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"Push, push!" or, Bike salesman as Midwife.

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"Push, push!" or, Bike salesman as Midwife.

Old 11-20-16, 11:26 AM
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kbarch
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"Push, push!" or, Bike salesman as Midwife.

Yesterday, when dropping my bike off at the shop, I had occasion to watch a salesman at work for a few minutes. The customer seemed uncertain and spent most of the time staring at a bike while the salesman carried on about the virtues of the bike he was staring at, how it compared to others, what he liked about the brand in general, and what was more or less appropriate for different kinds of rides. I found it rather amusing, because I'd heard it all before, only the names had been changed to protect the innocent. I got to wondering how much of it the salesman actually believed; not that any of it was doubtful, just of doubtful importance. Then it occurred to me; it doesn't matter, because the customer didn't really care, either. He just needed to be convinced to buy something that he was already attracted to. The salesman was just being like a radio broadcaster - fundamentally averse to dead air. As long as what he said wasn't totally ridiculous or an obvious fabrication, it was like he just had to hold the customer's hand and keep him company while he labored with the decision to buy.
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Old 11-20-16, 01:22 PM
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B. Carfree
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For some reason this reminded me of the custom tandems I have purchased. The first one was built by a builder who knew my wife and me as riders (we had ridden together enough that he knew just what to build us and we knew we could trust his judgment). It worked out great, but he did have to reassure us that we would be happy on a tandem, so there was some filling of what might have otherwise been dead air with verbal hand-holding.

For the second tandem purchase a quarter-century later, I was using a shop that I had only been in twice: once to drop off a frame for repair and once to pick it up. We had corresponded a couple of times on email and I got a good feeling, so we took the train up to check it out further. After about five minutes with the shop owner, I was sold (his outlook on durable vs cool and new was in alignment with mine, which is rare). Since he didn't know that my mind was made up, he kept on going at it, which was great because I learned a lot. Once again, we have been super happy with the final product.
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Old 11-20-16, 04:20 PM
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There is only 2 things you need to know to be successful in sales. Your product, and your customer. After 35 years, its like once you clear the front door, I know how its going to go. There are really only 5 types of customers, and its like yall have nose rings. And contrary to what you read on the InterWeb®, from a functional point of view, it doesn't really matter which bike you buy.
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Old 11-21-16, 12:02 AM
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I've sold and built quite a number of custom objects. IME the salesperson is a spiritual counselor and guide. The job is to locate the internal loci of the vague longings in the potential client and connect those to an external object which will then be desired and with which the client will be happy and eternally grateful to the salesman for having provided the necessary connection. It's complex and very personal. I've had clients say that it can be as personal as your spousal relationship.

And from a functional point of view and well as a spiritual one, it matters very much which bike you buy, maybe not that day, but 10 years from the purchase it will have mattered very much or else the salesperson did not do their job. As we all should know, the right bike is not just a bike, it's a love object.
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Old 11-21-16, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I've sold and built quite a number of custom objects. IME the salesperson is a spiritual counselor and guide. The job is to locate the internal loci of the vague longings in the potential client and connect those to an external object which will then be desired and with which the client will be happy and eternally grateful to the salesman for having provided the necessary connection. It's complex and very personal. I've had clients say that it can be as personal as your spousal relationship.

And from a functional point of view and well as a spiritual one, it matters very much which bike you buy, maybe not that day, but 10 years from the purchase it will have mattered very much or else the salesperson did not do their job. As we all should know, the right bike is not just a bike, it's a love object.
One might expect such romance with custom objects as you put it, but much of the time people have arranged marriages with bikes and are as delighted as anyone with their mate. Most bikes are good bikes, most buyers do not have precise needs (to begin with at least), and happy riders love the one they're with.

Last edited by kbarch; 11-21-16 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 11-21-16, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I've sold and built quite a number of custom objects. IME the salesperson is a spiritual counselor and guide. The job is to locate the internal loci of the vague longings in the potential client and connect those to an external object which will then be desired and with which the client will be happy and eternally grateful to the salesman for having provided the necessary connection. It's complex and very personal. I've had clients say that it can be as personal as your spousal relationship.

And from a functional point of view and well as a spiritual one, it matters very much which bike you buy, maybe not that day, but 10 years from the purchase it will have mattered very much or else the salesperson did not do their job. As we all should know, the right bike is not just a bike, it's a love object.
That's awesome! Nonsense, but awesome. A salesman job is to sell, there are mental health professionals, and all sort of new age life counsellors and the like to make folks feel all fuzzy between the ears.
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