Build a consignment store team you can be proud of

For a few years, before I came to Traxia, I worked as the Children’s Ministry Director at our church.  I headed a team of almost 50 volunteers to teach and nurture the children. Together, we ran everything from weekly lessons to summer Vacation Bible Schools and Christmas pageants. My team ranged from teenagers to 70-year-olds. Because they were volunteers, I felt a special need to be their cheerleader. How well do you know each one of your employees? How do you build a top-notch consignment store team?

Understanding their unique personalities

I have quirks. It’s hard to believe, I know. Do not expect anything out of me before 10 am, but know I’m still working at 11 pm. I consider myself creative, but I like guidelines. The desire for perfection is my weakness. How well do you know your consignment store team’s personalities? It makes all the difference. Recently, Hubspot published 5 types of Personality Tests to Help You Learn About Your Team. They range from an in-depth Myers-Briggs test to The 5-Minute Personality Test. Making one of these tests a routine part of your hiring process helps you hire the best candidate. For instance, The 5-Minute Personality Test breaks people into either Lions, Otters, Golden Retrievers or Beavers. Knowing where your team falls, you’ll discover if you’re running a zoo or a consignment store.

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Play some games

At our quarterly volunteer training meetings, I always added a few team-building games. The very fact that you play games, builds a closer team. Download each of these and give them a try!

The Blind Drawing Game

Web of Memories Game   Build fun sales team rapport by playing the Store Trivia GameSales training through role-playing

Just as there are fun team-building games, there are also fun sales training exercises. Getting your team to practice selling should be a regular habit. Download these exercises and keep them handy the next time you do training.

Practice making a generic sale with your sales team   Use the Selling Through Curiosity sales technique   Build Your Buyer Persona as part of your sales training

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4 ingredients to sweeten holiday sales

Holiday sales begin with customer satisfaction

In 2014, I shared survey results from Time Trade about shopping habits. See, Why your shoppers leave empty handed. In that survey, 90% of indecisive shoppers left a store empty handed because they couldn’t find a knowledgeable sales associate. Four years later, your sales reps are clearly paying more attention, but new information suggests other ways you can boost holiday sales. Here’s what the 2018 survey said.

Make more holiday sales by knowing what shoppers wantIngredient #1  Personal Service

Although it’s the busy holidays, setting aside time to meet personally with your very best customers will go a long way to boosting holiday sales. Clearly, shoppers today are looking for a personal connection. Could it be because so many of us have our heads stuck in our phones? They want engagement. It could be online, on the phone or in person, but they will loyally shop with the store that gives them this type of attention. Consider adding Reserve with Google. You will be given a list of a number of companies that do automatic appointment booking for you. Prices vary, but one, Appointy offers a free version.

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Ingredient #2  Hold events or classes

The holidays are a perfect time to hold an event. As you can see, nearly 80% of customers want to attend events or classes. According to Time Trade, “Buyers are also more likely to buy, or buy more,  if a brand offers events or classes relating to the product.” Sweeten holiday sales with a special Christmas event. Read Relax! Your 4th quarter  marketing calendar is done to get ideas and tips for the last 4 weeks before Christmas.

Ingredient #3  Beef up your social media

According to Time Trade, 90% of survey respondents say they search online “frequently” or “all the time” to find stores and products. Now more than ever, you’ve got to be on your game when it comes to social media. Post and tweet often. I’ve even given you a list of daily holiday hashtags in 24 days of holiday hashtags beginning December 1st. Show new products. Highlight store employees and capture shopper’s attention with quizzes or surveys. Whenever possible, use GIFs and video to make a greater impact. Encourage customers to post their selfies with your merchandise. Read Customer content is the best way to promote yourself.

Ingredient #4  Train your sales staff

Although down to 74% from 90%, shoppers are still searching for knowledgeable sales reps. The more you train your sales staff, the more they’ll be able to sell. How training changes everything in sales gives you lots of ideas to improve your sales staff’s effectiveness. Don’t skimp on training even during the busy holidays. Lead by example. The holidays are a time to work in your business not on.

Consignment Employee Training 101

A basic course on consignment employee training

The school season is here. Between buying clothes, school supplies and dorm decorations, families are busy preparing. If you own a consignment shop, it’s time for you to head back to school too. It’s time to take Consignment Employee Training 101. Let’s review the basics of good training practices.

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Every employee should know your story

Consignment Employee Training begins by sharing your Vision StatementDo you have difficulty talking about yourself? Now’s the time to get over it. In 6 tips to build your secondhand store’s brand, I clearly state that you are your store’s brand. You can’t pretend 24/7 to be something you’re not. Your store reflects you. Share your story and your vision with every employee. What is your background? Why consignment? Where do you see your store in the future? Write both a mission and a vision statement. If you’re uncomfortable talking about yourself, create a Bio sheet that every new employee receives. You can’t ask employees to follow if they don’t know their leader.

Great service is the key to selling

Small businesses, including consignment stores, should excel at offering attentive service. It’s what sets you apart from the big box stores. Bob Negen, from Whizbang! Retail Training, calls it the “ahhhhh!” experience. Surprising the customer with an unbelievable shopping experience. Here’s what he suggests your salespeople do:

  • Each and every customer is greeted warmly and sincerely by a knowledgeable and well-trained salesperson.
  • Warm personal attention is delivered throughout the entire sale. (Heck, a salesperson might actually offer to bring different sizes or styles for someone in a dressing room!)
  • There are many merchandise options that might fill the customer’s needs and desires.
  • The shopping experience goes beyond basic. Customers get a level of luxury, or fun, or excitement, or comfort that they don’t find at other stores.
  • Services like gift wrapping, delivery, or personalization happen at this level of service.

Train your employees to bring the “ahhhhh!” experience and they’ll be making sales left and right.

Sell the dream, not the merchandise

Again, Bob Negen says, “Sell outfits not items. Sell rooms not items.” A good salesperson asks the questions that get to the problem the shopper is trying to solve. In 5 traits of highly effective salespeople, I share a personal experience with one of the most effective salespeople I’ve ever met. He was an excellent listener and went over and above taking care of me. In most stores today you can hardly find a salesperson much less one that’s friendly, attentive and truly knowledgeable. That kind of employee will make a lasting impression on anyone entering your store.


How training changes everything in sales

Increase sales by increasing training because training changes everything.

In “Study shows training boosts sales – a lot,” RetailWire published the results from a Wharton School study. It literally discovered that “training associates leads to a 23 percent lift in sales.” That’s incredible! A 23% jump in sales because your salespeople are trained, helpful and knowledgeable. According to the study, even a little training can make a big difference. Train your sales staff because clearly…training changes everything.

Educate them about your merchandise

The study found that an educated associate with one brand, led to higher sales overall. Shoppers perceive a knowledgeable salesperson with even one brand as capable of comparing all brands. Educate your salespeople about your merchandise. Help them to point out specific features. If your shop consigns furniture, your salespeople should learn specific manufacturers. Teach them about upholstery, construction and design. If you consign clothing, educate your salespeople about designers, quality fabrics and how to spot real vs. a fake.

Train them to use your consignment software

Consignment software can drastically reduce time wasted when you manually price, update consignors and track inventory. Time devoted to training all employees on your software program will pay for itself quickly. Here at SimpleConsign, we provide 4 free live training sessions each week for all of your staff, plus offer an online User Guide. We also encourage our customers to add online access for their consignors. They can track their merchandise and check their available balance which saves time for everyone.

Cell Phone in Woman's HandBan their electronics

During slow hours, employees should not be on their phones, unless they’re promoting the store. Daily and weekly goals should be created to increase productivity. Dusting, logging inventory and contacting consignors can keep them busy. Photographing products and writing descriptions is another way to occupy their time. Create a daily checklist of tasks to keep everyone on track. Plus, you’ll avoid duplicating work.

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Maximize their talents

Employees feel valued when they can utilize their talents. College students who are social media gurus can take charge of your online marketing. An employee with a knack for numbers can balance daily purchase records. A worker with a passion for fashion can do window displays. Proper training changes not only their focus on your shop, but also helps them feel a greater part of the business.

Teach them the art of the smile

So often, you’ll enter a shop and no one speaks to you much less offers a smile. It’s amazing how little younger generations know about simple courtesy in dealing with the public. All you have to do is read reviews on Yelp! to find out it’s a major gripe of many shoppers. A couple of lessons on good manners go a long way to building repeat visits by shoppers. Teaching your employees how to greet people and use eye contact is invaluable. Having the correct posture and going the extra mile will rapidly change sales numbers. Take the time to invest in your salespeople because truly…training changes everything.

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