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Is Your Staff Equipped for the Occasion?

Managing staff can be a frustration for any business owner, it seems sometimes they can be more time consuming than any other aspect of the business and the larger the store the more staffing hassles you are likely to have.

That said any blame for poor performance often doesn’t rest with just the staff. I can honestly say whenever there are circumstances involving staff non-performance, in at least 50% of cases there is some blame that rests with the storeowner himself or herself.

Often this rests with not being clear on the objectives required, being overly critical of performance (or worse not providing any feedback at all) or failing to provide the staff with the necessary knowledge or skill required to do the job.

Now there is a positive in all this…by dealing with these matters you just may be able to eliminate 50% of your staffing headache once and for all. I don’t know any jewelry storeowner who doesn’t want to do that!

Sometimes owners are reluctant to invest money or time in their staff’s training requirements. We all know the frustration of training a staff member, spending money and time on their education, only to have them up and leave…and sometimes to use those skills in a competing environment.

However what isn’t noticed is the cost in missed sales and opportunities that an untrained staff member can pass up. Most businesses can tell you the sales they have made, but there are very few who can tell you about the one’s that got away!

Taking the time to invest in training resources can be one of the most valuable investments you make in your business.

Before you even invest money in inventory or getting traffic to your store, you must have the right staff and the right training in place. There is little point in having the hottest sellers and the best marketing ideas if you don’t do anything with the customers when they come! Identifying the right staff is half the battle, but merely having potential is not enough. Most stores can show inexperienced staff the basics of the product, but it’s the skill of selling that can be so hard to find and nurture. It’s not something that everyone has and when you find someone with that ability you have to give them every opportunity to flourish.

When training your staff it’s important to consider the following points:

Get the right people in the right positions. As we mention some people are more suited to selling than others. If you have staff that isn’t as strong in the selling area they can still play an important role in the business in a supporting role, performing functions that the business still requires.

Make sure your best salespeople get the “big money shots”. It is nice to share the sales around but in reality you can’t afford the luxury of seeing large sales walk out the door. A $5,000 ring sale is not the environment for a new person to be cutting their teeth! Make sure all staff know who is responsible should a bigger sales opportunity come along

Train regularly. Once is not enough. You must reinforce it regularly. It may not always be possible to get all staff to training seminars every time but with the Internet there are many online resources available that can be accessed 24/7. Lack of time or opportunity is never an excuse.

Use everything you can. Get access to training and experience from a variety of sources. Sales reps from vendors have often been successful stores salespeople themselves and are happy to pass on both product knowledge and sales skills, as it’s in their interests for you to sell their product well. Organize training with them and your staff when they are in-store.

Invest both time and money. Itemize training in your profit and loss accounts separately, and allocate a percentage of your payroll to training. When you see what you spend relative to wages, marketing, rent and other costs it puts the cost of training into perspective. It’s also good to see, how much you spend on training relative to every dollar of wages. You wouldn’t book an expensive day on a luxury charter fishing boat them turn up with a stick and a piece of string to fish with! The same is true of your training. If you invest in paying staff then invest in training them as well. Bank on spending 5-10% of your payroll on staff training – it will be the most rewarding part of your HR investment you make.

Using the Pareto Principle in Your Business

David Brown is President of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy's management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports contact or Phone toll free (877) 5698657
© Edge Retail Academy 1983 Oliver Springs Street Henderson NV 89052-8502, USA

AT: 03/15/2013 12:07:25 PM   LINK TO THIS ARTICLE

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