- What is Different About T21 Training?
The strength, and USP, of T21 is that we intrinsically understand the issues facing electrical retailers and their suppliers from a perspective not shared by any other training company we’re aware of. We stay current and central to the trends shaping the industry (as evidenced by 4 years of articles published in ERT & IER magazines) and our training is tuned to address those issues.
We don’t consider ourselves to be in competition with manufacturers’ training teams, instead we aim to collaborate with them to provide support to their own training initiatives. In this way, retailers gain benefit from having access to a full 360 degree training solution that encompasses product knowledge and selling skills. Before T21 came along, that circle was incomplete.
We differentiate further by adjusting the content and approach of our training to match retailer clients individually. We assess through pre- and post-training exercises the skillsets, behaviours and attitudes of their staff plus the commercial objectives, the size and structure of the business. This sets us apart from manufacturer training, which focuses on the product, and sales training companies from outside the industry who offer the same off-the-shelf training to all their clients.
Our Company Creed is to offer our clients ‘Training That Works’, and everything we do is designed to benefit them.
- What is our Process?
Our process for a typical independent retailer training comprises of the following stages:
- Meeting with business principles to understand the business goals and shortfalls, and what they believe the training needs to address in order to achieve those.
- ‘Mystery Shop’ exercise to ascertain the sales staffs’ sales skills and provide evaluation of the customer experience within the store.
- Online pre-training questionnaire sent to all staff prior to the training. Typical questions ask delegates what they see as their strengths and weaknesses, their daily challenges, and what they would like to achieve from the training.
- The training course is built to accommodate all input from the business principles, the delegates themselves via the questionnaire and our own ‘mystery shop’ evaluation.
- Delivery of the Training. May be a one-day event or it may be multiple sessions given over a period of time. All sessions are fully interactive, with workbooks and ‘role play’ focussing on key areas specific to that retailer’s needs.
- At the end of each Training Day or Course, delegates are given an ‘action plan’ which they must complete. This is their pledge to commit to at least three changes in behaviour based on what they have learnt from the training.
- These are returned to the delegates, and copies are sent to the principles alongside a summary of the training and recommendations for next steps.
- Further evaluation: at least one more mystery shop to see whether there are any changes/ improvements made since the first visit.
- Depending on the post-training evaluation, further training may be required. Often this takes the form of one-to-one coaching, which is laser-precise in delivering skills training to individuals.
In this way, our training is rarely a short hit. Our most successful clients are those which commit to training as an ongoing process.
- Using Technology.
We also have great expertise in e-learning. Not only did we build the Training Portals for Retra, Retracare & Hughes Electrical, but we have also designed multiple online courses for them which make it easy for many others to engage with training. Online training is now common place, however we were the first in the industry to deliver it, on behalf of Retra in 2015, and I believe that the benchmark we set (through continuous updates to the IT and the content) remains the highest in the industry.
Our mix of IT & Training expertise enables us to provide training solutions which blend e-learning and traditional classroom training to great effect. This is best seen in the ‘Sales Mindset Training’ we are currently delivering for Hughes Electrical, where part of the training course is delivered via online modules taken by each trainee in conjunction with their branch managers, whilst the second stage is delivered face-to-face with a trainer in a classroom setting. In this case we use a wide range of media including training videos which we filmed specially for Hughes. Example webpage grabs from this training are included in the additional documents attached to this summary, and the judges are invited to take a look at the online courses at https://hughestraining.co.uk/?sfwd-courses=sales-mindset-training .
Guest login details and links to our various videos, animations and testimonials are included in the ‘useful links’ document.
- What Training do we Offer?
The retail sales training framework we offer independent retailers is broadly based on developing skills and changing habits and attitudes in the following areas:
- Customer engagement practices – to build empathy and establish rapport.
- Deep questioning skills – to uncover the customer’s unique circumstances, buying motivations and preferences, and to control the sales conversation.
- Listening and information-processing skills – to create a compelling story when matching the right solution to the customer’s needs and demonstrating relevant products.
- Creating a story through demonstration – using theatre, showmanship, knowledge and enthusiasm, using the ‘customer’s own language’ when demonstrating product benefits, and ensuring the customers’ involvement in the demo to have them visualise ownership.
- Adjusting the sales person’s selling style to match the customer’s personality traits and ‘buying behaviours’ – eliminates prejudice and conflict within seller-buyer interactions.
- Addressing customer concerns and objections – breaking these down and improving the chances of closing a sale.
- Understanding how to sell value – how to steer sales conversations based on price/discount towards conversations based on value and gain.
- Introducing add-on sales, building packages and increasing the transactional value of the sale.
- How to move sales conversations naturally towards closing.
- The importance of aftersales and follow-up, and how to do this in the right way.
There are many more areas within these that may be applicable to certain retailers, and the emphasis on any of the above will be dependent upon the brief as detailed previously.
- T21: Central to Training in the Industry?
We are not central to the industry in ourselves, however, we provide training on behalf of the associations who are. Namely these are Retra, CEDIA and (as of this year) Clarity Alliance who between them cover a significant cross-section of businesses within the consumer electronics industry. By working in collaboration with all of these, and by providing training on their behalf, we also cover (in addition to sales training) the following specific training:
How to sell warranty – often a difficult sell which many struggle with, yet it can be vital to ensuring a best-in-class customer experience and a profitable transaction.
How to sell with retail finance – As with warranty, finance must be sold compliantly to ensure that customers are not mis-sold the wrong product. Again, it is a great way of achieving great customer experience, but also enables the retailer to sell on the day at full margin and ticket price.
Consultative Selling – delivering the essential skills required for selling premium, high-value solutions (eg Smart Home & Premium audio) to high-net-worth clientele.
Developing a Successful Business Strategy – Delivered on behalf of CEDIA to smaller businesses who struggle to plan and grow.
- How highly is our Training regarded?
The feedback we receive from our Training is always very high, with many delegates genuinely surprised by how much they enjoy it. They are always enthused and motivated to get back into their workplace and try out what they’ve learned. Slowly, we are changing peoples’ views on training within the industry.
- Why T21?
A large part of our ability to deliver great training is because everyone at T21 comes from this industry. I worked in electrical retail for many years, firstly as a shop floor sales assistant, then as a shop manager and finally as an area manager. I’ve worked for multiple manufacturers as an in-store demonstrator, as a senior trainer and as an area sales manager, and I’ve worked on developing new businesses, finding new markets, new customers and cultivating long-standing relationships. My business partners come from similar backgrounds and bring additional expertise in business, finance and specific sales areas, all of which contribute greatly to the value we deliver to our clients.
We are still a small company and our resources are limited. But what we have is knowledge, expertise and a lot of energy & passion for helping our clients be better, even by degrees, at what they do. And what we do works.
Matt Renaut – Proprietor, Dacombes of Wimborne. June 2019
“The Training Paul at T21 gave us was very impressive. The whole purpose of the training was to find that extra 10% of expertise and commitment within our sales team and elevate the service and in-store experience we offer our customers from ‘excellent’ to ‘outstanding’. Our guys are often very ‘old school’ and I’ve struggled with various trainers over the years to persuade them to adopt fresh ideas that bring us into line with the needs of modern customers. It took some time, and there were even tears at one point, but the training and coaching Paul provided has been massively successful and my team are fully onboard at last. Not only that but they also respect Paul & T21. He is someone I can bounce ideas off not just in regards to the development of the team, but also when it comes to planning new initiatives such as our retail events and … Something exciting which I can’t tell anyone about just yet… But with Paul’s help it’s going to be amazing. I would recommend T21 Training to every retailer large or small.”
Peter Bevir – Head of Sales & New Product Development, Russ Andrews Ltd. May 2019.
Just a quick email to say thank you for the excellent training course on Wednesday. Despite my initial reservations I found the way all the information was presented was dynamic, engaging and above all useful. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I genuinely took some new ideas and skills away from the day.”
Chris Burton – Sales Associate, Home Media Ltd. May 2019
“Paul is a really nice guy and easy to listen to, the small group size worked really well and the booklets are a great referral tool. I enjoyed the training a lot more than I thought I would, so thank you for a great day.”
Ed Griffiths – Operations Manager, Purewell Electrical. Jan 2019
“Paul, you’ll be pleased to know that following the training our conversion rate has been improving which is great to see, and the younger guys seem to be buying into it. The older ones are the challenge!”
Older (but still very worthy) testimonials
Rachel Murrell – Sales Manager, Hughes Ipswich. July 2018
“I just wanted to say thank you for the Mindset training you gave last week. I found it really useful and the feedback from the others has been really positive. Our new starter Juned said it was the best training he’s had and I have to agree. We will certainly be going over aspects of it within our Saturday morning training sessions to keep momentum up.”
Nick Heffer – HR Director, Hughes Electrical. June 2018
“Hughes Electrical has been working with T21 for over 3 years. We chose Paul and his team because they understand retail and bring something refreshing and different to the world of sales training. Last year we felt the need to totally refresh our sales training approach. Paul led this project which developed into a series of interactive workshops for our retail sales staff. We called it ‘Sales mindset’. It is based on the psychological principles of the customer/ salesperson interaction rather than just traditional opening, closing and feature-benefit skills. Our retail team of Shop Managers and Area Managers have all seen improved commitment, sales conversion and despite a difficult trading environment, more than satisfactory sales performance.
Hughes will be continuing to work with T21 for many years, as they have proven skills to help us deal with necessary change and contribute to the success of our business.”
Mike Farrell – Area Manager, Hughes. Nov 2017
“My guys have been very positive and motivated by the training, a couple have said it’s the best training they’ve been on!”
Terry Willis – Sales Manager, Hughes Felixstowe. Nov 2017
“Just a quick note to say that the training I attended yesterday was extremely useful and valid, and even after the years I have been with Hughes there is still lots of ideas that I can use. I thought it was well presented and the interest was maintained throughout the day. Look forward to seeing you again in the future.”
Ronny Ashley – Proprietor, Ashleys. November 2017
“We are really happy with the sales training we’ve had recently from T21. They’re extremely helpful and understand the needs of our business. We have been given real sales training techniques and guidance that we can use to improve and grow our business. We will definitely use them for future projects.”
Tony Revelle – Joint Owner, Audio T. October 2017
“We found the detailed analysis supplied by T21’s Retail Clinic on our Oxford Branch very useful indeed. In part the report confirmed what we already suspected, but it also gave us new insight into the workings of the branch and the shopping experience from both a commercial and customer-focused perspective. The knowledge gained from the analysis and our subsequent discussions with T21 will help us make informed decisions regarding the future of the store. The report also suggested some changes that will be useful in all our branches. I would recommend the Retail Clinic to any retailer who wants to learn more about how their shops are really operating, gaining knowledge that should help grow their business in a competitive, challenging market.”
Howard Saycell – CEO Retra. June 2016
“T21 have created for us one of the most comprehensive and ambitious training platforms in the electrical retail industry. Packed with insightful guides, quizzes, downloads, specially created videos and animations to underpin important learning points, the Retra e-learning platform has already begun to help hundreds of our members understand the best ways to sell with partner finance and retracare warranty.”
Matt Sheldrake – CEO Retracare. June 2016
“This is incredible! Well done, T21!”
PLEASE ALSO SEE JACK’S VIDEO TESTIMONIAL AT https://vimeo.com/t21training/jack