This is where live experience can be frustrating, since it’s hardest to control the conversation and real interactions that can grow or kill your business. But you can’t ignore that the face of your store is sometimes a human one, and it needs to deliver on what you promise in mass media outreach and other marketing activities.
Credibility is the lifeblood of the sales environment, and without it, the seller can’t give customers the confidence to purchase. Organisations traditionally spend a lot of money so that retail sales professionals (RSPs) can learn about products. The problem is how training is delivered. Many RSPs lament that training is boring, and since many have taken mandatory online training courses, can we argue that they’re wrong? Sitting in a room, being talked at by someone armed with PowerPoint is just as bad. The associations and assumptions formed through this style of engagement are powerful – powerfully negative.
Training is of paramount importance (the percentage of RSPs saying they wanted to leave their job doubled, rising from 15.8% to 33.2% of participants, when they felt they lacked training opportunities in our ‘We Know RSP’s’ research, a global study conducted in six markets) but there’s a right way to go about it. Start by dropping the word “Training.” It has too many negative associations.
“When we have new fruit and veg in season on the shelves, I make a real effort to try them so I can find a place for them in the lives of my customers” – Male respondent, UK
One of the key insights from our research is that RSP’s in supermarkets spend less quality time with customers (compared to their convenience store counterparts) and would like more of an opportunity to do this. They seek a deeper understanding of the products they sell, as they know this will allow them to engage more with customers. Having relatively little opportunity to build relationships with customers, they seek more recognition from managers than their equivalents in convenience.
“When I go that extra mile at work I do it for my manager, I go above and beyond because they lead by example” – Male respondent, UK
Treat them like part of the team, and they will be more likely to act like it. Celebrating those who go above and beyond is a great way to motivate and to inspire others to get involved – recognition strongly fuels the amount of effort RSPs are willing to put out. (Over 90% who strongly agreed that they loved their job acknowledged positive recognition from their manager when they put in effort, whereas lack of recognition was the second highest factor preventing RSPs from going the extra mile.)
“It is the regular customers who make your day. There is a real sense of community in the store I work in – I genuinely want to help out my customers and add value with the products we sell” – Female respondent, UK
RSPs that are believers will…
- MAKE MASS PERSONAL: They can deliver a retail experience that’s a living embodiment of your broader marketing.
- BECOME YOUR FRONT LINE: Ads or no ads, they’ll advocate for your store while you are not there, persuading colleagues to get on the bandwagon and recommending your products to customers.
- DEFEND YOU: Keeping customers happy by helping them get the most out of their purchase with troubleshooting, tips and tricks – even after they’ve walked out of the door.
James Anderson is a managing partner at Momentum London