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? Award yourself 10 points! Are you asking a little more about themselves? 20 points! Or do you show them a range of shiny new bikes and tell them how great 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 come to buy a folding bike. They also don’t care about the quality of this year’s electric mountain bikes … but how do you know if you don’t ask? It’s not about you. It is not about the store. It’s not even the bikes. Everything revolves around the customer.
Consultation and diagnosis
Think of yourself as a doctor. The client is showing symptoms – he wants to exercise, or he is unhappy with his current bike, or he needs to start commuting – and he may already have some idea of the medication which he says him, would work, that is to say 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. Are they only going to use the bike in town? Or would they like to try longer rides on the weekend 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 bicycle because it is easier to store. But what if they have a 20 mile daily commute and need to carry heavy luggage? Is a folding bicycle 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 requested! But if you listen carefully to their demands, make recommendations, and then sell the right bike, you have a satisfied customer for life.
“… and what else?”
Always ask for more, dig a little deeper. Jane Doe has come to buy a commuter bike, but if you ask a few more questions, she might reveal a plan to cycle around Europe next year. So now you know that she is in the market for a touring bike as well. Joe Bloggs says he needs a basic bike to get to his new job. But if you ask him, he can tell you that he works nights. Now you can show him the model with dynamo lights and ask if he needs hi-vis gear as well. He’s happy because he’s never heard of dynamo lights and 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 smart upgrades like dynamo lights. Much 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 have told you that they are looking for a bike as part of a weight loss plan, start your sentences “Once you cycle regularly …” or “As soon as you reach this level fitness… ”It shows you understand them, you believe in them, you buy into their dream.
If they’re interested in the prints of touring bikes on your walls, reveal that these photos were taken by customers who rode the same model of bike around the world last year. Even though your customer buys the bike to get to work, they now feel like they’re 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 waste the sale at the last minute by forcing the customer to do all the work. Don’t leave an awkward silence, which forces the customer to say “I can’t decide now, I could come back” and definitely don’t go for it and say nothing as blunt as “So, do you want it? Make it easy for them to say yes, straighten the road. At the right time, say something like “I’m so glad you like it” or “From what you’ve told me, it’s just perfect for you, what do you think?” “
A three-step consultation
1. Prepare some opening questions. For example: “Where do you work? “And where do you live?” These are great questions to get to know the client better and to gather clues about their personality, life, likes and dislikes.
2. Create a simple consultation process. Be open with the customer about this. For example: “I would like to ask a few more questions, this will help us narrow down the options and show you exactly the right bikes. Are you okay with that? ”Then ask questions like,“ Why are you going to use your new bike? Nothing else? And what else? What don’t you like about your current bike? “
3. Once you’ve got to know the client and roughly defined their needs, you’ll need a simple menu, or palette of options, so that you can make your recommendations. In Bicycleworks stores, we support the customer through the relevant options and accessories from our online bicycle builder, after first having largely chosen the model that best suits their needs.
After implementing this system we saw our average sale value drop from £ 650 to £ 800 just because we ask the right questions and offer some really useful and interesting upgrades and upsells.