Your Sales Department Sells The First Bike… But Your Service Department Sells The Second One!
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ost customers have more than one machine in their garage. It’s an obsession. We know one motorcycle can’t do it all, so several bikes, ATVs, personal watercraft, side-by-sides and snowmobiles are in order to completely scratch the powersports itch. But when it comes time to satisfy our needs dealers should remember customers have choices – LOTS of choices! The days of a franchised dealer having a protected territory and a captive audience have been replaced by a new business model that features multiple ways for us to fulfill our machinery needs.
In addition to the traditional dealership, we can buy from a friend or an unknown source across town courtesy of Craigslist. While we would all like to believe the pros outweigh the cons, the typical customer really is going to choose the path of least resistance… and the cheapest deal! Sure, selecting a new or used machine at a franchised dealership is reassuring – you know you will get a reliable unit and the dealership will be there tomorrow, unlike that guy who insists on meeting you in the Denny’s parking lot.
Craigslist or CycleTrader are now viable pre-owned options, but not without risk. Many private sellers are either ignorant, or unscrupulous, so buying something from them can be a roll of the dice.
[pullquote]Buying a bike should not be a crap shoot! Used or new, I would hope your sales staff is skilled at finding me the right unit for my needs and budget. It should be disconcerting to all dealers that 75 percent of all motorcycle transactions in America are still driveway-to-driveway. One major red flag to the private party sale is that no trained mechanic ever gets a chance to inspect any of these machines before they are sold. Knowing that most Millennials and “Busy Boomers” have the mechanical aptitude of a wingless tsetse fly makes this even more worrisome. If it can’t be fixed with a text, email or an app on a smartphone, an oil change or valve adjustment simply won’t happen.[/pullquote]
Your salesman undoubtedly makes the first sale to a new customer, but does he sell your customer that second unit? I doubt it. It’s usually the service department’s customer service that convinces us to come back for more. Treat us right the first time in service and we will buy again… and again!
Mark Grusciora, formerly with North County House of Motorcycles in Vista, California, has always trained his service staff to synergize with the sales department so the customer has a contiguous “hand-off” experience from one department to another. It was Mark who enlightened me to something I hadn’t realized before. Many new bike buyers have a break-in maintenance experience that is oftentimes very different than the sales experience a few weeks prior. It’s that secondary visit to the service department which “makes or breaks” the long-time bond with that dealership. The customer truly has to ask himself: “Did they just sucker me into a new machine once… or sell me a new lifestyle forever?”
Even if your customer didn’t buy his used or new toy from you, he did bring it to you to service… for a reason. Trust? Desperation? Lack of choice? No matter the reason, you have a HUGE opportunity to make a lifelong relationship. Is your service manager trained and ready to help you cement this bond? More services and unit sales can result from proper training here. Make it happen now – or lose lifetime customers.
You may not have thought this through – and neither have your customers. Your mind – and our minds – were only transfixed on buying/selling the unit during the sales process. Neither of us was really thinking of “the first service” while deep in price negotiation or dreaming of the first ride.
The fact is, that second “service experience” is what cements the bond. Think of it like the second date… sealed with a kiss. Service with a smile never to be forgotten. That’s how your service department needs tobe remembered!