As I’ve mentioned previously, one of the primary objectives of this blog is to help expand motorcycling to new riders, and to help motorcycle dealerships better serve the first-time rider. It strikes me that winterizing is one of these areas where some basic motorcycle dealership best practices to be applied to the first time rider market. After publishing my post on winterizing on Wednesday, I had some additional thoughts on how motorcycle dealerships can use winterizing as an opportunity to do more business with their customers who are first time riders, while helping them to take better care of their bikes.

Dealerships should keep a database of all the folks who bought bikes during the year who were new riders. Then toward the end of the season, reach out to them with a few key questions:

“Do you what you need to do to winterize your bike? Why don’t you stop in and we can give you a quick lesson.” This was something I learned by making mistakes. The first year I owned my bike, if I had gotten a call like this from the motorcycle dealer in October, I would have been really grateful because I didn’t even KNOW I had to winterize my bike. I didn’t know I needed a battery tender or to fill the tank with fuel stabilizer until I tried to start it in December and it wouldn’t. If  I most definitely would have taken the dealer up on the offer, and I likely would have bought a battery tender, fuel stabilizer, and a motorcycle cover – another $100 – $200 of revenue for the dealer. Instead this revenue went to Walmart (where I bought the tender and stabilizer) and Ebay (where I bought the cover.)

And just getting the customer into the dealership is a huge revenue opportunity for the dealer. Perhaps the customer picks up an extra tee shirt or winter riding gloves on that visit. Maybe they see a gorgeous new bike and just have to have it. You never know…

Taking this notion a step further, the dealership could make an event of it and offer a class on the subject for all of their first time rider customers. Organize it on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in October, and take everyone on a group ride after the event. Good opportunity to help customers make connections in the riding community, and opportunity to build goodwill with your clientele, while making more sales. Wins all around.

“Are you planning to ride your bike in the winter? If so, we can help you out by fitting you and your bike with heated gear.” I’ll be honest I don’t get the whole heated gear thing. It’s kind of like cheating to me. But there are a lot of guys who swear by the stuff, and I do have a friend who never stows his bike and rides all winter long because of heated gear. He has a heated vest, heated longjohns, heated gloves, heated socks…the whole gamut. It works for him and hey – he doesn’t have to deal with winterizing and can ride all year.

This is a big potential upsell for a dealership. I did some quick calculating and heated gear represents about a $600 investment.  Here’s an example from Revzilla:

Heated gear is a $600 investment at Revzilla.com. And that doesn't include installation cost for the battery terminal if the rider can't DIY.

It’s getting toward the end of the season, do you have a place to store your bike for the winter? Many dealerships offer winter storage services. Calling new riders may help drive a few more sales in that high-margin business.

Dealers who want to grow their business and make more sales with customers have a real opportunity here. With the first time rider nothing can be assumed. So reach out, let them know you’re thinking about them, get them into the dealership, and – in the process – make more sales.