You’re sitting in your shop. A customer walks in and starts checking out a snowboard. You look over and say, “Hey.”

They look at you and reply, “Hey.”

You call over, “Do you need any help?”

They answer, “No thanks. Just looking.” Then they put the board back and walk out of the store.

Will they be back? Were they checking prices? Did they want a new board, but you didn’t have the brand or the model?

Instead of wondering about all those things, you could have sold them a board and possibly a whole lot more-maybe thousands of dollars’ worth, by simply following these several easy guidelines.

Boards

Boards are the cornerstone of the snowboard shop. They are the glamour and the biggest defining piece of equipment a rider owns. Obviously there are several key things to consider when selling one.

Is the rider male or female? Most brands now offer female-specific boards and it’s good to show these to women customers. If you don’t have any, remember that lighter, softer-flexing boards are usually better for women. However, listen to the customer’s wants and needs and address them appropriately.

What type of riding are they interested in? This is important to establish early on. Park and pipe riding require different boards than Alpine carving. Finding out what riders like to do on the hill is a good way to open a sale without threatening the customer. And because it requires them to answer without a yes or a no, you’ll learn something about them without getting shut down.

Remember to explain to the customer that longer, directional boards are generally for freeriding, while the shorter, twin-tip models are for freestyle, park, and pipe sessions. Alpine and race boards are for speed and carving, but riders are pretty committed to staying away from the snowboard park and pipe on an Alpine set-up.

Give the customer several choices when showing them a certain type of board. “If you give customers three different boards to choose from, they’re going to buy one of them,” says Doug Letendre, manager of The Darkside in Killington, Vermont.

How tall is the customer and how big are their feet? Simply put, size matters and it’s an important follow-up question after finding out what type of riding the customer likes. You want to match the size of board to the rider so it’ll maneuver easily and glide effortlessly.

According to George Johnston, manager of Milo Sport in Salt Lake City, Utah, foot size and waist width are the most important things he considers when matching a person to a board.

“I try to get people to ride the skinniest board possible,” he says. “You want to match the board with their boot size.” Different boot companies with the same size boots don’t always have the same sole size, he points out, so make sure to find out what boots the customer will be using.

When considering the height of a person, a freestyle board should come up to between a rider’s shoulder and chin when it’s set up on end. A freeriding board might be a little longer, while powder boards and big Alpine boards might be as tall, if not taller, than the rider.

Discovering these three main things about a rider will make finding a board for them much easier. Don’t be afraid to show the customer a few different boards in different price ranges.

Usually the price ranges vary because of quality and construction differences, so be sure to explain the difference between a capped board and one with sandwich construction. Point out other defining characteristics, like a three-dimensional top-sheet, sintered or graphite base, or a twelve-pack hole pattern instead of an eight-pack. These differences might just tip the scales between two boards that are both suited for the park.

Boots

Boots provide the basis of comfort while a person is riding. If the foot is in pain, the snowboarding experience will probably end on a sour note. There are several different factors you need to establish when sellina snowboard boot:

Type of riding. “First, I try to find out how long a customer has been riding and whether they like to go in the park, pipe, trees, or just go fast,” says Tim Pierce, assistant manager of Out of Bounds in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

If you’ve already talked to the customer about what type of board they want to ride, you might already know their preference.

There’s still a big difference between freeriding and freestyle boots, with the former being generally taller and stiffer, although both now come in step-in models. “We always put beginners in step-ins,” says Pierce. “They just get better edge-to-edge control with them.”

Though there aren’t many hard-boot riders left, you might get one of those rare breed in your store. Ask if the customer is just switching over from skiing and likes the super-stiff support, or if they plan on laying down huge, fast turns but will never be jumping.

Fit. This is the single most important variable for most people. Because all boot companies have different lasts (foot models) they construct boots around, each brand of boot fits a little differently.

Ask the customer what type of boots they already have, and if they like them or not. If they do, it’s good to go back to the same brand. If they hate their current boots, explain to them the boot companies change their construction, liners, and materials each year and it wouldn’t hurt to try another brands. Make sure the customer tries on several different pairs, and when one style is chosen, they should put on both boots before they buy them. Let them walk around the shop in the boots.

Pierce says the liner is the first major feature he points out to customers, and explains that linerless boots a usually more freestyle oriented and are easier to put on, but boots with liners are usually a little warmer and more waterproof.

What board and bindings do they have already? Make sure the boots match up with the customer’s current equipment. In the past, sometimes a specific boot wouldn’t fit into particular bindings. Board width and the stance angle the customer rides affect the boot choice as well.

Features? While boots have become much more streamlined, there can still be noticeable and even unnoticeable differences that will make the boots stand apart. Fabrics and materials make a big impact on the comfort, durability, and warmth of the boot. How about power straps and lacing? Don’t forget to give the customer as much information as possible to help make an educated buying decision.

Bindings

On the most basic level, bindings are the tools that hold the boots to the board. With that in mind, there are several key factors to consider when selling a set of bindings to a customer:

Size of boots and board owned? Just as boards and boots come in different sizes, so do bindings. It’s important to match the rider’s current board and boots to the bindings they are interested in.

Type of riding? Again, bindings have different features for different riding styles. Freeriding bindings have higher highbacks and maybe an extra strap for the upper ankle. Be sure to point out these things to consumers when they are talking to you.

Features? Of course, other features can affect the overall price of the bindings, so show customers all the different features each binding has. Do they offer quick-release ratchet straps, tool-free adjustable forward lean, an adjustable heel cup, or multi-angle heel-strap adjustment? Is it a metal or aluminum binding?

“A lot of bindings work really well right now,” says Pierce. “One of the most important things I point out is whether the binding has cushioning under the foot and whether the boot fits tight in the binding. You don’t want any side-to-side slop.”

Apparel

Although it’s easy to spend a lot of time selecting boards, boots, and bindings, don’t give up there. Clothing sales are important, primarily because the margins are better, thus making more money for the shop. Consider these things when selling snowboard apparel:

Where does the rider snowboard? Find out what conditions the customer usually rides in. Will it be wet or dry snow? Springtime or dead of winter? These answers will help you guide the customer to products that will fit the conditions, especially fabrics that dictate how warm or waterproof a jacket will be. But it can still be a challenge.

“Clothing is so personal-it’s the toughest thing to sell,” says Johnston. “I just try to explain the fabrics and features. Some people want to get teched out, but some don’t really care.”

Sell the extras. “The more bells and whistles you can show them, the better,” says Letendre. The more trendy clothing and stylish jackets at lower pricepoints usually sell themselves, but “when you show a customer a lot of different features, it’s easy to pump them up to a more expensive jacket. If they were looking at a 250-dollar coat and they’re committed to buying, you can usually get them to buy the 400-dollar one because they’re going to keep it a long time and it’s worth it.”

Warmth. We wear clothes to protect us from the cold. Be sure to tell the rider how warm a jacket will be and what temperatures it can handle. Is it waterproof or just water repellent? How durable is it?

Use hangtags. Those little annoying cardboard pieces are there for a reason, so don’t be afraid to point them out to the customer. Sometimes they won’t see them. Usually the hangtags will highlight a different brand-name fabric or will offer a warranty that might sway the customer’s purchase.

If the clothes fit … Make sure the customer tries on the clothing before they buy it. It seems obvious, but sometimes people just assume they’re a size large when they could really use a medium. Tell the customers to realize that on the cold slopes, they might be wearing extra layers, so the jacket should have some extra room.

Have fun. Don’t forget to explain to customers that the equipment they’re buying will lead to more fun on the slopes, and that’s why we all snowboard anyway. Good luck and good selling.e margins are better, thus making more money for the shop. Consider these things when selling snowboard apparel:

Where does the rider snowboard? Find out what conditions the customer usually rides in. Will it be wet or dry snow? Springtime or dead of winter? These answers will help you guide the customer to products that will fit the conditions, especially fabrics that dictate how warm or waterproof a jacket will be. But it can still be a challenge.

“Clothing is so personal-it’s the toughest thing to sell,” says Johnston. “I just try to explain the fabrics and features. Some people want to get teched out, but some don’t really care.”

Sell the extras. “The more bells and whistles you can show them, the better,” says Letendre. The more trendy clothing and stylish jackets at lower pricepoints usually sell themselves, but “when you show a customer a lot of different features, it’s easy to pump them up to a more expensive jacket. If they were looking at a 250-dollar coat and they’re committed to buying, you can usually get them to buy the 400-dollar one because they’re going to keep it a long time and it’s worth it.”

Warmth. We wear clothes to protect us from the cold. Be sure to tell the rider how warm a jacket will be and what temperatures it can handle. Is it waterproof or just water repellent? How durable is it?

Use hangtags. Those little annoying cardboard pieces are there for a reason, so don’t be afraid to point them out to the customer. Sometimes they won’t see them. Usually the hangtags will highlight a different brand-name fabric or will offer a warranty that might sway the customer’s purchase.

If the clothes fit … Make sure the customer tries on the clothing before they buy it. It seems obvious, but sometimes people just assume they’re a size large when they could really use a medium. Tell the customers to realize that on the cold slopes, they might be wearing extra layers, so the jacket should have some extra room.

Have fun. Don’t forget to explain to customers that the equipment they’re buying will lead to more fun on the slopes, and that’s why we all snowboard anyway. Good luck and good selling.