pecialty retail is a tricky wicket. You have enthusiasts with expansive knowledge about their sport or hobby clamoring for jobs—but they’re often unprepared for a career in customer service. So do you hire the devotee who has a thorough understanding of the product but a surly attitude, or do you choose the gregarious clerk with no knowledge of the product?

It was with that question that Karl Salz, EVP & COO Sun & Ski Sports, approached The Mann Group. The retailer’s inventory includes technical clothing and specialized tools for a variety of sports, including bikes, boards, and more. In other words: there’s a lot of complex product on their sales floors, and helping each customer find the best buy for their sport and experience level is no easy feat.

“We like to hire a lot of enthusiasts that are passionate about the activities that they do, but they might not be the most confident working with customers yet, and we have high expectations from a customer service standpoint,” says Salz. The Mann Group helped Salz find a solution that worked across his 30 specialty retail shops.

“We rely on Dan to help us with our strategy. He’s more than a trainer, he’s almost like a partner or a consultant,” Salz adds. “Knowing that we can rely on Dan [Mann] to help bridge the gap between the decision to hire someone without experience or product knowledge, or with Dan’s help we can hire people who are passionate about their sport and have that built-in product knowledge, we can help them with their confidence and customer service. Hiring enthusiasts knowing we can get them trained and teach them how to interact with customer.”

In business, there is no such thing as “yes or no.” There are an endless array of compromises and courses of action, and it’s our specialty to help you find the one that fits you and your biz best.

“[Dan] knows the industry, he’s credible, and he helps people pay attention to training.We rely on Dan to help us with our strategy. He’s more than a trainer, he’s almost like a partner ”

-Karl Salz , Executive Vice President, COO

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