“We don’t get many people that ask for rollers, so we don’t stock them.”
We understand why a lot of bike shop owners feel this way, and it's true - most customers don’t come into your store looking for rollers. That’s because most purchasing decisions are made like this: “My friend has one, so I figured I would get one, too.” Most people don’t ride rollers… but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.
There are a lot of reasons your customers should ride rollers, and here are a couple selling points:
Improved handling skills and cadence. Riding rollers is kind of like riding a bike on ice. Any flaw in your pedal stroke is exaggerated, so you are forced to overcome your weaknesses. Rollers will make you a better rider, guaranteed.
Total-body workout. Rollers challenge both your body and your mind. You are forced to activate core muscles that help with balance, and the muscles that push through the weakest part of your pedal stroke. You have to concentrate on holding a line, and you can’t space out like you might on a stationary trainer. Which leads us to…
- The best part - You can’t fall asleep from the crippling boredom that is typically associated with indoor training. Literally, you can’t… or bad things happen.
At SportCrafters, and our local bike shop, Spin Zone Cycling, we have been teaching people to ride rollers for over 15 years. The employees at Spin Zone sell more rollers than trainers every winter. They do this in one easy step: Get customers riding a roller set in the shop. Don’t stop reading here – we’re totally serious. You won’t sell rollers on the concept alone because most people are intimidated. If they ride them, they will buy them. Here’s how to make their first roller experience a positive one:
- Convince your customer to try rollers. Tell them confidently that you will help them get started, and that most people do well their first time (this is true). Be encouraging. If they don’t like rollers, they don’t have to buy them – but at least they’ll know for sure.
- Set the roller up in a doorway. At Spin Zone Cycling, the rollers are set up in the entrance to the fitting room.
- Tell your customer to spin for a bit while holding the door frame with one hand and steering with the other hand. If they are using a road bike, make sure that they grip the handlebars in the hoods, as this is where they will have the most control over the bike. Talk to the customer about what they’re experiencing: the bike responds to even the slightest correction, so steering must be done very gently.
- At this point, your customer may want to call it quits. At least now they have experienced what rollers are like, and can make an educated decision. They will appreciate the time you spent with them. Or they will be enthusiastic about moving to the next step…
- Once they have a feel for the steering, have them get started with both hands on the hoods while using an elbow on the doorframe for balance.
- When your customer starts riding, two things typically happen:
- They immediately tense their upper body in an effort to steer the bike, making it twitchy
- When they start to veer to one side, they stop pedaling out of nervousness
- In a calm voice, tell them to focus their mind on pedaling smoothly instead of steering. Keeping up a fairly quick and even cadence, and relaxing their arms and upper body, makes steering much easier. Remind them to breathe, and to focus on a spot several feet in front of them instead of down at their wheel.
- Continue to be encouraging and point out any sign of improvement along the way.
- When they start getting the hang of it, let them know how AWESOME they are!
The best way to become a good roller salesperson is to practice, practice, practice. Get your fellow coworkers and friends, whether they ride rollers or not (yet), to hop on the rollers and talk them through it. Develop your own strategies and techniques. You will be surprised how many people opt for rollers this year!