Did they hear you?

Version 2

Getting two flat tires on the commute home is a rare occurrence but that is what happened to my wife recently. The current tires had given her many miles of good service and were due to be replaced so she asked me if I wanted to go with her to our neighborhood bike shop to pick up some new tires. We both headed out since I rarely pass up a chance to check out the latest bike equipment.

We knew the store stocks a particular tire she likes since we have bought them their before.  She really loves the tires because they have reflective sidewalls, important for early morning commuters. In fact, reflective sidewalls have become so important to her that they have become the standard for any commuter bike tires.

We were greeted warmly upon our arrival at the shop by one of the staff.

“What brought you into the shop tonight?”

“I need some new tires for my commuter bike,” my wife responded.

“Is there any particular tire you like?”

“I really have good luck with Vittoria Randonneurs. They wear well and I love the reflective sidewalls.”

“What size tire do you need?”


“We have those in stock. Would you be interested in looking at other tires? I have some very similar tires that are a screaming deal. Continental makes them, they are very close to the size you want at 700×32 and they have reflective sidewalls.”

“I’ll take a look.”

After looking at the various options, she ended up selecting a pair of tires that were on sale saving her over $50. You could see my wife was pleased with the new tires as she checked them out carefully on the walk to the register. As we passed the inner tube display, the sales person asked my wife, “Do you need any inner tubes?”

“Not tonight.”

“If you buy 3, the 4th one is free?” he queried further.

“No”, she declined, distracted now by digging for her credit card.  Soon, we were back in the car with our new tires in hand. Seeing more opportunity to ogle bike gear, I suggested that we stop at another shop on the way home.

As we wandered through the next bike shop checking out all the event sales signs, my wife was soon standing in front of the inner tube rack.  At the top of the rack was a sign exclaiming,”Buy any three inner tubes & get the fourth one free!!!”

My wife turned to me and said, “That is a good deal, we should pick up some inner tubes.”

I just looked at her.

She continued, “Funny that the guy in the last shop didn’t suggest inner tubes.”

“He did,” I responded, “don’t you remember?”

“No, he didn’t.”


Teachable Moment 

Early in my retail career, I attended a clinic given by a climbing equipment company. While demonstrating a climbing harness, the rep told the group, “Make sure you tell the customer ‘Double back the belt or you can die!’ It is so important that they hear this, that I need you to repeat “Double back or die!” three times during the sale. Customers may not be ready to hear you so repeat it.”  I always remember that clinic, not so much that I climb any more, but that it is important that we help customers hear us.

We expect customers to give us their undivided attention during the sale. But, how may times does a customer fail to hear things like “Double back or die” or “If you buy 3, the 4th one is free?”

This can happen for a number of reasons.

  • The customer is not ready to listen to us
  • The customer is distracted by the attractive product they have in their hands
  • Their mind may have wandered to the next thing on the list
  • A cellphone, child or partner are distracting them
  • The store is noisy and they did not hear us
  • The sales person did not speak in an understandable way

There are things that sales people can do about these situations. It is important that we coach our sales people to make sure that customers are ready and able to hear us while assisting them.

It is our responsibility to help our customers hear us.

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