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Tips for Selling Snow Bikes and Snowmobile Accessories

Let it snow and let the cash flow.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at what different options are available for customers in terms of snowmobiles, snow bikes and their accessories. Now, let’s look at how best to showcase these items and make the sale.

Marketing Snow Bikes

The main thing dealers have to overcome when selling snow bikes is their own prejudices and customers’ prejudices against them.

“The most common misconception is the difficulty to ride a snow bike in comparison to a typical snowmobile,” says Jason Davis, vice president of powersports at Michelin. “Some people are concerned about the stability and difficulty due to a snow bike having one ski. The snow bike is much easier to ride than most believe and makes the effort to navigate tight, steep terrain easier than a snowmobile. Once a person can try a snow bike, they understand the feel and maneuverability it provides.”

In addition, many dealers and users also believe that snow bikes are underpowered, thus detracting from the riding experience. While it’s true snow bikes may not have the power that snowmobiles do, they still pack a punch and are fun in different ways. The agility and riding style of a snow bike opens riders up to completely new terrains, allowing them to have fun in virtually every snow condition and terrain type.

Getting out and snow biking yourself will give you the firsthand experience you need to sell snow bikes. You also need to be familiar with your customer base and riding area to understand which kits to stock.

“The most important piece for a dealer is to stock the models that fit their terrain and snow conditions. Riders will see very different conditions and terrain in, say, Colorado or Washington, and dealers should have the right kits for those riders,” says Brock Bolin, Timbersled product specialist at Polaris.

Davis recommends, “Do your homework and stock models that are most popular for the bike brands used for snow biking. Take advantage of incentives for stocking models, as snow bike systems are typically a planned purchase.”

Once you’ve figured out what types of kits to order and have them in stock, build a turn-key snow bike to display on the dealer floor so customers can see what it looks like. But a simple display is not enough. The pitfall that many dealers who try to sell snow bikes — and snowmobiles, for that matter — run into is that they don’t ride them… and neither does anyone on their staff.

“It is a must to have a knowledgeable salesperson that is a rider themselves in order to provide as much information as possible to a prospective buyer,” Davis explains. “Conducting customer rides, featuring the products and accessories allow buyers to experience the product and also educate on adjustments to improve their performance as well as key differences between product offerings.”

In fact, several experts agree that demo rides are the key to success in selling snow bikes. However, take note: Snow bikes take a few hours for a rider to acclimate to, so it’s best to schedule half- or full-day demo rides to showcase the full snow bike experience.

Nels Eide, mountain product manager for Polaris, adds, “Not only can a dealer have a demo bike and take their customers out, but they can connect their passionate, existing [snow bike] customers with those who are interested in getting into the sport. The existing customers can be a great resource and answer a lot of questions with those who are new.”

Adding Accessories to the Purchase

Just as with any powersports vehicle, it’s best to mount accessories right on the snowmobile to show how they provide added style and functionality. Customers will be drawn more to a decked-out sled than a display of accessories. However, you should still consider having a complementary accessory display nearby to help reinforce what you’re trying to sell. After all, even if the accessory on the snowmobile isn’t exactly what the customer wants, it can start a conversation. Then, moving that customer to the parts and accessories department can drive home the sale when he or she sees the other options available.

Once that customer has committed to a snowmobile or snow bike purchase, it’s time to add accessories. Don’t let them leave without explaining what will be necessary. This is especially crucial for snowmobiles because of the associated costs.

“The number one way to sell accessories that go on your snowmobile is in the sale,” says Tim Piver, brand sales director for FLY Racing Street, Snow and Watercraft; HIGHWAY 21; GMAX; SP1; and UCLEAR at Western Power Sports. “It’s a lot harder to get people to come back. The way the costs are with snowmobiles, you can spend $22,000 on a snowmobile now without adding one accessory to it. It’s a lot harder to come back after you spent that kind of money and add another $1,000 to $1,500 in accessories.”

In addition, consider that many customers will drive hundreds of miles just to come buy a snowmobile. For these reasons, it’s critical to keep accessories in stock. Piver stresses that if you don’t have it, you can’t sell it. The best dealers do a good job of accessorizing the vehicle before it ever leaves the shop, but if you don’t have the accessories on hand, you’ve likely lost those extra dollars. Now, as far as snowmobile accessories go, what exactly should you be stocking, and how do you know what to order?

“The top items to stock would be bumpers, storage bags and rider protection accessories,” says Aaron Wallace, associate marketing manager for Pro Armor. “Having a variety of the top sled fitments for bumpers and knee pads on hand would be beneficial, as the top-selling sled models could easily be enhanced by an upgraded bumper or rider protection.”

Winters are long and hard in the areas where snowmobiling and snow biking are popular. You have plenty of opportunities to make the most out of the season — as long as you use some marketing savvy.

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