Retail Sales Training: How To Give Feedback To Employees

By Bob Phibbs

employee feedbackI received a gift the other day from a friend via Amazon.com. At the bottom of the packing list was a question, "Would you like to give feedback on the way your order was packed?" It got me thinking about how in retail sales training we give feedback to employees.

When I was working with Terrie Silverman, a writing coach in Los Angeles, she would gather a group of writers and we would read a selection. She would then ask, "What kind of feedback would be helpful?" Most times it would be, "Any and all." But sometimes it was, "I just want to hear it was good or you liked it." Both were perfectly valid in the process of having your work critiqued.

But how do we critique others' work when we are the one responsible for their performance?

Here are 6 steps how to give feedback to employees:

  1. Remember this is a person in front of you, not a thing or an action so reprimand away from others.
  2. Connect as a person by acknowledging something they've done right.
  3. Share what they did wrong.
  4. Ask them if they noticed and ask what they think they could have done differently.
  5. Restate what they said they'll do the next time.
  6. Find something else they are doing well.

You don't have to do this for every trained action that is not 100%, but if it happens on key training or a couple times, you should say something.

Here are four of the worst I have been guilty of using when I was starting out, how about you?

Don't use:

  • Sarcasm - "Way to go with the sale there Henry." Yes, if you know them well it can be delivered as a joke but it may just do more damage than good.
  • Disapproval - A sneer. A shaking of the head. A roll of the eyes.
  • Silence - This happens when the employee clearly knows you saw what happened and when they try to give you an excuse, you just walk away without saying anything.
  • Yelling- The worst, like a storm, your anger touches everyone and everything leaving damage and fear in its wake.

Sounds a bit like marriage counseling. And in many ways it is. Relationships with employees in this age can be fragile at best. I know of no one bragging about their own job security.

If we are truly trying to create a culture of exceptional experiences for customers, it only can happen when we give exceptional thought to how we give feedback.

See also, Retail Employees: 7 Things You Must Do To Develop and Train

In Sum

Being a good manager takes more than the ability to make sure tasks are done. Use these tips for how to give feedback to your retail employees and grow your sales.

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