In an effort to guarantee better dealer product knowledge and sales ability, SportsArt America is rolling out a continuing education program for its best dealers that will test staff, then offer benies like certificates and sales spiffs to those who pass.
"We need to be more than just a hard goods vendor," Marketing Director Scott Logan told SNEWS. "We need to provide additional solutions, and if we work hand-in-hand with our committed dealers, it makes us a more important vendor.
"It's also a benefit to them," Logan added. "Anytime you raise the core competency, you raise the level of the staff."
The program â€“ called Reshaping Excellence Continuing Education Program â€“ will officially launch at the upcoming Health & Fitness Business Expo Aug. 7-9 in Denver.
Available only to SportsArt's "committed dealers" -- that is, the company's top dealers who floor a certain amount of equipment and penetrate their market at key levels â€“ the program will offer a "test" that evaluates a salesperson's knowledge about SportsArt and its equipment. Once the staffer passes the test at 100 percent, he or she gets a framed certificate, a uniform award shirt, and will earn an extra financial incentive on all SportsArt sales for 30 days.
"If they study the sales manual, our brochures, and read the owner's manuals, they will be able to pass the test," Logan said.
Within a year, the company expects to unveil more advanced second- and third-level tests, benefits and spiffs. For example, the second level would evaluate more specific knowledge about each category of equipment, and a third level would train more sales know-how, perhaps with a national sales training provider.
"There's a huge need out there," he added, "for retail education programs."
SNEWS View: Steps like this can help consumers feel more confident and comfortable when going into stores and help sales staff really sell with better knowledge and to a customer's needs. We know this isn't the only retail education program out there, but some companies don't maintain them, don't progress them, or even decline to talk about them. We don't really know why a company would choose not to talk about some great things it's doing in this regard. We'd love to hear about others.