Tactics of the Dealership Salesman | RETAIL CONFIDENTIAL

Use these tips to gain an advantage when you negotiate.

When you’re in the market for a brand-new bike, it can be hard to decide which way to go. Being flexible on your choice could lead to a better deal.©Motorcyclist

As a dealership, our goal is to flip our inventory several times before the new models are released. As momentum grows behind any new model or rumors swirl of potential changes coming, sales can stall on some current inventory. Also, there are usually several models in any lineup that just don’t get the attention they deserve. Slow-moving or non-moving units not only take up precious and profitable floor space, but the longer a bike sits without being sold, the more a dealership pays in interest to floor this unit. Time is money.

Dealers need to carry a wide range of motorcycles to satisfy all interests and skill levels, so it’s not unusual for a shop to have a half-dozen bikes in inventory with little or no attention paid to them. Not that any of these units are horrible; in fact it can be quite the opposite. They just don’t grab the attention of the average customer. Popularity among the masses, demographics, price, and even color can create a non-profitable dust collector. So what are we going to do about this?


1/ As you explain to me the kind of bike you're looking for, I'm going to steer you toward some of these models as long as it is somewhat to your liking. I'm going to amaze you with its features and benefits and ask you to sit on it. See? It's not so bad. I will discuss with you why this motorcycle can be a great alternative to others in its class, and if nothing else I will show that you have choices.

2/ I will explain the advantages of buying this particular bike over comparable makes and models based on its attributes and/or price. I need to get customers to notice these units. Your friends have already expressed their opinions, and this is a pretty powerful persuader. What we're showing you isn't a bad motorcycle; it's an option. Why be like the rest? Why not ride something a little different, and, hey, you might even like it! Oh, and we'll make you a deal.

3/ Speaking of making deals. If you can't get your head around the color or the seat and handlebar configuration, we'll help you out. We'll negotiate the price, give you a little more for your trade, or even service it so you can take it for a test ride. I know, I know, test rides are hard to get, but we are more likely to make an exception here. Maybe we'll share the cost of those new bars and seat or give you an in-store credit to do with as you wish. You want a bike and we need to sell this bike, so what do you think? (And besides, the color might be growing on you.)

Have you looked around your local dealer’s showroom lately? I mean really looked around? Your next new motorcycle might be the one you least expect, and it might be the best deal on the floor. When you’re in the market for a brand-new bike, it can be hard to decide which way to go, so go in with an open mind.

Jeff Maddox is the sales manager for a multi-line dealership in the Midwest. Questions for him? Email us at mcmail@bonniercorp.com with "Retail Confidential" in the subject line.