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    What Are the Basics of Seasonal Staff Training?

    A: "We have a seasonal business at Garden Center. Lots of garden centers struggle with staff retention. By the way, I'd love to see you speaking in the horticultural circuit."


    Q: Hey, Debbie, I actually have spoken in the horticultural circuit a bit. But it's always funny because people are like, "Oh, you don't know our industry." It's like, "Oh, are you challenged by big competitors? Are you challenged with margin erosion? Are you challenged with people buying online and not in your store? Are you challenged with a workforce that is coming to you much more untrained than ever before?"

    Yes, well, that's pretty much everybody so that's why I speak to so many different types of groups.

    But anyway, that wasn't your question to me.

    The number one thing I always do is if you have seasonal staff, I start them off with the basics of cleaning. That's on day one, they're going to learn how to clean the toilet, the glass, sweep the floor, all of that. I'm going to give them my definition of "clean" and I'm going to make sure that they can execute that 100% because, if nothing else, they can at least keep me looking better when I'm busy. That's the number one.

    Number two is, I'm gonna be religiously concerned with how they greet a customer and engage them. Because quite simply, whether they're seasonal or they're full-time, they've got to be able to at least take care of the big questions pretty easily and then make sure that they are not flummoxed when someone's at the register. So they don't have to say, "Can you help me with this?" Or, "I don't know anything."

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

    Number four: 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.

    Number five: 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.

    Number six: Turn your phone to vibrate and put it away while on the floor. We’re not paying you to look in the palm of your hand, so use your phone on your time.

    Number seven: 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 the store will be crazy busy; keep your own attitude above the fray.

    The training is what it comes down to. That's my Cliff Notes. There you go.

    If you want to really learn, you should get SalesRX. You can go on to my site, and look at online retail sales training.  It's about how well you execute in your four walls.

    See also, 9 Tips To Grow Your Seasonal Retail Business

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