May 7, 2023
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Feeling stuck when it comes to your team? Bob Negen of WhizBang! Retail Training joins me for his second appearance on Rooted in Retail (check out Episode 7 in case you missed it!).
The good help that can help you create and grow your dream team IS out there. A recent survey of retailers with Crystal Media reported that the majority of retailers’ biggest challenge is finding and keeping awesome employees.
Bob is sharing some incredible and ACTIONABLE tips from his training to help you march forward in the hiring journey.
If we look in the window of your store, will we find the black and orange: HELP WANTED sign? Toss it out. Bob shares the formula for a Red Hot Wanted Ad that will attract the employees you dream about that want to work for YOU and fit right in.
The Red Hot Wanted Ad needs:
Well Written Content: A headline with the job title and description and a subtitle with the benefits of working for you. Then comes the body; describe your ideal employee, describe what’s in the job and what it’s like working in your store, and describe the business. Finally, a call to action, what’s the next step for your future star employee?
Identify Employee Demographic: AI is a great tool for adapting your content to the right audience. Who are you looking for? Have Chat GPT change the verbage to reflect your ideal demographic.
Distribution: Put it out into the world; take this well designed piece of marketing and feature it on socials, email lists, hiring pages, bag stuffers, and business cards; get it anywhere where more ideal team members might see it.
After you’ve hired your new amazing team member, how do you retain them? Keeping employees these days is difficult, but only if your business isn’t maintaining a good work culture. When it comes to building culture, Bob has 3 E’s you need to put to work: Educate, Engage, and Empower.
Also, don’t miss out on The Retail Success Summit, June 12th and 13th, directly following my Social Media Day on June 11th, which you can only get access to with admission to the summit. Use code Rooted for $500 off your ticket!
We lay out the steps to hiring right there for you so you don’t have to worry about how to find awesome employees anymore. Listen to the full episode for more actionable tips so you can get to work! I’m rooting for your success.
- How to create and grow your dream team.
- Craft a ‘Red Hot Wanted Ad’.
- Building good culture with the 3 E’s.
- Recruiting and retaining employees.
- Actionable tips to march forward in hiring and onboarding.
Mentioned In This Episode:
If you have felt like it’s been very challenging to find good people that are excited to apply for your job and join your team, or if you’ve found it really challenging to keep good employees, then this episode is for you. My guest is Bob Negen of Whizbang Retail Training, a dear friend of mine, and this is his second appearance on the show.
We also had him in episode seven. If you didn’t listen to that one, check it out. It was very inspirational. And in this episode, I wanted to talk to Bob all about these challenges that retailers are having with finding good help because we’re hearing it all the time. At Crystal Media, we did a survey asking retailers some of their biggest challenges, and over a hundred retailers responded to the survey, and almost everybody said either finding or keeping good help.
And I had, it’s such a hot topic, so we are just tackling it in this episode, and Bob has really great feedback and this episode is very actionable. You’re going to get a lot of tips on how to march forward, your marching orders, on what to do to find some good people to help support you, and I’m going to be honest, some of this stuff might take a little bit of time to get fully where you need to be to find and retain that talent, but it’s so possible. The tools are here for you, and Bob’s got great tips to help support you. At the end of the episode, we also talk about the Retail Success Summit, which is Bob and Susan at Whizbang Training, their big event, their retail show that we will also be at, me and my team at Crystal Media, and we have a special code for listeners you can use Rooted to save $500 on your ticket, which is so awesome. I hope to see you there, and we have our own social media day the day before, so we’ll talk more about that at the very end of this episode. But get ready to take some notes and learn how you can find and keep your employees, your favorite awesome employees, with my dear friend Bob Negen. Welcome to Rooted In Retail, the show that’s dedicated to helping independent retailers thrive in today’s ever-evolving retail landscape.
I’m your host, Crystal Vilkaitis, and I’m thrilled to have you join me weekly as we explore topics that are vital to the success of your store. From marketing to mindset, money to merchandising, sales to leadership, we’ll cover it all. Each episode features interviews with industry experts and accomplished retailers who share their real-life insights and actionable advice.
Get ready for a great conversation on how to build your dream business with Rooted in Retail. Bob, welcome to Rooted in Retail. I am thrilled you’re here. Well, Crystal, I am always honored to talk to you, so I’m glad to be here also. Yes, you’re already my second guest or my guest that’s been on twice on the show.
So welcome back. Well, thank you. I’m honored to be here. We are talking about a hot topic today, which is creating, and growing your dream team. And so many, I’m hearing from so many retailers and restaurants, small businesses in general, all over the country that are really struggling with finding good help and keeping good help.
So we’re going to, we’re going to tackle this topic. All right. Can I be a contrarian? Can I be a stick in the mud? Okay, good. I just wanted to be sure. Absolutely. I want you to just be you. Give it to us like it is, Bob. Okay. So let’s first start, I would love to know your opinion as to why people are having such a hard time finding good help.
Sure. So the reason people are having a hard time finding good help is they don’t know how to find good help. So let me back up and talk about that. So I think the premise is, we hear this all the time, nobody wants to work. Nobody will show up for my interview, and frankly, It’s all BS, Crystal.
So think about this for a moment. So when I was thinking about our conversation here today, I walked up and down Main Street. We’re right here. I’m looking out the window over downtown. Oh, love it. And our beautiful little downtown is three blocks long, like many, many small downtowns.
There’s 50 restaurants and retail stores on Washington Avenue in those four blocks. And so if you figure that each of them employs five people on average, what that means is there are 250 employees just on this street. So there are plenty of people. So, and you can’t tell me of that 250, that at least 50 of them are great hard workers emotionally engaged with their work.
So there’s, unemployment iat an all-time low. So the premise, the mindset that there aren’t good people is just a false premise. It’s simply, stinking thinking.. So that what we have to do is we have to shift the way that we’re looking at it and say, “wait a second, if there’s great people out there, how am I going to get them to come work for me?”
Yeah. And you and I have had this conversation; I believe that problems are really opportunities in disguise. Anytime you have a problem or frustration, so if your listeners are listening to this and going, well, wait a second. If you’re frustrated by anything in your retail life or even your life, just ask yourself, what skill do I need to learn to solve this problem?
So recruiting is the skill that we’re talking about here. The problem is I can’t find good people. I’m not getting enough people applying. I’m not getting good people applying. That’s the frustration. The skill that will solve that problem is recruiting. And that idea, whenever you’re frustrated, ask yourself, what do I need to know?
You see, and then once you develop the skill, you know you’re still going to need to recruit, but every time you need to find somebody, you’re not totally stressed out and frustrated and all of those things. So that’s the first thing that I want to say is there are people. So you and I have talked about this also.
It’s always mindset, skillset, structure. That’s how you build a great business. Mindset, skillset, structure. And the mindset is, wait a second, there are great people out there. I’m going to go get them and I’m going to find them. I’m going to get them to work for me and I’m going to keep them. They’re going to be happy. And then they’re going to tell all their friends and the problem will be solved. Right, exactly. So then how do we go out there and get them like how do we make our stores attractive where people are wanting that job? They’re excited by that job description. Break that down for us.
Yeah, sure. That is, so we teach something called How to Write a Red Hot Help Wanted ad. So here’s how Bob Negen used to do it. So, if somebody quit on a Thursday and I needed coverage on a Saturday, I’d put an orange and black sign out in the window. What did the orange and black sign say, Crystal? This a quiz. Hiring? Need help? Yeah. It said ‘Help Wanted.’ Help wanted, yes, yes. There you go. I thought I put you on the spot there. So help wanted. Then the first person who came in, I’d stick a mirror under their nose and if they fogged it up, it meant that they were breathing, which meant they had a job.
And if they showed up on time for two weeks in a row, they were assistant manager. That’s how it worked. But then, a ‘Help Wanted’ ad, if you just have a sign that says, ‘Help Wanted,’ you’re going to get the lowest common denominator applicant. The same thing holds true if you write a lame, weak, jive Help Wanted ad and put it in one place. Put it on Indeed. And then you say, I’m not getting anybody applying. Well, it’s because you’re not applying this, what we’re going to talk about here. So the red hot help wanted ad that we teach, and that’s featured in the staff development module, the Retail Mastery System to slide a little pitch in there, is this, so recognize that in order for you to get good people, you have to market the position. So many people are just saying, “oh, I’m here.” Well, that’s not going to attract people. So here is the format for the Red Hot Help Wanted ad real quickly. The headline is the job description with a couple of adjectives to make it a little sexier.
The subhead is really the benefits of working there, so they know what the job is, they know what’s there, and then there’s three parts to the three sections in the main body of the ad. The first is If You Are, and then in that section you have bullet points that really describe what your ideal.
Employee looks like.? If you are a self-starter, if you love to have fun, if you’re enthusiastic. Ask yourself, what is it that I want? Zig Ziglar talks about the difference between vague generalities and meaningful specifics. Well, you need some meaningful specifics here.
Because when that person’s reading that, you want them to go. Oh, that’s me. Oh, that’s me. Oh, that’s me. Oh, that’s me. So that’s the first thing. So now what are we doing? We’re attracting the right people. The second section is If You Love To, and then that sort of describes what’s in the job. If you love to talk to people or if it’s a pet store, if you love saying hi to all the dogs that come into a store. So it really sets the stage so that again, the right people are looking at it going, “oh, that’s, I would love to do that.” You see, I’m selling it in this ad. And then the final part of it is, the final section is We Offer. And that’s where you really drill down.
Why is it great to work in your store? Competitive wages, a chance to earn bonus, training, a friendly atmosphere. We can talk about Patty Zeller’s Red Hot Help Wanted ad in a second, if you want to do a little mini case study, but she offers free dog food. Oh, cool. So anybody who works for her, she feeds her dogs for free, but lists the benefits, and so you see those three sections. Anybody who has gone through those three sections is going, wow, that sounds great. Now you know that you got a winner. The final two little pieces of it is, then you should have a brief description of your business. And the final thing, and this is really important, is a call to action.
Tell people exactly what to do. Send your resume to, call me here, come into the store to pick something up, but tell them exactly what to do. So many people in marketing, don’t include a call to action, a CTA, and it’s just a huge mistake. It’s one of those marketing fundamentals. So once you’ve written a great Red Hot Help Wanted ad, then the name of the game is distribution.
If you just put it on Indeed, you’re only going to get people who are on Indeed. So, I just did this program in Las Vegas two days ago and there’s 11 different ways to distribute your Red Hot Help Wanted ad. You can do bag stuffers, you can send it to your personal email list, you can send it to your customer list. Of course, you can post it on social media, you can use Monster and Indeed, and things like that. You can make it into a bag stuffer. There’s just, but the name of the game is create a great marketing piece and then get it out there in the world. And that’s how it works.
And the important thing is, it works. Yes. Which we need it to work because we’ve got to find these great people. And it’s funny, Bob, because it makes perfect sense. You are marketing your store to attract top talent, the right kind of people. And that key word is marketing. It’s not like, “I need help.
Here’s what you’re going to go do. Apply.” It’s really making your store be, you’re marketing it. And a lot of retailers struggle with marketing in general, so I can see it being so challenging to also, we’re just not naturally thinking that way, I don’t think, when we’re trying to find help. It’s such a good point.
Well, and that’s exactly right. And that’s why I always started with that sort of shock value statement of, “wait a second, it’s BS that they’re not there. They’re there. You just need the good ones coming to you and for you.” So you want to talk about Patty here for a second. Let’s do it.
And Patty has given me permission, in fact, enthusiastic permission to share this. So Patty Zeller owns a pet store in Virginia. And, she, in her previous life, owned an ad agency. She was a professional copywriter. So, she has some writing skills and there’s something, there’s an interesting twist here too.
So she called and she had the whole Chicken Little thing, the sky is falling. One of the big brands came and stole her manager. She couldn’t match the salary. Nobody’s applying. You know the litany that we hear all the time? The litany of problems. So we went back and we backed it up and the first thing we did was we got our mindset squared away.
Wait a second, birds of a feather flock together. You start getting some good people, it all starts to build. That’s how you build a culture. Because once you get a couple great people, then they’re going to tell their friends. Because once you become the place where everybody wants to work, you’ve solved the problem once and for all.
Totally. But the other thing we did was I took a look at her Help, Wanted ad, and it was lame. So we buffed up her Red Hot Help Wanted ad, and then she started to see success. One of the things that she does, and one of the things that we teach is that you should have a business card that you carry around with you at all times, and that business card should say this: “I hope you’re happy where you are. However, if you’re ever looking for a change of scenery, come see me. I’m not trying to blatantly steal you,” and you go to a restaurant, you have a great service, you give it away. Big tip. Yep. And you’re just always wearing your recruiting hat.
This is the thing. You’re wearing your recruiting hat all the time. But what Patty did, a new twist that I found brilliant, she was at her hair salon and the person at the front desk was really super friendly and helpful. And so Patty said, “I really love your attitude. If you have any friends who are like you, here’s my card.”
Well, it turns out the person who was, she actually was recruiting that person who was at the front desk. Love it. And she came. But then, so all of a sudden now she’s having success. And when success breeds successes. But now this is what I thought was super interesting. So she wanted to attract 25 to 35 year olds.
So she had her Red Hot Help Wanted ad that we did, but then she ran it through AI. She ran it through Chat GPT and said, I want this in the language of 25 to 35 year olds. And all of a sudden, it became snappy and fun. And so she’s running that ad now and all of a sudden, what was already a successful campaign is now becoming more successful.
And the power of copy! It’s the power of copy. Yeah. I was going to ask you what you thought about using Chat GPT to write job descriptions because it’s something that we talk to our retailers about. Yeah. Because you could write anything with Chat GPT and plugging in that demographic, the 25 to 35, it changes the tone.
It changes the tone completely. Yeah. So, here’s what I think about Chat GPT. I think that it’s an amazing tool, and it’s going to be here for, I mean, that Genie is not going back in the bottle. Nope. But at the end of the day, it’s a very helpful tool, but it is not a substitute for you.
Right. You could say, write me a Help Wanted ad and it will sound good, but it won’t be you. So I think it’s a great place to, a great place to start, but at the end of the day, it’s not you. It’s not human. So Patty ran her all, it’s an enhancer.
It’s not a substitute for her, and I think that you’re going to see a lot of people making that mistake, thinking that it’s the answer, but it’s not. I think so too. I know, and I view it as, I think the hardest part is getting started. If you have to sit down and write the job description, you’re like, ah, what do I want to start with and how do I position this?
And that tool can get you going so quick that you’re just modifying and sounding like you from there. Yeah. You’re just editing. Exactly. I agree. So now they’re hired. Yes. And where do you see, what are some of the common mistakes that you see with retailers in managing their team? Because the other problem of this is finding people, but then keeping people.
Yes. So where, what are some of those mistakes that retailers are making with managing? Okay. There’s a litany of them. Yeah. So one of the programs that I haven’t done for a long time, but used to do a lot is called, Why Don’t People Do What I Want Them To Do? And there’s four reasons.
They don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to do it, they’re not comfortable doing it, and they don’t have the tools to do it. So, if you want to build a great culture, which is I think what you’re asking, right? Yeah. So, you know me, Crystal. I like my models. So I created a new model. And it’s three E’s.
It’s educate, engage, and empower. And so the first thing that will drive a great person away faster than anything is if they’re not trained. They’re not educated. So the mistake that people make is that they hire somebody and expect them to do the job the way that they want the job to be done, but then not telling them that. So if anybody’s listening to this, if you have a piece of paper, write this down because it’s critical. So if you don’t clearly communicate your standards in writing, your team members have no choice but to create their own. And then this is where the problem comes. So if they’re creating their own and you don’t like the standard that they created, there’s a tendency to be frustrated.
And really the fault isn’t theirs, the fault’s yours. So more and more, and we’ve always been, at the Mackinaw Kite Company, we actually created what we call the goof proof training process when we were doing our Yo-Yo carts. Yo-yo universe stores, because if you don’t train them, you can’t expect them to do things the way you want them to do.
But then that’s just part of it, because now when you’ve trained them, now they have the skills to be successful. And when they have the skills to be successful, then they feel good about working for you. Yes. Then you’re not frustrated with them. They’re not frustrated with you. Then if something goes wrong, there’s a point of reference that can bring the topic to the table without, just very matter-of-factly, but then you want to engage and empower them. So what does engagement look like? Engagement is understanding them, asking them questions. We created another model, ADD. Ask, Discuss, Decide. So ask your team.
What do you think? How should we handle this? What do you think, is this a good idea? So really ask your team, discuss it with them, and make a decision. One of the mistakes I see retailers make all the time, and it’s a natural, easy to make mistake, is to think you have to have the answers.
And it’s just not true. So, I do this poll all the time. How many people work with you? Well, we have four people on our team. How many years have they worked with you? Well, probably two or three each. Well, then the answer is you’ve got 10 years worth of experience to draw upon.
Yes. You don’t have to, you don’t have to have the answer. You just have to ask your team and let them engage with your opportunities and your questions. And then when that starts to happen, when you build that kind of culture, then they feel empowered to help you build your business.
Totally. Then you’re not pushing them. Then they’re often pulling you. If you have an empowered team, they want to be, they’re really little entrepreneurs. They want to help you build your business. They’re coming to you with ideas.
And when you get to that place, they don’t want to leave. Exactly. They don’t want to leave and they want to bring their cool friends because they want that culture. Yes. The culture becomes important to them. It does. And I think that their friends are also like, “you seem to love your job.
What do you do?” That just translates. I think that that is so important and I want to talk about, how I could see somebody listening to this who’s had problems with hiring and managing, and you’re just to this point of, “Ugh I’m over it and I’m not going to really have any employees, or I’m just going to do it all myself. I can do this. Nobody could do it better than me.”
And you and I have talked about this before, but I think it’s a very important reminder of Who Not How. Will you talk about that and why it’s so important to get that support? Yeah, so there’s several sort of dynamics into what you just said.
Yeah. So if you want, if you give up on learning how to manage and lead people, you are essentially throwing in the towel. And you are really sort of, well, throwing in the towel. Here’s what I see, Crystal. I see an acceleration right now and good retail, good independent retailers are becoming more successful faster than ever.
The people who are doing things like you’re just talking about, they’re going out of business faster than ever. Expectations are up. Loyalty is down. If you’re not growing, if you’re not moving forward, if you’re even just standing still, you’re moving towards irrelevance and therefore, eventually you’ll just end up closing your store.
So my story in retail is the first thing my brother Steve and I learned how to do, was to sell. And we fly them, they’d buy them. We would fly kites out in the Marina Lawn and then people would come in, and then we had to learn how to sell them. But then as our business grew, we had to hire people because it was a seasonal store.
Our hours were 8 to 10. We couldn’t manage it all ourselves. And so there was a lot of frustration around learning how to manage people. So to that person, if they’re listening and you’re going, I’m just frustrated, the word of encouragement is yes, it’s a skill. If you want to be a successful retailer, you have to know the skill and is it frustrating to learn to manage people? A hundred percent.
But the question to ask yourself is, am I serious about this? It’s really a choice. And I hate to just be so blunt about it, but it is a choice. What do you want to be? Do you want to be successful? Do you want this thing to be what it can be? Or are you going to give up?
And that’s a choice. But if you make the choice of being great. If you make the choice of taking advantage of the opportunities that are in front of you, then you just put on your big boy pants or put on your big girl pants and get to work, learn the skills, this is something where the retail mastery system can be incredibly helpful.
Learn how to fire the people you don’t like. Learn how to do the uncomfortable stuff because learning how to be a manager is filled with uncomfortable moments, but you’ve just got to. Been there, done that. When I was before, I was a cool guy. And I wanted everybody to like me.
Exactly. And I thought, as long as I asked nicely, that they should do it. But of course, anybody who’s a retailer is listening to this, going, but they’re not. So then what I realized is if I wanted to be successful, I had to change and I had to learn some skills and I had to go through the discomfort of becoming a pro.
But when you go through the discomfort, when you do the things that are necessary for it to happen, when you come out the other end, you have skills, you have confidence, you have the tools, you have the chops, you can grow to the next level. So that’s what I would say to anybody who is sort of retreating. Now is not the time to retreat.
If you’re retreating right now, you’re making a decision to, not necessarily to fail, but you’re making a decision to not be all that you can be. Such good advice. And I have to say, I struggled with that. Managing is hard. You’re learning. I feel like most people don’t have that naturally built in within their skill set.
You do have to learn it. And for me, I didn’t want to, and I still struggle with this, I don’t want to inconvenience my team and Pauline on my team will be like, “They want to help, you also pay them. This is their job.” And so I’ve had to learn. I’ve really got to ask for that help. It’s not inconveniencing my team.
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I hope they can help you like they did me. Can I share something? Please. So we used to, this is before the internet. This is before anybody had email, but we still, even in those days, it was a non-negotiable standard that every single person who worked on the floor had to get the names and addresses and then send three postcards a shift. That’s how we built our business. Yeah. Postcards, postcards. Postcards. Building our lists the old fashioned way. Yeah. When your database was addresses. Old school. But that’s what we did. And that’s how we grew our business. And then when people were done, they were just in a big pile. And then every week I put them into the days and ensure that everybody was actually doing their postcards. Accountability. And then one day I’m going, what am I doing here?
This is mundane work. Somebody else can do it. And I asked Jesse, Jesse Winger. I’m sure she’s not listening to this, but as Jesse was a great employee, I said, “Jesse, would you be willing to do this? Here’s all you’ve got to do. You’ve got to put it Monday, Tuesday, put them in the day, and then look on the schedule and then see that there’s three for each person.
Put a stamp on them and send them out. Can you do that?” “Oh yeah.” And I thought, being a leader meant that I had to do all that little stuff. That’s how I thought, again, immature as a leader. And then when she left, she graduated from college and she was moving on and I did an exit interview and I said, so tell me about your experience at the Mackinaw Kite Company.
And she said, “Oh Bob, when you let me do that postcard thing, that meant so much to me.” Oh my gosh, wow. And it was like, oh, okay. To your point, Crystal, they want to help. Yes. And so ask. I had a conversation with somebody recently. I know that they have a lot of messes in their store and it’s driving them crazy.
And it was like, ask somebody on your team if they would like to be responsible for making that mess go away. Yeah. And it was like, oh. Great, okay. Yeah. We talk about training, the Retail Sales Academy, all of the reportings in the back, but so many people get the Retail Sales Academy, don’t use it correctly because it means going into the reporting.
Just a few little things that take not very much time, but they’re overwhelmed. Let somebody else do it for you. Exactly. Who not how! Who, not how. Who can do it for you. Exactly. Okay. Talking about training, I don’t know if this is a silly question or not, but I’m reminded of my older retail days when I worked at a company called Legs, Hanes Valley, Playtex.
I sold pantyhose and bras and underwear, and when I first got started, I remember their training program was in the back room with a big TV. Oh, okay. There were some binders too, but then this big clunky TV that I had to watch these terribly acted out scenarios and they told you how to do stuff and I think for five days I had to do that.
I couldn’t be on the floor yet. I had to watch all these videos. Is there, I’m sure for different stores and positions it can vary, but is there any kind of guideline or structure on when you bring a new employee in, how long is that training process for them? Well, I’m so glad that you asked me that question because, as you know, Crystal, we did a whole four day program called Dream Team University, and in the Retail Mastery System, in the staff development module, there’s a template for a training program, the Retail Sales Academy, the training templates available, but there is no hard and fast rule, but when you think about training, you should have onboarding.
And when you think about onboarding, you should ask yourself, what does somebody need to know so that when they engage a customer, they can give that customer a great experience. And for some industries that could be three days in the back, for some restore owners that we know, it’s two solid weeks.
They’re in the pet industry, they’re very focused on nutrition. So it all depends. But really when you look at training, so first of all, you have onboarding, and that’s the fundamentals. Then you also have on layered on top of that, is processes and procedures that are really about your store.
Like how do you use a point of sale system? If the alarm goes off in the middle of the day, how do you turn it off? All these little things, because if you don’t have these in your training program, what happens? The alarm goes off, and what are they doing? Boss! Boss! Boss! Totally. Meanwhile, the whole store. And then you have product training on top of it. And then, so that’s the individualized training for a store. But then on the other side of it, it doesn’t have to be individualized, is sales training. Because one of the big mistakes that independent retailers make is they think product training is sales training.
Product training is what you sell. Sales training is how you sell it. Yeah. So when you’ve got those four pieces in place, wow. Magic starts to happen. For the store owner, stress goes way down because everybody knows what to do and how to do it. And so, it just makes life so much easier.
The team loves it because they know what they’re doing. They’re successful on the floor. They don’t have that uncomfortable, “I don’t know what I’m doing” feeling. Of course, your customers love it because they’re getting a better experience. But then, at the end of the day, we’re all business people.
And when a retailer gets their training program with all four of those things in place and their people trained, oh boy, magic starts to happen. Really, magic starts to happen. I can so see how that would happen. So really, it’s about marketing the store to get that top talent and to find that right person and do so on a lot of different platforms, not just Indeed.
And then when you have this amazing person, we want to make sure that they have an amazing experience from the beginning with you; with onboarding, they’ve got the right tools, it’s so clear. Don Miller says, “Confuse, you lose.” And he talks a lot about that in marketing, but I just feel like in general, we don’t; our brains can only handle so much.
And so if we make it really clear and easy, then I feel I have more energy to do my job and do it well during the day because it’s so clear for me. You’ve laid it out so well in your systems and processes. You’re absolutely correct. Yeah. So you’ve got to have that to set that person up for success through these systems and have the onboarding and the products and sales really making sure that you’re covering your basis as your training.
And I have to give a plug for your training platform because I beta-tested it. It’s just so smart. Whizbang Retail Training has a platform where you can put all of your training materials on their platform and have accountability baked in to make sure everybody’s doing what they need to be doing.
It’s easy for the employees to find those materials. You can update things, and it’s so easy to use. I can’t stress how easy it is. I really recommend having something like that. Sure, you could use Google Drive to store all that stuff, but you don’t have that accountability and really being able to track what everybody doing. So, I just really recommend your platform. It’s so needed for our retailers. That’s great. And it’s called the Retail Sales Academy Plus. And it’s because there’s the Retail Sales Academy, which is what it originally was, which is where I’ll train your people how to sell. Yeah. And I’m good at training people how to sell.
Yes, you are. And then the other part of it is what we call a custom course creator, and that’s what Crystal was talking about. You take your training program, you create your videos, and it’s all in one place. There’s quizzes, there’s accountability, there’s reporting and all those things.
But again, Crystal, let’s go back to it. It’s this idea of you have to understand the importance of giving your team the tool, and you have to make a commitment to getting that done. And building out a training program is not easy or quick. It’s why they call it work, but it’s the good work that needs to be done.
If you’re going to really, again, be the best that you can be. Exactly. And it’s going to save you so much stress down the road and so much work down the road. So you’re putting the work in upfront, and then you have to commit. I love that you said that because I talk a lot about that in a social media perspective of committing to your marketing and committing to showing up for your customers.
And this is committing to showing up for your team, but also you, if you want some freedom. And confidence is built from keeping the commitments we make to ourselves. And so if you want to be confident in your team, then you need to keep this commitment and really have that structure within your store.
Yeah. Okay, Bob, are you ready for the resilience round? I’m ready for the resilience round. All right. Let’s do it. Six questions. Rapid fire Q&A to help retailers be more resilient. Okay. Best business book. The Gap and The Gain, Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy. Great suggestion. Best retail technology, like an app or software.
Ah, the Retail Sales Academy Plus, without a doubt. Yeah. Love it. How do you keep up with the ever-changing retail landscape? I talk to a lot of retailers, and I peruse all of the retail magazines that come to our office. And I subscribe to Retail Wire and National Retail Federation, and everybody is sharing white papers that you can download.
So I download and read a lot of them. Yes. Awesome. Because retail is ever-changing, how do you recharge your batteries? Rest. Good. I stop. Yes. Good. That could be hard for entrepreneurs to do. Yes. I rest, I stop, and Crystal, I also learn. So because I do a lot of output, I need input. And if I find myself, doing too many lives, too many podcasts without having conversations without reading, so I need input to have good output.
Love it. To help retailers be stronger, more rooted in success. What’s a, I want to know a selling best practice from a sales perspective. What is a selling best practice? A selling best practice is focus. So understand that training is not an event, it’s a process. So for instance, the Retail Sales Academy, there’s three different phases and then all of it is around, every week, there is a short video head in the game. Stay focused on selling statistics. Coach regularly. Your team will focus on what you focus on, and if you focus on selling skills, your customers are going to get a better experience and you’re going to make a lot more money.
Awesome. Finally, what do you think the future of independent retail looks like? Crystal, the future of independent retail has never, ever, ever been brighter. The democratization and the commoditization of technology now allow independent retailers to have access to things that were once only the domain of the big boys.
And so now, when independence brings their best selves and bring all of their creative juices to the table, in addition to the technology, we as a community are truly unstoppable. Think about this: music, where does it start? It starts on the street. Fashion, where does it start? It starts on the street. Retail, where’s it going to start? It’s going to start on the street. You watch, all the big brands are going to be watching us to see what’s new and cool and hip and what they should be doing. We’ve been copying them. They’re going to be copying us. Oh, the tables are turning. I love it. I love it. Yeah. Yes. And I agree. I feel like it is so bright for our independent retailers.
And it makes me so excited. Can I share one other, and we talked about this in Vegas, I think, but this idea that, for everybody who’s watching this or listening to this, I just want to say to you, everything you need to become everything you want to become is available to you now. You have to make a choice to invest time and money and energy and all those things, but the skills are there, the technologies are there, everything you need.
So if your business isn’t everything you want it to be right now, step back and say, what do I need to learn? What do I need to do? And go find it because it is there. Excellent advice. Thank you for sharing that. And Bob, tell me, something pretty amazing is happening June 12th and 13th of 2023. What’s going on?
What’s going on? So the Retail Success Summit, preceded by Social Media Day featuring none other than Crystal Vilkaitis. So, the Retail Success Summit is one of the world’s largest educational events for independent retailers. It is a general event, not a niche-specific event. It probably is the biggest. June 12 and 13 Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Just imagine being in the room with 450, 500, really, really excited, growth-minded retailers. People come from all over the world. It really is. It’s a wonderful, wonderful event. And then the day before, so the 11th, you do social media day. So it really is; so many people have told me it’s been a real game-changer. It really got me to think about my business a different way.
Or if you’re tired right now, it will be just what you need to get energized again. And to that person who you talked about earlier, they’re running less and less store hours, rather than expanding their store out. This is an opportunity for you to get excited about your future again.
Exactly, and the energy is always so high. Bob and Susan do such a great job. I’m sure some of my people listening have been, and you totally can relate to that. It’s, we love going, my team and I love going because of the energy, the connection, the content, it’s just, it’s so fun. You guys take care of the independent retailers, and then we’re just so honored to have our social media day on June 11th, and the only way you can go to that is if you have your ticket to the Retail Success Summit. So it’s an add-on to the event. We would love to see you there, and I’m excited to share that Bob and his team gave us a special code for $500 off your Retail Success Summit Ticket by using the code Rooted.
Just like the show. From Rooted in Retail. You could go to retailsuccesssummit.com to learn more, get your ticket, use your code, and then once you sign up, you’ll be prompted to get your ticket for Social Media Day. We would love to see you.
It’s going to be epic. I can’t wait. Bob, any final closing words before we sign off here? No, it’s just a great time to be an independent retailer. So, I’m excited and honored that you had me on your show, Crystal. And, what I would say is if you’re listening to this and you don’t subscribe to, we call it the Retail Buzz, I would encourage you to go there to go to whizbangtraining.com.
You can easily sign up. We send out a couple of things a week, information to help you. And we also have a Facebook group called Whizbang Retailers. So both of those are a way for you to become part of our community, and we’d love to have you be part of our community. Yeah, join the group if you haven’t, and the email list because you get great content from the email perspective, and the group is very active.
You’ve got a lot of retailers asking such great questions and sharing. It’s so active, so check out those resources. Also, follow Whizbang Training. We’ll link to everything in the show notes. Bob, thank you so much for being here. Crystal, it’s my honor. Oh, love it you guys. Thank you so much for listening.
Remember that I am rooting for your success. Have a great week ahead. Bye. Thank you so much for being here. It means the world to me. Don’t forget to join the Rise & Shine newsletter, which is social media news you need to know, sent via email every Monday morning. Go to crystalmediaco.com/rise to join and don’t miss the newest episode of Rooted in Retail, which drops every Sunday morning.