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Training Day

Coaching your reps on pushing a new product can help them play the selling game better.

This story appears in the January 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Evolution proved to be good for the fish, but not so marvelous for the dinosaurs. When it's time for an entrepreneurial company to launch a new product, sales reps may fret that change will leave them fossilized if they aren't able to adapt. Because many sales forces employ a brachiosaurus or two, a well-planned and effective launch is essential for product-and rep-survival. To help your sales team prepare for an upcoming rollout, consider the following training tips:

  • Beat back fear. The understandable anxiety that accompanies novelty can be assuaged by thoughtful training and product introduction. Andrew Tournas, president and co-founder of ThermoSpas Inc., believes anxiety occurs only when reps haven't been properly educated. "As long as a salesperson has had full and extensive training, there's no anxiety," he contends.

Tournas' Wallingford, Connecticut, business employs 80 salespeople nationwide and estimates 2003 sales will hit $70 million. The hot-tub retailer introduces new products each year. In 2002, ThermoSpas developed the Healing Spa, designed with the help of the National Arthritis Foundation to be easy to use and to soothe the aches and pains of people with arthritis.

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