When did you first know you were on the right path in the specialty retail industry?
I knew I was on the right path in specialty retail when I was hired at Bicycle Garage Indy/BGI Fitness. I literally woke up every day and was exited to go to work. Not only to work, but connect with the customer. I had worked in everything from landscaping/lawn care to the GAP and nothing really exited me in those jobs. I started working at Bicycle Garage and I went from this is a “job” to I want to do this for my career. I just was so exited to help people get on bikes and enjoy the outdoors.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of working in specialty is selling an experience over a product. There are so few industries out there where you can directly have a positive impact on a person like you can in selling a bicycle and helping them have all the tools to enjoy the total cycling experience. Then when they come back in and tell you what cool and exciting things they have done with their new purchase, that is the cherry on top!
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned through Mann U?
Wow, it is tough to narrow down to one particular lesson that I learned at MANN U! For me, learning to communicate well as a manager was the biggest take away. I have been a sales consultant for 10+ years at BGI, so a lot of the transitions were pretty easy to sales manager. The one thing I had little experience in was dealing with other employees on a one-on-one basis as a manager. The teaching and the putting into action of the lessons by role playing were great for me.
Give us one pointer for developing a genuine relationship with your customers.
The biggest thing for me when developing a genuine and long-lasting relationship is to be positive and honest. I like to ask questions and then really listen to the response. From those responses, I like to give real life examples on how the products can help them achieve their goals. Whether that is doing an Ironman, commuting to work by bike, or just cruising around the neighborhood with their children. I feel like as whole our industry can be a little “elitist” when it comes to selling bikes and how we communicate with our customers. I love selling a $10K road or full-suspension road bike as much as anyone, but selling someone a hybrid when they have not had a bike in 20 years can be way more fun and rewarding. I try my best to treat every customer equally and with a positive, can-do attitude.
Your bumper sticker would read, “I’d rather be… ___.”
“I would rather be outside!” Whether it is riding, running, hiking or just playing with my kids in the backyard. I want to be outside.
What was your favorite part of working with the Mann Group?
My favorite part about working with the Mann Group was learning with people from so many different positions in the specialty industry. It was really exciting to hear how they handle various situations and find solutions to problems. Like I said earlier, the role playing with my peers and Dan himself was a great tool that really helped me lay out the groundwork for a successful run at my new position. Although the close proximity to all of that beer and downtown Asheville was pretty nice as well!