51 March 2016 Pet Product News International
BY BARRY BERMAN
Imagine you are a store owner who knows the average value of each of your employee’s
sales, because you can track every sale each specific employee
makes. You scan the floor, and
you see your best staff member, whose average sale is $40,
talking to a customer. Then you
see a staffer whose average sale
is $30 talking to the next customer. You might think this person
will cost you $10 in business. You
could then estimate that if the
low-to-average staffer somehow
could be made as effective as the
top staffer, and they took care of
100 customers a week, the store’s
sales would increase $50,000 per
year. In addition, it’s likely that
the top person is handling more
transactions than the other. If the
other could learn to make one
more sale a day, sales would in-
crease by another $10,000 a year
for a total of $60,000 per year.
Multiply that by the number of
employees. What’s the sum total? A more successful store. If
you can’t measure individuals,
you can measure groups, shifts,
days of the week, etc. to determine your most—and least—
HOW MUCH ARE YOU
LEAVING ON THE TABLE?
This exercise acts as a way to
WHY RETAILERS DON’T DO
convince you to invest more in
training to make your staff more
effective salespeople. It’s an im-
portant message, because most
retailers don’t do enough train-
ing. Many stores schedule ven-
dor after vendor to train staffers
on their products, which is im-
portant. However, product in-
formation will take your people
only so far toward becoming as
effective as they can be to max-
imize your store’s profitability.
MORE SALES TRAINING
Store owners repeat the same
tired lines as to why they don’t
do more sales training:
• They don’t have time. Instead they
move from problem to problem.
But you’ve got to spend time on
the important things that will
help you long term.
• They don’t think it’s important. I hope
my exercise showed you why the
case is otherwise.
• They don’t know how. Resources are
available to train your staff that
will take very little of your time.
• They don’t want their staff to be pushy.
I hear this a lot. Most customers
welcome engaging with people
they deal with in stores and are
interested in learning about new
products that will help their pets.
Being outgoing and assertive
needn’t be offensive if people are
trained properly. Sales training
is not what makes people pushy.
To avoid pushiness, when you
think your staff’s skills have
improved, use positive management and motivation techniques such as contests, goals
and bonuses. Lead by example
by undertaking the same training program. Certainly don’t
threaten anyone if they are not
improving; it might be better to
replace them before you reach
that point. Retail sales training is
simple and easy to master; anyone who can’t learn it probably
shouldn’t be on your sales floor
in the first place.
SALES TRAINING RESOURCES
Any training program you use
should contain certain common
elements, including starting
conversations with customers,
asking probing questions, dem-
oing product, different methods
of closing sales, handling objec-
tions and add-on sales. Pet Store
Pro, the free online program for
pet stores sponsored by the Pet
Industry Distributors Associa-
tion, contains a module called
Suggestive Selling, which covers
part of what staff needs to know.
It’s a good start. A more complete
outline of what’s needed can be
found in the single volume by
Harry J. Friedman, “Sorry I’m
Just Looking,” which is the most
comprehensive summary I know.
One thorough program that is
used by many pet store owners
is the sales training offered by
Bob Negen’s Whizbang! Train-
ing. Negen’s course is part of a
much larger program of manage-
ment tools for independent store
owners in any category. Like all
of Negen’s programs, it includes
ingenious ideas such as having a
list of automatic add-ons—e.g.,
always show a certain treat when
food is purchased, and send
thank-you cards to customers.
Members of NexPet, the pet
store co-op I run, have access
to a comprehensive 12-mod-
ule sales training course online
and in workbooks as part of the
FlexQuiz program. Pet Store Pro
and FlexQuiz both offer the ad-
vantages of taking virtually no
management time, as they allow
staffers to train themselves.
Regardless of how you approach sales training, remember
how much it can add to your top
line and your bottom line.
Training to Win?
Why you must reach beyond the rote
programs to secure regular, increased sales
NEW GUIDE SHARES PHILOSOPHIES AND TECHNIQUES
TO HELP PEOPLE LEAD INTELLIGENT CREATURES
Leadership skills can be applied universally in all aspects of life, so the more practice one
gets, the better they can become.
This is the core concept of Douglas C. Morgan’s new book, “Dog Training for
Managers: The Elements of Leading Intelligent Creatures Well.” Morgan evolved his early
management approaches that were based on technical and project management skills to
develop a stronger leadership philosophy based on motivating people to want to do what
is needed in as self-directed a manner as possible. He was able to develop these philosophies through years as a senior executive with hundreds of employees under his care in
both Fortune 100 and more entrepreneurial enterprises, including 14 years as the CEO of a
management consulting and business services company.
“I have had years of experience managing small and large teams in professional
settings,” Morgan said. “I am also a dog lover and found that much of what I used in the
workplace crossed over incredibly well to leading my canine companions. Moreover, as
I observed the results of effective dog training approaches, I could not help but be impressed with how this simpler environment
provided clarity to the nuanced effects of motivation and leadership.”
Written as a textbook for experienced managers for training compatible, good-natured pets, “Dog Training for Managers” offers
a three-part guide providing insights into the key foundations of leadership, practical applications of managerial methods and dis-
cussions into advanced leadership challenges. Consistently applying the principles promoted through Morgan’s lessons can bolster
managerial skills with pets as well as with people in the workplace, thereby making for a stronger leader in all aspects of life.
“Whether a pet or a business owner, the philosophies and concepts of this book can help make for a better experience in both,”
Morgan said. “Dogs and people are surprisingly similar, which may be why they’re man’s best friend. As such, we can learn to lead
them in a similar way.”
“Dog Training for Managers”
By Douglas C. Morgan
Retail price: $19.95
Available at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com
CAN DOG TRAINING TEACH
BARRY BERMAN is president and co-founder of
NEXPET co-op for independent retailers and
GRANDMA MAE’S COUNTRY NATURALS pet food
company. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.