Should Frontline Employees Receive Sales Training?
Why cashiers, customer service reps, and guest services should know how to sell.
Frontline personnel in a store or restaurant – guest services, customer service and cashiers – are among the most important people in any business. They can mean the difference between a business succeeding or failing. Their level of service, professionalism, and efficiency are key factors of customers having a good experience or if they leave thinking, “I’ll never go back there again.”
Of course, employers spend a lot of time training frontline personnel in the proper way to treat customers. Managers and owners teach how to greet customers, about the importance of having a positive attitude, treating people with respect, and how to handle complaints.
But do you as a business owner or manager leave out an important aspect of frontline training? Do you ever provide sales training? Is it even necessary?
Your answer should be… yes.
You should never miss an opportunity to make another sale, and since frontline employees often have both the first and last contact with a customer, it makes sense that they should be taught basic sales techniques.
Below are just a few sales techniques that you can teach your frontline employees.
1.Make a friend.
You remember how to make friends, right? Although it’s not expected that frontline employees will become best friends with customers in a few minutes, it is important that these personnel build a rapport by finding something in common with customers. The bonding can start with a remark about the customer’s clothes, a piece of jewelry, or something else that catches their eye.
2. Learn how to add-on, upsell, and cross-sell.
Add-ons, upselling, and cross-selling are all ways of increasing the amount of a single sale. This is an area where frontline employees can be especially helpful. It’s why cashiers at fast food restaurants always ask, “do you want fries with that?” when you order a cheeseburger. In a retail store, it means asking the customer who’s buying a dress if she’d like to add a belt or suggesting a top to go with those new jeans. Cashiers can mention that accessories (which are usually right by the cash register) are on sale or that a certain item is buy one, get one half off. Someone handling a return can suggest another item to make the transaction an exchange instead. These are all ways frontline personnel can make additional sales.
3. Go above and beyond.
The sales experience starts the minute a customer walks through the door, until the moment he or she walks out. Make sure to provide the best service at every point in between. According to RetailDoc.com, “Selling is like anything else—persistence pays off. You don’t want to be pushy, but you also want to be diligent in your follow-up, both pre-sale and after-sale if necessary. Show customers that you genuinely care about their experience and want to help them…In many ways, making a sale is a courtship, and there’s nothing wrong with “wooing” customers as long as you’re honest and forthright.”
Getting your frontline employees excited about your product or service means they’ll be more willing to take on a sales role with your customers. How can you encourage this?
1. Educate frontline employees about the products you sell.
In a big box chain store, it might be impossible to be familiar with every product on the shelves. However, with a small business or restaurant, it’s important that customer service reps, guest services, cashiers and associates on the floor know not only what the store sells, but also why those products are good. CashierLive tells us to have employees “learn the pros and cons of each item that you carry. Keep up to date on new developments, and try to stock the most current models.” Even in a chain store, train employees to never say, “I don’t know” if they are unfamiliar with a product. The answer should always be, “Let me find out for you.”
2. Be enthusiastic about your products.
“A customer is a lot more likely to buy what you’re selling when he gets the sense that you’re genuinely enthusiastic about it. It helps tremendously to be a fan of the products that you sell.” When hiring for frontline jobs, look for people who are already fans of your company or products and thus are more likely to be enthusiastic with customers. This type of attitude invites customers to trust in the product, and where there is trust, there are opportunities to increase sales.
Follow these tips so your frontline employees can add to your sales force. It’s a smart way to make everyone from cashiers to customer service reps feel like a bigger part of the team and increase your bottom line as a business owner or manager.
AHA! Business Consulting provides companies with the tools they need for successful hiring and for growing their business. For more help on building an amazing customer experience, download our free ebook or connect with us today for more information on how we can help take your business to the next level!