Sunday, April 25, 2010

Staff Training: A Critical Piece of Marketing

The goal of marketing focuses on getting customers or prospects to take action--go to your web site, or come in to your restaurant or pet store or country inn.

Today I want to talk about an important, if not critical component of a company's overall success--once that prospect comes into your store, your staff should be trained to (1) treat that prospect in a professional, customer-oriented manner, and (2) have basic sales skills to enhance the prospect's visit and, and course, drive sales higher.

With this in mind, I have developed a three-part staff training program. The parts are:

1. Customer Service
This includes everything from the initial greeting to what I believe is one of the most important customer service areas: THANKING the customer as they are leaving.

2. Cross-Selling
This simple concept trains staff to suggest other, complimentary, items. If a client orders a dessert, the server should suggest coffee, espresso, or an after-dinner drink. If a man decides to buy a suit, the store associate should suggest a shirt and tie.

3. Up-Selling
Again this is a simple, yet extremely effective, designed to increase what a customer spends at your location. Up-selling involves exposing customers to higher priced (and, more times than not, best value) items. For example, if a customer walks into a pet food store, and then asks the clerk, "What type of dog food do you suggest for my dog?", the clerk should ask several questions to determine the type of dog, then suggest the premium dog food available. If the customer doesn't want to spend that much money, the clerk can then offer a lower-priced version.

To really get the most from your marketing efforts, consider on-going staff training focused on customer service and basic sales skills.
Note about the picture: from the Oktoberfest Celebration 2009 at Silverado Brewing Company. Why this pic? Have some FUN with your staff, too!