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What’s inside the “training cupboards” of top performing retailers?

We have been working with retailers, both big and small, for almost 30 years.  Our job at Graff Retail is to help retailers drive sales revenues, reduce turnover, improve the customer experience and drive overall store performance through effective and ongoing training of their front line teams.  Over the years, after so many conversations with retailers, we can draw one main conclusion…retailers who invest in training their team members are more successful than those who don’t. 

This is not a challenging statement.  It just makes sense that a trained team (that is constantly learning and growing) performs better than a team that works for an organization that is more merchandise driven; one that doesn’t believe in developing their teams.  But, what kind of training are these top performing retailers investing in that separates them from the competition?  Let’s take a peek inside the training cupboards of top retailers and see where they are investing their training dollars.

1.  Sales Training

Seems like a no-brainer, but so many retailers have staff out on the floor, representing their brands who doesn’t have the first clue about how to actually sell to their customers.  The fact is, most retailers do a good job merchandising their stores, pricing their lines and even have strong marketing campaigns, but why is it that they aren’t selling to even half of the traffic that crosses their lease lines?  The missing link is in the selling behaviours and abilities of their sales teams.

2.  Performance Management

Sales training is one thing, but without Retail Store Managers who know how to direct, lead and coach the selling activities of a sales team, the selling culture that makes for a top performing retail store will quickly fall flat.  Most retailers train their management teams on all the administrative aspects of the job, but that’s it.  Managers need to know how to put on their coaching hat and offer continual group and individual coaching to move the needle on their KPI’s.  It goes beyond just coaching though.  To be a top retailer, you must train your Store Managers how to prioritize, motivate and engage, lead, recruit and hire properly, get compliance, and troubleshoot every day. 

3.  Territory Management

Most retailers promote their top performing Store Managers into District Manager roles.  This isn’t a problem as long as they offer training specific to the role that a District Manager plays within the organization, but most retailers don’t.  With proper training, DM’s are in a leadership position to help both people and the company grow and succeed.  If you treat them like a glorified Store Manager, they will do a terrific job of managing the processes in place…and that’s all they will do.  Successful retailers have training in place for their District Managers and that’s all there is to it. 

4.  Head Office Training

For mid to larger sized retail chains, there is always a team at Head Office operating behind the scenes supporting the stores.  You’ll find that top performing retailers keep these support teams stimulated with ongoing training and development opportunities.  When Head Office teams also adopt the same ‘selling culture’ that you build out in your stores, that’s the secret to ultimate success. 

It’s still early in 2016, so if you are looking to fill up your training cupboards or are in the midst of cleaning out your cupboards and revamping your existing training, we’d love to help you out.  Contact Graff Retail for a free one-hour consultation or sign up for our sales and/or management training programs.  

905-842-1275 –

Blog Authors: Mary & Kim

Mary GordonKim McCutcheon

Mary Gordon and Kim McCutcheon have been supporting retail front lines for as long as they can remember. A dynamic duo, Mary and Kim understand what it takes to make training work at store level and know how to inspire, coach and support retail teams in all of their training endeavours.

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