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Tick-Box or Titans: Why your approach to training can affect the success of your brand

Lisa Padmore is a skincare expert with over 20 years experience in the beauty industry specialising in sales, training and media communications in the retail and professional sectors. To contact Lisa, please visit her website or LinkedIn profile.

Tick-Box or Titans: Why your approach to training can affect the success of your brand

The good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve now been in the business of training in the Beauty Industry for over 20 years and I’ve seen it all. Some brands just get it – consultants are inspired and this is reflected in sales. Others cut corners, roll-out the same content year after year and yes – you guessed it – this approach is also reflected in sales and sadly in staff morale.

In my daily interactions with clients, I am left with the impression that too many organisations are now seeing training as a tick-box exercise. It’s become transactional and to an extent under-valued. Why does this matter? Well, as we know, nowadays consumers are lured with a bewildering array of brands, they are more discerning in their choices and are less loyal in their purchase behavior. The touch points they have with brand representatives are therefore crucial – if they are perceived to lack knowledge, conviction or enthusiasm then you can probably kiss goodbye to that sale.

You can tell the brands that put training at the heart of their approach. Their sales consultants are titans – slick but natural. Their senior management respect the commercial value of good training. They elevate knowledge beyond the basics. And their employees live and breathe the products.

Training is at its most meaningful when:

  • It’s part of a wider strategy – marketing is vital to any business but training is equally important as the last brand touchpoint. The two need to work together – it can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to sales
  • It starts to include the wider workforce – during my time at Guinot, my strategy was to include all staff – from training the trainers to sales, marketing, PR, reception, telesales, accounts and warehouse. It requires careful consideration regarding delivery, but everyone should understand and participate in their organisation’s brand values and culture. It was challenging at times and you may need to stagger roll-out, but it proved one key thing – manage internal perceptions and the external perceptions will be amplified

  • The content inspires – tailor your delivery, bring pure energy, get them involved. Digital tools such as web cams and live chat streams will update their product knowledge and sales techniques. I always start with the end consumer’s perspective when writing content, then tailor it to your target market, followed by your tone of voice and identity. The more you can use case studies and examples and make it relevant to ‘real life’, the more engaged your participants will be
  • You find out whether it’s worked – evaluation is the ultimate step. never underestimate the power of analysis as it’s the only way to make sure you’re getting it right

So, if you haven’t already, maybe 2018 is the year to take a good, honest look at how well you are setting up your employees for success. Is your approach strategic or tick-box? Does the training team have the same status as other departments? Are you reflecting the needs of today’s workforce with how training is delivered? Be known as the brand that puts training at the heart of their business and you will reap the rewards for a long time to come. You just need to be brave enough to do it.

The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.

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