25 Tips for Selling More Motorcycles

I recently read a great book about effective selling, The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople, by Stephen Schiffman, and thought it would be appropriate to share some of the highlights.
  • If it does not work, fix it! Even if you are a very successful salesperson, there is still some aspect of your "game plan" that needs improvement. Figure out what it is and try different approaches to eliminate or improve it. For example, if you write down all of your daily tasks and realize that you spend too much time responding to e-mail messages, designate a specific time during your work day for e-mail and use the rest of your time to sell.

  • Build trust. Too much selling can often lead to being perceived as a "used car salesman" with very little credibility or concern for the overall interest of the buyer. Buyers want to feel informed and comfortable, and it is your job to make that happen. Sales will come naturally if you build trust and reciprocal relationships with your customers.

  • Ask questions. Do not spend all of your time reciting product features. It bores, undermines, and overwhelms the buyer. Instead, ask questions to learn what the buyer wants. Your goal is to make the buyers' dreams/wishes come true instead of reading product brochures to them.

  • Take charge. Do not be afraid to approach customers and steer the conversation in the appropriate direction. It is your responsibility to set the tone for every interaction with your customers. They did their job by coming to see you. It is your responsibility to make the rest happen.

  • Listen and learn. Do not talk at or down to customers; talk with them. Listen to what your customers are telling you and proceed accordingly. Ignoring customers' wants and/or needs tells them that you do not care. That is not a good way to build long-term success, especially in sales.

  • Engage the customer in the sales process. Selling is a two-way communication stream. Treat it as such. Allow the customer to participate in the purchase process. It will allow him/her to feel more comfortable and take stronger ownership of the purchased item. Customers who have greater say in the purchase of an item experience a lower level of buyer's remorse after the purchase.

  • Do not overlook the deal breakers. Every customer has a list of non-negotiables that should not be ignored. For example, if a customer tells you that he/she only wants a denim black motorcycle and no other color, do not take them to the showroom and show them bikes not available in that specific color.

  • Do not allow your sales leads to get stale. Follow up with your customers and regularly give them reasons to come back to see you. This can be as simple as an invite to your next bike night or poker run. Do whatever it takes to let your customers know that you have not forgotten about them as soon as they left your dealership.

  • Close the easy sales immediately. If you notice that a customer is ready to buy, go in for the kill and close the deal. There is no sense in waiting.

  • Learn to adapt, fast. Many times, you will come across a customer who does not seem to like anything your dealership has to offer. This is your chance to learn more about that particular customer and try to adapt your product according to his/her needs/wants. If there is will, there is a way. If your customer is ready to buy a certain motorcycle, there is a way for you to make that happen.

  • Don't be afraid to be an expert. Your customers expect you to know everything, and you should. Make sure you know everything about the product(s) you are selling because your customers expect you to. "I do not know", is never a good answer. Customers come to you for guidance, and you should always be armed with information and sources of additional information.

  • Ask for a follow-up. Do not allow a customer to leave your dealership without asking him/her for a follow-up call/e-mail. This let's the customer know that you care and are invested in solving his/her problem beyond a single visit to your dealership.

  • Take notes. Chances are that your dealership has its own CRM software. You should use it to keep notes of what products your customers are interested in, when and why they visit your dealership, and what they like to do when they are not at your dealership. You can then use this information to connect with your customers and provide a more tailored/personalized customer experience.

  • Plan with your customers. If a customer comes to look at a 2012 motorcycle model and tells you that he/she is not yet ready to buy it, you should make note of that admission and ask the customer if they need help planning for such purchase. Take the time to figure out what type of timeline the customer is considering and tailor your follow-up accordingly.

  • Ask for referrals. Do not be afraid to ask your customers, especially the "regulars", if they know people who are looking to buy a motorcycle. You can even offer incentives for existing customers who refer others to your dealership.

  • Show enthusiasm. Let your customers know that you are excited about your products and helping others find exactly what they are looking for. People do not like doing business with boring or unhappy salespeople. Put on your happy face and have fun, but don't forget to sell.

  • Be confident. You should approach every sales opportunity as a challenge to exercise your sales skills. Do keep in mind that there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. You want your customers to know that you are skilled to do your job, and not that you are using them to boost your own ego.

  • Tell the truth. Do not mislead your customers for the sake of closing the deal. Honesty is the best policy, especially with the current popularity on online shopping and information sharing. Your customers will easily and quickly find out if they have been mislead at your dealership.

  • Sell to yourself. Instead listening to the radio during your morning commute, rehears your sales pitch. Sell one of your motorcycles to yourself and decide if your offer is appealing enough.

  • Take care of yourself. Getting plenty of sleep and showing up to work on time are essential for a successful work day. It is important that you are physically and mentally ready to interact with customers and provide the best customer experience possible.

  • Keep up with the industry. Read all the available industry publications (print and online) to know what the latest trends are and what customers are interested in. This is especially important in a small, close-knit industry, such powersports.

  • Keep your promises. If you tell a customer that you will call another dealer to find out if they have a black denim motorcycle in stock, do so and let the customer know what you find out. Broken promises are not a good way to keep customers happy and grow your business.

  • Connect with your customers and industry members. Host events, attend trade shows, and use social media to communicate with your customers and peers. Let them know that you are an active member of the biker community.

  • Pass along opportunity when appropriate. If a customer is only interested in purchasing a Honda motorcycle and you do not have any at your dealership, refer him/her to a dealership that has the motorcycle. This will make the customer happy and also encourage the other dealership to refer customers to you; a win-win solution for all involved.

  • Take responsibility for mistakes. Since it is a known fact that you cannot make every customer happy, you should be prepared to take responsibility for bad customer experiences and do whatever it takes to accommodate the unhappy customer. Keep in mind that unhappy customers are very vocal about their experiences, and word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising.

  • I hope this provided you with some insightful bits of information, and made you think about your approach to sales. Feel free to contact me at mirela@chopperexchange.com, if you have any questions.

    Written by: Mirela Setkic, Marketing & Operations Manager at ChopperExchange.com