BOULDER, CO (BRAIN) — After a 17-year run, Ray Keener has pulled the plug on his Selling Cycling retail staff training program. Keener said interest and support waned in recent years as industry suppliers began offering their own product training.
“When Selling Cycling began, there was really nothing for retailers to use to become their own sales trainers,” Keener said. “We sold 238 packages that first year, and my friends were shocked that so many dealers bought it.”
The first Selling Cycling training program, a 45-minute video program and Owner’s Workbook, was produced in November 1996 and shipped to 238 retailers in January 1997. Selling Cycling covers retail topics such as sales techniques, customer service, store branding, bike fitting, selling service, merchandising and marketing. Keener said it's used by more than 1,600 retailers.
Keener said Selling Cycling expanded into supplier-supported training in 2000, and graduated from VHS to CD-ROM, then to online training to keep up with changes in technology.
In the last two years Keener partnered with the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) to keep the program going in the face of growing competition from free supplier-created product training and programs from companies like 3point5 and Sparc.
“The partnership was strong but the sales were not,” Keener said. “While I still believe that the Selling Cycling message is needed, it’s no longer viable from a business standpoint.”
Keener will continue to produce training as a volunteer for Community Cycles, a Boulder nonprofit that sells recycled bikes to fund its advocacy work. He was also recently appointed the executive director of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, and he writes columns and occasionally contributes to Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.
Keener said the 2011 and 2012 Selling Cycling programs are still for sale on the NBDA website, but stock is limited.