I came across some recent research that clearly links training to an uplift in sales. I was rapt to read this, as I have been (and still am!) a trainer for the last 23 years, focussing on helping retailers to improve their service and increase their sales. Unfortunately some people see training as the silver bullet – it will fix all staff problems. I’m sure most of us know this is not the case, training is always a start and it’s the transfer to the job of the skills learnt and follow up that makes the difference.
So I thought I’d share the exciting data with you. It comes from Wharton University in Pennsylvania who have been studying millions of customer’s responses from satisfaction surveys over the past 10 years. They then focussed on three years of data to find the answer to one key question – “If you found a sales person, were they knowledgeable?”
The study found sales people, who did any training at all averaged 46 percent more sales per hour than those who didn’t train. Taking into account that those who volunteered were more motivated than those who didn’t, researchers found that half of the 46 percent difference was due to the individuals themselves but that the other half was due to training.
Marshall L. Fisher, professor of operations, information and decisions at Wharton, believes such training is under-emphasized by stores because it is costly and hard to measure. He said, “And those benefits are often in the future, whereas the cost is often immediate. If I have more people, my cost of labour increases. Or if I give people a raise and hire better people, my cost of labour increases”
The professor added that training should lead to benefits across a number of service industries and with other tasks. He added, “I think that’s one clear implication: that if you measure the value of investing in your people — in this case, training — it turns out to be much higher than people tend to believe.”
What an exciting result, that reinforces there is tremendous value in training your team. Apart from the increase in sales outlined above, training (if it’s done well and followed up) will ensure your sales people can reach or exceed your expectations. The result of this, I believe, leads to customers experiencing WOW customer service, spending more, becoming more loyal and coming back more often. And that is an awesome result!!
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.