Clinics that Inspire Consumer Loyalty and Sales

Clinics that Inspire Consumer Loyalty and Sales

lou_dzierzak_90x110Best Practices by Lou Dzierzak,

Preseason Clinic Tips
The seasons are beginning to change. Daylight hours are shrinking a few minutes every day. Cooler temperatures early in the morning and after dark hint at the winter cold and snow that are soon to come. Outdoor enthusiasts are also shifting their interests. Paddling and cycling are giving way to increasing excitement about skiing, snowshoeing and winter recreation.

Hosting evening and weekend clinics is a smart way to fuel that anticipation. By providing your customers with information about new snow sports products before the snow falls, retailers can reap early season sales without worrying about when the first snowy weekend will arrive to trigger impulse sales.

Clinics are a significant part of a retailer’s marketing plan but here are a few tips that may improve this year’s presentations.

Remember the audience
Inviting your customers to a snowshoe clinic isn’t enough to guarantee that attendees will have an enjoyable time and be motivated to purchase products.

Remind clinic presenters to take a few minutes to understand the collective knowledge of the clinic attendees. Offering information about the topic that is too basic or too highly technical can have a negative effect. A few simple questions can help the presenter qualify the crowd and tailor the information to deliver the most value to the broadest segment of the audience. Invite attendee’s stick around after the presentation to ask specific questions.

Qualifying the attendees is even easier when the clinic’s name and planned content is tightly focused. Introduction to snowshoeing and introduction to snowshoe running are two completely different topics. The better the clinic’s description the more the attendees will select the clinic that’s most beneficial to them.

Find a Partner
To get the best experience from a Saturday afternoon of skiing or snowshoeing the place is as important as product. Invite representatives from local regional parks and ski resorts to join your clinics and describe trail networks and special events that give the clinic attendees a good reason to be outside.

Coordinating schedules can be challenging at times but taking time to talk through the presentation with the partner prior to the day of the clinic will avoid any surprises about the partner’s proposed clinic content or presentation skills.

Clinic attendees will appreciate printed materials they can take home and review at their convenience. Descriptions and definitions of equipment, selection advice the clinic attendee’s next visit to your store will be with purchases in mind. Park locations and trail descriptions remove any lingering obstacles about where to go to enjoy their new equipment.

Merchandise the product category
Don’t overlook the opportunity to show gear, equipment or apparel that can make your clinic topic more enjoyable. People attending a Nordic waxing technique presentation may leave your store with a new baselayer, hydration pack, headlamp or an upgraded set of ski poles if these allied product categories are well-merchandised.

Lou Dzierzak is the editor of Cross Country Skier magazine. A full-time freelance writer, he has covered the business of outdoor recreation for more than 15 years.
He can be reached at