Section 20 Training and educational requirements

February 7th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments
WINNERS = products which can be fully understood as soon as they are picked up.

For the purpose of this section, the best products are ones that can be immediately and fully understood as soon as they are picked up by a potential customer.

The next best product is one that can be pictorially explained to an illiterate with drawings and photographs on the packaging.

The next best product is one that can be fully explained in writing on the back of the package.  The package is the first chance you have to train the end-user.  The package is also the least expensive training method.

The next best product is one which can be partially explained on the back of the package in enough detail to describe the functions and features of the product, with the operation and servicing being fully explained on detailed written enclosures.

The absolute worst product is an inexpensive one that will require a factory trained instructor to personally and individually train each end-user.

Far too often, new product developers and investors fail to recognize the full impact of a large-scale educational requirement.  Expensive educational requirements can radically extend product introduction periods and quickly deplete financial resources.

Failure to plan for and provide a proper educational training program for a complex product can seriously limit the total size of a market or kill it all together.  When you fail to provide proper training you alienate even the “die-hard” customers who are willing to work hard to learn how to use your product.  Remember these are the customers that believe that the benefits of using the product will outweigh the time and effort to learn how to use it!.  It should be noted that as soon as you have a complex product, the market is already diminished in size by those customers who are unwilling to spend the time or energy to learn how to use ANY complex product.  To fail to provide a proper training program and educational materials for the ones who are left, who WILL spend the time and energy, is to guarantee failure of the product.

The educational process for your product may also involve providing “new product introductions at points of sale”.  These are also referred to as “in-store demonstrations”.  The wise product marketer always uses these opportunities to also educate the sales personnel.

Sales managers at wholesale and retail outlets must be given the proper “tools” to sell a new product, in the form of technical information sheets, fact sheets, and sales literature.  Once the sales managers have the information in-hand, you must follow through and see to it that they pass along this information to their salespeople. The best way for you to accomplish this is to attend or “sponsor” a new product introduction meeting.

At the meeting you should:

  1. Be sure that the sales manager and the sales staff are thoroughly knowledgeable in the operation of the new product.
  2. Present the operation of the product in a proper, logical, order.
  3. Repeat all of the key points of the presentation, sales pitch and closing statements to be sure all of the sales staff understands it.
  4. Be sure to make your presentation “entry-level”, and easily understood by the newest or least knowledgeable salesperson.  Use terms that everyone will understand.  Call for questions at the end of each topic.
  5.  Give the presentation on company time to be sure you are getting the staff’s full attention. It is always good to serve snacks and beverages.
  6. Be sure to emphasize the “points of difference” between your product and any similar products presently in house or in the marketplace. Be sure to point out hazards of use or potential liabilities.
  7. Be sure sales people understand how to convey both the features AND the benefits.  Role playing with the sales people, to involve them more fully in the demonstration, will help everyone have a better understanding of the proper sales techniques to be used with the product.

Be aware that many states are becoming increasingly hostile to companies that are selling products, which have an inherent ability to injure others, without properly training the buyers in the safe and proper methods of using the products.  Recently, there have been major liability awards in incidents involving the sale of guns and off-road vehicles that were sold to buyers with absolutely no instructions for safe and proper use accompanying the products.  The distributors AND the manufacturers were found at fault for not providing instruction and training.



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