Are you turning away customers?

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

Sometimes powersports dealers fail to seize easy installation opportunities. It’s hard to believe a dealership would turn away a perfectly good customer, but it happens.

Recently, a buddy of mine went to a dealership looking to have tires put on his bike, and the shop said they wouldn’t do it. Here’s what happened:

My friend, we’ll call him Mike, needed new tires for his 1985 BMW K100RT. He price shopped in town and online. He looked on websites like Amazon and eBay. Eventually, Google led him to a tire specialist in Iowa. He found a set of Shinko street touring tires at a great price, so he bought them.

The tires arrived, but he still needed them installed. Local powersports dealerships do install motorcycle tires. Except when they don’t.

Mike went to the dealership and asked them to install the tires. They said they wouldn’t do it. They said if he’d bought the tires directly from them, they would have given him a special price on the whole package.

What good does that do? He already bought the tires. He wanted to pay to get them installed.

Mike left to look for a new shop. He found a D.I.Y. shop that recently opened. It specializes in service and installation.

By not seizing this opportunity to install the tires, the dealership failed to make money in the short term, and failed to build a relationship for the long term.

“But I only want to install products that I sell,” you may say.

I see the frustration. It may seem disrespectful. A customer walks into your dealership and asks you to install a product they bought somewhere else. I can hear the angry voice in me saying, “Turn them away on principle.” I’m telling you now, though, to swallow your pride for the sake of your business.

You may think, “How can I keep this from happening?” But instead you should think, “How can I benefit from this trend?”

When a customer asks you to install a product he bought online, say yes, or at least tell him you’ll take a look. Once in the store, evaluate the part and the vehicle. With the bike (or snowmobile, watercraft, ATV, etc.) in the shop, you can do a safety check, inspect for recalled parts, or find new parts to make the machine run better.

The opportunity doesn’t stop in the shop that day; it can last for the life of that customer. Remember to get their email address so you can send promotions and seasonal specials. Encourage them to come in for regular maintenance like oil changes and winterization. And most importantly, show them your website. Let them know they can buy any product they need directly from your website.

When a potential customer walks into your dealership, remember The Art of War and seize the opportunity.

Like all members of the 50 Below team, Ben Borchert wants to help powersports dealers help their customers. Ben uses his skills as a Marketing Analyst and Writer to empower, educate, and advise dealers in the ever-changing realm of online marketing. To view more of Ben’s articles visit


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