Assisting Riders With A New Bike Purchase | RETAIL CONFIDENTIAL

Three’s Not Always Company When Buying A New Motorcycle

Our instinct as experienced motorcyclists is to assist new riders with a purchase decision. From my standpoint as a salesman, having a veteran rider provide advice should be a plus, right? Not exactly. You acting as the third party can actually muck up the works.

Dealer prep includes getting your bike off the truck and uncrated so that it can be assembled for your to ride home.

I know it sounds crazy, but there are certain things a customer will tell me that he might not tell you as his friend. He might be feeling the squeeze of buying more motorcycle than he needs or can afford, and he won’t necessarily want to tell you this in the hope of impressing you. You are buddies, remember? Our new rider wants to keep it that way, and he wants respect. I know not all dealerships care whether they get riders on the right bike at the right price based on the information provided, but I also know friends can be a little insensitive as well. Our new rider might already be feeling pressure from the salesperson; he doesn’t need peer pressure on top of that.

At some point, financing will probably be a topic of conversation, and, as close as you two are, you probably shouldn’t be involved. I’ve seen plenty of confidence on the sales floor when friends are around that suddenly disappears when walking through the door to the finance office. This is usually where the truth comes out. Not everyone wants to share personal financial information (or personal feelings, for that matter) with close friends, but it needs to be shared with us to complete the deal.

Bottom line: We need to work together when it comes to our new rider. You two will have plenty of time to ride after the purchase, and that’s the goal, right? We appreciate your enthusiasm by bringing new riders in, and we reward those who refer customers who make a bike purchase. Just recognize when it’s appropriate to step back and allow us to take over. A good dealership values long-term customers, so we’re incentivized to take good care of your friend.

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

Dealer prep includes getting your bike off the truck and uncrated so that it can be assembled for your to ride home.