Features

Are you training your salespeople?

By Leonard Zell

Most jewellers try to find time to train their salespeople, but it can be hard as other things often take priority. I can understand this, because in retail jewellery you are seldom ever caught up with your work.

Keep in mind, sales training is the only way you can increase your sales without increasing inventory, running costly promotions, or special events. Need I say more? OK. Let’s get started.

Who should be doing the training?

Select someone who has good knowledge of selling and that your staff respects. This does not have to be your top salesperson. Keep in mind if they have an ego, which many of them do, they will turn everyone off. If this has to be you, make sure you have the time, which is unlikely.  If you have a manager that should be his most important responsibility. For convenience I will use the male gender.

What should the sales trainer do?

Be on the sales floor up front and keep the salespeople there when not with customers. If he goes to the back of the store so will your salespeople. Customers will often walk past your store because it appears empty. Worse yet, if he is not up front, he cannot observe those who are selling.

What kind of attitude should he have?

A positive one. If he smiles when he talks to your salespeople they will be attentive. He should avoid any negative criticism, or badgering. If a salesperson does make a mistake and loses a sale, then just tell them with a smile they are not the only one who has and that you will show them how to avoid it the next time.

What is the best way for him to train your staff and not revert to their old habits?

Role playing, because no other type of training has that high a rate of retention. The difference is huge. Lecturing has about a 20% rate and role playing has as much as 80% when done correctly. To make it fun, he should use good humor and laugh off all mistakes.

With role playing mistakes cost nothing and they will be better prepared to use their new selling skills. Lecturing forces your sales people to practice with customers, one mistake could make them become discouraged and revert to their old habits.

Which is the best way to conduct role playing?

It’s all common sense. The sales trainer should train your staff the same way he would like to be trained. When demonstrating a sales technique take the part of the salesperson and let them play the customer.

He will make some mistakes and even though your staff may not notice them he should call them to their attention, in fact this is where I made fun of myself and got some laughs. I gained credibility and showed them that even with my 40 years of experience I am human and still make mistakes.

After his demonstration he should pair up the staff and have them role play with each other and then reverse their roles. Go from couple to couple, but only very briefly to assist them and then move onto the next couple. After they reverse their roles demonstrate the next technique.

How should he prepare himself?

I recommend to first try the sales techniques before he demonstrates them. He can relate the success he had and his experience will motivate everyone.

What about the sales techniques he will use?  

Make sure he demonstrates them to you first and that they answer this question: “Is this the way you would like to be sold?”

When should he train and how often?

At least once a week and short role plays whenever a salesperson is free. This keeps their selling skills sharp. Be sure he role plays in front of the store. This way it will appear busy and attract customers. Assign one of your staff to make a monthly calendar and ask the others what new selling skills they want to learn in addition to yours.This gets everyone involved. A Zelling tip. Be sure to let others know of a successful sale of one of your staff  and ask them to tell about it in your meetings.

Promo: For additional details on role playing and training your salespeople, you will find them in Leonard Zell’s sales manual with 40 chapters of his proven jewellery sales techniques.  Also available are three audio CDs, Leonard Zell Live. You will hear him conducting full day sales seminar with role playing. Order them at www.zellit.com. Leonard welcomes your feedback and any questions. E-mail him at zellit@aol.com. He will reply promptly.

This article first appeared in the July issue of Jewellery Focus.

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