Boost Sales: Go Back to School

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As winter merchandise starts rolling into stores, take time to test how well your sales help knows your current products. Would they pass or fail if asked which products are eco-friendly, made in the U.S.A., or registry favorites? If you’re not sure your employees would make the grade, then how can you be sure they’re selling effectively? Your customers expect expert help at specialty stores, and an educated staff is the first step toward more sales. Use the following tips to help your sales help perform better.

Plan post-show tutorials
As soon as you come back from a buying trip, while your excitement for your new finds is still fresh, give your staff a crash course on everything you bought. Hopefully, your enthusiasm for the incoming stock will encourage them to want to dive in and learn all about it

Handout homework
When you bring in a new brand, assign a staff member to it, giving them the task of learning all they can about the line and the company behind it. Their research should include time spent on the brand’s website and social media channels, where they can uncover tidbits about the owners, their philosophy, production and product characteristics. With these lessons learned, they can then teach everyone else, including the rest of your staff members and your customers

Call an assembly
A couple of times a year get the whole team together to review your current assortment. Prepare a quick lesson plan on the brands, how the products work, and the top traits of each. If you sell toys or gear, make it a show-and-tell event, during which you can each play with everything so you know the items inside and out.

Create a cheat sheet
Draw up a bulleted list of key selling points for each brand and/or product that your sales associates can refer to while on the floor. With this in hand, they’ll be equipped to answer customers’ questions on the fly.

Encourage hands-on learning
The more your staff interacts with your products, the more familiar with them they’ll become. Make it their responsibility to select the items you use for store displays and social media photos. This will require them to comb through the racks and shelves with an eye toward cross-merchandising, which will make them more effective at upselling. 

Editor’s Note: Caletha Crawford is a children’s wear consultant and co-founder of FlutterSales.com, an off-price B2B marketplace where stores buy immediately direct from brands. Find her at www.calethacrawford.com.

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