Pawn Training

Here is some sound advice from Brad Huisken of IAS Training! He explains some of the most common problems that pawnbrokers encounter when training employees. Our team has added a few things that we think are most important to keep in mind when implementing a new employee. Keep reading to find out more!

"Training is too hard." "Training is too expensive." "I don't have time to train my staff." "What if I train my staff and they leave?" - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

I've heard all of the excuses for why companies don't, can't, or won't invest in training their staff. All of them are either misguided or can be overcome with the right approach. And more importantly, if you're not training your employees properly, you could be missing out on sales, opportunities with customers, and a chance for a happier, more productive staff.

The Challenges With Training

Here are the challenges with training your staff, and believe me, we have heard them all.

1. Sales Increase Only Briefly

Have you tried to start a new training program that gets your employees "pumped-up" about sales... only to see that the sales numbers went back to normal after a few weeks?

"The important thing to take away is: Training has to be consistent and ongoing! Most people retain about 25% of the information given during a training session. Training has to be 24/7/365." - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

One of the biggest reasons behind this is the inconsistency of training. Some employees will always outperform because they were trained differently from those who struggle with sales (or vice versa).


This is because your employees can only deliver what they are taught. By having a plan in place, you will be ready to tackle any of the issues your employees might encounter. Just remember to stick to the plan for each employee and make slight adjustments based on their abilities.

2. They Are Not Applying their Training

Every employer will encounter a group of employees that decide not to utilize their training. While it may be easy to blame being “lazy” or “unqualified”, it is crucial to look inward and ensure that you follow the right methods when developing your training materials.

So, are you following the 5 criteria for training? People have to:

  • Hear it
  • Read it
  • Write it
  • Role-play it
  • Be observed doing it in live presentations

These five things recommended by Brad Huisken could make or break an employee. Be sure to leverage these five points when laying out a plan for training employees.

3. They Will Leave and Go to My Competition

The competition will always exist and be a threat to your business. You should put forward 100% of your effort into understanding your employees and give them a place to feel like they will succeed.

There are numerous reasons that an employee might decide to shift to your competition.

These can include:

  • Better Benefits
  • Different Management Styles
  • Increase in Pay
  • Etc.

The best way to retain your employees is to be upfront with them during the training process. It is not always wise to "match" the competition. Instead, create an environment that encourages employees to stay and provide a rewarding experience. Remember that treating your employees with respect and gratitude can go a long way and allow them to develop within the business.

The same idea goes for customers as well!

Create a long-lasting relationship, and you will see incredible results! Use this experience to learn how to create long-lasting relationships with your employees, and they will show their devotion to your business.

4. I Don't Have Time to Do Training

"Tell that to your doctor, lawyer, dentist, electrician, jeweler, auto mechanic, airline pilot, semi-truck driver, military person, accountant, financial planner, etc., and let me know their reaction. It will always be the same!" - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

It is rare to find an employee that does not need training... Most employees want to gain experience, and the only way to start your employees off on the right foot is to cater to their needs so they can better understand how your business operates.

Think about it as "equipping" them with the right ammunition to do the job well! Make time to train, and you will have a stellar team of employees.

5. I Will Have to Pay Overtime for My People to Come to Training

The costs far outweigh the expenses when they apply the right training material. The cost to continuously train new employees can prove to create new costs that are not always apparent, such as:

  • Mistakes made by inexperienced employees
  • Time wasted teaching rudimentary tasks
  • Unhappy customers based on an underwhelming experience with the new employees
  • Loss of sales
  • Making loan decisions without proper understanding
  • Etc.

A properly trained employee will handle any situation and use their knowledge to perform their job better. While it may seem expensive to pay overtime for training — remember that the training duration is a short-lived expense. An employee's inability to properly do their job will be much more costly in the long run.

6. I Run Out of Material

"Then just like 85% of other retailers, you don't have a formal training program that you are using." - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

As we previously mentioned, it is important to have a guide for training sessions. Attempting to "wing-it" will only result in corruption of important information and teach the employee that the "wrong way", is correct.

If you find yourself running out of material after building out an extensive training guide, then that means they are either:

  • Trained to their fullest extent
  • Your training methods are lacking and need to be expanded

The number one rule is never to place blame on the employees. Look internally and see where the problem originates. Only then will you know the right amount of material to prepare and allow you to find bottlenecks in the process.

7. They Don't Seem to Remember the Information That I Give Them

Keep in mind that every employee is unique. While it is important to follow the training guide, you must also account for those who have different learning tendencies. Visual aids are extremely helpful to remind employees of the correct way to perform tasks. Try posting informative visual aids in the back of the shop or break room, and you will notice a difference in their ability to retain information.

Additionally, a routine meeting is a great way to analyze your employees' understanding of topics/tasks and determine who is exceeding/lacking in the skills needed to run the business. There is little to no reason to hire a staff member only to constantly micromanage/monitor them!

If you find that an employee has been given the materials and sources they need to do their job — and they STILL don't retain the information (or attempt to do it according to the "book") — then it may be time to find a replacement.

We don't advocate for termination (considering they were hired because they met your standards). Still, a resistant employee may only be "sliding-by" because they can get away with not doing tasks according to the procedure.

Again, the best way to harness your employees' skills is to treasure them and have frequent meetings/discussions. This can be as a group (or on an individual level) to better track their progress and understand what impedes their ability to learn the material.

8. My Training Sessions Become Gripe Sessions.

"The reason your training sessions have turned into a gripe session is most likely because you have lost control of your meetings and didn't have a pre-planned agenda." - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

Your training guide (which we assume you have developed at this point) will be your best resource for amplifying your employees' skills. When a training session becomes de-railed, you should try and gather your employees' attention with a group activity/exercise. This will bring the focus back to team-building and rid their minds of complaints. Additionally, it is crucial that you listen to your employees so that they do not feel the need to voice their grievances during a group session.

An easy way to "hear" your employees is to offer an anonymous suggestion box AND introduce an "open-door" office policy. Allowing them to come to you in a comfortable place will result in a better one-on-one conversation. You want your employees to work well together, so showing them that their opinions are heard is a good way to encourage teamwork.

9. I Already Trained My Staff

And yet they are doing the same things that they have always done and getting the same results...

Of course, this sounds like a management issue.

"I can't tell you how many stores I have been in that have trained their staff, and they still say things like, "Can I help you? "Will that be all?" "Here's my card when you are ready to come on back," etc." - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

Training is the cornerstone of a good employee. Finding pitfalls in your employees could be a result of the lack of "correct" training. Even professionals require updates on the way they should be performing their job. Consider it the same as updating your phone... It works great, but with the right upgrades — it could be performing better!

Another aspect of the phone analogy is that sometimes apps can stop working on our phones because it requires an update. Sometimes, employees can only go so far with their current knowledge. Changes in the process will require you to re-train existing employees and ensure that they pass down the right information when teaching new employees.

10. I Am Waiting to Do Training Until I Get a More Stable Staff

"Don't wait too long. Your family, checkbook, creditors, vendors, etc., are counting on you to be successful. I will go to the grave believing that people are good, but the reasons they don't produce is because they don't know what they don't know — and that they are being managed based on opinions, not facts. Nobody ever takes a job wanting to fail!" - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

The issue with waiting to train is that your employees are like sponges — they are absorbing everything they can while on the job. When they are not provided the right training materials (or are forced to wait for the best training session), they can adopt/develop bad habits that will be difficult to break or be passed down to future employees.

Make the time to train every employee, and you will notice a drastic improvement in their performance — as an individual and a team member.

Also, we all know that "practice makes perfect", — so making time to constantly train your employees will not only teach them the right way to do their job but also allow you to tweak/perfect your training methods. Basically, it is in the best interest of your business (and staff) to treat every employee as an asset and give them the tools they need to perform at their best.

11. They Don't Want the Training

"You either have the wrong people in place – or they don't know what they don't know." - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

There could be a few reasons that an employee does not want to go through training. They might be veterans to the industry and already understand how to operate - or - feel as if they bring so much to the table that they do not require training.

No matter their level of experience, every employee should go through the same training courses. Other employees may find it disrespectful that a new "experienced" employee did not go through the same process. On the other hand, an employee that refuses training could be a red flag for someone who will upset customers and intentionally not follow protocol. Everyone deserves a fighting chance, but it shouldn't be at the cost of your business.

12. My People Are Naturally Good Salespeople

"I have met one born salesperson in my life. I have also met some great salespeople. Great salespeople always want more training and an extra edge to stay on top of their game." - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

It is always exciting to find a great team that is AWESOME at sales. While you will always want to increase your business sales, some things are learned through training that does not attribute to sales. These can include:

  • Punctuality
  • Processing Sales
  • Processing Loans/Payments
  • Closing Procedures
  • Etc.

Sales will drive the business, but it is better when you have a skilled driver. I would much rather have Danica Patrick behind the wheel than a "know-it-all" 13-year old that hasn't seen the light of day!

13. Our Products Seem to Sell Themselves

"Then you must be the [Amazon], Walmart, Target, Sears, etc. of the industry. As we venture deeper into this post COVID world, one thing has shown true... the retail industry is reliant on "at-home-shopping." - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

Luckily, Bravo customers are provided unique websites to help drive sales during all times of the day AND post your items on our unique shop called Buya.

Nowadays, most people search for the exact item they desire and are unlikely to make an impulsive purchase without checking Amazon, Walmart, Target, Sears, etc.

At Bravo, we are not afraid of this transition to the digital shopping experience. Instead, we are doing everything in our power to adapt to these new beginnings and are ready to help you continue to drive sales! Talk to one of our support experts to learn more!

14. Training is Too Expensive

"Training is very expensive if you don't have it and use it. Training is priceless when used and implemented." - Brad Huisken of IAS Training

As we mentioned earlier, analyzing the cost of a newly trained employee can rack up quickly. But once you have a solidified training program, you will be amazed at the results! The cost of an underwhelming employee who went through amateur training is exponential in cost vs. the cost of offering that person the necessary training.


As an employer, you will encounter various types of employees. Some may be resistant to training, while others are just not being fed the information they need to complete their job. If you create, develop, and refine your training strategy, you will see an incredible turnaround in the overall team's motivation and success!

At Bravo, we live and breathe the pawn industry and make it our mission to educate pawnbrokers and pawn shops on the best ways they can see positive results. Want to learn more about Bravo? Click here or follow the link below to get in contact with one of our specialists!