Last updateWed, 08 Jul 2020 1pm

Retailer Roundtable: What is your store’s procedure for training salespeople?

RR Hornik“When a new team member is brought on board, we invite them in around 3:00 pm on their first day to review and complete the hiring paperwork. The new hire is then given an employee handbook, which we review together page by page. Within that handbook is our general store policies and procedures. We go through the daily store closing procedures, as that is their first task at the end of the shortened hiring day. The employee is given positive reinforcement for things done correctly, and suggestions for improvement on those done incorrectly. They are invited to ask as many questions as necessary to fully grasp their new duties. The remainder of the first week, the new hire is primarily off the sales floor, reviewing vendor and industry information including history of our business, vendor catalogs & details, parts of a watch, the 4 Cs, and a gem encyclopedia. At the same time, they are taught how to wrap gifts, daily cleaning tasks, answer phones, repair take in/delivery, and where everything is located in our store. They are invited to shadow other associates from a distance, and step in if simple tasks are necessary to keep the other associate with a client. After the associate has demonstrated a knowledge of the proper tasks via multiple assessments (1-2 weeks after hire), they are invited to assist clients on the sales floor with another employee. They receive immediate feedback on each interaction, so that proper behaviors are learned and expectations matched. As the employee develops, they are free to assist clients one on one. The associate is given a 30-day review and 90 day review as well. We also provide ongoing training for our associates in our weekly morning meeting. All employees are regularly encouraged to seek out industry information and current events.”

Jillian Hornik, CG, Partner/Sales Manager
Jae’s Jewelers
Coral Gables, FL


RR Yelton“In our store, we certainly delegate tasks to each individual employee which allows them to individually train on a particular topic. We have a checklist/manual for new employees that clearly spells out our expectations. I do like to ‘throw them in the fire’ a bit to see how they communicate with customers one on one and critique after the encounter. We typically tend to hire outside of the industry to be able to train them without having to break bad habits. We love and welcome any reps that want to come in and do a 20-30 minute training on their particular brands. We are a strong partner with Edge Retail Academy (ERA) and follow Edge Pulse religiously. This allows our staff to be held accountable for their sales goal, average retail sales and number of transactions. We can see individually by category where they struggle or where they produce. The staff has individual access to this information as well at any point in time. The staff meets with ERA once quarterly to talk about their successes and their challenges. We also provide training through Diamond Council of America and also GIA. With the expense of GIA, we offer this as a reimbursement if they finish the class with a passing grade and in a certain amount of time. We are always on the hunt for sales seminars and trainings. We have read several books as a team including, ‘QBQ’ by John Miller and also ‘Fish! Sticks: A Remarkable Way to Adapt to Changing Times and Keep Your Work Fresh’ by Stephen C. Lundin. These allow our staff to understand what is expected of everyone in the store from our point of view and how we can work together to be more successful.”

Tina Yelton, The Jewelers Wife
Yelton Fine Jewelers
West Chester, OH


RR Archinal“We have a solid staff of 11, many of whom have been here for 15 years plus, and had the opportunity to bring in a seasoned salesperson in early November. While she was great at selling, we needed her to tone down the aggressiveness just a bit. Our atmosphere is more laid back than the environment from which she was accustomed.  But, we also noticed we are lacking some of the aggressiveness she possesses, so she has kept us on our toes. We’re still working on the happy medium. As for training on product knowledge I had her spend some time with each of the people on the sales floor and ask questions while also being taught. She even spent time with the office staff learning what their role is and how important it is. Our new hire has stepped in and even helped customers in the office, though it is clearly out of her comfort zone. A lot of the training depends on the person who is hired. Our new hire wants to make as much money as possible so she wants to learn so she can sell more. The easiest person to train is the person who craves training and knowledge to get better so they can sell more.”

Bill Archinal, COO/General Manager
Barnes Jewelry
Amarillo TX


RR Gawronski“Our business is watch, repair, so that is what our employee training is geared for. Depending on the watch, most of my employee’s are well trained to give a basic estimate based off of our Price List or Menu Board. Everything is in writing where the potential client can see and read it for themselves. This is important as it treats everyone equally. Also it eliminates ‘tire tickers’ as we call them in my business. We do not cater to price, we want the client to love what they get back and talk about it to all their friends. You simply can’t do that on price alone, especially if you are delivering a quality watch repair. We want it done right the first time as we don’t get paid to do it over again and we want the client as happy as possible. Virtually anywhere I go in Columbia, SC, I get so many people that will walk up to me and say how great their watch turned out years after the repair was done! The only problem is, half the time I can’t remember who they are! That’s when my wife Cyndi will rescue me and introduce herself, so I get a name! LOL. We see up to 70 people a day, it is very hard to keep track of everyone! Our employees are trained to always assume customers are in our shop to drop off their watch for repair or sell it. This means the employee understands the steps they are required to perform for each of these options. After the employee reads them a basic quote off of the Menu Board we then proceed to write up the estimate, it is at that time a potential client will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the watch repair. 95% of the time this a YES, however we have had people say they can get it done elsewhere for cheaper or they have to think about it. I have trained my employees to thank customers who respond in this way for coming in and spending time with us and to ask them to please keep us in mind for any future watch repair needs. We have had clients ask us to lower our price to match someone else’s and our reply is: ‘We would love to be able to do that, however that would not be fair to the thousands of our clients who happily paid our price over the last 26+ years and are very satisfied with their results!’ This takes the pressure off our employees to respond with a lower price, and also guarantees that we will be in business tomorrow and beyond. Our employees know if we lower our prices, we would not stay in business very long as this is not a volume business. Usually after that they get the point! I believe consistency is the key to great customer service. I train my employees so that they know they will be responsible for each customer they deal with from beginning to end. I always try to have the same employee call the client and deliver their watch repair when it is ready to be picked up. When they do come and pick up their watch repair, I make sure my employee points out all the work done and asks, ‘How do you like it?’ I feel this makes a better personal connection with our client. When they leave, the WWD employee always tells them: ‘Please come back if you have any questions, as I am always glad to help in any way I can. Thank you for your business.’ I also believe that every employee should know the basics of what they are selling. They don’t have to be an expert, just honest about their abilities. You are selling a relationship first and always! An employee should never be afraid to ask for help from someone in the company that is an expert, in front of the potential client, it gives most clients a sense of honesty and integrity which is what they are seeking from your company. If it means putting up something as simple as a Menu Board that employees read off of to be consistent to each client, then do that. Everyone will be treated equally and your shop will consistently deliver a better client experience! Which in turn is more repeat clients spending their money in your shop!”

John Gawronski, President
Wristwatch Doc
Columbia, SC