5 Steps To Closing The Deal | RETAIL CONFIDENTIAL

Our dealer insider's top five important things to consider when purchasing a new bike.

Although picking out your new ride is considered the best part of the buying process, we typically don’t think of it as a business transaction. But it is. And when you’re done negotiating your best price and it’s time to pay up, the next stop is the business office. Who are those finance and insurance (F/I) people? Glad you asked. Here are a few things to think about before you sit down in their plush, well-lit office. (That’s an inside joke shared by cubicle-dwelling salespeople.)

1. You're still in sales mode. You just built a rapport with your salesperson to the point of saying yes, and now you have to start over with someone new? Yes, and don't let the finance and insurance title fool you. These are salespeople. F/I is working to make the dealership money. When you are dealing with a salesperson, the whole conversation is about selling you something tangible. It's fun and exciting talking about new bikes, but once you walk into the business office to discuss financing, ESP, and GAP, you've let go of the handlebars and grabbed onto a pen. Talk about sucking the fun right out of it.

2. Listen to the money whisperer. Because no two deals are the same, it's important to listen to what the finance department officer is telling you. With your deal being unique to you and your credit situation, your financial circumstances, and trade-in, it's impossible to be specific here. But it pays to know your credit rating and to have shopped some alternative credit sources—such as a local bank or credit union—so you have something to compare to the offer presented at the dealer. And remember: Everything is negotiable.

3. Extended warranties. Even though the F/I salespeople make additional profit for the shop on the products they sell, some of these products have real value to the buyer. For instance: If you plan on keeping your motorcycle beyond the length of the manufacturer's warranty, you might consider adding an extended warranty. It's essential that you weigh the cost and benefits to see if it's viable for your situation. Most bikes these days are extremely reliable, but when things go wrong, out-of-warranty repairs can be expensive. If you find yourself putting on a lot of miles every year, an extended warranty might be worth looking into. You may also have more luck selling a high-mileage machine to a private buyer if it's backed by a transferrable extended warranty.

4. Mind the GAP. GAP, or Guaranteed Asset Protection, is important if you are financing more than what your insurance company will pay out in the event of a total-loss claim. If you are riding out on your new bike immediately owing less than fair market value of your bike, GAP isn't necessary.

5. Are you covered? Financing requires insurance. Shop your current carrier before the purchase, but also check competitive services to see who offers the best deal. Then, and only then, can you compare that to the offer on hand from the F/I staff.

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.