11.16.2005

bike shops
the personality of a bike shop can be dictated by many things
the owner, the location, and of course the employees at the shop

so often a consumer goes into a bike shop looking to make a purchase
instead of getting what they want they end up getting all sorts of attitude
they leave with their money in their pocket and no product in their hands

this can happen for many reasons...
I am not a psychologist.... but I have witnessed this enough times to know that it does happen
and
it tends to happen for a variety of reasons
reasons I will not attempt to list

it is a shame
this is especially a shame when I send someone to a shop with a strong recommendation
that is way the worst
I hate when these people come back to me with a negative report
it is awkward from all ends
all these people want is some good advice and a good bicycle
they usually end up leaving without a bike and a poor opinion of the shop
these people may not buy the bike for months or a year after this experience
thus keeping them off the bike... allowing them to miss the glory that is riding a bike
a pleasure that should be mandatory in everybody's life at least once a year!

the bicycle shop tends to employ a colorful group of characters with an alternative approach to life
the employees of the bike shop tend not to be cookie cutter retail shop folk
but rather a variety of different types
usually they fall into a wide range of cyclists
then from there there they can be more colorful than the rainbow
well
this flare and this color often gets in the way of the objective... selling product

too often I watch botched sales
too often I question in my head why a sale is not being closed
it is good to give the shopper some space... I know... I hate being suffocated by the staff of a store, be that a bike shop or a book store
but... the employee needs to be able to read their shoppers
some people arrive to buy that day
others are comparision shopping
it is vital to get the impulse shopper to buy then and there
while it is important to win the comparision shopper over so that they leave with a good experience... a winning experinence over their next shop experience

years ago I worked for Mike Sendar of Big Wheel Bikes
he like many people has his flaws....
but, this is also a man with many strengths
business and sales fall within his list of strengths
although he can piss off and anger people at his whim
Mike Sendar also has a strange charisma that wins people over
his ability to remember people always astounded me... not just the person from the previous Sunday
but Sendar can remember someone who bought a bike from him in 1971

in addition to facial recognition Mike Sendar also has some serious sales tactics
his methods can be aggressive, but he has his successes
personally I think his "forced sales" can chase a few people away
but... the hit miss ratio seems to be in his favor
ontop of his effort to close the deal that day
Sendar also understands that with each bicycle purchase there are a list of vital accessories that need to go along with the bike
too often a bike shop sales person will sell the bike
but will not introduce the need to get a helmet, a lock, and some lights
sure.... the year of free warranty tune ups will bring the people back
but... the sales of these items is not just good for the register
the sales of these items is good for the cyclist

if a person is seeking advice on creating a commuter...
I would immediately sell them on the idea of fenders, rack, and rechargable headlamp system
this of course on top of the already obvious helmet, lock, and perhaps gloves and shoes

pep talks and incentives...
the employee needs an occassional speed check

coffee is gone
the tasks at my desk are complete
time to move on

Bike Nerd Knox Gardner and I have spoke on this topic
the City Paper has written some articles on Mike Sendar
and Robin Williams starred in Cadillac Man
Big Wheel Bikes
in the list of projects I will never do.... a collection of short stories from the various employees of many Big Wheel Bikes locations over the last thirty plus years would most definitely be a great read

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