Case Studies

Graff Retail’s Custom Training Program Improves Sales, Employee and Customer Experience for Leading Liquor Retailer

A large liquor retailer recognized the need for a paradigm shift at its retail stores. This realization was triggered by growing competition not only from other liquor stores but also from different forms of “entertainment” where consumers would choose to spend their disposable income.

Graff Retail was approached by this liquor retailer to develop comprehensive sales, service and management training programs to assist with the big change.  We were chosen as a partner for this project due to our extensive retail expertise and ability to assist the liquor retailer with the substantial time commitment that was required by this initiative.

Evaluating the Problem

The experts at Graff Retail began designing the programs by first surveying frontline staff. For these programs to be successful, it was essential that the staff bought in. The executive team of the liquor retailer wanted their stores to have a more customer-focused and high performing work environment.

After Graff Retail’s evaluation, the following areas of opportunity were identified:

  • Sales and service expectations were not clearly identified
  • There was no accountability for sales performance at the store level — the systems required to track staff performance were not in place
  • Formal training did not exist
      • Frontline staff lacked selling skills, in addition to the confidence needed to engage customers
      • Management did not have the skills need to get the best out of their teams
      • The liquor retailer had a unionized workforce with typical employees having 20 or more years of experience. This raised challenges related to base skill sets, attitudes, and role changes

Setting the Right Goals

After the assessment, Graff Retail identified the need for an Employee Development Program for frontline workers that would help the liquor retailer achieve the paradigm shift at its stores. This sales and coaching program would focus on:

  • Getting staff to perform at higher levels and become more focused
  • Clearly defining expectations and measuring performance against them
  • Focusing on Selling techniques required specifically for a liquor environment
  • A Coaching program that would enable managers to be more confident and effective in their roles
  • Reinforce a selling culture and evaluating the program’s success on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis

“Graff Retail designed all of the programs and facilitated the delivery to our teams. They worked closely with us to customize each of the programs to fit our environment. Their needs assessment process clearly uncovered the right information needed to design a training system for our company that works.”

Executive | Industry Leading Liquor Retailer

A Customized Solution

The program aimed to increase store employee job satisfaction, provide higher quality service to customers, and to increase revenue through increased customer satisfaction. Graff Retail’s Ready to SERVE training program focused on developing the selling, service and management skills needed for the liquor retailers stores. 

The first step was clearly defining expectations and then measuring performance against them. A Balanced Scorecard process was implemented that would evaluate store performance through a metric-based approach. It was essential to not only track sales but also measure how store managers performed on all key inputs that drive sales. With this tool, the liquor retailer was able to add objectivity to the evaluation process and at the same time drive performance and morale. Additionally, all of the existing programs and systems were integrated to ensure they were being used, thereby boosting accountability levels.

A sales system combining classroom training with online and in-store training was developed that would focus on the Selling techniques required for selling beverage alcohol and accessory items for the liquor retailer. The sales system was wholly maintained at the store level using specially designed reinforcement tools to support and sustain the selling skills learned in the classroom. The three-part Selling sales system included:

Part 1: Management teams being trained on the selling skills and system

  • 2-day classroom program
  • Day one taught ‘how to sell’ at stores for the liquor retailer
  • Day two gave managers the skills and tools needed to go back to their stores and effectively train their staff, and keep the program alive and working in a sustainable fashion

Part 2: Management teams then training their store staff

  • Managers were equipped to train their staff in both a group and one-on-one training process
  • This began with a 30-minute staff meeting to introduce Selling skills to the staff
  • A six-week implementation process was used to train the staff in-store
  • The training process was fundamentally solid, applying multiple training styles and approaches to ensure everyone in the store benefitted from the program

Part 3: Keeping the program alive in their stores

  • Ready to SERVE was integrated into daily store operations and became a way of life at the stores
  • Staff were continually re-trained on the process and recognized for their efforts

Graff Retail’s Get Managing program enabled managers to be more confident and effective in their roles. Key components of this coaching system included:

  • Managers learning the fundamental coaching skills required to deal effectively with their teams
  • The use of a system to set goals and track results, integrated with daily shift starter meetings where staff would discuss the store’s performance and make plans to achieve success on a daily basis
  • Managers would conduct documented bi-weekly coaching sessions with their staff. These one-on-one sessions are powerful opportunities to engage the staff, improve relationships, bolster skills, provide recognition, and ultimately drive performance

A streamlined sales management process was established for use at the store level. This was critical to reinforcing the selling culture and evaluating the program’s success on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis.

Proof that Training Works!

Graff Retail created and implemented the program on time and within budget. The first-year results of the program showed an increase in employee satisfaction and customer experience.

Sales

  • At Signature Stores (where the program was implemented) transaction values increased from 10% to 15%
  • Average transaction values increased across all stores by 4%

Customer Satisfaction:

  • 98% of customers rated their shopping experience as excellent, very good, or good!

Employee Satisfaction:

  • Employee satisfaction increased by 5 points

Due to the success of the program at Signature Stores, executives of the liquor retailer decided on implementing it at all their stores. 

4%

Average transaction values increased across all stores by 4%

98%

98% of customers rated their shopping experience as excellent, very good, or good!

Your sales teams could and should be selling more.

This Graff Retail White Paper explains what it takes to make this happen.

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