As the furniture industry evolves and competition increases, we must ensure our sales associates and managers are consistently trained to meet customer needs and deliver great experiences every time. We often find that while most retail organizations may want a robust training program, they must figure out where to start. In this blog post, we’ll help you to design an effective sales training program with 5 workable steps.
Step 1: Identify Your Training Needs
Before implementing a sales training program, it is crucial to identify areas that need improvement. Analyze the organization’s culture and performance to determine which areas need work. While metrics are essential, remember to look at other areas of opportunity, such as communication, leadership gaps, and processes that need to be followed. This is also a great time to examine leadership and hiring practices and to partner with your sales teams directly to hear their needs.
Step 2: Select Your Training Methods and Platforms
Historically, in-person training has been the preferred method of learning in the retail industry, but with the incredible advancements in technology, it makes sense to diversify your training methods. Learning Management Systems (LMS) and webinars are ideal for new hire programs and ensuring performance stays within in-person training. Offer a variety of modalities like job aids, webinars, LMS, how-to guides, quick tip videos, and onsite training. While some team members may prefer tangible or in-person training content, others may prefer a virtual experience. Creating a culture of learning is essential, and micro-learning can help keep training materials concise and content simple. Not only does “bite-size” learning help to retain new information from being overwhelming, but it is also ideal for the busy sales floor.
Step 3: Select a Training Leader and Team
Selecting the right training leader is crucial to the success of your program. Look for experience and education and conduct panel-style interviews with trusted co-workers to see things from multiple perspectives. Empower leadership, sales trainers, and sales associates to take control of their learning. Look for someone passionate about helping others grow and improve, not just a subject matter expert.
Step 4: Prioritize Your Focus and Content for a Maximum ROI
To prioritize your focus and content for return on investment, identify the urgent issues preventing you from reaching your sales goals or keeping you from creating a positive work culture. Look for easy fixes that can make a significant impact and prioritize your training needs to keep your to-do list from overwhelming. Implement up-training, Performance Improvement Training (PIT), or streamlined communications for process changes. Find ways to deliver training that don’t require learners to pause their job, such as real-time coaching.
Step 5: Partner with Quality Vendors
In the fast-paced world of sales, creating and maintaining an effective training program can be overwhelming, but don’t worry- you’re not alone! Quality vendors can offer well-developed, professional content that can add to your sales training program. Partnering with subject matter experts can bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to your training program. When looking for new product or service partners, feel free to ask what their company offers in terms of training to help your team better understand the products or services that they are providing.
When it comes to successful sales training, there are three key elements to remember: intentionality, consistency, and feedback. Intentionality means being deliberate in the delivery and content of your training and tying it to measurable metrics. Consistency is regularly offering training opportunities to your team. Feedback is crucial to the success of your program, so make sure to incorporate feedback loops throughout the training process as you check for effectiveness.
By following these five steps, you, too, can create successful sales training programs that improve performance and helps your teams to deliver a great customer experience. A well-trained team can help retailers stay ahead of the competition and achieve their sales targets.
If you want to develop or improve your sales training program, consider joining us at the High Point Market during HFA’s Spring Seminar Series, where you can learn more about these sales training concepts.