Holiday Retail Sales Training: 15 Things To Teach Seasonal Employees

Bob Phibbs
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seasonal training

Your full retail sales training is most likely more thorough and involved than for your holiday seasonal employees. But don’t throw up your hands and make the mistake of teaching them only the register.

To move sales they need to understand - quite simply – that they must concentrate on the customer.

15 things every retailer must train seasonal staff:

  1. When you see a customer, stop what you are doing, look up so you can meet their eyes, and then approach them in a non-threatening way with a greeting like, “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.” If a shopper is at the register waiting, take the initiative to see if you can ring them up.

  2. Listen to the customer to find out why, on this day, they came into your store. Your time will go by more quickly when you see every interaction as different.

  3. Say we not them or they. Otherwise, you sound like an outsider. You are a part of our success. We will not survive in business without you.

  4. Be on time. There will be traffic. There will be parking off-site and having to wait for a shuttle. There’s still no excuse for being late for a shift.

  5. Turn your phone to vibrate and put it away while on the floor. We’re not paying you to stare into the palm of your hand, so use your phone on your time.

  6. Customers can be rude, angry, and unreasonable. Don’t share your stories of how awful they were with other employees – and especially not to our customers. The pace of holiday preparations will be crazy busy; keep your own attitude above the fray.

  7. We all have stress, family, and personal concerns. We will all get along much better if there is no additional drama brought onto the sales floor. When you walk in the door, leave your problems at the door.

  8. Patrol the floor. If you see it, step over it or kick it - pick it up and dispose of it. That goes for anything from a ripped price tag to a used diaper- yes, we get those now and then.

  9. It’s great to have friends, but please don’t have them visit you while you are working; you’re working.

  10. Since we spend a lot of time on scheduling, a manager has to approve any “switching” days, times or breaks.

  11. We take theft seriously and will investigate and prosecute accordingly. We also conduct random checks of the trash.

  12. Just because you may not be able to afford some of our more expensive items, doesn’t mean our customers can’t. Your goal is to help us sell that merchandise and make our customers’ holiday gifting fun.

  13. You are an important part of our business. You’re here to make some extra cash for the season. We’re here to make our customers’ holidays joyful. We can’t do it without you.

  14. It’s never a sin to wear a grin. Remember to keep a sense of humor.

  15. If you don’t know the answer to a question posed by a customer, tell them you don’t know and that you’ll find someone who does.


I asked my Facebook and Twitter fans what they would add to the list and received several ideas. Here are a few of them...

Jim Zaccaria added, “Stealing anything will land you in jail.”

Steven Rosen added, “Show up on time ready to work your full shift.”

VelocityMarketing added, "Take ownership and responsibility for every customer interaction."

Kate Tanner added, "I start my part-time employee training with, 'Welcome. Great employees stay. Invaluable employees stay after the holidays if they want the job.'"

Let your seasonal workers know if permanent positions will become available for those with potential. Also, employers need to make the case, especially with consumer spending still expected to increase according to the retail federation that every shopper is important if you want to limit online retailers poaching your sales.

See also, 9 Tips To Grow Your Seasonal Retail Business

In Sum

Managers, just because people work for you as temporary workers doesn't mean they don't require your time - in fact, they require more of it if you are looking to grow your sales.

Hiring was only the first step to developing a staff of retail sales workers who can provide not only a personalized experience for your shoppers but also deepen customer loyalty.

Use these tips to train seasonal employees how to make their time with you valuable.Click to get a demo of SalesRX with Bob


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