I don’t know if you are a fan of the 9-1-1 television series on the FOX network, staring Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, and Connie Brighton. If you DVR-it like me, the 10th episode which aired March 21 should give every powersports dealer pause. The storyline included a scenario where a man purchases a new motorcycle, and rides off without the dealer checking for a license or training. In mere TV minutes, the actor is involved in a horrific crash, prompting a call to 911. The lesson for powersports dealers is clear. Always check to ensure the buyer is licensed for a motorcycle before delivering the bike! And always be sure the buyer is trained to ride the bike they just purchased!
Internal Training First
It’s easy for the sales team to “assume” the customer is fully prepared to enjoy that new bike. They asked all of the right questions and even mentioned several previous motorcycle experiences. But customers are often unwilling to admit their shortcomings or lack of knowledge. Therefore, your entire dealership team must be responsible for ensuring the buyer is fully prepared.
Take the opportunity to check the driver’s license early in the sales process. Confirm they are actually licensed to ride a bike. “Oh, I’ve ridden a bike for years!” is not sufficient. Almost every state notes a motorcycle on the license itself. Also, a quick check to the DMV database will flag the appropriate certifications.
If the buyer does not have the proper license, the dealership principal has a decision to make. Either offer the test or point the buyer to an online provider – and delay the delivery of the bike.
Avoid putting your team in a difficult situation by having clear, written policies that mandate current licensure for all purchases and deliveries. Include the requirements on your website and in all documentation.
Role playing this scenario with your team can make everything smoother. Have a list on hand of motorcycle license options. Put your team in a position of providing a solution rather than a roadblock. By showing care and concern, you will build a relationship for life.
Consider offering motorcycle training at your dealership. Depending on your state’s Department of Transportation requirements, you may be able to offer different levels of ridership certification. At a minimum, you should always require the buyer to take that new bike for a spin in the parking lot a couple of times before handing over the keys. If it’s clear the buyer is unable or untrained to properly handle the new purchase, encourage your team to step in and offer a solution.
Whether you offer a quick lesson on the dealership lot or more in-depth training, ultimately your goal is a satisfied and safe customer. Sometimes ramping up to a newer or bigger bike involves more than a better seat and bigger engine. Weight, braking, gears and handling differ from bike to bike. Make sure the buyer takes these things into consideration and can safely ride. Taking time during the buying process can pre-empt a 911 call later!