1. Buddy up. Pair each new hire with a veteran associate who can mentor them throughout their first weeks of employment.
2. Hands-on. Make product knowledge an important part of your monthly training program. (You do have a monthly meeting, don’t you?) It’s dangerous to assume that every associate knows every line inside and out. Focus each meeting on a new product line, but don’t forget about new applications for old favorites and basics. Choose one particular category per meeting and discuss what’s important about the product, its application and technique. Make these meetings hands-on training sessions; it’s much easier to sell a product once you’ve tried it.
3. Sales floor seminars. During slow times conduct your product training right on the sales floor. It’s easy to point out important parts of a product category when it’s right in front of you. You’re sure to attract shoppers – let them in the fun. Your crafty customers might even have a trick or two to share.
4. Daily 10. Gather your team on the sales floor each morning before the store opens for business. For 10 minutes talk about product, customer requests, policies, trade shows industry news, upcoming events – whatever makes sense that particular morning. Clear and consistent communication keeps everyone in the loop and on their toes.
5. Gimme 5! Here’s a daily exercise that will increase sales. Hold up an item and ask your team to call out 5 items that could be added-on to it. Add-on selling is good for you and it’s good for your customers. You’ll increase your average sale and customers won’t have to return to the store to pick up the additional items they need to complete a project.
6. Let your stars shine! Why do all the training yourself when your associates can help out? You have people on staff who excel in particular areas – visual merchandising, selling, product knowledge, customer service – let them do the hands-on training for that category or product line. Post a sign-up sheet in the break room asking for volunteers.
Implement these six easy steps and training will become second nature!
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