Every holiday season brings familiar stresses alongside new challenges. There are long lines, stressed-out customers, and later store hours. And you have to make sure sales reps are trained in new Holiday promotions—enough to actually hit your quotas.
Although we are in a mild recession or market correction, retail holiday sales will still grow slightly from last year, with a 3.3% increase to hit a predicted $1.26 trillion in US holiday spending.
That means you can expect a holiday season that’s just as busy as last year, if not more so. How can you prepare? How can you hit your goals and retain your best sellers through the following year?
In this blog, we'll cover the top actions you can take to succeed this holiday season and beyond.
1. Pass down knowledge from senior sales reps
Some of your sales reps have been through several holiday seasons, while others will be experiencing the craziness for the first time. It’s critical to find ways to transfer that experience.
You can use Upduo to pair up sales reps from across all of your locations in one-to-one conversations. With Upduo, you can create talk tracks to guide the conversations (no obnoxious role playing required). You might prompt participants to:
- Share one big lesson they learned from working during the holiday season.
- Ask a question or share a concern that they have about the upcoming season.
- Brainstorm ways to make sure the customer experience is top-notch despite the busyness.
Grab the Upduo Playbook to learn how to craft your own interactive training program.
2. Move through the sales process faster—but don’t skip anything
Every company has their signature sales process that reps need to follow. But that goes straight out the window during the holidays. When it gets busy, reps forget to use a consultative sales style and instead approach customer interactions in a more transactional way.
You can combat their tendency to rush the process by reminding them that it’s okay to move through certain questions and moments faster—but it’s not okay to skip any steps.
“Before the holidays, we have our sales reps brainstorm best practices to maximize customers quickly without making them feel rushed. Even when your store is really busy, it’s important to dig into every part of the sales process, and not rush the situation. Maybe you’re doing things quicker and faster, but you’re not skipping over the important steps.” - Daniel Craig, Director of Retail Training at Prime Communications
Daniel uses Upduo to manage these sorts of brainstorming sessions. He’s found that reinforcing the sales process has had a positive impact on holiday sales.
Upduo has holiday-specific talk tracks for peer-to-peer coaching sessions. Check out this preview from our session titled Slow down the holiday rush:
3. See every holiday shopper as an opportunity
It’s important not to skip steps in the sales process during the busiest time of the year. It’s also important not to skip offers. You never know who will say yes to a certain offer, or who’s the right fit.
So make sure that your sales reps are prepared to upsell and cross-sell, instead of just helping the customer with what they walked in for.
4. Double down on theft prevention
Unfortunately, opportunists will take advantage of busy stores at this time of year. The holiday rush creates a spike in retail theft because it’s easier to grab goods when staff members aren’t looking.
Have your reps discuss ways to prevent theft. For example, reps shouldn’t leave merchandise or devices out on the counter when going into the back to grab stock. They should also regularly scan the room. It only takes a few seconds to show shoppers that you’re paying attention to the store.
5. Find ways to make sales reps feel seen and heard
Does the stress of the holiday shopping season make them feel like they don’t matter, and that all the company cares about is sales?
A supportive company culture can mean the difference between sales reps who are sluggish and resentful versus those who are ready to band together, serve customers efficiently, and make great commissions.
It’s easy to focus just on training and quotas during the holiday season. But don’t forget company culture. To help employees feel supported, try having them share with each other openly. You can create an Upduo talk track where employees share what they like about working with the company during the holidays, what they don’t like, and what they wish would change.
Then, encourage employees to share the main takeaways with their managers. As an admin, you can also watch Upduo session recordings. You’ll learn so much more than if you had just sent an employee feedback survey.
6. Become an organization of continuous learners
The true path to sales success is to keep learning and improving. Great sales reps come to work with a growth mindset, enjoy achieving new goals, and inspire everyone around them.
Unfortunately, most learning departments aren’t breeding these sorts of sellers. They rely on passive approaches—typically LMS software. Reps watch videos and forget most of what they learn.
But real learning comes from practice, repetition, and even from teaching others. You can manage all of this through Upduo’s peer coaching methodology.
Check out this session example, which helps reps brainstorm how to sell accessories as gifts.
Read one of our recent case studies to learn more.
7. Proactively address post-holiday turnover
Turnover is high after the holidays, when commissions drop and employees seek other opportunities. Make sure you’re proactively keeping your best sales reps on board.
You can do this by continuing to offer professional development (which will increase their commissions) and mentoring them on the upward mobility opportunities available within your company.
Just make sure you get on top of these conversations. Don’t wait until your favorite reps give you their notices and it's too late.
The holidays are crazy. But your learning development doesn’t have to be. It can be well-organized and designed for positive interactions, culture-building, and real results.