This week’s Shift Up Podcast, a segment discussing how bicycle representatives impact the industry, is now live at the head of the homepage, and by hitting play below.
This episode host Arleigh Greenwald invites Colin Ross from Linus Bikes to discuss whether sales reps are helping to build a better bike industry or if they are perhaps hurting the bike industry. Ross has worked in IBD’s and owned his own successful bike shop before eventually joining Linus as a sales manager three weeks ago.
He said: “Like a lot of people, I work in the bike industry by choice, not for the great pay or the wonderful hours or anything. I started riding bikes in college and lost over 100 pounds. I realised working with bikes was a lot more fun than working in the hospital.”
Ross knows what it’s like to have just started out in the industry: “That was my motivation: I had been in a position where i had seen the end result. So often the barriers are: how do I get in to this? How do I choose which product? Where do I ride? What do I do? All things that I found intimidating when I started out, which wasn’t that long ago so I remember that feeling.”
In his current position, Ross works independently which means he gets paid through commission on products that are shipped, as opposed to a brand rep.
“It’s a double-edged sword. Most independents chose to be independent because they have that freedom to sell the way that comes naturally. Ideally that means that they can go in to a store and build a relationship that can pivot towards what that store needs. Certainly, the downside is that it’s a little bit like the wild west at times, without a ton of structure.”
Ross reveals how the bike industry has changed over recent years, and how reps have had to adapt to keep up with the changing landscape.
“Good or bad to some extent, the industry was an old boys network and you knew who you sold to, you didn’t need to hustle because he was your friend, he would buy a few bikes to help you meet your quota. That has shifted and has been shifting for a long time.
“Most reps are out there hustling hard but sometimes it can feel like the entire infrastructure is still geared for that sort of process rather than for the process that reps are really in.”
To catch up with previous episodes of the Shift Up Podcast, check in with the back catalogue here.