Retail consultant Bob Phibbs believes that retailers must train their staffs in sales techniques in order to make and increase sales.
In a recent blog, Phibbs suggested that store managers use a technique they often shy away from: role playing. That’s when a manager puts an employee in an imaginary sales situation with a hypothetical shopper to see how well he or she can use sales training to hold a customer to make a sale.
Stores, Phibbs writes, often avoid role playing because it makes employees uncomfortable. He then suggests things to avoid to make role playing work such as:
- Don’t do it in front of customers. While you want to be on the sales floor, you don’t want employees to feel they are being watched and judged, so stop when customers enter.
- Beware of kill the leader which is when a group challenges whoever is leading the exercise and wants to argue about what was said. To avoid this, simply start another one.
- Instruct associates in the customer role in more advanced role-plays that they are not to try to trip up the associate but also not simply tell them whatever is on their role card. You want the associate to have to use your sales process to find the answers on their own.
- Only doing role-playing once. Training must be something you do to create a culture of learning, not a checkbox on a sheet as something you did once and then put on a shelf.