Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gladwell and the Bike Show

Bike Show weekend has come and gone. Highlights included helping ladies learn more about WSD, chilling with the Sweet Pete's gang, getting to visit with Kona-Matt, a great socializing event including free beer (where WERE you?!) at the new "B-Side" store which is so beautiful -- go! And then to close it all off, an unexpected dinner invitation chez Chico's urban pied-de-terre. I have a lot of great times to thank Chico Racing for, and it was awesome to add another to the list.

Anyway, I am reading Malcolm Gladwell's Blink at the moment, and came across an interesting section that might explain why actually SELLING A BIKE wasn't featured on the highlights reel.

Time and time again, I would explain the difference between hydro-forming and carbon. I would talk about how Trek has shortened up their top tubes and set the steer tube a little taller while Giant has opted for a slightly longer option. We'd go over fit and specs, and talk about why 105 is a great groupo to get started. We'd chat and laugh, she'd smile at me and eagerly bring over her friends or husband to see the two-wheeled object of her affection. And then the inevitable, abrupt, "okay-thanks-bye".

I chalked it up to it being my first time in a saleperson situation -- i must be missing the necessary skills to seal the deal. But talking to others at the show, I found out the phenomenon is actually quite common.

Gladwell might have the answer!

He talks about an experiment conducted by researcher Sheena Iyengar involving a tasting booth offering exotic jams in an upscale grocery store. Sometimes she offered six different kinds for sampling, sometimes 24.

You might think that the more choices you offer a consumer, the better chance you have of hitting their wants/needs on the head, thus sampling leads to buying. But it turns out the opposite was true. Gladwell reports, "thirty percent of those who stopped by the six-choice booth ended up buying some jam, while only 3 percent of those who stopped by the bigger booth bought anything."

In fairness, jam is a snap decision, whereas buying a bike is something you nerd out on for a fair number of hours of screen time, scouring the internet for reviews (or maybe that's just me). But I still think there's something there. It's hard to buy a bike at the bike show because there are so many choices. And it's not like jam, where you could just relax and buy every flavour without much financial recourse. Chances are you can only choose ONE bike. Gladwell goes on to say, "If you are given too many choices, if you are forced to consider much more than your unconscious is comfortable with, you get paralyzed."

So that's my academic excuse for why I was unable to seal the deal at the bike show. On the bright side, I met a lot of ladies interested in picking up cycling, and that's a good thing! Hopefully they'll remember our pretty Sweet Pete's booth and visit us when they're ready.

No comments:

Post a Comment