satisfaction to shoppers willing to drive by your competitors to give you a shot at their business.
You'll know it was successful if the number of people walking out of your front door without having purchased anything from your retail salespeople shrinks within 3-6 months.
Brief and repeatable
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.
You need to practice and role-play the step-by-step process to building rapport with strangers in your stores. Otherwise, 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 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 downtime.
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 shoppers check if they are really doing what you taught.
Accountability and Commitment
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're committed to training remote employees from clerks, who ring up merchandise, to retail 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 retail store. If they didn't, they would just order everything online.
The ability to do the training whenever you need it, however you need it, is immensely valuable. You can log in on a tablet, desktop, or laptop, and have the ability to see in real time who is taking the training as well as their passing percentage.
This allows you to hold your associates accountable.
Employee retail training also helps cut down on turnover because when a staff member is trained to do the job and meets with success, they stay longer.
Training Remote Employees Via Online Sales Training
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.
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, you'll see the number of items per sale and average ticket price increase.
At that point, you'll realize how cost-effective and easy to manage online sales training really is.
The retail industry is waking up to the need for training; make sure you join in before it is too late.