Best Practices For Retail Store Training

Retail store training, like other training or business ventures, has best practices. When you decide to train your store employees, adopting those best practices is a good idea. Not having them means there is no accountability in using and retaining what is learned. That would be a total waste of money for you, and time for your employees. Here are some of those best practices.

Reinforce the training:

Group Of Multi-Ethnic Group Of People Holding Placards Forming TTraining your sales staff is an important and necessary part of being in business. The better trained your staff is, the better they are at selling. The more they sell, the better your bottom line. Unless that training is reinforced, it will be quickly forgotten. One of your first best practices should be to set up a simple process that can be easily learned and incorporates what their sales training teaches. Next, be sure to keep what needs to be learned in manageable chunks. Overwhelming them with everything at once won’t let them retain anything.

Selling as they learn:

Be sure to keep your sales staff selling as they learn. The more quickly they implement and practice what they are learning, the faster it becomes habit and used. Theories are great, but putting them to use makes it more than theory.

Multiple training methods:

One great best practice is to find multiple ways to deliver the training. People learn differently and using methods to train, like video, computer-based training, and self-guided workbooks may work much better than structured classes. It will also keep your staff in store and selling.

Use incentives:

Make training worth their time as well. Some employees will see the value to training, but others may not. Giving them incentives to participate will encourage their investment and further their learning. Be sure to check in with staff to see how the training is working for them. They may suggest other subjects they feel they need, or another vehicle to deliver it that works better for them.

Try these best practices and watch your staff soar!

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Retail Store Staffing – How To Get Good People

Hiring staff may not seem like a big deal, just find someone willing to fill a spot, right? Well, not so fast. Hiring a bad employee is worse than not hiring anyone at all. Finding good staff for your retail store is important and you need to know what to do to get good people.

Less is more

Retail Store Staffing - How To Get Good PeopleSo what should you be looking for? A few things, actually. First, don’t hire a lot of people. Instead hire a few people willing to work more shifts. Yes, more may give you more flexibility of hours, but fewer people who have more hours will have a bigger stake in the success of your retail store.

Use social media

Next, look for someone who “plays well with others.” How? Do a simple social media search after you get their application but before any interview. How do they deal with people online? Then during the interview ask them questions that will help you see how they deal with people offline. You’re looking for evidence that they are engaged in the real world with other human beings, so think of questions that will uncover this.

Past behavior as an indicator

People can and do change, but past behavior is usually a good indication of future behavior. During the interview asking questions about future plans aren’t a good gauge of how well they will work for you. Ask questions that probe their past, such as tell me about a time when you went out of your way for a customer. If they can’t do that, or if their answer doesn’t line up with your expectations, then you may not want to consider this person for your retail store.

“Sell” your retail store

You need to “sell” on why your retail store business is a great place to work. During an interview talk about your business, its history, what kind of environment you have created for your customers, what great customer service looks like to you, and about your management style. If this person is going to be a good fit, they need to feel like they are a good fit as well.

Find the negative

Get them to tell you something negative about how they have dealt with customers. Great employees will be up front about it and tell you how they fixed the problem, bad ones will deny they ever had a problem.

Check references

Lastly, don’t offer the job on the spot. Take the time to check their references and work history. Have them call you back the next day to get an answer. If they want the job, they’ll call. If not, they wouldn’t have been a good, long term employee.

Want to learn more about retail staffing solutions? Check out our Event and Mobile Sales services.

Retail Sales – Providing A Consistent Customer Experience

One of the ways to help guarantee success in retail sales is to provide a consistent customer experience. The people who do this for you are your employees, since they are the people who represent your business. Providing them with consistent customer service training is important.

Good Communication

Retail Sales - Providing A Consistent Customer Experience Since communication is the best way to provide that consistent customer experience, you need to consider a few things. First, do your employees deliver consistent, reliable information? Does it help your business to have your customers get contradictory information? Of course not.

Good Training

Customers tend to get upset when one employee tells them one thing and another employee tells them differently. So when you’re training your employees, be sure to address things like the typical questions that customers ask, different kinds of situations that come up and how to handle it, and what to do if you get questions and you don’t have the answers. Also train them on how to handle angry customers.

One thing that we have found be a great benefit is to have an in-store or cross-store knowledge base. Having all the answers either online or in a service manual will guarantee that you, as the business owner or manager, are directing the conversation instead of having mavericks out there saying anything that comes to mind.

Focus on Customers

Next, ask yourself do your employees look for ways to be friendly? Are they likeable? Do they compliment customers? Do they make eye contact with them? Do they focus on the customer’s needs instead of their own? You may think you know what the customer needs, and maybe you’re right, but if you impose your will on them are you really serving them?

Customer Service

Do your employees understand that your customer service policies are what keeps your business in business? The best way to do that is to make sure you are completely up front about your attitude about customer service. Your employees should be able to state, chapter and verse, your customer service policies. Simply put, they need to make your customers happy, period.


 

Technology store mystery shoppingMystery Shopping Programs

The best way to judge how your customer service is working is to “check in” when you are not around. Having a professional Mystery Shopping Company give you a report on what happens when you are not around is vital to your success.

TechnologyStoreShopper.com puts vital information right at your fingertips. We’re the secret shopping specialists for the technology retail sector – developing and managing turnkey programs for retailers, wireless carriers, franchise companies and manufacturers.

Are Millennials Lazy Kids or is Common Wisdom Dead Wrong

The common wisdom about Millennials is they are lazy kids who expect the world on a platter, the kids who got everything handed to them, trophies for participation and on and on. But is that really true? Is the common wisdom, right, wrong or somewhere in between?

With Millennials it is more wrong common wisdom than anything else. Yes, they can be lazy kids. Yes they may have expectations above reality. Are Millennials Lazy Kids or is Common Wisdom Dead WrongTheir helicopter parents did them no favors. However, Millennials are smart kids who know they can do what they can do.Iif you get out of their way, they’ll show you that there may just be more than one way to get the job done despite what you think of their behavior..

Most Millennials think they are entrepreneurs, but not in the traditional sense. They consider it a mind set, not necessarily a business owner. The mindset to them is being a self-starter and risk-taker, someone who “spots opportunity” whether in business for themselves or in business for others. Another area that they think differently? Freelancing. By and large, they value their own time and want to look for ways to make their own schedule. So they like the flexibility that freelancing gives them. They use telecommuting and technology constantly.

Freedom and independence are very important to this generation, as is choice and change. Those don’t sound like positives, but in today’s world they can be used positively in many businesses. Giving them flexibility in how they do their job, their hours and in some cases using things like telecommuting can mean you have and keep great employees while appealing to their needs for independence, freedom and flexibility.

They can also not be the “I expect to be handed everything” generation that people believe them to be. If they know they can achieve the roles they want, they will do what is necessary to get what they want.

Don’t broad brush an entire generation by the “lazy kids” behavior of a few. Millennials are a great bunch who can be a great asset for your business.

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Staffing Success – The Three Best Ways To Recruit Millennials

For whatever reason, Millennials have gotten somewhat of a bad rep as they enter the job market. They are a breed apart and if you want to successfully recruit Millennials, and let’s face it, sooner or later you’ll have to, you need to understand how they are different from other Staffing Success - The Three Best Ways To Recruit Millennialsgenerations. Your staffing success depends on it.

First, keeping them means keeping them interested. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that they only tend to keep a job for 18 months. Remember that they grew up with the internet, short bursts of music videos, cartoons and other media. Many like to say this encouraged them to never grow out of the short attention span that most toddlers have. In order to keep them interested in a job you have to capture their interest. They don’t want to keep doing the same thing over and over.

Compensation is very important as they enter the job market. In this way this generation is the same as every other. To attract and keep the best, you have to pay them well. That doesn’t mean that you have to over pay them, but remember they have been raised with the notion that they are extra special, no matter their experience. Keep it in mind. They also want to be evaluated regularly and advance quickly, AND they will do what is required to get there. That’s the important thing to remember. The “get a trophy for participation” generation can learn that those trophies need to be earned.

Flexibility is almost as important to Millennials as salary. When we say flexibility, it isn’t necessarily scheduling flexibility, but flexibility in delivery of the job to be done. Make sure they understand that flexibility doesn’t mean deadlines are flexible, but that how they meet them can be. In other words, don’t micromanage. Allow them to do what they do on their terms as long as the job gets done. This can be key to your staffing success.

When you recruit Millennials, be sure to train them. They expect it. Training employees is always a good idea anyway, since it is much less expensive to train who you have rather than hire and get new employees up to speed.

Millennials can be great employees. Don’t shy away from hiring them, just know what to expect.

Retail Sales – Leveraging An In-Store Assisted Sales Force

There are times during the year when you know you need more staff, but the thought of hiring and training new salespeople would take too long for the amount of time you’d need them. Wouldn’t it just be nice to be able to hire the few you need, already trained and ready to go, knowing that when you no longer needed Retail Sales - Leveraging An In-Store Assisted Sales Forcethose few extra hands they would move on? Well, time to leverage an in store assisted sales force for those extra selling needs.

So where do you find these wonderful people? Companies like Retail Business Development (RBD) have them ready to go. RBD, and other companies like them, have well trained, highly motivated sales people whose job is to focus on your business for the time you need them. They will increase your sales and impress your customers with their knowledge and service. RBD has a lot of different services available, but the in store assisted sales force is a great way to supplement your sales staff at busy times of the year, or bring in some specialists when you need them for a new product launch or special event.

The best part of RBD in store assisted sales staff is that they do the screening of new hire candidates, hiring and training. So your expense in time and money in having to do all of that is not a problem. RBD continually trains and mentors their staff so that when you need them in your store, they are 100% up to date. They can even provide you with staff that is multi-lingual if that is something that fits your need.

If you want more information about RBD or their in store assisted sales force, visit them at http://www.retailbusinessdevelopment.com/in-store-assisted-sales/

Learning Styles – Auditory Learners

If you’ve ever sung along with Schoolhouse Rock(™) in your head or out loud to remember your grammar, math, Constitution or how a bill becomes a law, you could be an auditory learner. A person who uses this learning style uses their ears and voice to recall facts.

Learning Styles - Auditory LearnersAn auditory learner has to hear things to learn them. Only 30% of people are auditory learners, and it is the most difficult way to learn new material, but they can generally remember 75% of what they hear. Unless they hear information, most of it will be lost. These types of learners like classroom learning and small discussion groups. Makes sense because without it they would have a more difficult time learning. They remember instructions well and understand information most when they hear it. Hearing others isn’t the only hearing that works for them. One way auditories can help themselves remember things is to say it to themselves out loud several times.

Auditory learners are the kids you knew in school who loved to do presentations, couldn’t sit and study for hours at a time because it was too quiet, and was very verbal. They may have been the kids who had to talk to themselves when they studied, or would look surprised if they said something and it made the lesson “click” once they heard their own words. They were the kids who loved music and often would sing along with songs they hear. They are good with grammar, but not good with diagrams and charts.

If you have to teach or train an auditory learner, there are a few things that help them retain information more easily. First, repeat key information more than once. If it’s important for them to remember, repeat it several times. Make sure you pronounce things correctly. Remember that their recall of how you said it is what they use. Use multimedia presentations. Sound, music, speech, instruments… whatever works to get the point across in sound.

Auditory learners are all about the sounds so make it easier for them by talking about what they should remember… because they will.

Mystery Shopping Benefits – Do You Have A Professional Sales Staff?

Do you know what mystery shopping benefits are? Do you have a professional sales staff? Every business owner would like to think that they have a professional, courteous, knowledgeable staff. But do you know for sure? So how can you know for sure? Use the benefits of a mystery shopper to test your staff.

Mystery Shopping Benefits - Do You Have A Professional Sales Staff?There are plenty of technology stores. You know that if your customers aren’t happy they will go elsewhere and there are plenty of places for them to go. That means that your staff’s customer service skills, professionalism and knowledge must be top notch. You take the time and expense to train them, but are they using it? A mystery shopper can help you find out.

A mystery shopper is a person you hire to go into your store and shop. Your staff has no way of knowing if any customer could be a mystery shopper, and ideally don’t have an idea that the store manager/owner is even using one. The mystery shopper is trained to look for specific things. They find out for you, the owner or manager, if your staff is knowledgeable. Are they following your rules or loafing around? Did they greet customers and make eye contact? Customers are put off by rude or inattentive staff. Did they offer solutions to questions or just rush to push the most expensive or newest technology without listening to the customer? In other words, are they following your sales training?

Some mystery shoppers will be difficult on purpose just to test the patience of your staff and see how they handle it. Were they rude, or not handle a difficult customer correctly? Did they try and up-sell the customer with items that could be helpful to them, like a Bluetooth headset or cover for their phone? It’s an ideal method to find out what kind of training each employee may need, be it in technology or in dealing with customers.

If you really want to know how well your staff measures up, try a mystery shopper.

Learning Styles – Kinesthetic Learners

If you have to just jump in and get your hands dirty to learn something, you might just be a kinesthetic learner. Of all the learning styles, kinesthetic learners are the “hands on” favorite of the bunch… pun intended!

Learning Styles - Kinesthetic LearnersKinesthetic learners, unlike other learning styles, are more physical. They like to use their body and sense of touch to learn about the world, and are often sports, dance and exercise enthusiasts, and gardeners or like hobbies that require them to use their hands. Kinesthetic learners need to get physical to think about problems or ideas. They will often exercise or run or dance to help get the creative juices flowing. They tend to be very tactile and like textures. They also tend to communicate with their bodies as well as their words, using a lot of hand gestures or movement to make their point.

When learning something new, compared to other learning styles, kinesthetic learners would rather jump right in and get their hands on the topic, than sit and listen to someone discuss it. Think of your high school biology class, they were the ones who couldn’t wait to dissect the frog and very impatiently waited for the teacher to finish their instructions and lecture. Another example is the person who instead of reading instructions or looking at diagrams just took something apart to figure it out and then put it back together.

Many people who are kinesthetic learners go into areas like mechanical, construction and repair work, sports and athletics, drama and dancing for their careers. They tend to use phrases like “that feels right to me”, “I can’t get a grip on this”, “Stay in touch” or “My gut is telling me” in their language. A good learning strategy for the kinesthetic learner is to do role playing. The act of acting things out will help set the learning. As many athletes and performers know, practice makes perfect, and for the kinesthetic learner, practice makes learning possible.

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Learning Styles – Visual Learners

Learning is a lifetime thing, and knowing your learning style is a big advantage when trying to learn something new. Learning styles, people fall into three basic categories: audio, visual and kinesthetic. Everyone has one main or dominant style, but often we use one or both of the others to supplement the learning process.

Learning Styles - Visual LearnersThink back to school and how you remembered things best when you were tested. If you had to remember how you wrote it down or how it was shown to you, you are most likely a visual learner. Visual learners learn best from using their eyes and like diagrams or pictures. They tend to be good at reading people’s body language. Visual learners also fall into categories: linguistic and spatial. Visual linguistics learn best through written language, like reading and writing, and remember information better if they wrote it down themselves. Visual spatial learners aren’t good with written language but learn well from charts and diagrams or demonstrations. Showing them something works much better than telling them.

Visual learners often are good at remembering visual details like colors and spatial relationships, and often have a good sense of direction. Most prefer to read information themselves than to hear a lecture, and tend to be good note takers, although their notes may also have lots of doodles and drawings. When listening to a visual learner speak, you would tend to hear phrases like “Let’s take a look at this.” or “Let’s look at this from a different perspective.”

If you have to teach a visual learner, use a lot of diagrams, mind maps, word webs, visuals, and other forms of graphic organizers. If you are a visual learner, use those kinds of note taking techniques to connect ideas and remember them.

Remember that visual learners have to see what they need to learn in order to retain it, so make things visual for them.