How does a person learn how the business works?
I know that at McDonalds whether you are flipping hamburgers, cooking fries, or taking orders and making change, you were taught EXACTLY how to make that happen. You were also told the right way to do, and that there was no other way.
So, you are saying that the burgers at McDonalds are not that good. It doesn’t matter, their success is based entirely on developing systems to deliver food in a way that would be best for the customer, hot, and taste good. Billions of burgers later, and millions of hours in training, you now have the largest restaurant business in the world, all based on everyone following their systems.
But how does this apply to sales?
When preparing sales people, you don’t just need to make sure they are good at relationship and product knowledge, you must also train them on how to help the customer complete the transaction.
Back when I started selling at a goldsmith show in college, the owner of that business showed me some of the basics in completing an order, how to fill out an invoice, and taught me how to prepare the store every day.
Let me give you an idea of what I was responsible for every day, sweeping the store front, watering and maintaining the flower baskets, vacuuming the carpet, cleaning the glass, and laying out the display.
Do you think he just said go do it, or did he show me how?
This owner understood the importance of proper presentation, so he showed me how, and then inspected my work daily, till it was getting done right.
Then I received training on greeting customers, product knowledge like that of the 4C’s of a diamond, wrapping gifts, and how to inspect jewelry for repairs. My job was in sales, but there was a lot to learn to be able to sell items that were the size of a quarter and yet would sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
His business was built not just on what he sold, but how his business made customers feel.
Once your sales people are ready to complete a sale, how well are they trained to complete an application, use your software, or produce an invoice. I once spent 2.5 hours to just complete the invoice part of my home entertainment system.
Those 2.5 hours were after I spent only 1 hour making my purchase decision on about 20 items.
Do you think I want to go back or am recommending that big box retailer?
I am choosing to write this article because someone told me recently that they did not believe in training for sales people, as they will not stay, and it doesn’t matter.
Hopefully you will see that training is critical to success, as each of the examples are in simpler businesses who often have staff that come and go.
If you are a small business owner or sales person, make sure you add in training as part of your success formula.
About the author
Jaime “Jim” Hernandez, is president of Strategic Business Communications, Inc. which ranked #4122 in INC magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in America. He contributes a column about marketing for Latin Business Today. A motivational speaker, marketing consultant and trainer, Jim has worked with more than 30 businesses in the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of MYM, and has been a guest lecturer on sales and marketing at the University of San Diego.Website