There's something that can add revenue at zero or little cost to your business? Read all about it from sales guru Colin Rees

How many free, silent salesmen does your bike shop have?

How can retailers increase their chances of securing consumer purchases using silent salesmen?
Sales trainer and business consultant Colin Rees shares more tips and ideas for bike shops of all sizes…

Every new business learns a very important lesson, very quickly. There is more to making a profit than simply selling stuff.

Saving costs can be a powerful way to watch net profit increase. Most staff only know one fiscal description, ‘margin’, which has little relation to net profit, the reason we all bother.

Reviewing stock levels can be a thankless task but can be beneficial in reducing capital tied up in product. Eliminating the ‘just in case’ syndrome in ordering is a profitable attitude change.

Selling old items at cost price, for instance, is something no retailer wants as it shows they made a bad choice, but markets change and freeing up space makes financial, moral and storage space.

There are new ways available to increase sales without cost once established. We might not be Facebook or Twitter geeks, but those who are represent a huge market for you.

This year, I was training in a retail business that had decided years ago to develop a web-based operation. Today, it is turning over millions and one way it achieves does that is by employing five people on outgoing social media and four dealing with incoming responses; that is apart from the 20 manning telephones and emails.

No, the small, family retailer cannot compete with that, but so as not to be left behind, a slice of that business can be captured. If you are not the ‘Facebook or Twitter type’, there are lots who are. A Saturday lad in the office might be the place to start.

Recently, I took a look at my front gates which had been hanging since I bought my house years ago. They were in a pretty bad state after years of papering over the cracks with Sadlin. The time had come to replace them, so I went online to see the options.

I was surprised at the number of sites where I could buy new gates against the others, which offered me a phone call to discuss things. The latter had some stunning product photographs but I couldn’t place an order – what a waste of what it cost to build the site!

For little more, that owner could have added that facility – a silent salesman – which once created does not have to cost a cent except like the Sadlin, a makeover every couple of years. There are many small bike shops doing very nicely thank you from their websales.

How about your store? If I walk around, how many sales suggestions will I see? Small cards, perhaps humorous comments that make me think, ‘do I need it?’ Look in any supermarket and see how many times you’re forced to read something. Then look at your shop: Do you even have logos in-store so if I have good experience, I know where I’ve been?

For some, browsers are hated as they “waste people’s time”. Or are they just Q3s, the human behaviour group that find it hard to make decisions and need extra time to think about options?

Grouping products together, making suggestions around the store, these are silent, unpaid sales people who can turn a ‘timewaster’ into a paying customer.

The customers who come in and have a good experience can be silent sales people too. If you know it’s going well and someone buys something they‘ll love, your sales staff can ask if they have any other biking friends that might like to see what is on offer at your store and part with their contact details in return for a £5 off coupon?

If you have a coupon in your pocket, next time you need something bikey, where will you go? Give the customer one to give to a friend if you wish, it is you they have to come to, to redeem it.

The changing room in a bike shop is where a customer will spend time. Almost every changing room in the UK has absolutely nothing in it but a mirror. What a missed opportunity to tell people who spend time there, how good you are. What is in your changing room? Is it promotionally blank?

Silent salesmen can add revenue to bicycle retailers at nil cost. Enough said.

Colin Rees Sales Trainer and business consultant
P: 07540 351530

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