Sales consultants working in adult stores have more responsibility than we might imagine. They are tasked with making people feel comfortable from the very moment they enter a store. The consultant is usually a stranger to the customer, which makes it even more difficult for the client to immediately open up and reveal the intimate secrets and aspects of their lives. If a salesperson sells the customer on an item that is wrong for them, it can lead to a bad experience that can turn a customer against a retail store and these kinds of products in general.
There are many types of business in this industry with different hiring systems and methods of employee training, and there are some businesses that don’t provide any training at all. So, what does the ideal training process look like when a new salesperson is hired?
First of all, you need a system. It doesn’t matter if a company has 50 salespeople or five, the learning and information given has to be structured. Even if a person has experience in the field, it doesn’t mean that they can deliver the right message to the customer.
The first thing to start with is planning the educational process. I highly recommend making some time for education before starting to work alone on a shift. Five days of lectures can be enough if there is a group of new employees for multiple locations — a whole week of training courses with a group like that is necessary. During this time it will become clear who is good at the job and who needs more experience.
In the first few days, the new employees should be introduced to the industry and adult store assortment. The topics on the first day can vary, but for example a good program for the first day contains topics like: What are sex toys? Why do people use them? How does physiology work? Which zones can be stimulated with sex toys? In addition, cover some basic information: how to clean them, how to use them and store them, what kind of materials toys are made of and other “do’s and don’ts.” For each toy, offer a demo covering the material and its qualities such as smell, texture and compatibility with lubes.
The second day, start looking into groups of products, but repeat the material information from the first day. Give a demo to each salesperson and ask to describe the material and its specification. Then cover all products and pay careful attention to group classification. When discussing products for intimate health like kegel balls, penis extenders, pumps and hydropumps, it should be explained how they work from a physiological point of view, because just rattling off some slogans is really not enough to sell the extender to someone who has little sexual wellness knowledge. It’s useful to show videos about some of the more complex products, for example how to use a Bathmate pump or how to set up an extender.
Every day, start a class by giving each sales team member a toy and ask for a short presentation: ask staff to name the product, describe the material, how to use it and which lubricant it is compatible with. Then it will be understandable which areas need more clarification.
Next, it’s useful to describe the history of the first vibrator and how the industry has developed over the past decades. Then, vibrators can be classified by type and feature, covering the main brands and introducing them to the bestsellers. When describing interactive products, always demonstrate apps and the connection process.
The next class can be dedicated to creams, gels and pills, how aphrodisiacs work, what are the natural aphrodisiacs, allergies and possible reactions. The last topic in terms of sex toys is BDSM where you can discuss the most common vocabulary, fetishes and the types of gear that exist. It’s important to be able to talk the same language with kinky customers, as this kind of clients can be better educated than the sales staff.
The last part of the educational process is to explain sales techniques. It should be pointed out what kind of additional sales can be made to complement every type of product. By the end of the week, all employees are given a test, for example part A can be multiple choice questions, part B can quiz on the types of toys, their material and compatible lube and part C contains written questions. Besides testing, there should also be an oral exam in-store.
Continued education is critical to the success of the sales team, even for the more experienced members of staff, so training should be provided as often as possible for existing employees.
After the training from sales reps, it’s good to set up a sales contest to encourage sales teams to use their knowledge to push a new product. Vendors often offer prizes such as cash, free product or a credit note.
Rewarding employees with free product means that they will have experience using the gift they have received from the company and sales should skyrocket as a result, because the staff will be able to talk more about the product based on their personal user experience.
Another good tool is to have a corporate forum where company news and announcements can be found and where you can post training videos, new product descriptions and industry news. It can be part of a daily routine — at the beginning of a shift, sales personnel read the forum and confirm that they’ve viewed the news of the day.
Apart from that, let employees learn from proven leaders and get a pulse on what’s trending in the market by visiting an industry event/exhibition in your city. Conferences also present the opportunity to engage the entire team; and big chains can consider an internal conference for employees. Invite vendors and create a schedule with one training session after another, so employees get a lot of information in a short time. Furthermore, for store buyers, it’s an opportunity to have business meetings with vendors and socialize. To summarize, educating an adult retail sales team is necessary to gain loyal consumers.
In order to achieve this, it is fundamentally important to set up proper training programs, even for experienced staff that may still need to expand their knowledge and sales techniques. To reinforce these ideas, a testing system will help to highlight any weak areas in understanding and provide a reference point for employees. Finally, there are a range of marketing tools, which staff should be directly involved in: they include setting up forums and communication channels, internal company events, sales training and the dissemination of promotional materials and information to customers.