Leaked Training Manual Reveals Apple’s True Goal: Sell Stuff

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Leaked Apple Genius Training Manual

An internal Apple training manual, intended for use by employees who are about to assume the role of Genius in an Apple Retail Store, was recently leaked to Gizmodo, the tech site reported Tuesday. The document contains materials intended to supplement the on-site Genius training that occurs at Apple campuses around the country.

Areas covered by the manual include technical information on repairing Apple computers and devices, guidelines for interacting with customers, and rules for employee conduct. Depending on one’s view of Apple Retail, the contents of the manual are either completely expected or alarmingly distressing.

According to the sections outlined by Gizmodo, Apple employees are given training on how to approach, analyze, and coax a customer into make a purchase. Yes, even Genii are expected to offer customers additional Apple products and services while they perform technical support.

In other words, and this may be shocking to some individuals, the primary goal of Apple employees is to encourage customers to buy things. Part of achieving this goal is a detailed and, as Boy Genius Report points out, “Church of Scientology-like” series of lessons on how to react to various situations.

Examples of these lessons include breaking down various forms of body language into “positive” and “negative” categories and providing soulless sounding suggestions for how to respond to customer inquiries. The examples in the manual are indeed a bit unnerving, but with tens of thousands of retail employees around the world, Apple likely feels that such lessons are the most effective way to mold all of their diverse employees into a relatively uniform face for the company.

While the ethics of such a training program are certainly debatable, their effectiveness is not. The information revealed in the manual is not new, or part of some uncharacteristic scheme that Apple Retail VP John Browett is “testing.” Apple Retail employees have been trained with similar materials for years, and Apple has created the most successful retail operation in history.

It’s unclear how Gizmodo obtained the manual, but Apple has a long history of departmentalizing internal information. Documents such as this Genius Training Manual are often slightly modified for each batch that is distributed, so that any leaks can be traced back to the source. We don’t know who provided Gizmodo with the information, but if it was a current or former Apple employee, we would not be surprised if somewhere deep inside Apple’s Cupertino headquarters their name is currently on a short list of possible transgressors.

Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock.

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Wow. Truly shocking news. A friend went through sales training at a mall specialty store and told me some of the things they were being taught. Take an interest in the customer, engage, be friendly, read body language, offer suggestions and take planned opportunities to upsell. To the unsuspecting public, the store employees come across as friendly, engaging and knowledgable. I’d rather go to a store like that, or an Apple store than say Best Buy, where the sales person’s engagement is limited to “We have lots of TVs. Which one would you like?”


Ummm, isn’t this a given? It’s called Business 101. Sell your product. I don’t know how anyone could be shocked.


Would be more interesting to actually read it for ourselves instead of being spoon fed sections in which we’re unsure what their full context is.

But in short, a good chunk of it looks like the way that most good community leaders respond to community issues.


Yeah, this seems to be SOP for any retail business.  If it’s not encoded in some document, it’ll be just plain trial and error, with lots of repetition of errors if one doesn’t follow documentation.  Basically, the documentation codifies what have been tried and what succeeded and what hasn’t.  I’m sure a lot of employee input was involved in developing the document since a top-down approach is rarely correct.


Oh wail, oh moan!! do you mean that attentive you person in the Apple Store, DOESN’T really care for me on a personal level and that we’re not going to be besties for life? Oh, no, I can’t bear to hear it.”

Of course it’s their job to sell you products. They get a check from a company that is in business to sell things. That’s how they continue to eat, and sleep indoors.

Has anybody out there ever had a business of their own! You need to know your customer well enough to figure out how your product fills their basic need. So you become “professionally” interested in them. Apple does an excellent job of training them to do this too.

Friends are those people with whom you have a lifetime of experiences, and will tell you, “don’t you buy that new car just because your old one won’t run the newest fuel.” You can’t afford it.

That however is not the salesperson’s job. Do you really think that attractive real estate lady thinks your conversation and jokes are as scintillating as she appears to think? Reality check…. NO, she wants to sell you a house!! It’s the way of the world. The best sales persons blur the lines between personal and professional interest to the point they’re nearly indistinguishable.

Jim Tanous

I’m not sure the slight sarcasm I intended in the wording of this article completely came across.


Wait… I’m confused… is Approach, Probe, Present, Listen, End part the the training or not?? wink


Yeah, Jim, I confess, I took the hook, and swallowed it whole. There’ve been so many “non-articles” about Apple in the last year that this resonated with that same tone. It’s true, Apple does a damn good job(s) of giving us the old “reality distortion field,” but they’ve become an amazing company. Not perfect, but they’re doing an aweful lot of things really well. Always happy when a company comes along who’s culture raises the bar for it’s competition.


This isn’t about the training for salespeople. It’s about training the technical support staff to sell. That’s poor business practice.

Take your car to the dealer for service and the mechanic tries to upsell you? Find a new garage.

Stay away from Apple’s ‘customer care’ schemes. Find an independent, local repair shop.


I?m not sure the slight sarcasm I intended in the wording of this article completely came across.

Not really. wink

And believe me when I say that this is Selling 101. Every retailer in the world has theese kind of manuals or directives drilled in the selling crew.

Even McDonald’s has an operational manual with tips to sell more food to customers and how to be more friendly to make them come back. :D

But I guess that, being Apple, this news will be another “proof” of the Evil Genius (TM) behind the Apple brand. :D



I see Gizmodo is still trading in stolen goods.


Take your car to the dealer for service and the mechanic tries to upsell you? Find a new garage.

Clearly you’ve never been to Jiffy Lube.

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