Hardware Retailing

APR 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | April 2018 60 Educate and Train the Sales Team If a customer finds the brand and product they're looking for and has a chance to touch and hold it, they are one step closer to making a purchase. To ensure the sale of equipment and future services is in the bag, training is vital. Not only should the sales associates know the products inside and out, service technicians need continuous education to be certified to work on the products the store carries. To offer customers a better experience compared to the big-box stores, training in the category at Beisswenger's is huge, Morelli says. "Everyone who works in the outdoor power equipment department needs to be knowledgeable about the products and brands we sell," Morelli says. "When a manufacturer offers sales seminars on their equipment, we take advantage of that opportunity and send employees to those educational events. It helps them understand the products and do a better job selling." Many Colonial Hardware employees take initiative to learn, McMaster says. "Outdoor power equipment sales are the backbone of our business," she says. "Because of that, understanding the equipment is very important. Our employees often take equipment home to test it out and get a feel for it. This hands-on experience gives them a better understanding of how different products work and unique features." Sales associates also stay in the know by taking brochures of product lines home to read. On a slower day, they might even go to the store's repair shop, observe what the mechanics are working on and learn about the inner workings of equipment. To take product knowledge one step further, both McMaster and Morelli say employees attend distributor markets and other industry-specific shows to scope out new products and talk directly with a wide variety of manufacturers. Top: Colonial Hardware prioritizes training so they can assist any customer. Bottom: Assembled equipment is a great way to promote the department. " Our employees often take equipment home to test it out and get a feel for it. This hands-on experience gives them a better understanding of how different products work and unique features. " —Jenny McMaster, Colonial Hardware

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