Pat Henneberry is president of consulting and sales training company The Jewelry Coach. Reach her at 512-203-3414, via PatHenneberry.com or by emailing her.
It’s been awhile since I’ve focused on helping store managers in my column; sorry.

As we start to creep toward the holidays, you should start thinking about your store’s training sessions and getting your sales team warmed up for the selling season.

Here are some tips to help you do just that because, as with any talent, even naturally adept salespeople need to hone their skills through consistent sales training.

Here are a few tips for educating and developing your sales force.

1. Listen to Your Customers
My experience has been that the best salespeople aren’t the best talkers; they’re actually the most effective listeners.

An effective salesperson carefully listens to the customer’s needs to really identify with them. It’s important to remind your sales team it’s not always about telling the customer everything you know; it’s more about letting the customer tell you everything they know.

2. Use E-Learning to Educate
If your sales team doesn’t know your product front to back, even the best listeners will fall short in closing a sale.

Salespeople need to understand product details to boost their confidence when selling, especially new recruits. With sufficient product training, they can identify specific customer issues and understand product details well enough to position them as the perfect solution.

This is where e-learning comes in handy.

E-learning is available 24/7. It allows sales teams to brush up on their product knowledge on the go.

Through online videos and modules, you can also track progress to ensure that everyone has viewed the necessary materials. Ask your vendors that offer e-learning to give you training reports for your staff (it’s easy for them to do this.)

Make it a requirement for your team to refresh their product knowledge with different vendors. This is an easy way for you as a manager to keep your team fresh on knowledge and up-to-date on products. Have your sales team come to a meeting ready to give you a report on what they’ve learned.

In this day and age every vendor should, or be preparing to, offer e-learning. If not, have them call me … yes, this is a plug for me: PatHenneberry.com.

3. Keep Your Sales Meeting Short
Like many people, salespeople can’t retain a huge amount of information at one time. Keep training short and consistent with “sound bites” of information.

I love TED Talks, as they exhibit micro-learning at its finest. Various industry professionals and thought leaders discuss a variety of topics to teach and inspire in digestible 15-minute increments.

Incorporating this method into training your salespeople will keep them engaged and help you deliver new information they’ll actually retain.

Remember: Your vendors have a lot of content for training available for you. Just ask them for it.

4. Reward, Reward, Reward
Salespeople are driven by goals, probably more so than other employees. Rewarding them can be simple.

An effective sales training technique is to tell your team members they are doing a good job.

Always use specifics to make these successes tangible and more meaningful. When you see something simple someone has done that is helpful, let them know.

It doesn’t have to always be about the end goal or number. Letting a salesperson know you appreciate something they’ve done, or a simple “good job,” can make all the difference in the world to someone.

Many times, that’s when you see a shift in attitude.

5. Feedback
Don’t forget to give feedback to your sales team.

The most effective feedback is when it’s just happened. Listen in on a customer sale and give feedback right after the customer leaves the store. It’s the most effective real-world training and coaching.

Feedback needs to be fresh and the salesperson can reflect on the experience.

6. Share Success Stories
According to the National Business Research Institute, employee attitude affects 40-80 percent of customer satisfaction, and the study of one retail giant revealed that a 1-point increase in employee engagement led to a $200,000 increase in monthly sales per store.

High employee engagement and morale has a direct impact on the bottom line. Sharing mutual successes also instills a sense of unity in your salespeople and encourages them to work harder and smarter.

When I was strictly in diamond sales I would do “the diamond dance.”

Once I sealed the deal on a sale I would look at my business partner, Mike Mojica, and say, “I am doing the diamond dance!” I’d get up and dance around the office. It was my celebration.

Make sure you celebrate all your sales! I will be in a lot of your stores this fourth quarter and expect to see some diamond dances.

And I bet National Jeweler Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff would love for you to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. some quick videos of your diamond dance at your stores. Let’s see who has the best moves; I’m totally serious about this!

Last Word
Providing reassurance to your sales team through recognition instills confidence and fosters natural skills in the sales arena. Couple that with frequent, flexible and manageable product education and short sales meetings, and you’ll take your team from great listeners to selling superstars.

See you in your stores!

Pat Henneberry is president of consulting and sales training company The Jewelry Coach and an advocate for natural diamonds. Reach her at 512-203-3414, via her website, or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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