It’s all about the customer – Top tips for bike shop sales – Features
By Jake Voelcker, Owner, Bicycleworks
A customer looking for a new bike walks through the door… How is the conversation going? What does your sales process look like? Ask yourself what they are going to use the bike for? Give yourself 10 points! Ask yourself a little more about themselves? 20 dots! Or do you show them a range of shiny new bikes and tell them how awesome they all are? Uh-oh… You lose 50 points!
The theme is: always ask questions. The customer doesn’t want to hear about your road bikes if they came to buy a folding bike. They also don’t care how good this year’s e-MTBs are… but how do you know that unless you ask? It’s not about you. It’s not about the store. It’s not even about the bikes. Everything revolves around the customer.
Consultation and diagnosis
Think of yourself as a doctor. The client has symptoms – he wants to exercise, or he is unhappy with his current bike, or he needs to start cycling – and he may already have an idea of the medication he thinks is would work, i.e. of the bike he wants.
But would a good doctor give the patient any old medicine he asks for? You need to check if they have described all of their symptoms. Will they use the bike only in town? Or would they like to try longer weekend rides if they have a good enough bike? Then you need to check if the medicine will cure the symptoms. The customer may want a folding bike because it is easier to store. But what if they have a daily commute of 20 miles and they have to carry heavy luggage? Is a folding bike always the right option? In the long run, the customer won’t thank you for selling them the wrong bike even if it’s the bike they asked for! But if you listen carefully to their requirements, make recommendations, and then sell them the right bike, you have a happy customer for life.
“… and what else?”
Always ask for more, dig a little deeper. Jane Doe came by to buy a transport bike, but if you ask a few more questions she might reveal a plan to cycle across Europe next year. So now you know she’s also looking for a touring bike. Joe Bloggs says he needs a basic bike to get to his new job. But if you ask him, he might tell you that he works night shifts. Now you can show him the model with dynamo lights and ask him if he needs high visibility gear as well. He’s happy because he’s never heard of dynamo lamps and he thinks it’s a great idea. You’re happy because you’ve just sold £150 worth of upgrades.
Logic or emotion?
It’s not just about sensible upgrades like dynamo lamps. A big part of the customer’s selling decision is based on emotion, so work with that. Sell them an idea, a dream. How will this bike make them feel?
For for example, if they told you they were looking for a bike as part of a weight loss plan, then start your phrases “Once you cycle regularly…” or “As soon as you reach that fitness level…” It shows you understand them, you believe in them, you buy into their dream.
If they’re interested in the trail bike prints on your walls, point out that these photos were taken by customers who rode the same model bike around the world last year. Even though your customer is buying the bike to get around, they now feel they are buying into the dream of being able to cycle around the world – who knows, maybe they will!
Don’t fall at the last hurdle
Finally, don’t lose the sale at the last minute by having the client do all the work. Don’t leave an awkward silence, which forces the customer to say “I can’t decide now, I might come back”, and certainly don’t step in and say anything as direct as “So, do you want it?” » Make it easy for them to say yes, smooth the way. At the right time, say something like “I’m so glad you like it” or “From what you told me, it’s perfect for you, what do you think?”
A three-step consultation
1. Prepare some preliminary questions. For example: “Where do you work? and where do you live?” These are great questions to get to know the client better and gather clues about their personality, life, likes and dislikes.
2. Create a simple consultation process. Be open with the client about this. For example: “I would like to ask a few more questions, it will help us narrow down the options and show you exactly the right bikes. Does that fit you?” Then ask questions like, “What are you going to use your new bike for? Nothing else? And what else? What don’t you like about your bike? current bike?
3. Once you’ve gotten to know the customer and roughly defined their needs, you’ll need a simple menu, or palette of options, from which to make your recommendations. At Bicycleworks stores, we guide the customer through the relevant options and accessories in our online bike builder, after first broadly choosing the model that best suits their needs.
After implementing this system, we have seen our average sale value increase from £650 to £800, simply because we ask the right questions and provide genuinely useful and engaging upgrades and upsells.