How To Choose The Right Retail Sales Training For Your Store

By Bob Phibbs

retail sales training guide
Congratulations for reading this – it means you don’t have to be convinced that training your retail crew how to sell is necessary.  

You understand that training is something you do – ongoing – like an athlete working to perfect their form, not something you did – once –  like visiting the City of Mermaids in Florida.

Good. Most retailers know they have to train new hires at some level. The best know they have to constantly train their entire staff.

Read My Comprehensive Retail Sales Training Online page that answers all your questions here

First you will have to decide who this training is aimed at and then who will do it. This guide will highlight the pros and cons of four different types of trainers.

1. An Existing Employee

Does your store mainly have tribal knowledge that you are looking to share? Then you probably already made an existing employee your trainer, often on an ad hoc basis.

Most retailers train their new hires this way. Some call it shadowing, some schedule the training time outside regular shifts, and most train while on the sales floor.

PROs

  • The employee probably grew up in your system, so they know how things work.

  • They probably have been good at selling or running the register.

  • They probably have been with you awhile so they have your trust.

CONs

  • Just because someone was a good salesperson or a reliable employee doesn’t mean they know how to train someone.

  • You probably didn’t give them a choice so they feel it is something they have to do, which translates to frustration with their learners.

  • Training is looked at as something to get through, rather than a system of continual learning and practicing, so little time is budgeted for the process.

2. A Salaried Trainer

Do you have videos, training materials, a separate conference room or multiple stores? Then you probably have hired a full-time trainer for your company.

Larger chains are able to spread the cost of a salaried retail sales trainer whose sole job is to deliver and monitor training across a variety of stores increasing the ROI for the investment. These trainers usually create a program that takes tribal knowledge and expands it so everyone from the new hires to the existing employees learns the right way to do everything.

PROs

  • They usually come with a background of success as a trainer.

  • Since training will be their sole responsibility, they can focus on getting that job done.

  • They usually travel from store to store to give hands-on training.

CONs

  • They are from corporate, which could affect their perceived authority.

  • Traveling around to stores can be expensive and lack individual attention.

  • Materials you give them to use may be outdated.

3. An Outside Retail Sales Trainer

Retailers who do not have an established sales process, up-to-date materials, and or an energetic staff member may look to an outside retail sales training expert like me

PROs

  • They usually have the energy to make the training fun and interesting.

  • They can certify those who take the training understand the materials.

  • They have materials created just for you.

CONs

  • Once they leave, without additional training and follow-up, the learned behaviors may not take hold.

4. Online Retail Training

For years, larger brands and retailers have relied on technology to deliver product information. They know online videos make learning more engaging.  But if truth be told, most online videos work better for training product knowledge than training selling skills.

PROs

  • 24/7 training can mean anyone can train at any time.

  • Employees can see every product and learn all their specifications and the features of each.

CONs

  • Video training can be very passive.

  • Product training is usually seen as something to get through.

You’re looking to take your selling culture to the next level.  That means change.

I’ve been training for nearly thirty years and resistance to change is nothing new.  No matter who is working on your sales floor, several are going to initially fight any sales training.

What is new is that the stakes have changed for brick and mortar retailers.

When I started, a retailers’ only competition was down the street. Or maybe in a catalogue.  

Now your competition is walking in the door on the customers’ smartphone.  

New hires come to you already feeling that a customer’s decision to purchase an item is dependent solely on price. And they know that an online competitor probably has a lower price.

Your existing employees who feel everything is working just fine probably don’t know what you know about your industry – or even your own financials.

But you do.

You can’t compete on price. The only way to compete is to train your own employees to deliver an experience that is second-to-none.

And That’s Why I’m Number 5.  

I suggest you check out my SalesRX training, it is the only interactive retail sales training that has all the pros of 3 and 4 but with the one-on-one aspect of a personal trainer.  It’s also available to each of your employees at their own time and at their own pace; they can take the short, interactive lessons over and over until they master them.

SalesRX delivers the same information to every employee so you all develop a common language. It is trackable in real time, so you’ll know who is learning and who isn’t. It’s certifiable so your performance reviews can have teeth and it is interactive meaning each learner receives customized training based on their answers along the way.

And besides that, my sales training actually raises sales, has a proven track record nationally and internationally, and continues to attract attention from some of the best names in retail.

Your very best option would be to hire me to do a one-day intensive retail sales training program and then followup with SalesRX.

See also, Retail Success Within Reach: Why CEOs Must Embrace Sales Training

In sum

Training is a learning process. It is not natural.

Just like reciting lines in a play isn’t natural, like playing a team sport doesn’t just come to you, like learning how to write your name doesn’t feel right at first, it is all a learning process.

When choosing the right format to deliver your retail sales training, be honest about the time commitment and give your employees the best experience you can.  

Then you’re sure to see improved employee attitude as well as improved retail sales.

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