It's Easy Rider: 9 Tips How To Sell More Motorcycles

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Have you ever sat down and figured out exactly how much money you were losing year over year? How about your sector of business as a whole?

I was interviewed on FOX last week by Kelly Wright on the jaw-dropping fact that motorcycle dealers' sales fell nearly 44% in 2009 and 4% below that for the first quarter of 2010. FOX received their tip from the Los Angeles Times story a week earlier, Motorycle Dealers Still Scrambling to Find Customers by Susan Carpenter.

My take on the news?

Here are 9 points how to sell for any retailer:

  1. 1. Motorcycle dealers, like many retailers got lazy with their sales process. They filled the store with models and oftentimes clerked rather than sold the product

  2. On top of that, many dealers hired enthusiasts as sales people. That often means they identified with someone’s hard luck story. "I can't buy it so I understand you can't either." As a result, they sell what is cheap rather than what is best or profitable.

  3. Discounts and price-matching compounded those problems and for many have become a race to unprofitability and the out of business sign.

  4. Cheap credit bought people to their showrooms who couldn’t’ pay during the bubble, but the ones who could buy are still there.

  5. What are the sales team's conversion rates of people walking in vs. those buying?. People don't come into any retailer any more to dream - they want to buy. Your sales people must help them do that.

  6. Many still display all the bikes like they were refrigerators, line after line - it doesn’t spotlight the joy of riding.

  7. New marketing has to include YouTube videos of people enjoying their bikes as well as dealer events.

  8. Where are their programs to attract women riders or first timers? Dealers could offer to pay for new riders’ classes in a rebate on their vehicle.

  9. Finally, no matter what product you sell, if you have a bunch of salespeople who continue to bemoan how no one is buying, give them sales training but if they can’t cut it, replace them - even if its your husband.

In Sum

Motorcycle dealers have got to sell the thrill of a motorcycle, not a cheap piece of metal. In the article a reporter from Dealer News hit it on the head, "The enthusiasm for motorcycling never went away."

You can’t wish for 2007 to come again – you need people without baggage to sell your merchandise.