The Big Issue: The Journey to a Sales Training Induction Workshop with a Difference
The Big Issue offer 1000s of vulnerable individuals the opportunity to earn a living through their own street-selling micro-business. It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up. But imagine starting a business doing something almost impossible to love, with only basic communication skills and no previous experience, in a time of utter personal crisis.
Over the past 6 months, we have worked closely with The Big Issue, London and Birmingham, to research and design a sales training induction workshop to help support new vendors through the daunting challenges ahead.
This is the story of the journey we took:
Big Issue Video Transcript
Slide: Introduction – A HAND UP, NOT A HAND OUT
Nadia Manganello: Hello, my name is Nadia and I am the Team Leader for the London Vauxhall Office and Brighton
Vendor: To be a professional Big Issue seller, you need a phone with an alarm, you have to make sure that you’re on your pitch at 5 to 6 in the morning and all you’ll get between 5.45 and 6.30/7.00 is people wanting to buy a Big Issue or at least people giving you money for breakfast.
Slide: Homelessness fact (1): There were 26,940 applications to councils for help with homelessness during Q2 of 2014 alone…
Slide: Homelessness fact slide (2): …13,800 of those applications were rejected.
Slide: Big Issue application fact slide (3): Nearly 100 people a week turn to The Big Issue for an opportunity to help themselves at a time of utter personal crisis.
Nadia: This lady came in and she said Hello, I am Kasmin from RightTrack and introduced herself. She said I believe in what you do, I like your model and I would like to do something for you guys. I said if I am correct, are you real?? And she said yes I am real!
Slide: Kasmin Cooney Slide – Big Issue quote (4): “A new Big Issue vendor has the opportunity to establish their own micro-business, with product, price & place, (& huge amounts of support) in their favour to succeed…”
Slide: Big Issue fact slide (5): “…but often with no sales experience, undeveloped communication skills & low self-esteem, the journey
can be daunting.
Slide: Big Issue fact slide (6): “Designing a development solution to prepare vendors for this journey proved to be one of the most complex projects in 26 years.”
Nadia: The project has been about providing Big Issue distribution team with a professional sales workshop. We don’t have much resources, so any opportunity to have training would be really great. The main challenge for a new guy is to face the public. Commuters are focused and they are running their days with really busy schedules so the look of eye contact for example is becoming more and more tangible in the city. The rhythm is very fast.
Video: Commuters and big issue seller outside department store
Slide (7): We went out to the streets of London to experience the challenges of selling the Big Issue
Slide (8): and to uncover the secrets of success
Steve McManus (Learning & Development Specialist, Righttrack): How long have you been selling the Big Issue?
Vendor: A long time. The first time I ever sold one was when it first started.
Steve McManus (RT): Really?
Vendor: I mean, I went away and came back and went away and came back again
Steve McManus (RT): Ok, so what would you say is the secret to being successful?
Vendor: Erm… what’s the secret? If I knew that
Nadia: Our sales workshop was based on common sense, not very much research. With Righttrack, we achieved a professional structure really of proposing sales techniques. There is a bit of a psychological analysis as well which we never thought about so I think it’s going to be extremely effective
Sales Training Induction Workshop (Slide 9): The new Sales Training Induction Workshop was designed to be concise, flexible and accessible.
Sales Training Induction Workshop (Slide 10): It focusses on building confidence & supporting individuals to identify their own sales approach & pitch most suited to their strengths & character.
Sales Training Induction Workshop (Slide 11): The Distribution Team are now equipped with a Big Issue branded manual
Sales Training Induction Workshop (Slide 12): And have been trained to deliver to the Sales Induction Workshop leaving them self-sufficient for many years to come.
Nadia: Right so everything is in here (shows a Big Issue induction DVD) so to have the possibility to refer to a book, a professional standard book and to pass it on to vendors is going to give us more strength so we can reinforce our vision. For the vendors, it’s going to be I believe and I hope they’re going to feel appreciated, they’re going to feel evaluated in a different way like ‘well they take me seriously’. They go to keep selling the magazines day by day and motivation has to be boosted and sales technique is how you can archive this and enthusiasm kept alive. It’s been, it is and I hope it can continue. We don’t really want to lose the track of Righttrack. It’s been fantastic, a pleasure, simple, straight forward but really professional at the same time so you are really good at what you’re doing and on behalf of all of us, were really happy to work with you.
Slide (13): We wish all the luck in the world to every Big Issue vendor out there!
Slide (14): Believe in yourself; believe in your ability to succeed.
Slide (15): Support your local vendor. It’s a Hand Up Not a Hand Out. RightTrack contact page