- Do you get frustrated when you have invested heavily in merchandise, but the important information is never relayed to guest coming into the store?
- Do you have mistakes because sales associates aren’t fully trained or knowledgeable enough to properly order the correct item?
- Is the turnover high, especially with new sales associates, costing you thousands of dollars in lost sales and training pay?
- Are internet competitors eroding your margins or costing you sales?
Reason #1 – In our industry there are numerous departments, hundreds of different SKU numbers with lots of different fabrics and finishes for each one. Special Order and online offerings add more to the assortment amounting to an incredible amount of product knowledge that must be mastered. Your sales team has forgotten more than they have learned, and it is unreasonable to expect an average sales professional to soak up this amount of information in a short time.
Reason #2 – Microsoft recently published a study on technology’s impact on our attention span. They found that the average adult is able to focus on a single item for 8 Seconds…..which is down from 12 Seconds in the year 2000. Traditional furniture training programs are too long, too generic and not engineered using adult learning principles.
Reason #3 – The truth is, our customer has changed, and we haven’t. Today, our average customer has researched online, compared quality and pricing before ever stepping foot in our store. We continue to train our sales people in the same way that we have for 30 years. There was a time when the knowledgeable sales associate earned their living by giving features and benefits to a guest that didn’t have the information we have. Today is different……. selling furniture is about engagement, connection and guest experience. It is the only way that any brick and mortar store will survive, and our sales model needs to change with the times.
Reason #4 – Training in our industry is an “event”. We sent a new, excited sales associate to training and fully expect that when they finish that we will have a polished superstar. The majority of learning takes place after the training event, when our new sales associate is applying what they have learned. Unfortunately we do not provide the support and tools to practice what they have learned. Too soon, the event is forgotten, the skills are not cemented and the sales associate leaves or struggles to make a professional paycheck.
Reason #5 – We traditionally have relied on reading material and instructor or manager led training. Knowledge Retention is extremely low using these platforms, and also can be very expensive. Millennials will make up 46% of the workforce (and our sales associates) by the year 2020. They demand quick, short and relevant training that they can easily apply to the daily tasks. They want to be able to look up information quickly and prefer to learn through video. A recent study by The Intelligence Group indicates that 68% of Millennials “frequently use” You Tube both for entertainment and to learn new information. This far surpasses other social media channels. Video allows us to both see and hear the content, increasing retention. Carefully crafted scripting allows for small chunks of information to be relayed. It is instant, and the user can search for the information that they need when they need it.
Our current training platforms, content and sales models are woefully behind the times both for our guests and for our employees. Furniture Trainer takes home furnishings sales development to a whole new level by providing customized, small chunks, of video based training in an organized and easily accessible Learning Management system or LMS. In training terms, this is known as Micro or Nano learning. These knowledge nuggets are short, averaging less than 3 minutes each and containing a short knowledge check at the end which is recorded in the LMS Database for accountability. The Sales Training framework is based on guest connection, engagement and experience and can be modified to fit within your preexisting sales model if needed. Manufacturers can use this platform to educate and invigorate sales around their product line, or as a value added component for new and existing accounts. Please feel free to contact me to design, develop and implement a new training platform for your organization.