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Old 06-04-14, 04:41 PM   #1
Myersch
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Beginning Working in a Bike Shop, I NEED HELP

Hey there y'all,

After plenty of running around to try to find a job for this summer season, I luckily snagged a job at a local bike shop. To me, this is a huge step in my life that will allow me to stay in Boone with an ideal job for the time after college finishes.

However, my skills as a sales rep and mechanic need a lot of improvement and I'm looking everywhere for ways to improve my confidence in the shop. I'm hoping to get morsels of advice, videos, reading, guidance, flow charts, or really anything that I could use to prepare myself for being a better employee. Of course, I understand asking the veteran employees questions is the best way to learn, but I figure I could spend even more time learning by using this forum as a resource.

We sell almost exclusively Giant bikes and our crowds are pretty evenly split between the guys who come in off the MTB trails and the roadies who enjoy the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. If you need any clarification, of course I'll be back in a bit.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:11 PM   #2
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The first rule of thumb, is to know your product! Therefore, study all the brochures about all the models and their features. If there's a bicycle co-op around, then go there in order to beef up your mechanic skills. Try to get along with everyone, without looking like you're sucking up. Stay in close with the mechanics no matter what! Pick their brains...

Find a trashed multi-geared bike. Take it apart and reassemble it back together again. Do this at least 4 or 5 times, within the privacy of your own home. Let nobody know about this project...
Keep quiet about all things mechanical until your skills are at least intermediate. I hope you know how to change and/or patch a tire...

* Always maintain a professional demeanor despite what the others are doing. You will then become more recognized as a leader.

* Always be prompt and responsible.

* Always look busy!

* Always be polite, helpful, and eager to please customers.

* Always be honest!

* Always address your employer with the proper title (Mr., Mrs., Sir, etc..), unless they specify otherwise.

* Always pay very close attention to your personal hygiene (shower daily, shave, and keep your hair properly styled)....

* Always look neat, clean, and smell good!

* Always eat in private and make it quick (25 min.)...

* Don't party with co-workers. If you're ever expected to meet at a bar, just have non-alcoholic drinks and act like you're having fun. Try not to stay beyond 90 minutes...

* Keep your private life private.

* Never smoke on the job.

* Never use profanity.

* Never joke around or horseplay. Work at work. Be serious!


Your increased mechanic skills will help you to maintain this job, until your professional job surfaces, after college.

Your employer will enjoy having an expert salesperson, who also doubles as an ace mechanic.

Last edited by WestPablo; 06-05-14 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 06-04-14, 06:04 PM   #3
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If the bike shop is smart, they will ease you into doing the more complex tasks. I wouldn't expect a new person to build a wheel from a rim, a pile of spokes, and a hub. That comes later but you should be able to do simple things like fix a flat and make ordinary adjustments to the bike. The nice thing is that you will learn skills that will last you a lifetime and probably save you a bundle on bike maintenance. It did for me.
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Old 06-04-14, 06:26 PM   #4
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I don't know what kind of background you come from but don't assume that all of your customers are from the same. If money wasn't an issue for you wouldn't you want the more expensive bike? Don't be afraid to pitch the good stuff.
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Old 06-04-14, 06:36 PM   #5
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Keep your hands out your pockets! Susquehanna Power Plant..."No Hands In Pockets!" Gotta look professional at all times!

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Old 06-04-14, 09:14 PM   #6
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If a woman comes in to buy a bike, address your questions and comments to her. I can't even count how many times sales reps turn to my husband with questions about what I want. Ugh.

Also, before recommending a particular bike, ask the customer what kind of riding they see themselves doing.

If you don't know the answer, just say. "that's a good question. Let me find out for you." Do not make something up! I once had rep tell me that dynamo hubs couldn't be used with disc brake bikes.

This sounds like a great job! Have fun with it!
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Old 06-04-14, 11:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myersch View Post
However, my skills as a sales rep and mechanic need a lot of improvement and I'm looking everywhere for ways to improve my confidence in the shop. I'm hoping to get morsels of advice, videos, reading, guidance, flow charts, or really anything that I could use to prepare myself for being a better employee. Of course, I understand asking the veteran employees questions is the best way to learn, but I figure I could spend even more time learning by using this forum as a resource.
Isn't the shop sending you on a course?

Most good retail establishments send their employees on a customer service training course.
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Old 06-04-14, 11:47 PM   #8
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Well, presuming that the place you work has not bothered with customer service training (a serious deficiency of many LBSs), I must commend you on wanting to improve your skills on your own. Bucking the trend of bad service!

Some resources ...

21 Customer Service Tips for Better Customer Relations
Also click/read the links on the left sidebar ... lots of articles with good information.

Retail Contrarian: 50 Ways to Improve Your Customer's Experience


Customer Service and Loyalty

How to Improve Customer Service | KSL Training

There's lots more ... search for Customer Service Tips
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Old 06-05-14, 04:53 AM   #9
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Isn't the shop sending you on a course?

Most good retail establishments send their employees on a customer service training course.
Entry level position in the USofA?

No, most businesses that I am familiar with DON'T...and they pay for it in lost sales. Quite often in the US retail jobs are a last resort position and unfortunately most companies pay accordingly.


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Old 06-05-14, 05:06 AM   #10
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Entry level position in the USofA?

No, most businesses that I am familiar with DON'T...and they pay for it in lost sales. Quite often in the US retail jobs are a last resort position and unfortunately most companies pay accordingly.


Aaron
In Canada, every retail position I've had has provided me with some sort of training. In some cases it has been a 2+ days training course; in some cases it is a day watching training videos and discussing the videos with the manager; in one case I was required to take home a video and workbook, and work through it all at home and then go through it with the manager the next day.
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Old 06-05-14, 07:18 AM   #11
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Study the following Groupset Component Hierarchies:

Groupset - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Make sure that you know both "Shimano" and "Sram" road bike component hierarchies. Also study both "Shimano" and "Sram" mountain bike hierarchies.

Groupset = Gruppo

PS.

Also, make sure that when you detach each component part on your bicycle "project", that you fully understand the function of each part. Study that part and how that part may change on different models, along with how that physical change may alter the function of the bicycle.

Also learn about gears and gear ratios. Learn how to use gear ratios for mph calculations, given cadence. Many mechanics don't know much about the following:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/42...rocket-ratios/

http://livestrong.com/article/110397...e-gear-ratios/

* Also, become an expert on at least one particular mechanical aspect of a bicycle. Many new changes are taking place with respect to brakes ie...Disc brakes, V-brakes, Caliper, etc...

Perhaps, even become that "Brake Guy!"

Last edited by WestPablo; 06-06-14 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 06-05-14, 07:29 AM   #12
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I would think the store is responsible for the training of their employees. You shouldn't be asking us, but asking the store owner.
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Old 06-05-14, 09:13 AM   #13
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I would think the store is responsible for the training of their employees. You shouldn't be asking us, but asking the store owner.
Why the hell not? there's been some great advice given here.

Some of you folks....
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Old 06-05-14, 09:25 AM   #14
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In starting out there are non mechanical things to train and be assessed doing .. the rubbish of all the packing the bikes ship in have to be dealt with .

floors kept Clean inventory priced and restocked , and Reset,

& if you computer savvy since birth, can run the Shop website updates .. that is good.


& BTW, its June, so you are hitting the search too late for this season.

thread, started in may would be a better time, Hopefully, before temp staff hiring is done ..

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Old 06-05-14, 09:30 AM   #15
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Remember that the customer buying a valve stem cap today, may be looking to buy a much bigger purchase next week, but part of his/her decision re: next week will be influenced by how the service is when purchasing the tiny item.
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Old 06-05-14, 09:50 AM   #16
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The biggest turn off for me when I talk to a bike shop employee is for them to try to BS me about something when they do not know the answer. If a customer asks you a question and you don't know the answer please say so and offer to find out. When they start talking and I see they want to give me bad information I immediately begin looking for the exit.
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Old 06-05-14, 10:23 AM   #17
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& BTW, its June, so you are hitting the search too late for this season.

thread, started in may would be a better time, Hopefully, before temp staff hiring is done ..
He already has the job.
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Old 06-05-14, 10:28 AM   #18
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Career? move into the distributor level , they may pay better .. have benefits the retail shop cannot afford to offer ..

Brands traveling sales reps, and inside sales to shops, at the importer's warehouse.

OK Canada And OZ nationalized Health care , the ACA is still buying insurance ..

USA spends its resources 'differently'..

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Old 06-05-14, 10:32 AM   #19
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what you need to know is that Shimano is better than Sram and di2 kit are minimum requirement on any bike.

On a more serious note, I really really appreciate honest, mechanically competent bike sales person. Someone who tries to educate and take care of you.
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Old 06-05-14, 12:18 PM   #20
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Many excellent suggestions above. Also: Let the customer do most of the talking. Listen to the customer. Asked open ended (not yes/no) questions. Don't project your preferences or interests onto the customer. Help them find and get what they want, not what you think they should have. Don't criticize or denigrate their choices or ideas. You need to judge their receptiveness to suggestions and information you might provide. Gently trying to upsell is OK, but don't push it. It's also OK to suggest accessories that might go with their purchase, but again, don't push it.
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Old 06-05-14, 06:10 PM   #21
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In Canada, every retail position I've had has provided me with some sort of training. In some cases it has been a 2+ days training course; in some cases it is a day watching training videos and discussing the videos with the manager; in one case I was required to take home a video and workbook, and work through it all at home and then go through it with the manager the next day.
The only training you're going to get at a local bike shop is how to operate the cash register. The bike mechanic position is given to only those with 2-5 years experience at a bike shop. If the OP wants to "learn" how to fix bikes on the job, then he better hope management likes him because customers come first. His job as a non-mechanic is to serve the customer (sell product) and watch for shoplifting.
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Old 06-05-14, 06:40 PM   #22
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The only training you're going to get at a local bike shop is how to operate the cash register. The bike mechanic position is given to only those with 2-5 years experience at a bike shop. If the OP wants to "learn" how to fix bikes on the job, then he better hope management likes him because customers come first. His job as a non-mechanic is to serve the customer (sell product) and watch for shoplifting.
Somebody has to give a bicycle mechanic is first job as a mechanic, without the prior 2 years experience. Otherwise, we would never see a bicycle mechanic at work!
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Old 06-05-14, 07:05 PM   #23
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Rent a movie called The Goods, it will teach you everything you need to know about being a salesman.

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009) - IMDb
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Old 06-05-14, 07:25 PM   #24
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I sold cars for a while and was pretty successful. I think I have a fair idea why, and I think some of it might translate into the bike biz to help you. This only applies if you are selling bikes or parts or service. If you're a technician that isn't selling anything and is just working on bikes, I have nothing. But anyway...

So:

1. I knew my product line and every competitor's product line inside and out. I sold Volkswagens. I routinely took time to drive, read up on, and learn about Hondas and Toyotas et cetera. I knew the other guy's cars almost as well as I did mine. I made it my personal goal to know everything I could about the VWs we sold. It got to the point where I was the go-to guy with any questions at my store. To this day, it astounds me when I go car shopping and I ask the salesperson a basic question about their car and I get a) the look at the window sticker b) they say they don't know c) they tell me some garbage that is a total lie. Personally I was embarrassed if I got caught clueless on a product knowledge question when I was selling. BE the book of knowledge.

2. Since I sold VWs, I drove VWs. Actually, I had long been a VW fan and had owned a bazillion of them before I sold cars of any sort. So instead of picking Toyotas or Hondas, I chose to sell VWs because they were my personal passion and I loved them. How can I ask you to plunk down $25k on a VW and I drive something different with my own money? I can't. So my advice is sell something you believe in yourself and that you spend your own money on. Be genuine.

3. Never lie or play sales games with clients. I remember one potential customer told me what she wanted in a car. We had nothing that was a good match for her, but I knew the exact kind of car at one of our competitor's stores that would be a great match for her. Rather than waste her time trying to sell her the wrong car, I told her very politely that I didn't have what she needed and where to get what she did. She was thrilled. Didn't make me an immediate sale, but I couldn't have sold her a car anyway, and I probably gained a referral or two. -- On that same note, the sales managers and other sales people always wanted to play BS games with customers. I hated that, and did not, and I was typically the top salesperson in my store 90% of the time despite all their ridiculous sales training and "closing" skills. ha ha

4. Follow up with people if you can. If you build some rapport with them, and it's appropriate, get their contact info, i.e. email address, and stay in touch. I don't like getting phone calls, but emails are pretty tame and appropriate. If you keep in touch and stay in the loop, more likely you'll sell something to them.

5. Find solutions for people. That is what they want. You aren't selling them something as much as helping them fix a problem or fill a need. People don't want to be sold, they want to be helped.

When people deal with sales reps, they want knowledge, they want real and genuine, and they want help finding a solution to a need or problem. They do not want games, pressure, or bad information.


That's all I have. Typed in a hurry before kiddo's bathtime, so it was fast. lol

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Old 06-05-14, 09:47 PM   #25
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Since you're brand new to the place, I recommend dusting.

Methodically start at one end of the store and dust. But while dusting, pick up and look at each and every item. Read the description of what it is and what it is for on the back/front of the package. Ask someone if you still don't know what it is for. Make your way around the whole store, dusting and reading and picking up and looking. At least once a week, when you come in, repeat the process. It'll get a bit faster, but that way you'll be able to identify new product, or if someone has moved something from one spot to another.

In that way, you will get to know the stock. If someone comes in and asks for whatever, you'll be able to take them right to it.

If one of your coworkers is changing a window display or other in-store display, get involved and help them. Ask if you don't know what things are for.

Many manufacturers send along brochures about their products. In quiet moments when you're not dusting and when there are no customers in the store, read those brochures.

Become familiar with the catalogues (online and paper) which your shop uses. If you don't have something in stock, you should be able to flip right to that section in the catalogue and look for it quickly. And learn how the ordering works ... can you make special orders, do you have to wait until you've reached a certain dollar amount. That way you'll be able to give the customer a realistic idea of how long it would take to get the item in.
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