Well, here we are again: another new year and another set of resolutions. According to U.S. News and World Report, 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. The odds are against you if you let them be—or you can go into this year with intention and crush those odds.
People often ask me, “What are you doing to achieve success in business?” Faith is first and foremost. After that, it’s having great people that you treat with respect, knowing your numbers and being confident selling to customers.
That last point is one of the biggest roadblocks that window fashion professionals and designers have to overcome in order to be successful. The bottom line is many in-home salespeople are getting in their own way. Now is the time to stop and challenge yourself so you can break out of the bad habits that are keeping you from growing your business. The fastest way to do this is regular and frequent training since 75 percent of learned information is forgotten within days and just 10 percent of what was learned gets retained.
Many small business owners don’t make the time to train themselves or their employees. That’s a shame because research from the American Society for Training and Development shows that continuous training yields 50 percent higher sales per employee. One of the barriers owners face is that they don’t think they have time for activities that work “on” their business and not “in” their business. But think of training as an investment in your retirement. The smarter you are, the more confident you will be, which allows you to demand higher prices, which fuels your retirement.
Another barrier is that many people don’t know where to get good training that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. To help you overcome that hurdle, I will give you five awesome and inexpensive resources you can tap into on a regular basis.
Turn Your Car into a Classroom
Most of us who are going from appointment to appointment are not spending that time wisely. Instead of making phone calls or turning on the radio, listen to sales training audio. One of our top performers listens to it every day. Sales champions do these activities consistently. Remember: Training must be done regularly and frequently in order to be the most effective.
The best way to get sales training on the go is with Audible.com. For $15 per month you can turn your car into a classroom. One of my best practices is speaking notes into the app when something strikes a chord with me. Again, we only retain 10 percent of what we learn, so this allows me to go back to the CliffsNotes version I created to double or triple that retention. Here are some of my favorite sales books:
The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, PhD and Spencer Johnson, MD
Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness by Jeffrey Gitomer
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone
Utilize Vendors’ Training Programs
Many vendors have dedicated training programs. For example, Graber has Graber University, where you can gain product knowledge and skills to run your business better.
Another best practice it to have regular coffee-shop trainings with your vendor sales rep. We have a standing monthly training with our territory sales manager in the Sacramento market. It is the same time each month and the sales team looks forward to it. If you don’t have a team, take the initiative and set something up anyway. Most vendor sales reps enjoy training because it makes them sharper while making you sharper.
Turn on YouTube
This is the most inexpensive way to learn about the industry. You can pretty much get any answer you are looking for on YouTube. Want to sharpen your skills to sell motorization? Take one hour per week and peruse YouTube for motorized window covering videos. In a matter of a month you will be more confident selling motorized window coverings. The knowledge will give you the confidence to present motorized shades at your next sale.
Window Fashions Certified Professionals Program (WFCP)
The Window Fashion Certified Professionals Program is the longest-running training program in the industry and is now available on demand. Check out the intensive courses available now and look for a new lineup of individual one-hour sessions coming later this year!
Plug into Window Covering World
At 3 Blind Mice Window Coverings, we have been training weekly for 15 years. Yes, every week for 15 years (with the exception of holidays, of course). Each week we cover topics related to our five-step selling process or take a deeper dive into the products we sell. As professional in-home consultants we sometimes feel like we are on an island and no one else is dealing with our problems. Well, guess what—we all have the same challenges. They say misery likes company, right?
There has been a hole in our industry for consistent and affordable training—until now. We have decided to share what we are learning with the industry each week through an online service called Window Covering World, which will be offered at a very low price. More information about this service is coming soon; watch for details in Window Fashion VISION.
At the end of our trainings, we go around the room and share one takeaway from the session. What is your takeaway from this article? Remember: You just need to take those one or two gold nuggets and try them today. Don’t wait! While things are fresh in your mind, go to YouTube and create a playlist; sign up for Audible.com and start listening to some of the recommended books; get with your local vendor and set up a coffee-shop training; or or learn more about Window Covering World. Whatever you do, just do something. It is that extra 10 percent effort that will yield you a 50 percent better result.
Scot Dietz is the “head cheese” of 3 Blind Mice Window Coverings, Inc., which has locations in Sacramento, San Diego and Orange County. He started his current eight-figure business from the ground up by knocking on
doors, becoming a student of the industry and tapping into many great mentors along the journey.