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Training is important to small business

April 25, 2014

 Is training important for small businesses? The answer is a resounding yes.

Everything is important to small businesses. Any organization, small or large, can’t afford to stress one or two areas and let another slide. Training is important. It teaches new techniques and reinforces old ones. Every member of your team needs both those kinds of support. Sales training enhances the one area where small businesses have an advantage — the person-to-person connection. Give your sales staff the tools and training to be available to customers at any time.

Customers want to reach someone right away, and when they do they expect him or her to have inventory and delivery details at the snap of a finger. Give your sales staff modern communication tools and push them so they can learn to use it with confidence.

Sales training enhances the most public part of a business’ image. If customers see your sales staff constantly improving in the way they are being served, they presume services and management of your company also are improving.

If someone on your team can’t read the inventory sheet or can’t get a manager on the phone, it gives customers the impression that other people in your business or office might be similarly inept, but if your sales representative has the confidence learned from continuous training and practice, it gives the customers the picture that your organization functions in a similarly smooth way. It makes them feel better about doing business with you.

The modern approach to improving an organization is based on constant attention to improving skills and practices. It is not a process of finding fault and screaming at your sales staff. Instead focus on finding ways they can do better.

Atul Gawande, author of “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” and “Better: A Surgeon’s Note on Performance” offers good examples of this approach. The most successful of these efforts would ask employees, “Why can’t you greet our customers as they enter our business?” rather than, “Why don’t you greet our customers as they enter our business? Using the word can’t instead of don’t changes the whole nature of the question. It invites the person to become a partner in solving a problem rather than a stubborn barrier to improvement, even when that’s the case.

Many small businesses think this may not be important, as it is costly and time-consuming, but it also could give you a competitive advantage and happy customers are repeat customers. The advisers at the ASU Small Business Development Center can assist with this and other issues considering your business. Please give us a call or come by the Business Resource Center in downtown San Angelo.

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