No matter what a dealer has in stock, there is always someone looking for the one that was just sold.

The goal of any dealer is to get you on the bike you want. You know exactly what you came in for, you’re ready to pull the trigger, and you don’t want to wait. But the bike is not in stock. Now what do you do?

First, ask your dealer to do an inventory search to find another dealer in the area that has exactly the right bike. Just because we don’t have it on the floor doesn’t mean we can’t find it and have it in a day or two. It’s a simple process and something we are willing to do. It might not even cost you extra as long as the bike is at a dealership within a couple hundred miles roundtrip. If we need to order the bike from the distributor, it could take four to six weeks to arrive. I don’t know about you, but my wife’s approval won’t last that long, and money is usually smoldering in my right front pocket.

Why wasn’t your dream machine on the floor? These days manufacturers carefully manage production rates to minimize inventory sitting in warehouses and in dealers’ backrooms. Also, since we place our first orders with the manufacturers at the beginning of the year, it can be a bit of a guessing game. Sure, we have sales history from year to year and know what we generally sell, but as colors, options, and buying trends change, predicting the weather might be easier. For example, before ABS became popular it was difficult to sell so we didn’t order many ABS bikes. Now the demand is stronger.

Still, it seems that no matter what we have in stock there is always someone looking for the one we just sold. Go figure. Tell your salesman what it is you’re looking for and see what he is willing to do to make the deal happen. You might be surprised.

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.