Interactive to target sales staff at specialty fitness and outdoor

In an attempt to go beyond passive training through reading and listening, an interactive online training program for sales staff at both outdoor and fitness specialty stores will launch by early October as a subset of Tom Richard Sales Education.

In an attempt to go beyond passive training through reading and listening, an interactive online training program for sales staff at both outdoor and fitness specialty stores will launch by early October as a subset of Tom Richard Sales Education. will be all about providing sales staff basic sales skills, such as greeting and meeting customers and closing sales, and will not focus on the details of a sale that are genre-specific, such as backpack fitting or elliptical choices.

In addition, the program will be structured in modules so staff members can do bits and pieces of it – even three or four minutes at a time -- whenever they have down time in the store.

"Everybody knows they need training, but they often don't do it," Richard said. "When you think about why they don't do it, it boils down to time and money. It takes a lot of time and it's not cheap.

"With this system, you can create a way to take away both objections," he added.

Richard ( said the cost will vary on how it's implemented and whether manufacturers get involved to offer rebates for stores and staff that complete training modules. His goal is to keep the costs as low as $10 a month per staff member Richard's told us.

He also pointed out that management will be able to track who is participating in the training and what store has better sales, as a result showing correlations between training and sales.

Also as a part of the program, Richard, who started doing sales in 2001 while running a health club before he moved to a fitness specialty store, will cover all multiple learning styles, including doing (hands-on), reading and hearing, to make sure all personalities reap full benefits. The interactive web training will cover the doing and reading styles, as will a supplemental newsletter, but he will also provide audio training modules or PodCasts to cover weekly themes.

Each module will focus on seven steps, including pre-assessment of skills to measure how a staff member feels about what they do, a pre-test to measure actual skill, a 12-minute interactive classroom, a "GetActive" part to apply the skills in a sales situation, a post-assessment to re-measure how the participant feels, and post-test to show improvement.

Scores are recorded and reported as a team to managers and owners for review.

"TrainActive is designed," Richard said, "so sales managers can effectively coach and manage their teams from anywhere."

SNEWS® View: There is nothing more important than training for specialty sales staff – training that goes well beyond the rep-based, product-specific training many stores currently rely on for the majority of the sales-training efforts. This is why we have partnered with 3point5 ( so support what we feel is a most effective online sales training tool to augment current in-store training programs. And because we are placing such an emphasis on the need to encourage and nurture sales training at SNEWS®, we are also partnering with Tom Richard to support his hands-on training programs. We believe that the more access specialty sales staff has to quality training programs and resources, the more special our stores will become to consumers. And that is why SNEWS® has established the Training Center at In the training center, sales staff has full access to our archives of Mystery Shoppers, How-To-Sell articles, general sales training technique files, and more. Best of all, your store staff can password-protected access to SNEWS® and the Training Center for free – simply send an email to and we'll send you the details.  


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