Summer is just around the corner, and depending on the nature of your business, you may be in full-force seasonal hiring mode. So, let’s say you’re already on track with finding and hiring the best people for the job. Equally important is having a training plan in place so when they do start, you’re sure to get the most out of your seasonal staff. After all, if it’s important enough to put them on the sales floor, shouldn’t it also be important enough to train them?

Who are the leaders in your company? 

The owner(s)?  The CEO?  The VP’s? We often think of leadership in terms of the most senior positions in an organization (especially if we occupy one of them!).  But what if this wasn’t true?  What if we were to tell you that the most important leaders in your company don’t hold an executive title?  That they work much closer to the front lines than the CEO does?  That they, in fact, spend a lot more of their time in the stores than attending meetings at head office?

If you don't already have a sales training program in place to teach your sales staff how to sell and service your customers, you need to get one!  If you do have a sales training program in place, but it's not working as well as you hoped, maybe you are missing a key ingredient to sustain your training efforts? 

No one likes to talk about this topic.  It makes everyone feel bad.  When I’m on stage at a conference talking about it, people avoid making eye contact with me.  You can cut the tension in the room with a knife.  It’s the real ‘shame’ of retail.

There has been a lot of press lately highlighting how a number of big name retailers have upped their starting pay rates.  In one case, Starbucks has gone as far as paying 100% of the college tuition for its employees … WELL DONE!

In fact, overall employee management practices have evolved a lot over the past number of years.  Fairer scheduling practices.  Better perks.  Improved benefits.  Enhanced work environments. Higher rates of pay.   All in all, it could be successfully argued that retail employees have it better today than ever before.  And good for them!  

The challenge now for all retailers is to ensure they’re keeping up with what everyone around them is doing. 

Attention all Store Managers!  It's time for some "Spring Training" in your stores! 

Everyone knows how satisfying it is to do spring cleaning around the house, the same can be true about spring training for retailers!  The winter blahs are over and it's time to get the cobwebs out and get back to the basics.

If you're not sure what you need to do to refresh your training and/or performance coaching in the store, here are a few Spring Training Tips that you can start working on right away; even if you don't have a solid sales training program in place yet!

Bricks and Bouquets

There’s no doubt that retail is a lightning rod that attracts so much negative and positive attention alike.  No wonder, it’s likely the most visible industry of all.  We’re all consumers, no matter what we do, and as such find ourselves face to face with the good (and the bad) retailers.

Now it’s my turn to toss a few bouquets for things I see being done exceptionally well by and for retail, and to throw a few bricks at things that continue to annoy customers and lose sales.

What exactly do your Store Managers know about … Managing?

The title of this blog likely gives away where I’m heading with this posting.  But, think about it for a moment.  What have you actually taught them about how to manage the store?

Yes, you’ve likely trained them on a multitude of paperwork related tasks, how to build a schedule (including the essential, ‘don’t you dare go over on hours’ module), merchandising and other basic store requirements.  All good and essential stuff to be certain.

But, ask any Manager what the toughest part of their job is and they’ll almost universally tell you it’s dealing with their staff.  We know that’s true because we surveyed almost 700 Managers a couple of years ago and that’s what they told us.

What's the easiest (and least expensive way) for a retailer to make more sales?  If you're scratching your head to think of an answer or running down to the marketing department to look for the answer, chances are your frontline training program needs an overhaul...or maybe you don't even offer the most important training to your retail teams yet.

Take a look at what's been happening around you these days.  It's amazing isn't it?  The world is moving and changing faster each day.  And the world of retail is desperately doing its best to keep up.  What this means for all of us, as consumers, is that we've never had it so good!


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