There’s nothing more valuable to you than an associate who can confidently upsell a customer. Those associates usually don’t just walk in your doors and ask for a job…they’re most likely the people you already employ who can easily benefit from training on products and their selling skills.
“While you may be able to hire a skilled sales person, that individual still needs to be updated regularly on new products you’re carrying and advancements on older products,” says Sue Snuggs, Strategic Product Manager with Weyerhaeuser Distribution. “Creating a dedicated training program at your location is smart for your business. Sales people who know and understand product features and benefits are the best at selling and helping your business grow.”
The challenge is that training takes time. And, most dealer locations are stretched thin with sales team members, so how do you make training a priority at your company?
Snuggs offers these tips for making sure your employees get product information on a continual basis:
Tip #1 – Get on a schedule. Instead of trying to fit training in during slow periods or haphazardly, plan out dedicated training sessions. Consider breakfast sessions before opening hours, or lunch and learn sessions to maximize time.
Tip #2 – Work with distributors and vendors. Company reps are as interested as you are in getting your team members trained. Reach out and ask them for unique ideas. Maybe a rep can spend a day at your location and do rotating 30-minute one-on-one product training sessions, so that only one or two sales team members are off the floor at any one time. Or, perhaps they could take your sales people to a job site to see how specific products are installed by your customers.
Tip #3 – Focus on one product. Make one product the focus for your associates for two weeks and inundate them with product information to make them experts in that product. For example, TAMKO® EverGrain® Envision® Composite Decking. Your local Weyerhaeuser Distribution sales rep can supply you with a wide variety of training aides including literature and samples. They’ll even host one-on-one training blitz sessions for your team members.
Tip #4 – Get professional sales help. Look online and you’ll find there are several sales experts dedicated to the building products industry. As an example, Rick Davis with Building Leaders specializes in getting sales people to proactively prospect for new business. Davis gets them enthusiastic about new sales techniques and can help produce long-term growth for your company. Through seminars, online training, audio tapes and books, Davis transforms and reinvigorates sales people into selling machines!
Tip #5 – Go old school. Post new product information on a dedicated bulletin board in a highly visibility area of your company. Make it a priority to update the board with new “product of the week” information. Ask your rep for training literature on products you’re selling and send the information home with your team members.