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Selling wheels is actually hard work. The differences that do exist between wheels are reasonably contained (let's face it there are some bad wheels out there, and there are also wheels designed around divergent purposes), so when you're earnestly trying to help someone make their best choice, rather than a just a good choice, it's kind of a full contact process, mentally speaking. It's also time consuming. 

The way it works out, selling the wheels is the only way to monetize that consultative process, and that's the way it works out in most retail-ish things. I'd actually love a business model whereby we just took a fee for consulting wheel purchases for people. The sales/service side and the operations are both hungry beasts, and HAH! if you think you can multi-task them. And please - sales isn't a dirty word - in your life as a consumer, good salesmen/women are some of the most valuable people in your world. They help you spend your life using things that add value to your life instead of things that suck. But the operations are how you get paid for the sales/service part, that's just how it is. And the price of the goods has to reflect the cost and value of the sales and service, otherwise the supplier is screwing himself. 

We actually steer most people towards our lowest margin wheel set, which is the opposite of what most sales organizations do, and is actually pretty dumb from a business perspective. We'd supposed that the benefits of that set would be so self-evident that it would involve about as much of a sales process as someone buying a Coke in a gas station. What's happened as often as not is that said product is a better fit and value for the customer's needs than some higher margin thing they'd originally asked about, and we wind up spending a lot of our very finite time explaining that. So that's something we have to look at, but we aren't going to shut down the sales process side. To do so just wouldn't be us, and we enjoy it anyway. But it's worked out that we're kind of punishing ourselves for doing a good, so we have to look at it. 

We've always been, but seem to have become more so recently, a high touch supplier. Pretty substantial pre-sales contact is the norm, as are post-delivery follow ups. And we like this, it's a natural fit for us. There are instances when it gets a bit excessive, and we struggle with those. We have a weakness for trying to make sure people feel well served. We're also small, so when you contact us, you're going to hear from one of the guys who's stood there in the wind tunnel, or done the brake heat testing, or measured all the tires, or burped the tubeless cross tire that didn't work as well as it was supposed to. The flip side of this is that we're small, so as we're trying to give you perfect info, there are also things that aren't happening then. It's part of running a small business. 

 


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  • Scott on

    I'm the customer this article refers to… Amongst many it appears! And I'm VERY satisfied!!


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