Preparing retail sales and service employees to sell and to provide excellent customer service is a primary role of a retail manager. Employees grasp what they learn in different ways. Therefore, a manager needs to use multiple one-on-one and small group methods to develop top-level employees.
Show and Tell
A starting point for training is to tell employees how to perform critical functions. You might explain the steps to complete a basic transaction or to greet and interact with a customer, for instance. After you explain the sales or service task, demonstrate it for the employee. Seeing your visual model of the correct approach resonates with visual learners. Before you even begin teaching techniques, have a clear outline of all important activities that you intend to cover. An organized, systematic approach makes more sense than a fragmented strategy.
Role-playing is one of the most effective retail sales and service techniques. A January 2010 article from The Sales Lion, a training company, emphasized the necessity of role-plays for optimized sales training. After you teach employees a sales or service activity, have them work with you or a partner to walk through the process. A partner can act like a customer interested in buying a product or looking for resolution to a service problem. Observe the employee as she implements training steps. After the role-play ends, offer feedback to the partners, and to a small group when applicable. Role-plays provide hands-on experience and confidence.
Scenario training allows retail employees to visualize a sales or service situation, formulate the right steps in their minds, and then explain the most appropriate decision or action. You can use scenario training with worksheets or through verbal discussion. A manager might say, "A customer walks up and angrily explains that Product X does not work right. What would you say and do?" It is then up to the employee to prepare and explain the proper response steps. Retail managers often hand out scenario worksheets ahead of time that instruct workers on best practices. Use scenarios for ongoing review.
Multimedia Tips and Reminders
Multimedia messaging is a simple but effective way to deliver repeated exposure to important training tips, ideas and tactics. Send weekly internal newsletters, for instance, with reminders about recurring service problems. Include insights on helpful sales tactics. Text message tips are another good way to remind employees of important processes. Adding these delivery methods to in-store training amplifies the message and allows you to reach more people at once.
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