How to Conduct an Effective Retail Sales Training Session

You have planned your agenda and you have secured your meeting space.  You have informed your retail associates about your goals for the training so that they are motivated to learn and you have ensured that their shifts are covered so that you will have great attendance.  You have double checked you materials for accuracy and set your plan for follow-up.  Most importantly, you have secured a commitment from your retail managers to get behind the training.  Now that training day is here, let’s review some specific tips and techniques that will ensure that your retail training session achieves your objectives.

Here are 10 proven techniques to help you conduct a successful retail sales training or other retail training session:

1.  Use the 3 “T’s” of training.  That is, Tell them what you're going to cover; Tell them the information they need to know; and Tell them what you told them as a review.  Repetition is a key to retention, so this is a great rule to follow!

2.  Double check your content.  When using multimedia like video or audio, make sure the player or TV is working.  If you are utilizing a retail eLearning course verify that the computer has good connectivity.  Then make sure to explain what trainees are going to see before you play the media. This help the learners know what to look for and helps them to get involved with the presentation.

3.  Get people involved in the training.  The best trainers know how to get all 5 senses involved with their learners.  That means using role-plays, small group activities, and demonstrations wherever possible – after all, when your team members practice their retail selling skills they will do better when they hit the floor!

4. Test for comprehension.  That does not mean you need to have a formal written “test.”  Instead, whenever you get to a logical stopping point, ask one of your retail associates to verbally recap what they just learned.  This serves as another means of repetition and keeps everyone on their toes.

5. Involve your trainees.  In addition to what we mentioned above, during your retail sales training meetings you could have experienced sales associates make short presentations or to lend their advice and reinforcement to your message.  Hearing different voices also keeps sessions varied and interesting.

6. When asked a question, repeat it before answering.  This will ensure that all of the participants in your retail sales training know what the question is so they can make handle the same situation when they are in front of a customer.

7.  Make adjustments to your presentation.  The best trainers never stop learning and it is likely that someone in your class will have a new way of handling an objection or presenting a benefit that you have not heard before.  Developing retail selling skills is an ongoing process and you should pick up new techniques whenever possible.

9. Keep to the schedule.  That means starting on-time and finishing on-time.  Don't hold up the class waiting for people who are late – this includes when you are taking breaks.  This also means that you should allocate enough time in your retail sales training classes for group discussion, questions, and role-playing.  And, don’t forget to allot for enough breaks so that your team members stay alert! 

10. Have a reason for the training and follow-up to measure results.  Having a retail sales training class without a purpose is really just a waste of everyone’s time.  Is your company seeking to increase sales per hour, average items per transaction, or some other metric?  Focus your attention on the key performance metrics, set goals around them, receive commitments from your trainees, and track their results.  You could even implement a spiff or contest to keep their attention focused on the right outcomes.

These 10 activities are a good foundation for any retail sales training class – or any other training class.    If you work on them you will be on the way to ensuring that the retail training session not only runs efficiently, but that it achieves to eh outcomes you and your company desire.

If you would like assistance with implementing a retail sales training program for your company please contact us for a free one-hour consultation.