The Manager as Teacher . . . Going Back to Basics
A new series of articles will help you organize ongoing training for your staff
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Our lives and lifestyles have changed dramatically in recent years. Technology and the economy have allowed or forced many of us to throw off the simple, basic trappings of the past and enter the complex, high-speed whirl of today.
But just as we occasionally long to get up from the computer, put on a soft, comfy robe and read a great classic in front of a roaring fire, so must we all go back to basics from time to time, even in our businesses.
As sales trainers, we speak constantly about how an effective training program can motivate sales associates to reach new heights. But return to the store where that training took place 30-60 days later, and we sometimes find but a vague reminder of the happy recent past.
We should live by two fundamental tenets of training:
- Always go back to basics.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition!
In an effort to combine these tenets and make your life as a training owner or manager a whole lot easier, we have a deal to offer you.
Create Your Own Lesson Plans
Over the next several months, we will use this column to provide you with the information you need to create a series of weekly or monthly training sessions for your salespeople. Well offer a subject, cover the key points, maybe even provide you with an outline you can use as your lesson plan.
The topics will be fundamental. Were going back to basics, after all, because thats where success begins. All we ask in return is your faith. Try in earnest to use these lessons to raise the bar for your newer associates and to refresh and remotivate the seasoned ones.
Make training meetings a religion. Show your staff members you care about their progress and success every Tuesday morning, every other Friday or the second Saturday of every month. Post a schedule and force yourself to comply or have to make excuses.
Dont prejudge the material as being too elementary. Weve had 20-year veterans tell us they dreaded having to attend a training session because they thought they knew it all. How pleased they were, though, to pick up a trick or two or be reminded of methods theyd forgotten long ago.
Everyone benefits from training even the trainer, who often learns from the trainees. The smartest retailers retain or employ specialists for ongoing training of all staff, regardless of length of service.
Begin with a Review
Here are a few tips to review before you begin your sessions:
1. Announce the meetings with the most positive spin you can create. Sales associates need to perceive classes as an opportunity, not as drudgery.
2. Keep the sessions brief, light and simple. Even the sleepiest student can stay involved for 30 minutes. Serve some refreshments; start on schedule; show them you mean business.
3. Incorporate something that will keep them interested. Dont read or lecture. Let your staff participate. Elicit responses. Share anecdotes. Include role-play. Create games, even contests. Use a video clip where appropriate. Our part is to give you an outline, to get you started; youll customize it to your personality, your business, your situation.
4. Let students teach occasionally. If youre fortunate enough to have a great resource on your staff, take advantage. If you have a spectacular closer, for example, let her lead the class on closing.
5. Quiz your staff then follow up with role-play at the counter during the next several days and weeks. Follow-up is another key to success.
Were only five months into the millennium, not at all too late to add a resolution to your list. Resolve to train regularly. Well help, and youll see results.
by Christine Anzell & Jack Levenson
To order Anzell & Levensons jewelry-specific Client Record Keeping Book or Sales Training Manual (see ad in Professional Jewelers Marketplace), call (800) 887-8902.