The Big Issue: Sales Training & Training Manual

The Story

Righttrack’s Managing Director, Kasmin Cooney OBE, shed a tear when two of our regular Birmingham Big Issue sellers were tragically killed. One day, not long after, as she left a meeting in Vauxhall, London, she walked past The Big Issue HQ and on the spur of the moment decided to go in. Perhaps there was an opportunity for RightTrack to give something back.

“This lady came and said ‘Hello, I’m Kasmin from Righttrack… I believe in what you’re doing, I like your model & I’d like to do something for you.’….. I said: ‘I’m sorry, are you real?!’….” 

A new Big Issue Vendor has the opportunity to establish their own micro-business with product, price & place (plus huge amounts of support) in their favour to succeed. But often with no sales experience, undeveloped communication skills and low self-esteem the journey can be incredibly daunting. Designing a development solution to help prepare vendors for this journey proved to be one of the most complex projects in 26 years.

This programme is dedicated to the memory of Wayne Lee Busst and Ian Watson Gladwish.

The Programme

At the crux of the sales training was a focus on supporting those who have turned to selling The Big Issue to find a style of selling that suits their individual character, key qualities and likely pitch in order that they build confidence and ultimately, secure a better future.

  • Increase your visibility and approachability (using new techniques developed by RightTrack with a Professional Street Mime Artist)
  • Identify key strengths and personal comfort zones; learn how to utilise those to engage with crowds or individual members of the public
  • Understanding different customer types. How to build rapport with the customers regular to your pitch (Eg Convent Garden vs Victoria)
  • Selling techniques
  • Building your own confidence and how to make small wins count

The Solution

Part One – Research & Familiarisation

The project team was formed and lead trainer Steve McManus, headed into London to spend a day on the streets with the vendors. The delegates for this programme were going to be like no other we’d trained before; truly understanding the role and the challenges they faced was imperative…. And boy did we learn a lot!

Part Two – Programme Design & Maunalisation

We got stuck in designing the content in careful consideration of the audience and the skills required; interweaving it with the existing Big Issue induction programme as we went.

From the initial conversations, it was clear that it was important to equip The Big Issue with a sustainable Sales Training solution. The programme was written as a client-branded, step by step training manual detailed enough for anyone to pick up and deliver.

Right Track - Big Issue (1)Right Track - Big Issue (2)Right Track - Big Issue (3)

Part Three – Delivery

Twelve staff and volunteers were identified to attend a hands-on, one day, Train the Trainer programme with lead trainer Steve. The programme was designed specifically to enable attendees to pass on the skills/learning to other volunteers and vendors.

Part Four – Handover & Ongoing Support

The programme launched in London but with plans to roll it out across every site in the UK, we met the project team at Birmingham HQ to officially handover master copies of the manual and materials.

We still stay in touch and were delighted to hear recently that the programme content is now being adapted for a brand new 1-2-1 programme for returning vendors.