Life in a bike shop isn’t always pretty, but have you looked around lately? The world is going bat shit or at least returning to the ways of old. Brutality back in the days of Sodom involved hearing your side of the story and then killing you anyway.
We may not have your perfect bike, but I can guarantee you that we will not sever your head. It’s not written into our general policy mind you, but we are pretty good about not participating in that sort of activity. I can’t necessarily say the same of our competitors. I’m not saying that beheading is part of their sales strategy, but then I can’t unequivocally say that it isn’t.
“I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” Children are also the cornerstone’s of any bike shop. They don’t have the cash, but they have access to those that do.
There was a little boy in the store today running his mouth. He wasn’t being bratty or obscene, homeboy just had a lot to say. After his dad who was clearly tiring of his mouth was ready to check out, they came up to me. I was impressed that “Busta Rhymes” hadn’t taken a noticeable breath since stepping up to the counter. His dad remarked that he was talking a lot and then asked him not so discreetly if he had taken his meds today. To my surprise his answer was yes. The little boy had then said that without them he gets crazy. I stepped into their conversation. Being an aging father and avid recreational cyclist allows me the luxury of adding my 2 cents to all of life’s situations. Sorta like the old drunks that hung out on my stoop in San Francisco with all the answers in the world save for how they could get the fuck up from in front of my doorstep. I don’t just pee wherever. That would also distinguish me. I told that little boy that he was not crazy and not to let anyone say that to him. If the words from an aging recreational cyclist ever were to stick, I hope those would. At the Montclair Bikery we care
Closing sales can be a sticky proposition. You don’t want to be aggressive and you don’t want to be passive. Present the customer with the information that she or he seeks and then watch them walk out the door a better informed consumer into the next bike shop. This is the circle of life in a bike shop. This also happens in our favor. Again, the circle of life.
Tough customers can be equated to marlins. You cast your line with a healthy piece of mackerel on it and wait for a nibble. At the Bikery my bait is Specialized, Trek, Felt and Pinnarello. Less messy than mackerel, but every once in awhile, I think I would have better results with fish. The tough customer typically see’s the bike that he likes and then wants to be reaffirmed of his findings.
“I need a bike to get around town on. Tell me more about the Tarmac.”
I don’t lie to customers or not purposely. I’m not selling snake oil. You don’t believe me…Take a ride on it and then not believe me. Your superior intelligence is validated while my beer continues to chill in the fridge. Seems like a win-win to me. I love the customer that takes out 3 similar bikes. Make an informed choice. I am technically letting the fish run. While my line starts to heat up I cool it off with my coffee that has long cooled over this fight for a sale. I then lock the line and start reeling.
“So that’s a heck of a bike. Am I right? Lance Armstrong himself wind and field tested that hybrid. The information he derived from that bike helped him sorta win 7 Tour De France titles. What do you think it’ll do for you tooling around your neighborhood?”
That pitch worked a whole lot better before his intimate interview with Oprah. The common American has no idea who Alberto Contador is, so I just can’t switch out stars. No one’s buying shit off of Tejay van Garderen’s name. Great racer, no star power.
Price haggling is always fun. “So what’s your profit on this bike? Can’t we make something work for the both of us?” Easy answer is, “no”. Park the Range Rover around the corner before fighting me over a $500 bike. The consumer, like the marlin fights for its way of life. Then comes the heavy lifting. Strap on the harness, crack open a Miller and start pulling.
“The price stands on this particular bike. You want a decent bike, pay a decent price. That’s literally what it comes down too.”
Marlins are renown for their athleticism when it comes down to not wanting to be eaten, mounted or held up for an unauthorized selfie with a fat guy. The consumer is no different. Maybe I should start sweetening the deal with a little smoked mackerel. Whatever it takes…