Ski Shop Job Issues
High tech doesn’t always sell skis and snowboards. Good salespeople know that what a skier buys should depend on how they want to ski. A lot of ski and boarding companies give performance guarantees so that if after a few tries the skis don’t do what a skier wants, she can trade them in for another pair.
A knowledgeable salesman shares this story:
“One kid this winter bought a shorter ski than I recommended. And sure enough, he came back wanting a longer ski. That kind of change of mind isn’t part of the performance guarantee, but I let him trade anyway, with the owner’s approval.”
What’s nice about the ski shop business is that you’re dealing with people who want to have a good time. Recreation is high on their priority list, and shops sell equipment that provides fun. It can be as expensive as they want, or as inexpensive. There are people who are out there skiing all the time who haven’t bought new skis in fifteen years, and others who buy the latest improvements every winter.
Ski shops are great mountain research stations in addition to gear sellers. Good salespeople listen carefully to what customers say, and report local opinions to dealer reps. The reps, in turn, let their companies know what’s going on and what people think of their ski, boot, and clothing lines. Ski shop owners like their employees to stay around awhile – four years is considered a good length of time. Such experience enables the employees and the shops to grow with the industry, which tends to change and expand with each passing winter.
One savvy shop worker who lives within a three-hour drive of some of the best and some of the worst skiing in North America says:
“Customers are always asking us where to ski and board, and I don’t think the ski areas realize how much influence a shop has in where people go skiing. People call all the time and ask where the good skiing is. Sometimes you feel like a travel agent. They’ll call in the morning and ask if such-and-such a hill is as good as people say. If they’re going to a resort, they’ll ask for a good place to stay. We may hear the grooming was horrible at a certain ski area, or that the skiing was great. Our answers have great weight in where people go to ski.”
Ski areas now fax regional ski shops a daily report of snow and weather conditions. But shop employees know those reports are put together at about 5am, and that conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. It helps for employees to know something about weather patterns so they can tell customers how long the weather report will hold true.
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Advertising and Promotion
Like any other business, ski Shop sales rely to a large extent on the product advertising and promotion seen by the skier before she even goes into the shop.
Promotion is a very big part of the ski and snowboard retail business, and employees need to be aware of just how, and why, product promotion works. Getting publicity from newspapers and television is a big score for a business or a product, and it doesn’t take all that much to get news people interested. Often all it takes is a unique twist on an old theme to make an event newsworthy.