Today, retail is all about delivering a memorable experience and stores that fail to meet that expectation inevitably fall behind. The cost of a poor experience is not very cheap either – it directly results in lost revenue, lost customers, and higher recruitment costs.
Blaming your frontline sales team for underperforming is like blaming the oven when your bread fails to rise. As a sales leader, it's your responsibility to ensure that your associates are well-equipped with everything they need to succeed in their roles. This means, looking at the bigger picture and providing the right training.
Retail experience suffers primarily due to sales reps who have not been properly taught the nuances of their roles. Because this role has always been considered as entry-level, the candidates who apply for this role lack the experience and sales skills needed to thrive. The complex products and systems of the telco industry don’t help in making their lives easier either. Additionally, retail is cursed with a high turnover rate, further complicating matters.
So, how do you navigate these challenges and come up with an effective training program that results in great customer experience, higher customer loyalty, and increased customer retention?
Statflo’s Enterprise Customer Success Manager, Sam Wagar, co-hosted a webinar with Will Gibson, VP Marketing and Amplifier at Maplewave, to talk about the different aspects of a strong training program in retail. Armed with a versatile experience in telco retail training and coaching, Will and Sam shared their expertise on creating the perfect training program for retail reps.
Don’t have the time to listen to the entire conversation? Here are the main takeaways for designing the perfect retail training program:
1. Define a career path early on
Most retail training strategies fail to outline a clear career path for their young sales reps. To motivate newcomers, be sure to clearly articulate potential growth opportunities, tips on how to climb the hierarchical ladder, and potential financial gain should they be successful in their roles.
2. Create an induction program
Focus on creating a structured induction experience by implementing a well-thought-out onboarding process. With simple steps like assigning buddies, getting everything ready before their first day, and trying to make them comfortable in their new surroundings, you can make a great first impression on your salespeople during their initial days.
3. Continually refresh product and industry learning
Sending out an email or sharing a PowerPoint presentation once a year about the latest developments in your industry does not suffice. You need to engage your reps and make sure they understand the implications of these developments. Incentivizing and gamifying refresher training courses and providing e-learning opportunities can be some of the ways to make this exercise fun for all.
4. Develop advanced sales training
It is critical to inculcate a problem-solving attitude and an obsession with building rapport with your customers. These two skills are fundamental to a successful salesperson. By taking a consultative approach and keeping in mind the best interests of the customer, reps will inevitably outperform their peers who take a "hard sell" approach.
“When you teach the reps to instinctively understand, interpret and give the right reaction to the nuances of the customer’s body language, they can seize the opportunity and use their industry knowledge to make the sale. An effective sales training is all about emphasizing the human aspect of the interactions.” - Will Gibson
5. Invest in better systems and solutions
Outdated systems and complicated infrastructure often result in a poor customer experience. Investing in flexible systems and leveraging the power of tech inside the retail stores will set your sales rep up for success and make their jobs a lot easier.