Systemic training. Pros and cons of offline and online sales training formats
06.05.2019 15937

Systemic training. Pros and cons of offline and online sales training formats

“Learning is light, and ignorance is darkness,” this catchphrase as well as possible answers the question: “Why teach your employees?” Learning is development. Development is the growth of profit, work efficiency, cost reduction and other benefits for business. Sounds fabulous? Not at all. All this becomes a reality, if you do not skimp on the training of your staff. But the most important thing is to do it correctly and on a regular basis.

Daria Artyuhova Daria Artyuhova - started her career in advertising and marketing in 2006, since 2007 moved to HR. During her work, she managed to gain experience in the field of recruitment, C&B, management, creation of an HR brand, T&D. Launched several successful start-up projects. She was one of the founders of the KEDDO franchise network in Russia. Management experience over 6 years. Certified business coach, business consultant, speaker, webinar host, author of articles and training materials. Education: MBA-Professional City Business School, master's degree at the Russian State Social University, Moscow City Law Institute.

Why is a system needed?

A systematic approach to corporate training is explainable. When training is targeted (for example, once a year), it is not effective. Even if you invite the most eminent and expensive business coach. Firstly, in this case there is no so-called “accumulation effect” of knowledge. Retail people change often enough. And 1 training once a year is very small, even 2 once a year is not enough. Secondly, it is impossible to assimilate a large amount of information in a short period of time. And if trainings are rarely organized, then they tend to invest as much information as possible. And it turns out that employees honestly sat at the 2 desk, or even 3 for a full day, listened to something, even tried to work something out. The energies of the business coach were charged, and after two weeks they had already forgotten everything that was discussed at the training. Because there was a lot of information and there was no post-training support, the normal development of the acquired knowledge, skills and work on errors.

Training only works if cycling is respected. No wonder that studying at school and university lasts so long. But if you do the cyclic training of third-party trainers, it’s expensive. And by the way, it’s not always effective.

The internal trainer is always better than the external

I have long been convinced that only an internal trainer can well understand the needs and requirements, as well as the problems that need to be addressed in the company. Yes, there are some talented trainers who can delve into the work of the organization and give exactly the result that the customer expects from them. But such trainers are very expensive, and are rare. All the rest, even with extensive experience in the field you need, are people alien to your business. Only you and your employees know how things really are. Therefore, I am for creating my own training system within the company.

As practice shows, this only sounds intimidating. In fact, you can create an excellent training system even on your own. Provided, of course, that you have a training manager on staff. If the staff of the company is small, and you cannot afford to keep this unit, assign the duties of a coach to the one who should already be training employees - the administrator or director of the store, depending on your staffing table.

If you decide to combine two positions in one, do not forget to send your employee to continuing education courses. The employee must know exactly the technology of training people. And most importantly - he must have a predisposition, inclination, ability, if you want. Fortunately, at the moment, the training courses for internal trainers are numerous, their duration is from several days to several months. Which option you choose - depends only on your financial capabilities and the tasks assigned to the employee.

In the case when you can afford a full-time unit of a training manager, everything is much simpler. Although this specialist also has to periodically take advanced training courses in order to keep abreast of new trends in the field of education, and not to boil in his own juice.

Offline VS Online

So, you have decided on who will be involved in the training. Now you need to understand which format to give preference to - the usual offline format in the form of trainings and seminars or the new - online - in the form of webinars and simulators.

First of all, let's decide what is an offline format? These are trainings that take place directly in the store, or in a special audience. These are exercises that employees perform during the training. This is a live communication with a person who can point out errors and immediately help correct them. And, of course, this is an opportunity to communicate with your colleagues in an informal setting and exchange experience. The word "training" is not enough to scare anyone. On the other hand, many employees attend various trainings not only in the field of professional development so often that they may be disappointed with them. Filling and periodicity are very important here. As well as post-training support. It is necessary not only to conduct training, but to obtain a result. The employee must see the difference with his own eyes. It’s great when the coach goes into the gym after the training and works out the theory in practice. This helps to save the necessary information and solve errors, remove the fear of failure. Many sellers hesitate to apply the new technique in practice, because they did not understand everything, or for the first time when using the technique they were rejected by the client. When the coach accompanies his students in the gym, even if the technique was not used successfully, he removes psychological stress and helps to gain self-confidence.

In addition to training, offline formats include lectures and seminars that are often held by shoe cosmetics manufacturers, for example. This is a useful format in which sellers get a lot of new information about the product they are selling. As you know, the more the seller knows about the product that he is selling, the more opportunities he has to work out the customer’s objection and complete the sale.

This also includes a format such as team building. Someone may object: what does team building have to do with training? And in my opinion direct. A team building event can be built in such a way that it will be both educational and unifying. Thus, you bring diversity and creativity to the banal education.

Pros of offline learning:

  1. The usual format.
  2. An opportunity to work out mistakes in practice in a trading floor.
  3. Quick feedback from the trainer and colleagues.
  4. Psychological support.
  5. Experience exchange.

Cons of offline learning:

  1. Costs for the room and tools (flipchart, markers, etc.).
  2. Time reference.
  3. A limited number of members in a group.
  4. The costs of the training manager.
  5. Standard training.

But what is online learning? In my opinion, this is any training that can be carried out online: a specialized site with the necessary information, webinars on specific topics, e-learning - specialized electronic courses or games through which training takes place.

Online learning is modern, innovative and practical. Often, it’s much cheaper to buy a ready-made sales course than to hire a third-party trainer. In addition, online learning is very convenient. There is no reference to time; employees can be trained at any time and in any place. This increases mobility, and some freedom increases interest. When an employee decides at what time it is better for him to go through the mandatory program, this motivates him. For example, in ordinary trainings, an employee may be tired or in a bad mood, which will give a negative result, and by studying remotely, he will be able to engage not when he was obligated, but at any time convenient for him.

It is better if employees can choose between online and offline training formats, which our company practices. Our corporate resource has a specific program and terms for its development. After the allotted time, employees pass certification. And if they do not pass it, then they get a fine. True, there have never been such cases. Thus, the employee himself regulates his training.

The online format is diverse, through it you can give a large amount of information in an easy, playful way. Modern youth loves emotions, young people should be interested in learning even. You can shoot training videos, but not standard ones, where the voiceover reads tedious information, but interesting, fiery ones. And to involve employees of the company in the shootings, who, with their examples, show how to and how not to work. This practice very well helps sellers learn to analyze their mistakes on the trading floor. It seemed like they laughed, but they remembered everything that happened on the set, and on the trading floor these employees already behave like ideal sellers, try not to make mistakes, which they themselves laughed at.

The online format has endless possibilities. And today, with the development of technology, it is becoming cheaper and more affordable. Sometimes, it’s more economical to shoot a training film or create an e-learning course than to hire an expensive trainer.

Pros of the online format:

  1. Speed, innovation.
  2. Mobility.
  3. Availability.
  4. There is no reference to the place and time.
  5. Increased interest in learning.

Cons of the online format:

  1. Not everyone has computers.
  2. Some programs are very expensive.
  3. Not all formats have feedback from the trainer.
  4. There is no way to practice “in the field”.
  5. There is no psychological support.

Despite all the pros and cons of both formats, due to constant innovation, a huge flow of information and the speed of knowledge obsolescence, the best option is to combine the old and new formats. Combining the two formats will save on training and make it more effective, interesting, and also increase the involvement of different types of employees in training.

This article was published in the 148 issue of the print version of the magazine.

“Learning is light, and ignorance is darkness,” this catchphrase as well as possible answers the question: “Why teach your employees?” Learning is development. Development is the growth of profit, efficiency ...
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