Retail Sales Training: 4 Keys to Sales Success

retail sales training

A Day to Remember

Saturday will be a big day for my wife and me. Our only daughter is getting married. There are many things I could write as the big day approaches. But at this moment, my focus is on her fiance. It probably isn’t horribly unique for the bride’s father to think about his son-in-law just days before the wedding. Contrarily, what I am thinking about him probably is unusual. You see, my future son-in-law is a bona fide retail sales training superstar.

We’ll call him “E”. During the two years I have known him, he has earned several promotions. The company he works for regularly moves him to underperforming locations. However, he inevitably turns the store around in a very brief period of time. This is in an environment where many believe location is everything. Furthermore, he proves that effective customer engagement is critical to success. Together, we have had many conversations. I have observed four characteristics that not only make him a top performer but will also make him a terrific husband for our little girl.

Have a Servant’s Heart

Perhaps you are familiar with this term. In business, the essential concept is that our primary responsibility is to serve others and from this service, we will derive our own success. Retail sales is a classic environment in which to prove this out.  In retail, we MUST focus first on serving our customers, before we can sell them. E gets this right down to his core. He always focuses on helping customers, sometimes through simple courtesy and other times by going above and beyond what would be expected. In all cases, he makes clear to everyone he meets that he is genuinely concerned for their well-being and committed to their satisfaction. In an increasingly competitive environment, E knows that the customer experience is much more than WHAT they buy and how IT performs- it is everything about HOW we engage with them.

Because of his demonstrable commitment to serve, many of his customers are happy to follow him to any store he leads. I suspect my daughter will happily do the same.

retail sales training

In Retail Sales Training, Be a Passionate Expert

This isn’t simply about technical knowledge about our products and services or understanding our competition. E loves his products, his company, and everything about the ecosystem in which he works. This means he is always learning about solutions that extend beyond what his company provides. His passion for what he does makes his continuing education a pleasure and his growing knowledge makes him an invaluable expert to his customers. As a result of his competence, E is able to establish a level of trust with his customers that few people in any sales arena, let alone retail, are able to enjoy.

His passion for growing and learning makes him a valuable resource at work and in life- and a perfect partner for our daughter.

Pay Attention to the Small Things

So often in retail sales, we get caught up in working to win the big orders. Maybe it’s the three-piece suit, the engine overhaul, or the wireless tablet device, but we focus on the big sale and forget all the little things. In reality, the cuff links, the new hoses for the engine, or the car charger may deliver tremendous utility to the customer and terrific margins for the business. I often think about my own retail buying experiences and am amazed by how differently I am treated when I am looking to make a big-ticket purchase as opposed to buying a small accessory. We can’t forget the little things and E totally gets this. By paying attention to small accessories, and the customers who need them, E has pushed stores from red to black and demonstrated the kind of genuine concern for customers that makes them feel truly appreciated.

Many a new husband has stumbled trying to learn how important the little things are in a marriage. Luckily for our daughter, her super-seller fiance’ already has this lesson under his belt.

Retail Sales Training 101: Get the Entire Team Doing the Same

Each of the three keys listed above has helped E to become a sales superstar. Unfortunately, creating a successful store or business requires more than one superstar. Everyone on the team must develop a servant’s heart and demonstrate a genuine concern for each other and their customers. Teams must develop collective expertise and enjoy growing and learning together. They must share an attention to detail so that every customer receives the same experience and every opportunity to provide additional value is realized.

When an entire team operates under these same principles, everyone achieves greater success. E realizes this. Furthermore, he is acutely aware that as a leader, all eyes are on him. He understands the need to lead by example. This helps make everyone crystal clear about how they are to treat one another and their customers. Clear, because he is modeling the behavior for them in every interaction.

Today he is a great example for his coworkers. Someday he will be a wonderful example for my grandchildren… someday.

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