My father-in-law was notorious for always having a roll of duct tape handy. He believed that with duct tape, a hammer, and a screwdriver you could fix anything. He had a roll of duct tape in his car, his tool shed, his junk drawer, at his workbench and in his basement. He would duct tape a radiator hose, the handle on a rake, his lawn mower, cracked windows, the wheel on the barbecue, electric wires, the flue on the chimney, even the Christmas Tree – you name it. If it needed repair, duct tape wouldn’t be far away. For the most part the fixes were temporary and only lasted a day or two at best.
I will never forget once when I tried to repair a leaking faucet in our shower. I was armed with a crescent wrench, screwdrivers, and a hammer. I proceeded to strip the nut on the faucet (not having the correct tools), causing the need to have to hire a plumber, a person to put up new dry wall, and someone to install all new ceramic tiles in the shower. Bottom line was, it cost me about $2500.00 to repair a leaking faucet and all the damage I caused by not using the proper tools.
So, you’re asking, what is the point? I have done numerous seminars for various different industries in the past few weeks. At these seminars, I have started asking the retail store owners and managers if they had a formal sales training program that they used to train their sales staffs. The best response I received was a group where about 20% of the group had a formal program that they were using. The worst case was a group of about 40 retail owners and none of them had a formal sales training program that they offered and implemented with their staffs. Therefore, I have to assume that most retailers are not offering their sales staffs the tools that they need in order to be successful.
I couldn’t imagine running a jewelry repair shop without the proper tools. I couldn’t imagine your banker, accountant, insurance carrier, trash collector, cash register area not having the proper tools to do the job right. I couldn’t imagine a jewelry store without a ring-sizer, loupes, counter pads, a safe, an alarm system, etc. Retail Jewelry stores have all the operational tools needed to run the operations of the business. However, few have the tools needed for the sales side of the business.
People don’t know what they don’t know! I still hear salespeople saying things like “can I help you” – “here’s my card” – “will that be all” etc. I am constantly hearing from attendees of my seminars that they had never thought of that before, or that’s the first time I heard that, or I used to do that – I need to start doing that again. Until salespeople, sales managers, store managers, and even store owners have the tools needed to do the job correctly, the likelihood of maximizing sales is slim at best. Whether sales are up, down, or the same as last year, people can always improve.
Don’t put Duct Tape on your business. Too many people rely on the success of your organization. Yes, I know – what if you spend money on training your people and then they quit? My question is what if you don’t and they stay? Training is very expensive if you don’t offer it or use it. At the very least, you will have a system that you can put new people into, rather than trying to put the system into the people. Just like any school or any profession, people need training, coaching, positive reinforcement, repetition, and accountability. Create your own stimulus package by having a system by which you help your people reach the level of professionalism that your customers expect, and that your staffs want to be and are capable of attaining.
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