Staff sales training has almost become a cliché in business. Everyone knows they should do it but finding the time (50% of sales managers say they can’t put the effort into it that they know it deserves), or knowing how, can cause a problem.
Sadly, sales training does wear off over time, like an exercise class or a good shower. Research shows that 84% of all sales training is lost after 90 days. Given the investment in time and energy this may make it seem pointless, but further analysis has shown that every dollar invested into sales training can yield up to $29 in results, and staff can improve their performance by up to 20% with the benefits of sales training. Few other areas of a business can offer this sort of return. If you’re serious about growing your store you need to be serious about sales training.
So how do you make sure your sales training is effective? Here are 7 steps that can help you get better results from an effective training program:
1. What is your objective with the training session? (It could be to know the ‘story’ of a new product line, to understand the benefits of 18k, different settings, etc.). Ideally, by the end of your training session all of the staff attending will be able to achieve the objective you have set.
2. Encourage interaction of staff about the topic. Do not let them take the session into another direction. If a staff member interrupts with a topic not relevant to the training, please let them know you will chat to them about this at a later time.
3. Rotate the leader of the sessions, enabling staff to take ownership of researching about product, etc.
4. Role Play at the end of the presentation so staff can show their understanding of your expectation.
5. Add a questionnaire at different times to reward staff that are listening and remembering the content.
6. Go back to your objective to check you achieved your goal.
7. Ask for feedback from your team to ensure you are adding value to their performance and productivity.
So how does sales training make a difference to results?
1. A higher percentage of salesperson budget achievement. A well trained sales force is more likely to achieve their goals than those who aren’t. Research company CSO Insights discovered that goals were 8% more likely to be achieved by salespeople in an organization where effective sales training was in place
2. Better conversion rates. Those companies who employed training programs that were deemed effective were also inclined to increase their sales conversion rate by 30% compared to those companies where staff believed sales training failed to meet expectations.
3. Meeting customers needs and expectations. Salespeople who have been adequately trained are much more likely to meet customers’ expectations and to make suggestions that more suitably meet customers’ needs than those without good sales training. This obviously converts into better sales results
4. Lower staff turnover rates. Research has shown that companies with strong sales training have greater employee retention, in some cases almost double that achieved by companies who do little in the way of training, or whose training is considered inadequate.
Training the staff may seem like the first step in the process, but often having an effective sales training policy can begin with ‘training the trainer’. Companies that also invest in good sales coaching training programs for their trainers will also see a much stronger correlation between their training efforts and goal attainment.
Sales training is an important business investment. Neglecting this area is a false economy that will restrict your business performance now and into the future. In the same way that giving up on the gym will ultimately lead to poor health and other complications, giving up on sales training will lead your business towards illness and a less healthy profitability.
Make a decision that you are willing to commit a portion of your time and expenditure to this important area of your business and enjoy the rewards that it can bring you.
David Brown is president and founder of The Edge Retail Academy, a company offering industry benchmarking and management advice to increase profits. If you would like more information on how The Edge Retail Academy can help you control your inventory and add more dollars to your bottom line contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 877-569-8657 or visit www.edgeretailacademy.com.