Following the popular article on 12 invisible barriers to retail execution, I would like to share some real-life findings on the effect of sales training with you.
I have done training in retail for 17 years. I love it. It is fun, and everybody says they are getting tons out of it.
When I called or visited retail chains a month or two after a training to find out how much their behaviour had actually changed; almost everyone was back to old habits. Do you recognise this?
Spaced practice – practising numerous times over a time period can counter this. But the spaced practice is challenging to get done in real life. So when staff is gathered, or a trainer/coach is in the store – training is intensive to get as much out of it as possible. But then this happens – Information overload!
And then…the forgetting process sets in…
(Caveat: The above is illustrative. The jury is out on how much is actually forgotten and how fast. But the fact is, it is a lot – quickly!)
So what actually happens after training often looks like this:
Add to that group dynamics and social pressure to ‘blend in’ – and changing behaviour in the store becomes even more difficult to the store staff.
I found the above pattern repeated over and over again – and have also tried it personally. I would appreciate hearing if you have tried it yourself? Can you confirm/disconfirm this from a personal experience?
Did you know that staff behaviour is actually not influenced mostly by what your staff know or can do…
…But by habits.
Actually, habits control the majority of human behaviour – including behaviour at work. And in stores, where many customers look and act the same – habits reign. And if you have tried changing a habit yourself – you know it is tough and doesn’t happen just because you want it to.
You should not rely on training to get behaviour change and increase sales because:
So training is a very cost-ineffective way of changing behaviour. I am not saying it is not working. It is just costly and ineffective.
E-learning (or M-learning) can be an ok solution, but only if it aims to create behaviour and not “distribute information”. Typical problems with E/M-learning are:
But hey, it is cheap – and who knows, it might work?
You can also do competitions to influence behaviour and increase sales, which does work short term but creates 3 bigger problems.
Competitions do work, to some extent, but they have to be used moderately and integrated with the other activities in the chain. However, it is a motivational mechanism and not a reliable behaviour change tool.
Back to training, behaviour change, and increasing sales. What can you do instead of training – how can you change staff behaviour in an effective way?
If you are responsible for training or results, you now know that you have the opportunity to drive this change that is happening all around us. Digital engagement, coaching, and follow-up tools are the future in behaviour change and increased sales.
By reading this, you have already started down the path of easy behaviour change. You have stepped in front – you are helping to create the Result Revolution in Retail.
If you found this a worthwhile read, make yourself heard. Share or let me know your thoughts.
Jan Dahl Andersen,