Moving the retail sales needle with training

Sales meter concept image showing low, medium, and high sales. Red pointer indicating high sales.

Training is sales. Plain and simple.

We can say all we want about knowledgeable sales associates, customer service, and building community. Yes, training contributes to all those things. But at its core, training is selling — generating buy-in. Whether it’s buy-in to your product’s superiority, your way of doing and saying things, or your demonstration methods — you are selling.

The problem is that great sellers are often terrible sales mentors.

If you’ve worked retail long enough, you know what we mean. There’s always that one hotshot salesperson who does everything so well, they get moved into management, where they proceed to elevate the selling skills of absolutely no one. No knock on them; they could do but they couldn’t teach. It’s one skill to have “the gift.” It’s another non-related skill to effectively impart that gift to those around you.

To us, that coaching and mentoring is the foundation of sales training. That is why companies hire Pro Learning Solutions.

We will always be here for you when you need your product’s features, advantages, and benefits communicated to an adoring audience in the most visually captivating, interactive way possible. That’s one component in training, especially product training.

That’s what you want, but how about your retail sales associates? Here’s what they really want you to teach them:

What do you want me to do/say?

How do you want me to do/say it?

The answers to those questions should be designed to create more satisfied customers and make sales associates more money. Imparting knowledge is secondary.

You probably already know that survey after survey confirms that on-the-job training is far easier to comprehend and retain than a PowerPoint presentation or e-learning course.

But did you know that you can simulate on-the-job training within a PowerPoint presentation or an e-learning course? It’s all about what you choose to focus on.

If you focus on features and benefits, hopefully people will learn some features and benefits. However, if you focus on the behaviors that you want sales associates to undertake — and the tools, customer messaging, and methods to achieve those behaviors — that’s what moves the sales needle. That’s on-the-job training.

In many cases, your product’s features, advantages, and benefits are part of the toolbox for achieving behavioral changes on the sales floor (for example, compelling product demos). Therefore, you won’t have to leave your product messaging behind, even when you focus on sales. But by reorienting your thinking — first to the upskilling needs of your audience, then to the need to get your product messaging across — you will move the retail sales needle. Which, whatever your product, was the goal all along.