The 'Independent Business Development' scheme for IBDs is an extension and follow-up to the Madison-sponsored ACT training courses of 2002, conducted by Colin Rees. Madison customers get whopping great discount off the cost of the courses.

Madison teams up with Colin Rees for training initiative

The initiative is split into nine parts, which can be booked singly, in subsets or as a whole.

Each ‘module’ is priced at £750 and is open to any IBD. Madison customers get a £400 discount per module.

"Madison has always been dedicated to supporting dealers and generating business by working together to maximise sales," said Madison’s Bill Baxter.

"Training only works if it is on-going. There is little point in having a trainer or consultant in for a day and then not following through on the advice given."

In an invite letter to IBDs, Madison highlights the success stories from last year’s Colin Rees training programmes.

“We doubled our average customer spend from £42 per customer to £86 per customer in one month,” said Jon Skeene of Don Skeene Cycles.

“It’s true, I am not the sort of person who can look someone in the eye and ask, do you want this bike? But when I did, not only did the customer say yes but went on to buy thirteen accessories,” said Martin Legge of Tavistock Cycles, Devon.

Here are the modules on offer:


Business analysis – Where can you improve without spending money?

Small businesses rarely take time to step back and look at where the business is going. There is never enough time, and many dealers do not know how to be pro active in attracting new customers, whilst keeping existing ones. Most turn to advertising and the Yellow Pages as the easiest way to get their name known. It is impossible to know how many sales leads this form of marketing produces; it is also the most expensive form of small business advertising in the UK.

This session looks in detail at core business areas as the essential starting point to making improvements and advice is provided in the following areas:

• Core markets • Competitive advantages • Buying aspects • Financing and cash flow • Merchandising • Marketing • Footfall

• Examining policies such as discounts, commission schemes and time efficiency are included • Aims and objectives

Without targets or goals to work towards, there can be no planning. The lack of strategic and financial planning is the most common form of small business failure. A business without aims is an aimless business.

Time management

This portion considers ways you can become more efficient without spending money. It contains some useful hints and tips that can make a big difference to your own daily achievement and improve your output of work.


This session follows up on the first business analysis and considers in detail some areas where net profit can be increased. “If you do it, and the shop down the road doesn‘t do it, who sells more?”

Staffing – There is no greater overhead than staff. Are the people you are relying upon to provide your income as efficient & productive as they should be?

Observation – Often, a person coming in from outside can see things you have been looking at all year – and not seen. Part of this session is conducted on the sales floor in front of customers where the consultant can watch and note what takes place. The observations will be fed back to the proprietor and used in any future staff sales training sessions.

Merchandising – How well does the shop sell for you when you are not there? A detailed study is undertaken. Looking at the way the shop is laid out in terms of display, looking at buying suggestions & corporate image sites, identifying “hot spots” & generally examining the store with a view to getting it selling.

Marketing a bike shop – Low cost promotional methods of increasing footfall into the shop. Each one is explained and looked at closely with a view to the characteristics of the store.

Writing a marketing plan – So many business waste promotional money and opportunities. By writing a proper promotional plan, you can work one year ahead planning for the down times and maximising on seasonal changes.

Customer communications & loyalty – if I buy a bike from you, when will I hear from you next? Usually never after the first service and often these are not followed up. Your business can improve dramatically in terms of loyalty if your customers become just that – your customers.

Database marketing – Looking at ways of capturing information and planning how Madison can help you to exploit the database organisation.

How Stockturn can help you make profits – Stockturn Epos system, Madison’s own company, have a module designed to get a bike shop communicating with customers. This portion of the session explains the way to set up the attributes and make the system work for you.

Customer care – An introduction to a low-cost method of retaining and exploiting customers through low-cost loyalty programmes. This session is an introduction into methods the store may employ to be passed to staff in the staff training session. It includes examining policies such as discounts, overall attitudes towards customers, and complaint handling procedures. “I really had no idea how much I was missing by not thinking about merchandising from the customer’s viewpoint. I wish you had come years ago!” David Stainthorpe

PROPRIETORS – SESSION 3 – Possible increase in profits – +15%

Running a profitable repair centre – This session can include staff if necessary. The whole project regarding repairs is examined in order to look closely at actions necessary to bring it into profit. Often, repairs are not seen as a profit centre. Modern computer methods of controlling the activity, booking in, hourly rates, package products are considered, as well as the overall organisation needed to be effective in this area.

Selling up repairs -This session alone has increased repair profitability by +15%.

Commission scheme management – Many bike shops have either no form of commission or profit share scheme or an individual reward scheme. Sometimes it is wasted as employees get used to the bonus and have no further incentive to increase sales. This session looks at the right and wrong ways to motivate staff. It provides a module for an employee contract and suggested appraisal layout.

Buying – It is well known that profitable buying and sensible purchasing decisions need planning, as any independent retailer needs to think about buying as a means of making net profit. Invariably, buying decisions are made by untrained staff who may be buying what they want to sell rather than what is actually in demand. This session looks closely at the whole operation of buying to ascertain if savings can be made by a more structured approach to fulfilling customer needs.

Getting the most from your sales reps – Reps are often seen as a source of irritation when in fact, they can be a huge help to the business in keeping up to date with product knowledge and sharing information. This is discussed in detail to ensure the shop has a sensible way in place to keep all staff up to date.


Managing a team – Would Marks & Spencer ever appoint a store manager off the street? Many bike shop managers have reached their present position through length of service rather than by being the best. Getting the best out of people is a skill that can be taught and this session seeks to enhance the management style and effectiveness of each employee through planned, disciplined management of the store.

Appraisals – Most small businesses do not see the need for a regulated appraisal system. Appraisals are not just for big firms, they are a means to improve personal performance as well as enhance the teamwork aspects of each staff member. Appraisals also produce training needs. This session discusses the best form of bike shop appraisal to use.

Employment legislation – Many bike shops still run without employee contracts of employment. In so doing, they run the risk of immediate closure. The main points needed in a simple contract format are discussed.

Miscellaneous – If the manager has responsibility for buying or marketing, or any other activities which have not been covered, these modules will be included in the session.


Staff Induction – For all new members of staff

Where proprietors have recruited new people, it is critical to give the new employee time to understand the thinking of the store and the nature of the job they are employed to do. However, to find this in a small shop is rare and time is usually the reason. It is critical the new member of the team is integrated quickly and produces business as fast as possible. People can not be expected to pick up on how you want them to behave instantly, it takes time and care and training. This session starts a new employee off in the right way explaining the nature of the job, how to handle customers, any policies the shop wishes to inform them on and gives them the confidence to integrate quickly and produce business fast.

SALES STAFF – SESSION 6 – Likely sales increase from this session +15%

Staff coaching – one to one

The session starts with an appraisal process to consider how the staff member feels about their job responsibilities & their capability. It then moves to the sales floor where the person is shadowed & actions assessed to increase effectiveness. At the end of each session, the observation notes are discussed with members of staff and the proprietor. It is very useful for people lacking in confidence or product knowledge. By taking the time with a professional coach, anyone can increase his or her effectiveness in just a few sessions.

SALES STAFF – SESSION 7 – Likely sales increase from this session + 20%

How soon in the sales conversation do your staff ask customers, “How much have you got to spend?” Why ask it? Do they tell you the truth? Does it lock you into a fixed price sector? Are you surprised you do not sell more top end bikes? Let’s show you how to do it so you never ask that question ever again! And make more profit…

Basic personal analysis – It is vital to find out the various strengths and weaknesses we all have to establish a base from which to grow. It enhances teamwork and these sessions often result in a renewed respect for each other and a desire to act as a team, ideal for the owner.

Three vital sales principles – No one buys anything unless they have a need. The application is discussed in relation to customer questions along with other critical principles.

Customer review – We review the different types of customers, and look at ways to treat the various types of bike buyer.

Features and benefits – Most people do not realise the power of selling benefits. This session demonstrates that power and teaches staff how to go about learning benefits for all store products.

Discounts – Attitude to customers needs to be discussed and developed. Often, no discount policy is in place meaning you lose a percentage of your profit just giving discounts to people who ask.

Top End Selling – This technique is tried and tested and has already proven to be a record breaker! It takes time to learn and more time to practise but once mastered, the store can look at an increase in profitability immediately. This session includes an on-the-job assessment.

Repetition selling – A little known technique used to convince a customer of certain product attributes without them even knowing.


The sales conversation – Likely sales increase from this session is +25%.

Imagine the difference to your sales figures if every member of staff closed every sale with every customer. This session concentrates on how to do it properly.

To be able to recognise the dynamics that take place in every sales conversation is not something people usually do. Different customers need different treatment. We are all “different”. However, if you know the process, you can increase in confidence and recognise buying signals. This session concentrates on closing a sale, a skill that few people are born with yet one that can increase sales by 10% with no cost.

Technique and tips – This session is designed to recap on the skills learned in previous sessions as well as adding tried and tested sales techniques to the armoury. It includes ways to sell more top end goods, customer relationship building techniques, follow up on sales and ways to enhance the spend per customer.

Selling up – In past courses, this section has been the third most successful way to increase sales without cost. It includes the now famous exercise for team building and additional team sales.

“I never thought you would convince Simon he could close a sale but that boy has come on in leaps and bounds since you were here. Suddenly, he’s selling the same amount I am!” This is attributed to a dealer who wishes to remain anonymous but details can be supplied. Simon is 17 years old.

SALES STAFF – SESSION 9 – Likely sales increase from this session +10%

Experienced sales people always believe there is nothing they can learn. However, most admit they are capable of selling more than they do at present. One factor is closing sales faster. If there are no confidence barriers and sales people know the rudiments, then to be able to examine the sales conversation again from a “higher” plane makes it possible to improve through increased efficiency.

Body language – The power to the sales person of body language can make the difference between a sale lost and a sale won. Learning how we should look and how to interpret a customer’s look is critical to efficient selling.

Relationship selling – Identifying with a customer sells more goods. However, there are ways to achieve this, and ways that offend. The various techniques are assessed in detail.

Top Staff Coaching – When an experienced sales person believes they have reached the pinnacle of their selling capability, it is time to think about sales efficiency. In this session, the consultant shadows the sales person and reports back to each member of staff and the Proprietor in an attempt to ensure the maximisation of their abilities.

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