With the economic conditions that exist today, I keep hearing jewelers talking about making cuts in order to maintain profit. I agree you must make some cuts today in order to maintain a profitable company. However, a cut in the wrong place can kill your business. Let me caution you - Do not cut your lifeline or your training budget. Your salespeople are, without question, the most valuable asset that you have. They are the first, last and middle impression that a customer has of your business.
When a sports team is having a rough season, they don’t cut out practicing – they practice even more. When a new technique or process is developed in the medical field, each and every doctor has to be trained and practice the new technique before working on a patient. When the tax laws change accountants have to be trained on the changes. If a person is having trouble in school or in a class, you don’t quit teaching, you give extra effort. I could give you dozens of examples – I’m sure you get the point.
The worst thing a jeweler could do today is cut-off the training that they offer their staff. For that matter, when times are tough you should increase your training budget. Most stores are doing about half of what they should be doing.
I assure you it is easier to increase sales through sales training than it is to hope that a new ad campaign will work or to hope that a new product line will be the answer. The answer is in helping your sales people maximize the selling opportunities that they currently have, and create selling opportunities. If you are at the industry average of selling 22% of the people that come into your store, you should easily – through training – be able to reach a close rate of just 25% or a 13.64% increase in sales. By just selling three more people out of the 78 (at a 22% close rate) that you are not selling will have a major impact. For many of you, 13.64% would be the difference between a sales and profit increase or a negative year.
Sales training does work, if you make it a process, rather than an event. I could give you hundreds, if not thousands of testimonials and success stories where training has made the difference between a thriving organization and one that is planning for a GOB. If you are going to cut out training – or if you haven’t invested in the success of your staff - you might as well close your doors. Further, if you keep doing what you have always done, how could you expect any different result? Cut the fat from your organization, but keep the heart intact and you will get through this tough economic time.
The consistent application of sound business principles insure the success of any business!
What are some of the good sound business principles?
- Training - hear it, read it, write it, role-play it, and be observed doing it in live situations
- Coaching - listening in on a few sales presentations each week and critiquing
- Non-negotiable sales, customer service, and operational standards
- Holding people accountable to goals and statistics
- Creating an environment of personal growth and development
- A sales training process
- Communication - daily huddles, weekly one on one meetings, weekly store meetings
Most businesses fail because they are managed based on opinions, rather than facts!
In management, you cannot have opinions, you have to manage based on factual information. The facts come from statistics. If you ever say to a sales person that you think they could do better, you will be perceived as being wrong. If you say to a salesperson that your closing ratio is 10% below the store average, we need to work on increasing your closing ratio, there is no argument. This is how a manager treats people as professionals.
A successful sales staff is completely trained, working toward objectives, held accountable for their results and rewarded based on performance!
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