With the economic conditions that exist today, I keep hearing jewelers talking about making cuts in order to maintain profit. I agree that you must make some cuts today in order to maintain a profitable company. However, a cut in the wrong place can kill your business. Let me caution you: Do not cut your training budget. Your salespeople are, without question, the most valuable asset you have. They are the first, last, and middle impression that a customer has of your business.
When a sports team is having a rough season, they don’t cut out practicing—they practice even more. When a new technique or process is developed in the medical field, every doctor has to be trained in the new technique and practice it before working on a patient. When tax laws change, accountants have to be trained on the changes. If a student has trouble in a class, you don’t quit teaching, you give extra effort.
The worst thing a jeweler could do today is cut off the training they offer their staffs. For that matter, when times are tough you should increase your training budget. Most stores are doing about half of what they should be doing.
I assure you, it’s easier to increase sales through sales training than it is to hope that a new ad campaign will work or that a new product line will be the answer. The answer is in helping your salespeople maximize the selling opportunities they currently have and teaching them how to create more selling opportunities. If you are at the industry average of selling 22 percent of the people who come into your store, you should easily—through training—be able to reach a close rate of 25 percent, which represents a 13.64 percent increase in sales. Just selling three more people out of the 78 (at a 22 percent close rate) who you are not selling will have a major impact. For many of you, 13.64 percent would be the difference between a sales and profit increase or a negative year.
Sales training does work—if you make it a process rather than an event. I could give you hundreds, if not thousands, of testimonials and success stories where training has made the difference between a thriving organization and one that’s planning a going-out-of-business sale. If you are going to cut out training, or if you haven’t invested in the success of your staff, you might as well slice your wrist. Further, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, how could you expect a different result? Cut the fat from your organization, but keep the heart intact, and you will get through this tough economic time.
The consistent application of sound business principles ensures the success of any business.
Most businesses fail because they are managed based on opinions, rather than facts.
A successful sales staff is completely trained, working toward objectives, held accountable for their results, and rewarded based on performance.