We do a variety of things in terms of education for our team members, but here are a few that seem to produce results and keeps all parties engaged.
At our bi-monthly sales meetings we have vendors do product presentations to go over the benefits of said products and make sure we learn all we can, and questions abound. When we learn more, we feel more comfortable with different products, and naturally we’ll sell more, so it becomes a win-win situation. The vendors see results and are anxious to do more meetings.
In addition, through our international buying Co-Op, NEMEON, we have a program called Lionguard University. All our Preferred Vendors produce video courses on their different products, which we encourage our sales staff to keep up on. We’ll then discuss the courses in our sales meetings which reinforces the in-house competition amongst our team, even though they’re not commissioned. Knowledgeable staff produces happy customers.
Also, within our NEMEON organization, we have NextGen, for the younger, up-and-coming staff, who are moving up through our organizations. Team members network with members of other companies on different topics to exchange best practices. We’ve found this to be extremely successful as it’s less intimidating to exchange with competitors on the East coast, or in Canada, for example, than in your own backyard with companies you might compete with. The flow of information is freer, and it helps form a network where information exchange can occur for the benefit of all. NextGen also has its own annual meeting, held in different parts of the country, where major vendors attend and contribute to the education thru professional speakers to help every learn more. NextGen also has a seat on NEMEON’s Board, so they have a say in the direction of the co-op, which is another step in helping to educate all our member’s employees.
Lunch and Learn
Finally, we do monthly lunch-and-learn barbeques in our stores with vendors to help educate our staff, and customers on each vendors’ products. All this helps our employees become the best they can be, and they know it’s our goal to help them grow and prosper. Perhaps that’s why our employees never leave…most have been here for 20-30 years, and more!
Ross Riddle is the president and CEO of South Coast Shingle Company. See his full bio here.