Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Best if served at room temperature.

A new year is here and hopefully everyone has a new mission for the 2012 season.

For all my dealers, I wish them the best of sell through on product, healthy growth of their dealer base and the mental stamina to deal with all those customer's who seem like time murderers. (you never know who might some back in 3 days for that Di2 Ultegra bike, eh?)

As I flipped through some tags of a blog I enjoy reading by Jeff Harbaugh, I came across this post of his from 2005 which hit home for me pretty hard. I'll try not to walk down memory lane too far, rather let my preface and Jeff's post do the talking but here's my relation to what you're about to read.

From stickboybike
15 years of scraping wax on snowboards, lacing up customers boots, mounting bindings and swigging down free pints of Labatt's courtesy of Volkl Skis; it's safe to say that any activity you do from snowboarding, skateboarding, bicycling, radio controlled car racing, has some level of community involved. I'm not talking about 'community' you see at the town hall meeting, screaming about a potential Mega-lo Mart being built near their housing development. I'm referring to the the 'community' that exists from like minded enthusiasts getting together periodically to either shred, pedal, push or trade paint on the weekends.

From stickboybike
From the snowboard shop days, we always made time to shred the mountain. Being what could be best described as a Core Retailer (hand selected boutique brands WE gave credibility to, no A-line brands, great reps who had our backs and a single store location) those who I worked with lived the lifestyle.

We employees punched the clock, got the customer stoked on what got us stoked, did the bench/service/sales work, and if I was lucky, got to ride the lift a couple of times with that customer who just picked up a new board and bindings 3 days earlier. Or I tried to drop the comment of being up to ride Sunday morning and would love to take a run with them on their new gear in case they had questions about their new purchase. Customers love it when you showed that you generally care and are interested in their involvement in the same sport. A couple of runs later with them and a high five at the end of the lift line, you had someone who would champion the shop...word of mouth is powerful, a mouth full of words is useless...when building community.

This template goes for cycling too. As I think back now, that's how I've approached my job as a rep. Build the stoke, support those who support you and things will grow organically. I'm blessed by a great dealer base of business owners who have their heads on straight, arms open and a smile on their face. So with that being said, remain true to the customer, lifestyle, and sport.

Here's Jeff's blog entry...[click here!] Remember, as a retailer, there's a fine line between being core and poor. Watch your step!
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