Advice for a new LBS salesman!



AmpedCycle

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Dec 29, 2004
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So, I've moved up in the world and landed a job at my local bike shop (LBS)! I'm working the counter and making sales of all kinds, and also beginning to sell bikes. What kind of advice do you guys have for someone who's interested in doing this? Attitude, sincerity, advice-delivery, all the rest? Any good experiences you've had? Any bad ones? I think I'm on the right track by getting a handle on giving people good, sound advice and having a good attitude... but something tells me I can do a lot better if I try to "act" more, if you know what I mean. ??? Hope to hear from ya. Thanks!
 

dgregory57

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Jul 11, 2005
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Know your products! What you have, how to use them and what the trade-offs are between the options.

If you don't carry it, know who in the area might carry it. Referring someone to an LBS besides your own shows concern for the customer. I understand this is a tough one, so...

If you don't carry it, know how to order it, and how long it should take to get it.

Don't treat someone as less because they don't like the same kind of riding as you do, and know enough about every kind of riding to provide a sounding board for your customer.

Don't look down on anyone because they don't lust after the latest carbon bling.

Be an advocate for your customers... whether suggesting the best product for your customer's needs (not necessarily the most expensive) or letting the manager/owner know what would be helpul to stock.

Learn to balance letting the customer know you are available without hounding them. Be casual but sincere in offering assistance.

Keep the sales floor uncluttered.

Serve customers in the order their need came to your attention, not giving preference to the one looking at the big ticket items... You can knock out a couple of small tasks quickly, and you will get to the big ticket item soon enough... If you have a second, remind him/her that you will be with them in a minute.

Drop everything to serve the VIP if a Cycling Forums member comes in... :D
 

limerickman

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2004
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dgregory57 said:
Know your products! What you have, how to use them and what the trade-offs are between the options.

If you don't carry it, know who in the area might carry it. Referring someone to an LBS besides your own shows concern for the customer. I understand this is a tough one, so...

If you don't carry it, know how to order it, and how long it should take to get it.

Don't treat someone as less because they don't like the same kind of riding as you do, and know enough about every kind of riding to provide a sounding board for your customer.

Don't look down on anyone because they don't lust after the latest carbon bling.

Be an advocate for your customers... whether suggesting the best product for your customer's needs (not necessarily the most expensive) or letting the manager/owner know what would be helpul to stock.

Learn to balance letting the customer know you are available without hounding them. Be casual but sincere in offering assistance.

Keep the sales floor uncluttered.

Serve customers in the order their need came to your attention, not giving preference to the one looking at the big ticket items... You can knock out a couple of small tasks quickly, and you will get to the big ticket item soon enough... If you have a second, remind him/her that you will be with them in a minute.

Drop everything to serve the VIP if a Cycling Forums member comes in... :D

Very sound advice.
 

free_rideman

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Mar 20, 2006
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Don't act! Never be a liar that thinks he is slick and can pull it off. If you lie, you might get more money out of a customer, but intuitively the customer will feel that there was something wrong with the encounter.

Don't get too angry if some customers buy stuff from other places for cheaper. There are just some cases that an online store can sell at much lower prices, that anyone would like. Some customers just need a polite explanation that they can't expect the LBS to toil over parts that weren't bought there, and to expect the same service.

Know what you are talking aout! Learn as much as you can. This also implies that you should learn many old school "tricks of the trade". Not all customers want to talk to a new age bike nerd (even though many of us are). Some customers will want something old school.

Which leads me into this next one - know your customers. Not all customers will be very suited for a very expensive top of the line bike. Imagine if you sell a really nice bike to a customer that doesn't even know how to take care of his old one. Then you LBS will have the problems when things start breaking because of the customer's ignorance.

Make sure that stuff gets done right, and attention is payed to the smallest of details. I hate when the bikes on the floor look like they were just put together to be looked at. For example, if a brake lever is too high on a mtbike, be sure to lower it to a more comfortable position, or tell a mechanic to do it. Make the bikes look like they are designed to be ridden. This is where bike nerdyness is welcome.

Don't be afraid of tyring new products yourself, and then recommending them to the shop for selling.

Lastly, just be yourself, and remember why you are doing this. Never do it just because it is a job. Customers can also sense this. This should be a new experience for buyers, instead of the old "business" experience. (makes them want to spend more too)
 

obeeone

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Aug 16, 2005
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To add a little bit more... dont worry about customers buying cheaper from online stores, if you treat them well they will come to you for all of their other needs. I shop around for bargains but when it comes to great service I always go back to the LBS that I know I can trust.............
 

netscriber

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Dec 30, 2005
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free_rideman said:
Don't act! Never be a liar that thinks he is slick and can pull it off. If you lie, you might get more money out of a customer, but intuitively the customer will feel that there was something wrong with the encounter.
You stole mine :D . I was gonna say "be real". I hated this guy in the local performance store that always answered my technical questions with some garbage that didnt make sense. At first I thought my questions werent that clear, but after a few visits and talking to other guys in the same store I realized that he always pretended to know something even though he had no clue. It is extremely frustrating.
The other perspective is that, in my place if there was someone who did not know the situation and believed that guy, the person would end up with wrong advice and a bad experience.
 

IEatRice4Dinner

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Jul 19, 2004
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i am 19 and been at my LBS for 4 years now. I agree with previous posts, know your products, this is key. as far as selling there is different styles i guess. My manager insists on going to the customer as soon as they get in the door and see what they need and what there looking for, and kinda shadow them. I personally hate this and don't do it... (experience and seniority = job security :p) give the customer a few min to breath. Do say hello but make it casual, then if you see there interested in something help them out. i often visit shops to compare layouts and prices. I dont know about you guys but I hate when ever i touch something a sales men comes to me, this pisses me off. Also remember peoples names, they like that lol (i suck at names)

For the business side. i would say know your market. 1/2 people around the location are a little cheap (dont mean u cant be nice) lets face it u cant spend an hour with a customer who thinks 200$ is too much for a bike. this sounds rude but it's a business, you have to figure out that part of it out for yourself. one thing u might have to deal with if your young is customers not trusting you and they might think you are uncapable of performing a job, but that happens.

what it comes down too is learn as much as u can, and have fun, Most customers like bikes and u like bikes, joke around with them and talk. for me it's not really like a job.
 

lwedge

New Member
Mar 3, 2004
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AmpedCycle said:
What kind of advice do you guys have for someone who's interested in doing this? Thanks!
Give everyone a 70% discount. That works everytime.:D

Seriously, dgregory gives sound advise.

dgregory57 said:
Learn to balance letting the customer know you are available without hounding them. Be casual but sincere in offering assistance.

Keep the sales floor uncluttered.
Along the topic of not hounding the customer. I like it when the sales person walks up to me and just points a few things out about the store. Road bikes on the right, mountain over there, kit's and shoes over here and components on display at the counter. I'll be right over here if you have questions, Enjoy.


Note: Components must be on display and things like handle bars, saddles, and non drivetrain stuff has to be out and hands on. If this isn't the case talk to your boss. Cyclists love components.

There are a couple of threads under the Bike Cafe that delve into this pretty well. You may want to search.

Ampy, did you pickup your Tarmac ? If so, send a pick.
 

HenryLaRoy

New Member
Aug 16, 2005
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AmpedCycle said:
So, I've moved up in the world and landed a job at my local bike shop (LBS)! I'm working the counter and making sales of all kinds, and also beginning to sell bikes. What kind of advice do you guys have for someone who's interested in doing this? Attitude, sincerity, advice-delivery, all the rest? Any good experiences you've had? Any bad ones? I think I'm on the right track by getting a handle on giving people good, sound advice and having a good attitude... but something tells me I can do a lot better if I try to "act" more, if you know what I mean. ??? Hope to hear from ya. Thanks!
I'm not sure what advice to give, but I always go to my LBS. Sometimes just to look around, sometimes to ask them to make an adjustment. I don't always buy a lot, but they always treat me well.

In return, I am always talking them up. I do a lot of cycling classes at my local gym and three people I know bought their bikes there after I taked the place up. A bunch of people have gotten shoes and shorts there (yes we wear the shoes and shorts for the classes... they help!)

So I guess I'd say, don't look down at anyone. You don't know who will give you referrels.
 

::dom::

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Feb 28, 2004
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If someone asks a question and you don't know the answer say
"Good question... let's find out"
 

wilmar13

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Nov 30, 2003
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All good advice above... my $.02 is learn to quickly assess the customer's knowledge level and do not be intimidated if they are more knowledgeable than you... I can't stand it when the kid at the LBS talks to me like I am a moron about bikes or tries to teach me something I already know as if it adds value somehow. You will have technically savy customers who can sometimes teach you things and that will not be a bad reflection on you.