Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Working in a bicycle store

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Working in a bicycle store

Old 05-16-21, 03:31 AM
  #1  
Seb1987
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Working in a bicycle store

Hey y'all . So I'm about to do be tested as a bicycle salesman for my first bicycle job. The store sells only commuter, gravel, touring, compact, folding and city E-bikes. The goal is to find the right bike for the person by asking the right questions. Now I have the basic questions in mind like "Is the bike for riding to work or recreational?" or "Will you be doing more road or offraod riding?. But I'm trying to think of more special questions like "Do you have a garage to store the bike?" or "If you live in an apartment on a higher floor then is there an elevator?" to better understand their situation to provide them the best bike. Does anyone here have any ideas on what other questions I should ask or some advice? Thanks
Seb1987 is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 05:51 AM
  #2  
big chainring 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wilmette, IL
Posts: 7,009
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 657 Post(s)
Liked 386 Times in 200 Posts
The customer usually has the questions....
You provide the answers.
And believe me, there will be some interesting questions aimed your way.
big chainring is online now  
Likes For big chainring:
Old 05-16-21, 05:57 AM
  #3  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 4,780

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1490 Post(s)
Liked 781 Times in 399 Posts
I suspect one of the most important things to establish right up front is their target price range.
Paul Barnard is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 06:00 AM
  #4  
Trakhak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 2,690
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 880 Post(s)
Liked 623 Times in 370 Posts
Originally Posted by Seb1987 View Post
Hey y'all . So I'm about to do be tested as a bicycle salesman for my first bicycle job. The store sells only commuter, gravel, touring, compact, folding and city E-bikes. The goal is to find the right bike for the person by asking the right questions. Now I have the basic questions in mind like "Is the bike for riding to work or recreational?" or "Will you be doing more road or offraod riding?. But I'm trying to think of more special questions like "Do you have a garage to store the bike?" or "If you live in an apartment on a higher floor then is there an elevator?" to better understand their situation to provide them the best bike. Does anyone here have any ideas on what other questions I should ask or some advice? Thanks
Two or three conventional questions will suffice. The test will be face to face, I would guess. Thus, after the first few questions have been answered and a dialogue has elicited the basic details of intended use, you should already be starting to zero in on one or two of the shop's bike models to recommend.

At that point, in my bike store days, I used to say, "let me see what we have in stock that should work for you" and find what was available in the customer's size, there and then. Since bike stores have been very low in bike inventory for many months now, checking stock would e important to increase the likelihood of a sale.

Different shops have different approaches to ascertaining bike fit, so, before the test begins, I suggest asking how and when in the sales presentation they prefer to make that determination.
Trakhak is online now  
Old 05-16-21, 06:13 AM
  #5  
Sy Reene
Advocatus Diaboli
 
Sy Reene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 7,014

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene, Nashbar steel CX

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3699 Post(s)
Liked 833 Times in 557 Posts
These days, I thought bike sales basically started with "Hey, can I interest you in this one remaining bike we have left in stock?"
Sy Reene is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 07:34 AM
  #6  
CAT7RDR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 1,218

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 454 Post(s)
Liked 873 Times in 471 Posts
Do you plan on peddling this bike or just riding it?
CAT7RDR is online now  
Likes For CAT7RDR:
Old 05-16-21, 08:54 AM
  #7  
zen_
Senior Member
 
zen_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: 'merica
Posts: 176
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 41 Posts
Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
These days, I thought bike sales basically started with "Hey, can I interest you in this one remaining bike we have left in stock?"
"You'll grow into it" - XL frame for a 5'8" rider...or you can wait for more bikes from the distributor, TBT date, TBT models, TBT sizes.
zen_ is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 09:03 AM
  #8  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 18,489

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 158 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5097 Post(s)
Liked 1,670 Times in 1,098 Posts
I thought the key to being a good sales person was to figure out what the customer wanted/needed and then explaining why Bike A was better than Bike B for that particular job. Sometimes that meant that you might talk the buyer up on price and sometimes down. If the buyer thinks he/she is being listened to and getting great advice, you likely make the sale and likely end up with a satisfied customer. Bike stores depend on word of mouth for future customers.
bikemig is offline  
Likes For bikemig:
Old 05-16-21, 09:05 AM
  #9  
big chainring 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wilmette, IL
Posts: 7,009
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 657 Post(s)
Liked 386 Times in 200 Posts
Depending on local, and locals, the Spicoli approach may be appropriate. "Welcome to (such and such) Bike shop. Feel free to look around, relax, sample some of our edibles and I'll catch up with you later. By the way those are some righteous kicks you got on, where did you get those?"
​​
big chainring is online now  
Likes For big chainring:
Old 05-16-21, 09:09 AM
  #10  
fooferdoggie 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 877
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 232 Post(s)
Liked 249 Times in 145 Posts
Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
Do you plan on peddling this bike or just riding it?
you don't get those e bikes in stores mostly.
fooferdoggie is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 09:36 AM
  #11  
genejockey 
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 5,420

Bikes: Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace; Cannondale R500 RX100; Schwinn Circuit, Sante; Lotus Supreme, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2614 Post(s)
Liked 2,603 Times in 1,326 Posts
Originally Posted by zen_ View Post
"You'll grow into it" - XL frame for a 5'8" rider...or you can wait for more bikes from the distributor, TBT date, TBT models, TBT sizes.
"But I'm 60 years old!"
__________________
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."
genejockey is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 09:53 AM
  #12  
Juan Foote
LBKA (formerly punkncat)
 
Juan Foote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Jawja
Posts: 3,758

Bikes: Spec Roubaix SL4, GT Traffic 1.0

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1289 Post(s)
Liked 239 Times in 169 Posts
I worked with a bike shop for just short of two years. Most of your customers are going to be super easy to deal with and talk to. The ones to watch for are those have have truly studied what they are researching and know more about the product you are selling than you do. I think the hardest single question I can think of being asked was "Why Specialized over (insert brand)".

IMO, if your store offers the training materials and such that ours did...I can't recall the name it was like Specialized tech school or some such....take advantage of it. Study it hard. In down times go through your sales brochures, take them home and look over them for each of the bikes offered for the active year and a model or two back can be helpful as well.

My single favorite thing about working there was being on hand, working, before all the group rides. I participated in all of them I could keep up with. Got me in arguably the best shape of my life.
Juan Foote is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 10:37 AM
  #13  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 3,403

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 945 Post(s)
Liked 748 Times in 506 Posts
I’ve not worked in a bike shop. But I’ve wondered if the sales people have the opportunity to ride/demo the different bikes? I don’t mean around the parking lot, but long enough to get acclimated, maybe 4-5 miles.

I realize that might be tough for mountain bikes.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 12:33 PM
  #14  
kokomo61
Senior Member
 
kokomo61's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Herndon, VA
Posts: 914

Bikes: Giant OCR C2, Kona Jake the Snake, Scattante 650-R

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 21 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
Do you plan on peddling this bike or just riding it?

Isn't the salesperson peddling the bike?
__________________
2020 Giant Defy 2
Fuji Cross Pro
Scattante 650-R trainer bike
'06 Kona Jake the Snake



kokomo61 is offline  
Likes For kokomo61:
Old 05-16-21, 03:24 PM
  #15  
Sy Reene
Advocatus Diaboli
 
Sy Reene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 7,014

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene, Nashbar steel CX

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3699 Post(s)
Liked 833 Times in 557 Posts
There's three basic questions you should always start off with. Then you can check what's available in their favorite:





Sy Reene is offline  
Likes For Sy Reene:
Old 05-16-21, 03:38 PM
  #16  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 11,854

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Timberjack, Expert TG, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 67 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2342 Post(s)
Liked 1,049 Times in 687 Posts
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I suspect one of the most important things to establish right up front is their target price range.
but thatís an easy and boring question, itís $200
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Likes For Darth Lefty:
Old 05-16-21, 03:55 PM
  #17  
fishboat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 1,106

Bikes: Lemond '01 Maillot Jaune, Lemond '02 Victoire, Lemond '03 Poprad, Lemond '03 Wayzata drop bar conv(Poprad), '79 AcerMex Windsor Carrera Professional(purchased new), '88 GT Tequesta(purchased new), '01 Bianchi Grizzly, 1993 Trek 970 drop bar conv

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 409 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 308 Times in 180 Posts
The last rather large, well appointed bike shop that I no longer visit involved the owner helping me with a service issue. That went well. After we got to talking he asked what I did for a living..I told him I retired. He said..you're kinda young..what did you do. I told him. At that point he ramped up a hard-ish sales spiel on how I only live once and I needed the latest wonder bike with electronic shifting. I told him I've never found shifting all that difficult..downtube or STI.

I returned to the shop a few more times for various things, but he continued with a soft-hard sell on the wonder bikes. Don't do that..I no longer visit his shop.
fishboat is offline  
Old 05-16-21, 04:13 PM
  #18  
Rolla
Gyro Captain
 
Rolla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 721

Bikes: Sycip, Black Mountain Cycles, Kona, Fairdale, WeThePeople

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 291 Post(s)
Liked 771 Times in 329 Posts
Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
Maybe ask what type of geometry they prefer?
I'd wager that 95% of customers have no idea what the word "geometry" even means when talking about bicycles, let alone what they'd prefer.

Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I’ve not worked in a bike shop. But I’ve wondered if the sales people have the opportunity to ride/demo the different bikes? I don’t mean around the parking lot, but long enough to get acclimated, maybe 4-5 miles.
Unfortunately, most shop owners aren't inclined to pay their employees to take the inventory out for five-mile rides. At most they get a quick test-ride after they're built.

Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
but that’s an easy and boring question, it’s $200
Always.
Rolla is offline  
Likes For Rolla:
Old 05-16-21, 05:42 PM
  #19  
OldTryGuy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SW Fl.
Posts: 5,131

Bikes: Day6 Semi Recumbent "FIREBALL", 1981 Custom Touring Paramount, 1983 Road Paramount, 2013 Giant Propel Advanced SL3, 2018 Specialized Red Roubaix Expert mech., 2002 Magna 7sp hybrid, 1976 Bassett Racing 45sp Cruiser

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 889 Post(s)
Liked 424 Times in 284 Posts
Wife and I took over operations of her Dad's bike shop that he inherited from his dad and did not want. Different industry some 50+ years ago. A cordial greeting, then asked if they were looking for themselves and something specific (a person who has an idea) and if not then asked what kind of biking they were planning on doing or the individual they were looking for was going to be doing AND the preferred $$$$$ amount.
OldTryGuy is offline  
Likes For OldTryGuy:
Old 05-16-21, 09:32 PM
  #20  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 8,490

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2323 Post(s)
Liked 1,286 Times in 874 Posts
Keep in mind you aren't selling whatever you are selling, you are selling yourself. If people like you and think you are honest and truthful and pleasing to be around they will want to buy. If you are disinterested then probably not. You don't need to know every single product but you need to know a little of everything so you can effectively talk about a product. People come at me with "What about this bike?" talking about bikes we don't sell but as long as I can look at components and see what they are doing I can give a semi informed opinion and that is what they want.

Also on the honesty front, it is important but you don't need to be nasty about it at least in person on the internet do whatever it's the internet but in public be nice about it! Don't just say it's a good bike to make a sale, be honest about what it is and isn't. Also don't be afraid to say "Hey I am not not but let me check with a more knowledgeable co-worker or check the manufacturers website or a manual". You aren't showing defeat or stupidity you are showing them you are an upright person and not just B.S.ing them. We get enough B.S. we don't need it when buying a bike.

I don't talk money or cost, budget is used to shut the conversation down if you ask them what they are doing and where they are riding and things like that you can help find them a bike. Once you determine the bike that works best for their riding then you can start to narrow down costs but a lot of people I have seen go "what kind of bike, what's your budget, ok here is a bike" and the conversation is kind of done at that point. Same thing with reading the entire spec list for each bike give them the highlights talk about the features and benefits and have a conversation with them with them talking quite a bit and you listening well.

With E-bike clients keep in mind they already know way more than you do in many cases and there isn't much you can do to combat that aside from studying up and learning what you can but if you can get them out riding they will be in better shape because all of that data means nothing without actually experiencing it in person. However keep in mind they can be quite needy and some can lose you money over time if you aren't careful. Client care at the beginning is important but also crucial after the fact. If they have a good experience and love their bike they will tell people and those people will tell people and you will have loads of customers. I get a lot of "oh yeah ______ sent me" but if they have a bad experience they will tell way more people way more often and sometimes get quite nasty and sometimes you did no wrong or something minor but sometimes it can be justified.

I can also recommend finding G.E.A.R. training and doing that it is still quite relevant in todays bicycle marketplace. There is probably other training as well that maybe your company uses but G.E.A.R. is a good one. You can also think of yourself as the customer and see how you would want to be treated and how you would want to see the store. Shimano offers S-Tec and SRAM has STU and others have various learn and earn platforms which can be handy to learn gear and sometimes other handy stuff.

In terms of your fellow employees always ask your mechanics first don't just assume of them. So often a salesperson will just say yeah we can do that and we can't or not in the time frame given. Under promise and over deliver. However don't do anything illegal or unsafe. You don't ever have to work on a bike that you cannot make safe nor should you.

One final piece of advice talk accessories when selling the bike not when you get to the register it is usually pretty late by then. If you are having a conversation about the bike don't just make it the bike if they say yeah I will be commuting then talk racks and lights and locks, if they are going on long rides bottle cages and cycle computers/GPS...make it a holistic conversation. Also don't discount mechanic labor you generally make more margins on that then you do on a part but if you have done your job as a salesperson they aren't needing discounts and probably won't mention it.
veganbikes is offline  
Likes For veganbikes:
Old 05-17-21, 05:50 AM
  #21  
Phil_gretz
Journeyman Bike Commuter
 
Phil_gretz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 6,581

Bikes: '71 Jeunet 640, '79 Peugeot PXN10LE, '88 Fuji Saratoga, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite, '18 Velobuild VB-R-022

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 1,143 Times in 614 Posts
"Tell me about yourself and your bike experiences to date." "How do you envision you'll be using this bike?" "What would make your riding most/more enjoyable?"

Then apply whatever experience and insights you've accumulated to the perspective of living in their world. The rest should be natural.

Know your own products well. Very well. When a customer comes in to complain about something, listen very carefully to learn.
Phil_gretz is offline  
Likes For Phil_gretz:
Old 05-17-21, 06:02 AM
  #22  
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 759

Bikes: Bianchi Via Nirone

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 359 Post(s)
Liked 606 Times in 294 Posts
Ask the customers what they like in their latte.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Likes For Reflector Guy:
Old 05-17-21, 06:08 AM
  #23  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,454
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1924 Post(s)
Liked 1,273 Times in 734 Posts
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I suspect one of the most important things to establish right up front is their target price range.
Asking them about their price range is easy.

Developing the self-control to keep a straight face when they tell you may take some practice.
Kapusta is offline  
Likes For Kapusta:
Old 05-17-21, 06:19 AM
  #24  
nel e nel
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 20

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Hardrock Disc; 199? Royce Union freestyle bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I suspect one of the most important things to establish right up front is their target price range.
This. First two questions out of your mouth should be "What's your budget?" and "What will you be using this for?"
nel e nel is offline  
Old 05-17-21, 07:34 AM
  #25  
Sy Reene
Advocatus Diaboli
 
Sy Reene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 7,014

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene, Nashbar steel CX

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3699 Post(s)
Liked 833 Times in 557 Posts
ehh.. I never like being asked what my budget is. That always leads to being shown a product (whether a car, house, bike etc) that coincidentally is right at the limit of the said budget. Isn't it a fortunate coincidence that the product that best suits me, is the product that just meets my budget...

A budget is what could be spent, not necessarily what I want to spend. On that note, I've heard the question before put as "how much do you want to spend?" to which I'll invariably answer along the lines of "want to spend? $1 sounds good"

Last edited by Sy Reene; 05-17-21 at 07:38 AM.
Sy Reene is offline  
Likes For Sy Reene:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.