Retail Sales Training: 5 Tips To Train Employees How To Hustle Between Shoppers

By Bob Phibbs

retail employee training to hustleI wanted to purchase a new pair of shoes so I tried Nordstrom. Three employees were each helping just one customer, oblivious (to me at least) of the other five of us walking around the department.

It's a phenomenon I'm seeing repeated more and more probably because slower sales have produced a retail sales force that is used to working with just one person.

But that's like a juggler who can only keep one ball in the air.

Or an ostrich with their head in the sand; they are oblivious to the rest of the customers in the store.

That lack of retail sales training can cost you sales - big time. In Nordstrom's case, that bad customer service cost them a couple pair of shoes.

Customers aren't willing to "wait" for a salesperson to get around to noticing them.

And they shouldn't, it takes a lot for customers to get in a car and visit a brick and mortar store only to be given the cold shoulder because their employees could only deal with one customer at a time.

I had a business owner tell me that he had, "A really great gal but she spends about 1/2 hour with each customer."

I thought, that's not a really great gal if she can only wait on 16 people in a day.

It would be like a McDonald's only able to serve the number of people who could sit down in their dining area. They'd lose their profitability because fast food is a numbers game.

So is retail.

Your salespeople have to be able to juggle many customers and make sure they each feel like they are important and valued.

Discover how to get started with retail sales training with this comprehensive primer

Here's five tips how to train employees to hustle...

  • Ask permission from the first customer before you leave.

  • Greet the other customer.

  • Get back to the first person quickly and thank them for waiting.

  • Restate where they were in the sale.

  • Confirm you got it right.

  • All the while not rushing anyone.


If a customer comes in while a salesperson is with someone else they should say, "Excuse me, do you mind if I go greet that customer? I'll be right back."

Then wait for their permission before they greet the new customer. If you can have the customer read something or put a product in their hands before leaving, so much the better.

When the associate returns to the original customer they must say, "Thank you for waiting," and restate where they were in the sale. For example in a toy store it might be, "So we were looking for a toy for your son who likes art but hates clay. Is that right?"

You need your employee training to show your employees how to be hospitable, not hostile. That's why we ask permission to leave and thank them when we return.

It's important associates do not say to the current customer, "Hold on, I need to go greet them" and leave or yell, "Someone will be right with you," to the new arrival.

Next time you're in a busy restaurant notice the best servers, they can do this easily. You can tell because they check in frequently with their tables, upsell and focus on those customers while always keeping their heads up for who just sat down at their station. That's how they get higher tips than the others.

Slow sales have allowed complacency in many retailers. More salespeople behind the counter. More dismissive expressions, "They're just looking."

Don't let your salespeople get away with being more comfortable with only one person, incorporate how to juggle many customers into your retail sales training.

Otherwise that one person will buy, but the majority who try your store, especially when its busy, will walk out because they were ignored.

And in this retail environment, never be back.

See also, 9 Ways To Improve Your Non-Verbal Selling Skills

Here's a quick summation in 30 seconds

 

 

In Sum

As you develop juggling to an art as part of your retail sales training, you'll find your busy store produces the best results because customers are comfortable waiting and shopping; many times selling each other as heads-up salespeople act like hosts rather than order takers.

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