The third-annual Master Technician’s Workshops were held October 26 and 27 in Santa Ana, California to sold-out capacity crowds.
Dave Jones, a Southern California rep for such brands as Avalanche Snowboards and Dominator wax, was the man responsible for putting together the workshops and bringing almost 100 shop employees together for the retail refresher course. While the program drew heavily from the So Cal scene, the most-traveled-distance award went to a shop in Montana that sent two people to the workshops.
Things kicked off with a brief overview of sales techniques by Ed Applebaum of Sparc. He provided tips on up-selling, stoking customers, servicing repeat clientele, and gaining referrals.
Applebaum pointed out that on average, there are a significant number of times retailers aren’t going after the sale. In fact, he said that almost 60 percent of the time when shoppers are in a store looking at merchandise, retailers never ask if the customer wants to buy something. Twenty percent of the time retailers do ask for the sale, and the last twenty percent the consumers actually ask for the sale themselves.
“I encourage you to do something,” Applebaum said. “It will have a significant impact on your store.” Certainly, if shops just follow a small portion of the ideas he conveyed in the presentation, they’ll see a difference in the bottom line.
Next up on the program was custom-boot fitting. Jones handled this section personally, stressing to the audience that selling custom insoles should be easy once customers realize the insoles will increase the comfort, support, control, and fit of their boots. With basic insoles going for $29.95 and custom jobs costing up to 89 dollars, they make excellent add-on sales to any boot purchase. Jones spent time explaining the three different ways to fit custom insoles, then demonstrated on an audience member.
The afternoon was spent repairing blown edges and patching bases on both snowboards and skis. Leading the attendees through this section was Chris Walsh, operations manager of Sun Valley Ski Tools. He gave a comprehensive demonstration of several different backshop repair techniques that included welding bases, edge tuning and beveling, and T-bolting inserts.
Former Salomon World Cup Racer Service Technician Tom Reinerth wrapped things up with a little insight into the mysterious world of waxing techniques and gave some waxing tips from the racing circuit. He explained at length the causes of friction on the base of a snowboard and then showed how his wax company, Dominator (and most of the wax industry), addressed each of these friction causers with different kinds of wax.
J.B. Fitts, a backshop employee of ZJ Boarding House, said that the workshop was very valuable for him: “We do 2,000 to 3,000 dollars in repairs a season. With more staff trained to do the work, we could bring in a lot more. Plus, the machine maintenance is a big issue for us. I got some good tips for that today.”
Indeed, there were plenty of good tips for retailers, and everyone came away ready to implement at least a few into their shops-hopefully seeing the results at the cash register.