Duct Tape

My father-in-law was notorious for always having a roll of duct tape handy. He believed that with duct tape, a hammer, and a screwdriver you could fix anything. He had a roll of duct tape in his car, tool shed, and junk drawer, at his workbench, and in his basement. He would duct tape a radiator hose, a rake handle, his lawnmower, cracked windows, the wheel on the barbeque, electric wires, the chimney flue, and the Christmas tree. Most of the fixes lasted a day or two.

I once tried to repair a leaking faucet in our shower, armed with a crescent wrench, screwdrivers, and a hammer. By the time I was finished, we needed a plumber, a drywall installer, and a ceramic tile layer.

By now you’re asking, What’s the point? At my seminars, I ask retail store owners and managers if they have a formal sales training program to train their sales staffs. The best response I received was a group in which about 20 percent of members had a formal program. The worst case was a group of about 40 retail owners, none of whom had a training program. Apparently most retailers aren’t offering their sales staffs the tools they need to succeed.

I can’t imagine running a jewelry repair shop without the proper tools. I can’t imagine your banker, accountant, insurance carrier, trash collector, gift wrap area, or cash register area not having the proper tools to do the job right. I can’t imagine a jewelry store without a loupe, diamond tweezers, ring sizer, polishing cloths, steamer, counter pads, safe, or alarm system. Retail jewelry stores have all the tools they need to run the business operations. But few have the tools they need for the sales side of the business.

People don’t know what they don’t know! I still hear salespeople say things like “Can I help you” and “Here’s my card” and “Will that be all?” I constantly hear from seminar attendees that they had “never thought of that before” or “That’s the first time I heard that.” Until salespeople, sales managers, store managers, and even store owners have the tools to do the job correctly, the likelihood of maximizing sales is slim at best. Whether sales are up, down, or the same as last year, people can always improve.

Don’t put duct tape on your business. Too many people rely on the success of your organization. I know the standard objection: What if you spend money on training your people and then they quit? My question is: What if you don’t and they stay?

Training is expensive if you don’t offer it or use it. At the very least, you will have a system that you can put new people into, rather than trying to put the system into the people. Just like any school or profession, people need training, coaching, positive reinforcement, repetition, and accountability. Create your own stimulus package by having a system by which you help your people reach the level of professionalism that your customers expect and that your staffs want to attain.

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