In the world of retail sales, things happen quickly and every minute counts. If your salespeople aren’t fully checked in—whether running down deals, on the phones closing deals, or interacting with customers in person closing deals—they’re not closing deals. This inevitably makes it tough for them to justify spending any time away from the action for things like, well, training.
So how do you make training more palatable, something they look forward to and don’t dread? What can you do to guarantee a return on the time invested and ensure that your salespeople will get something out of it?
- Answer WIIFM (What’s in it for me?): Increase buy-in by making a preemptive strike here, answering the question before it’s asked. Sell the salespeople on the relevancy and the benefit for the time invested. That requires some effort. First, you really need to be clear about what you expect them to learn. The best thing you can do is think practically over theoretically. For example, instead of teaching the background of communication theory, teach one concrete way to make a personal connection with a customer in the first 15 seconds of meeting. Be specific! The more specific the better. Specific strategies should be immediately actionable. Stick to these short, applicable, measurable and powerful training strategies to get the biggest bang for your buck.
- Follow this Model: If you’re committed to practical, immediately applicable training, then follow these steps: TEACH > PRACTICE > USE > REFLECT and repeat! First, teach the concept. Second, allow time for practice and feedback. Next, ask your salespeople to put the training to use in the wild on real live customers. Finally, reconnect and reflect on how it went. If it was a call, listen to the call with the rep and talk through the highs and lows. Don’t forget that you have a role to play on this training stage. The worst thing you can do in training is to introduce a concept and imply “good luck with that” after the training by never speaking of it again. You need to follow up or create a system where peers follow up with each other and offer feedback. Without this commitment and measurement step, everything you do is relegated to the “yeah, that’s nice to know” pile and rarely put into practice.
- Stay Consistent: Your training initiatives should be short, powerful, and mobile-ready, knowing that your busy users are focused elsewhere. Training should rely on practical implementable skills and strategies, and be offered at a consistent cadence so your salespeople will form a habit around them. They will start to expect them and be more apt to check in, instead of simply being seat fillers while their minds are on all of the things they AREN’T doing at the very moment.
That should give you a few basic but useful approaches to make the most of training for your retail salespeople. The keys are really specificity, practicality, and consistency. And, of course, always try to keep your processes as simple as possible to not overwhelm or over-complicate training for your sales teams. The Litmos team is happy to discuss your training plans with you at anytime, if you’re looking for expert guidance. Feel free to reach out and good luck!