When in the market for a motorcycle, it goes without saying that we’d all prefer to work with a salesperson who provides outstanding customer service. But what does that mean exactly?
Of course, you want to connect with a someone who responds quickly to your calls, emails and/or text messages; who smiles and is otherwise pleasant to be around; and who doesn’t appear to be giving you the runaround when you discuss price. But there’s another element to great customer service that you may be overlooking – is your salesperson happy to get you on a bike or is he intent on getting you on the right bike?
A great salesperson knows that matching the customer to the bike which will best serve not only his or her wants, but also his or her needs, is key to establishing a long-lasting relationship and garnering the ever-important referrals and repeat visits. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of six questions your salesperson should be asking.
1. How experienced a rider are you/which bikes have you ridden in the past?
These questions are important because they will give your salesperson a sense of how much bike you can handle.
Just as a newly-licensed 16-year-old is ill-prepared to harness the power of a Ferrari, a novice motorcyclist should be steered away from a liter bike, regardless of how in love with the idea they may be. Similarly, just because a buyer has 10 years of street experience wouldn’t necessarily assure his ability to handle a BMW 1200 GS Adventure, with a top speed of 125 mph and a hefty weight of 573 pounds.
Any salesperson with your best interests at heart will be sure to ask this one.
2. What type of riding will you be doing?
Your response to this question and other follow-ups (e.g., do you ride with a group that rides a certain type of bike; approximately how many miles do you think you’ll average each day/week; will you be using the bike for pleasure, commuting or both?) will provide insight that can assist not only in directing you toward the right type of bike (e.g., cruiser, adventure, sport, etc.), but in determining the tank capacity that might work best for you, how important comfort will be to you, and which engine size will be the best fit.
3. Will you be riding with a passenger?
Let’s face it, if most of your riding will involve a passenger their comfort level has to factor into the purchasing equation, as well. Many a tale of buyer’s remorse begins with the salesperson failing to address this all-important element.
4. What features are most important to you in a bike?
This is where fine-tuning the selection process gets down to the nitty gritty. This question will help the salesperson separate the “wants” (i.e., what you may come in the door asking for based on a photo spread in a magazine or suggestion by a friend) from the “needs” (i.e., what characteristics in the bike will ensure your long-term satisfaction with it).
A salesman focused on putting you on the right bike rather than a bike will do a deep dive on this one. What features are most important to you – horsepower, comfort, handling, stability, safety, or touring range? Or perhaps you’re most interested in the bells and whistles – sound system, GPS, faring style, exhaust, or color.
It’s important that you be as detailed and honest with your salesperson as possible, even if what’s important to you seems frivolous. Help him help you!
5. Would you like to swing a leg over the bike?
Somewhere in the process, your salesperson should be inviting you to sit on the bike – or several bikes. When you do, aside from your own observations regarding the feel of the bike, he or she will be sizing up the “rider triangle” – the relationship between your wrists, hips and legs – which is a key indicator of long-term rider comfort.
Chances are, the salesperson will also be looking to see if the seat height is a good fit for you, determining if your feet rest comfortably on the ground or if you’re having to lift your heels a bit.
There’s no better way to determine if the bike “fits” you than assessing the rider triangle and seat height, except perhaps if they take it one step further and ask…
6. Would you like to test ride the bike?
If you’re a first-time motorcycle buyer and your only experience with vehicle purchases has been in the automobile realm, you may be surprised to learn that test rides are a rarity in the motorcycle industry. Many dealerships simply do not offer them, except during special manufacturer demo events.
But a customer-centric dealership will allow test rides and any salesperson at that dealership will be anxious to offer the opportunity. Keep in mind that you’ll need to wear proper riding gear (e.g., helmet, gloves, eye protection, long pants, long-sleeved shirt and/or jacket, and sturdy, over-the-ankle footwear) and likely provide proof of insurance, so be sure to show up prepared.