It’s unusual when a customer walks in and, without any hesitation or questions, just purchases a motorcycle. More often than not, buyers will browse several dealerships to compare prices and selection and, in a more broad sense, get a feel for the atmosphere of the dealership. Not every buyer will ask for our “bottom dollar,” giving us just one chance to make the sale, but a few will.
But it’s worth asking: If a buyer is just shopping for the best deal, is he or she really getting the best deal? Here are a few reasons this bottom-line tactic might not always work in your favor.
If you announce that you will shop dealers based strictly on price and that you'll be giving your business to the dealer with the largest discount, I might not even sharpen my pencil. How crazy is that? I might not even want to play this game. When customers become so focused on the price of the motorcycle, it gets harder to explain all the variables in the equation. There's the cost of financing through interest rates, whether or not you have a trade-in, and the value you get for your trade (this amount can vary hundreds of dollars from dealer to dealer). If you are rigorously shopping price and only price, you might pay more in the end.
Are you coming back? If we are the first shop you visit, will you give us an opportunity to see everyone else's deal on paper? You did get their deal in writing didn't you? The first dealer you visit is always at a disadvantage in this process, and, quite frankly, the price we give you is usually the one we're comfortable with. If you are willing to buy at another dealership for $50 under what we've offered, have you taken all the variables into consideration? That's not a lot of money to give up the chance of better after-sales service. You might be leaving money on the table if you don't come see us again.
Are you buying today? I assume, when someone is asking for our lowest price, the trigger will be pulled today. If you're not buying within a day or two, understand that contributing factors to the deal may change the overall pricing structure such as the promotional period for factory rebates or incentives ending or the bike you want being sold to someone else. Your trade-in allowance may also be affected a few times a year as values fluctuate. Asking for our bottom dollar today won't be effective if you are a few months away from your purchase.
That said, asking for that bottom-dollar price is a good way of saying you are a serious buyer and that you are willing to shop around. I appreciate the honesty of wanting to cut to the chase and bypass the normal means of haggling. Shopping around is something I encourage. But look at the whole picture, not just what you’re paying for the bike itself, before assuming the apparent lowest price is really the best deal.
Jeff Maddox is the sales manager for a multi-line dealership in the Midwest. Questions for him? Email us at email@example.com with "Retail Confidential" in the subject line.