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How to Sell Gear to Seasoned Riders

Unlike with new riders, price probably isn’t the object.

Last month we talked about what you need to know when selling riding gear to newer riders. Let’s face it: It can be a challenge to make that sale. Newer riders, especially younger riders, are probably working on a tight budget. After spending a lot of their money on a motorcycle, they may not want to spend very much on their gear. Our job is to help them find the right gear that will fit their needs and their budget.

This month, let’s look at the opposite demographic: the seasoned rider. We’ll look at what motivations or concerns they may have and how to help them find the gear they might not know they need.

They’ve Been Around the Block

Seasoned riders have probably been riding long enough that they’ve learned some lessons out on the road. This could range from riding in cold weather without the proper gear to experiencing a crash. It’s very likely that these lessons will heavily influence their buying decisions moving forward. This is why it’s a good idea to try and get to know these customers before making any recommendations.

Ask how often they ride, what sort of conditions they ride in, etc. Be sure to ask them what sort of gear they have now as well as what they do and don’t like about it. Pay close attention to any pain points they may have with their current gear; you can recommend gear that will address these concerns. Do this part right, and you will have a very happy customer!

The Value Proposition Is Different

If you can ask the right questions, you can get a clear idea of what your customers may need. Are they the type to have only a single jacket with several removable liners? Do they have several jackets in their collections, each one for specific riding or weather conditions? Do they ever take their bikes to the track? Do they primarily ride alone or with groups? All of these questions and more will help you to find out what their needs will be.

When I first started riding, I found myself thinking about price first. Everything else came second to the cost: I had to work within by budget. However, this all changed a few years later when I needed to replace some of my worn-out gear. This time around, I was much more particular. I could more easily justify spending a premium on something that would make me more comfortable on the bike, last longer or protect me better in a crash.

I learned to think of riding gear as a long-term investment. The right gear will pay you back in one way or another. A “value proposition” is an analysis of the benefits a product has to offer when compared to its price. So, the value proposition of a $200 helmet versus a $600 helmet will look different depending on the rider and his or her specific needs.

So, what factors might influence a seasoned rider and their value proposition?

Durability and Protection

A more seasoned rider is more likely to prioritize durability in a product over the cost. Chances are he or she bought cheaper gear in the past and noticed how short its lifespan was. I myself was guilty of that when I started out, and it changed my perspective quite a bit.

The durability of a piece of gear can also mean abrasion resistance, or the amount of protection that piece of gear will offer you in a crash. Jackets and pants that are made of leather or lined with Kevlar will offer additional protection for the rider. Upgraded armor inserts for jackets and pants are also a great way to beef up the protection offered by gear, and it’s an easy add-on sale for you.

Speaking of crash protection, let’s not forget about the safety ratings applied to helmets. DOT-approved helmets are a must for head protection here in the U.S. SNELL-rated helmets offer additional crash protection on top of the DOT rating. A new technology is emerging in the industry known as MIPS. This innovative helmet technology offers added protection from rotational force to the head during certain impacts. It’s important to become familiar with the different ratings and types of helmets so you can make the best recommendations to your customers.

Convenience

This final category has a wide range of applications, but let’s face it: We all look for added convenience in our lives. Riders are no different. If there’s a product that will save them time, effort or add some form of convenience to their lives, chances are good that they’ll buy it.

One example of this would be an upgraded visor for a helmet. Maybe it features pin-lock inserts that won’t fog up or a transitions visor that automatically tints when exposed to sunlight. I had a transitions visor on my first helmet, and it was some of the best money I ever spent. It meant that I never had to worry about storing multiple visors on the bike, and I never had to stop to swap them out once the sun went down.

My other favorite piece of gear fell under the convenience category: my Bluetooth communications headset. My wife and I each rode our own motorcycles, and we both had one of these headsets installed into our helmets. This allowed us to communicate in real time and coordinate our movements. This was indispensable when we were trying to find a parking spot in the city or trying to navigate on unfamiliar country roads. We could warn each other of potential dangers much faster than with hand signals. We liked these headsets so much that we transferred them to our snowmobile helmets when we were in the Michigan Upper Peninsula earlier this year. If I could pick out any single piece of gear that I wish I had bought earlier, it would be those headsets, hands down!

So, my question to you is this: What piece of gear would you recommend for a seasoned rider?

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