motorcycle salesmen—is it just ME??

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by sshbsn, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    My BMW experiences have been good. The bigger dealers now better than the mom & pops 20 years ago. But both nothing negative. My local Suzuki when I was a teenager was good too (I bought two in two years!) but back then the owner was the salesman, too. Now it's some kid.
    #61
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  2. 3sum

    3sum local Triumph fanboy

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    I’ve yet to take the dive into BMW’s but when I do, it will be with Atlanta BMW (in Marietta). I considered it three times so far and each time, they have tossed me keys to test ride what I was interested in within 5 minutes. They’re laid back and no pressure. I see an XR in my future and when it happens, I already know where I’ll go. There is a BMW dealer 15 minutes away from me that was initially a 4 brand Japanese mega dealer with locations all over and they are the typical-these-days 20 something sales force with a GM that tried to fast talk me into a crazy expensive extended warranty a couple years ago when I was about to buy something there. I walked out.
    #62
  3. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Word of advice, don't go in wearing muddy carhartts and work boots with a work van in the parking lot. :lol3

    You won't get the privilege of any kind of interaction with a salesperson. About a year ago this was my experience at eurosport asheville. Fantastic dealership by all accounts, I went in to look at a couple of used bikes, an f800gs and an r1150gs. I was completely ignored..... I was invisible with my work wear cloaking device. I walked out and went in to the jap dealer to look at a super ten, and was treated like a king. My sales guy was a youngster, but was a motor head, total moto geek with tons of enthusiasm and random knowledge. His love of bikes sincerely displayed through all of our dealings. I got a kick out of it. I bought my AT from him after an incredible leftover offer with cash back store credit.
    #63
  4. ozmoses

    ozmoses persona non grata

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    :photog
    #64
  5. ozmoses

    ozmoses persona non grata

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    Book,cover,etc.

    Same store:

    dressed in workwear I get- " What do you need,man?"

    dressed in shirt/slacks/jacket, it's- " How may I help you,sir?"

    My money looks the same.

    I like to dress for the occasion and level of service I require- if I'm looking,it's workwear; if I'm buying,it's shirt/slacks/jacket.

    Consumer camo. :deal
    #65
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  6. JETalmage

    JETalmage Long timer

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    My preferred dealership, Capitol Cycle in Macon, GA, and I are friends. That doesn't make me special. They have many, many other friends. Some are friends who became repeat customers. More are repeat customers who became friends. See how that works?

    I'm just the "almost old but doesn't feel like it" guy who waltzes in about once a week, gets a soda out of the machine, and strolls the showroom just to smell new bikes, keep up with current offerings, and chew the fat with other motorcyclists, should the opportunity arise, while consciously avoiding being a bother to anyone. That's staff and customers alike.

    The management and employees know I'm coming, and they don't mind. Given the simple frequency of my visits, two things are generally obvious: I'm certainly not going to buy a bike every time I'm there. When I do buy a bike (or parts, or whatever service operations I don't like to do myself), I'm very unlikely to buy it elsewhere.

    The staff recognize me, and usually greet with a smile or a handshake even if just in passing because they're busy. I consciously avoid wasting their time, so generally let them initiate any conversation that may or may not occur. I do the same with fellow customers, consciously avoiding being taken as the "know it all" itching for an opportunity to share his omniscience about bikes. If a fellow customer strikes up a conversation with me, we chat, just as two might do at any other kind of common-interest store. I gain a good many motorcycling acquaintances and friends that way.

    I'll tell you this: I've far more often met an obnoxious customer than an obnoxious sales person.

    In my 50 years of pretty much "full-time" motorcycling, the best riders and most knowledgeable enthusiasts tend to keep a low profile. They sort of keep their mouths shut unless spoken to. The most successful sales people--even the young ones--seem to learn that, too. I often quietly observe how the sales guys at Capitol interact with customers. They seem to know better than to "advise" a potential customer before being asked for advice. And they don't "hover." They politely make themselves available for any questions, and let the customer feel free to do his own thinking.

    Being on friendly terms with a good dealership greatly enhances the pleasure of motorcycling. Just treat people the way you would want to be treated. That means not walking in with a "every salesperson is a useless dolt" chip on your shoulder, nor an "I'm the motorcycling expert you're looking for" agenda. Ask yourself what kind of customer you are.

    JET
    #66
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  7. JRowland

    JRowland reaching for the sky Supporter

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    About 20 years ago I sold cars to the public. I was new and was walking between buildings and saw a guy looking at new Cavaliers. He was dirty and his clothes were worn and our store wasn’t in the nicest area so this wasn’t abnormal. I greeted him and we talked a bit, I’m a car geek so I knew all the details. I went back in the building to grab the keys and one of the more seasoned employees had been watching him before I bumped into him. He said welcome to Kennywood (our local amusement park), meaning he assumed the guy couldn’t buy (no credit) and just wanted to test drive. I went back out and went for a drive with the guy and explained the features/benefits as we drove. When we got back to the lot I asked him for the sale. He responded by saying that he did want to buy the Cavalier, for his daughter. He also wanted to buy 2 cargo vans and 2 pickup trucks for his HVAC company. That was a pretty good day. It usually doesn’t work like that, but if you pre-judge people in sales that will never happen for you.

    About 5 years later with a different company I took a position selling used rental vehicles to dealers in bulk as well as auctions. I met and built relationships with a lot of dealership owners over my years doing this. I got to know the sales teams and how each dealer did business in order to be able to help them sell more cars (which helped me sell more cars). I would say that 90% of the time the customer experience is directly a result of the owner/ownership group. It’s like any other customer service business, when the owner values and respects the employees those employees value and respect the customers. If they don’t they find themselves unemployed, which means almost constant hiring and training. It’s a culture that starts at the top and takes a lot of work to maintain. It’s not easy and they don’t necessarily make more money doing it this way, it’s a core value kind of thing. I think that’s why it’s harder to find the good ones.

    My old local HD/Honda dealer is right up the block from that car dealer I worked for. Small mom and pop, mostly the same staff for years now. I’ll drive or fly back up there and buy before I give a dime to the (not really) local HD dealer. Super friendly but they (sales team and manager) don’t hear a thing you want/need, “You should try the bobber” lol. I’m guessing Amphib had a good experience with his other dealership, I didn’t get that same vibe recently looking at an XRL. Sales guy was bashing the owner, said he thinks he’s a kiddie toucher. Man I just want to test fit myself on a bike, GTFO with that shit.
    #67
  8. mitchxout

    mitchxout Long timer

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    I had a similar experience at the same dealership. In 2017 I twice visited Eurosport Asheville with the intention of buying an gsF700 but was mostly ignored. In fact, this is a trend in Asheville, my longtime hometown. We've had such an influx of monied people moving here, the natives are largely being left behind. And yes, I always wear workclothes.
    #68
  9. ozmoses

    ozmoses persona non grata

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    The world seems to have gone from one extreme- "The customer is always right" to the other- "The customer is always wrong".


    The truth, as you have suggested, lies in the middle.

    I would put forth the proposition that one should ask both what kind of customer am I, as well as what kind of salesperson am I.
    #69
  10. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan Supporter

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    I haven't read the whole thread, but I know your feeling because I used to be like that too. I decided in my case, I just had the wrong attitude. I also used to grind the axles off the sales person when I decided to buy (whether a car or motorcycle). This resulted in many little 'victories' for me in the purchase (such as price) but also made for a poor buying experience due to all the 'combativeness' I put into the purchase. I always know what I want to buy, however, so there really isn't much selling going on other that whether I buy it now or later.

    Today my favorite thing is buying a new motorcycle and bringing it home. I now select dealers I like best, which typically are more enthusiast oriented staffed by riders. I also tend to be conversational with the sales person who is adopting me. I offer my ideas about the bike and explain what I am looking for in a riding experience. Sometimes that person will move me to a better product. For example, I recently bought a new F150. I was thinking of a pretty basic XLT with the off-road package in 'fleet white'. After listening to me I bumped up to a loaded Lariat with all the luxuries in 'lightning blue'. I am so happy I did that now!

    Anyway, once I know what I want it becomes price, timing and availability. I select all the accessories I want with it, including new riding gear and offer a pre-tax price for the package. They will come back to me with what they can do and why. After that it is up to me to move on or pull the trigger.

    I know something about pricing of both the product and the accessories. The accessories are important because I know I am going to buy them and the mark-up is usually significant at around 50% so that gives the dealer more to work with. Sometimes I even ask them install particularly difficult accessories too (such as a center stand or heated grips). Often that gets thrown in.

    Anyway, I want a decent discount but I am happy to leave some money on the table. The experience is so much more fun when it is not confrontational and in the end, a couple hundred dollars one way or the other doesn't mean a thing to anybody involved in the transaction.
    #70
  11. sshbsn

    sshbsn Been here awhile

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    What’s ironic is that I don’t haggle price. They want what they want, I either pay or I don’t. Doesnt matter much two or three years down the road.

    BUT we all work hard for our money, and it earns slowly and spends quickly. I keep hoping for a TRACE of class and decency from the people wanting mine.
    #71
  12. Tall Man

    Tall Man Well...the game is afoot.

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    Context matters here. On a new single track motorcycle, I'd have negotiated the $1K fee figure down to something that resided on this side of reality.

    OTOH, I paid a comparatively costly Dealer Fee figure when I bought my new Ural. De-crating and assembling those rigs is time consuming, and correct setup (toe-in, lean-out, etc.) is absolutely critical. Tales of woe from other new Ural owners are out there, and my dealer got things right. So I didn't argue that particular expense.
    #72
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  13. phughes

    phughes Long timer Supporter

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    I went by Kennywood yesterday.
    #73
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  14. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    When employees gripe about the junior level employees in other departments at my work my VP's response to them is "How much do you make? How much do they make? You may need to learn to adjust your expectations".

    Back to motorcycles... Every dealer is different and all have their pros and cons.

    I visited a very large polished multi-line dealer out west a few years ago while on a trip. The personnel seemed pretty on the ball. I had a soda and a snack at their snack bar while they performed a bit of work for me. Before leaving I strolled over to the parts counter to get a spare rear tire to strap onto the bike before continuing my trip. They didn't have a single tire in stock that fit the bike. A bike that used the same size rear tire as at least three different models they had on the floor. A typical "Showroom dealership" Lots of glitter and plenty of motorcycles and apparel to buy, but no freakin parts! And the bill for some very basic service was eye-watering...

    My local dealer on the other hand is a smallish single line dealer. There is no soda machine and no lounge to sit in. What they do have is in-depth knowledge of the bikes they sell and a full and proper parts and accessories inventory on-hand. Service can be a little slow but I suspect that is partly due to there not being a proper "assembly line" approach. They often prioritize services based on actual customer need. The bill for parts and the occasional labor I have them perform for something I would rather they do usually leaves me wondering how they stay in business. Good, fast, cheap, pick two.
    #74
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  15. sshbsn

    sshbsn Been here awhile

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    windblown, i hope you appreciate how lucky you are. down here in sw florida, there are few options to the large box store dealerships.
    #75
  16. ddavidv

    ddavidv The reason we can't have nice things

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    I never trade vehicle in. I always sell them myself, though it's become much harder because until this last purchase we always bought manual transmission vehicles. A true struggle to find buyers for those now.

    Anyway, back in the day I used to play 'salesman' and try to explain the features of whatever vehicle I was selling. I mean, who knows it better than the guy who lived with it for five years? I learned over time that any effort trying to 'sell' a vehicle to someone was wasted effort. Now I just shut up, answer questions fully but with brevity and wait. They either want it or they don't. Trying to 'force' a sale in my experience never really works unless you are dealing with someone really weak or stupid. Dealership sales people would be wise to learn this.
    #76
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  17. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Oh trust me. I know! And I make a point of spending my hard earned money there whenever I need parts, tires, gear, or a new ride if possible. About the only thing I buy online are items they dont carry and can't order for me.
    #77
  18. 3sum

    3sum local Triumph fanboy

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    I bought my Tracer at Capitol in February. Brian in the parr’s dept is a great one there. Mr Don is a class act, but Donnie is meh in my opinion. Good place overall though.
    #78
  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Back when I became a motorcycle salesman back in 2006 I was amazed at how clueless most of our customers where. As a long time and very hard core rider I was used to riding with other also very experienced riders. As a salesman I found that most of our customers knew little about motorcycles or riding. All they where interested in was how the bike looked, how it sounded and could they get financed. Most of them didn't have enough of a credit rating to finance a toaster oven. So while you are complaining about the motorcycle salesmen I'm pretty sure they spend their time complaining about the customers they have to deal with.

    Since I'm talking about customers. I have a friend who is still a motorsports salesman. Like most modern dealers they sell more ATVs, side by sides and other stuff these days. Anyway, he recently agreed on an OTD price with a customer and when it was time to sign the paperwork the customer decided he wanted a $250 cover thrown in for free...

    So yes, many salesmen are jerks but then so are many customers.
    #79
  20. Slowklr

    Slowklr Attempting to fall in style, now on an s10

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    I was going to buy a new vstrom 1000xt at a dealer in Austin, had the loan and insurance lined up and was driving down to the dealer. Almost to the dealer on a hour drive and the salesman who knew I was coming called saying it was sold to somebody else. The salesman then suggested they were getting another one in and I could get it, I would just have to pay an extra grand. I suggested he go fuck himself and got a super Tenere at a local dealer. It all worked out well I think.
    #80
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