Making Your Training Count – 5 Tips for Following Up on Retail Training
If you are like many retailers, you periodically pull your retail representatives off of the sales floor to help them improve their product knowledge, customer service skills, or selling capabilities. Whether the retail sales associates are spending their time at an instructor-led training session, reading product manuals, or working on internet training courses, retail owners are spending real money on their training investments.
Like all investments, you and other retailers need to ensure that you are getting a pay-off from your retail training programs. The good news is that with a little diligence and consistency you can do so. Here are five tips to help you do so:
1.) Use Email to Gain Commitment and Give Feedback – Ask each person who took part in a training session to email you a brief summary of what they learned in the training along with a commitment for how they are going to turn the training into results tangible results (increased sales, margin improvement, etc.). The use your Outlook calendar to remind you to review their results after two or three weeks so you can reward, reinforce, or counsel the employee as needed.
2.) Inform Team Members About Results – Did you train your retail team members on how to sell a particular product? Did you give them tips on how to improve customer service? If so, post relevant statistics so that the training is kept top-of mind.
3.) Challenge team members with a quiz – Once of the best retail tips that I can provide is the importance of using quizzes and tests to challenge sales representative. While these quizzes can be used to measure the retention of information, they also serve as a way to keep the training relevant or updated. In fact you will likely uncover situations where you got off message so you can improve your training program the next time you deliver it.
4.) Look for and publish success stories – A few days after the training, ask your retail representatives to share examples of how they have put their new knowledge or skills to work. Then email or post those success stories to give other team members something to strive for.
5.) Use surveys to gain feedback – There are many low-cost or no-cost tools available through the Internet that allow you to gain feedback about the quality of your training programs. This not only lets you learn about areas for your improvement and development, but also forces your team members to review and think about their training and development.
The key making your retail training program stick is to be actively involved on an ongoing basis. Contact us for more retail training tips and to learn more about how you canimprove your retail training and development plan.
– David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group. As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers. You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at www.retailertrainingservices.com.