We have all been there, ready to buy our next new motorcycle but not wanting to deal with the dealer experience. You walk through the door and usually are met with two kinds of reception. You are completely ignored, or every salesperson immediately jumps on you like a piece of carrion in the desert. I don’t know about you but I do not like either experience.
Then there are other types of salespeople you will encounter. There is the young energetic guy who usually knows nothing about any of the bikes, except on a specific style they prefer to ride. The middle aged guy who has dead ended, no longer enjoys selling motorcycles, and only knows about the bike they prefer to ride. Lastly, you have the older retired motorcycle rider who used to ride something else but now can regale you with endless stories, only talking touching on bikes every once in awhile and may, in fact, end up selling you one; assuming you can get them to stop talking about everything else that’s happened in their lives. Oh, and they also only know about the bike they like to ride.
If you do make it to the actual purchase phase you inevitably are passed along to the most feared individual of the lot, the finance person. It’s not his fault you’re sweating bullets about your credit score. Hell, you could have the best score on the planet and this guy will sill barrage you with rates, terms, conditions, fees, extended warranty’s, spark plug replacement coverage and whatever else they have added to compete with cars and the amount of sales add on items can bring to the dealer.
What to do, what to do? My goal is to provide a little help and make sure your next experience runs a little smoother. After experiencing a majority of the aforementioned dealers while purchasing multiple new motorcycles myself I’ve picked up on a few thing. From talking to dealer sales personnel and finance personnel, and discussing the topic with other riders who have purchased new motorcycles in the last several years.
Research your dealer. Talk to others who have been there. Check them out on social media, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, whatever avenue you use make sure you trust it. A trusted friend or, thanks to social media, community opinion will help ease your mind before you walk in the door. This allows you to focus on your goals when looking to buy a new bike and not walk in prepared to do battle.
Visit the dealer when you aren’t buying a motorcycle. Talk to the service department, check out the parts area. Do they seem knowledgeable? Are they friendly? Do they seem happy with their job and fellow co-workers? The happier they are the better the dealer is. Disgruntled employees can make or break the sales experience faster than just about anything. If the dealer has any events, open houses, go there and see what other people say about them. Use this to meet the sales staff and find someone who fits into how you want to buy your next ride.
Skip the finance office. Come with your own financing, get pre-approved for an amount you are comfortable with using your local bank, credit union, friends (I’m still searching for a friend like this), or even a wealthy family member that was never able to live out their dreams of owning a bike and wants to live the rest of their days vicariously through you. But…a bank and credit union are still the best options.
Be prepared to ask for a lower price. Do your research, know what the bike is truly worth. Not what the bike is worth on Craig’s List. See what other dealers are asking or dive into the forums. Ask other people you know or at gatherings what they paid Out The Door (OTD). I suggest focusing on the price before taxes so you can compare apples to apples. Sales tax and other fees vary by state.
Doing these will never guarantee a stress free sale, but they will sure help. Educated customers make the process easier for everyone, it’s the one part we can control.
Have you had an enjoyable experience recently? Share it with us!