I have meet many hundreds of people who have gone through our interview process for our Collaborative Builds. Working this way, as opposed to selling a bike off of the wall, allows us to really get to know our clients.
In sitting across from so many folks, its inevitable that some patterns emerge. And, in sitting across from so many people on the couch, you do start to get a sense that you are a bit of a therapist, listening and helping a person work through something (even if its only a bike).
The diagram above illustrates the general spectrum where people place themselves. These definitions represent the extreme 3 points of this spectrum, as many people are a composite of 2 or 3 of these characteristics.
- Gearhead: This is the person who knows just about every component that they want on their bike. This person is has done the research on the components, but may not have an overall understanding of how these components will work together as an assembly. In this situation, our role is to help the client understand the bigger picture, and how these components all relate to each other.
- Aesthetic: This person will approach us with a picture and say "I want my bike to look like this". Many times, it's a composite from a number of bikes we've already done, and sometimes it's from an online gallery. The challenge here is to make this vision a reality in terms of function, budget and reality. Someone that wants to replicate a hot track bike, yet wants to commute 15 miles a day, might have to forgo a few things to make that riding situation a reality. All of our clients have an interest in aesthetics; some just have it sooner on the process than others.
- Function: This is by far the most challenging/common situation we see. A client comes in and describes what he or she wants the bike to do. They arent concerned with colors or components just yet. They are concerned that they live in a 4 story walk-up, have little space and need this bike to fulfill 3 functions (commute, fitness and kid hauling, for instance). It's these situations where our process shines over a traditional bike store that will try to shoe-horn you into something hanging on the wall.
It's the great mix of these 3 characteristics that make our clients the best in the bike business. By the time they reach our couch, they are familiar with our process and ready to have someone listen without arrogance or attitude.