Test rides help dealership sell ADV bikes
Martin Moto has found an important sales strategy that moves bikes, especially those in the adventure segment — get butts in seats.
The Boyertown, Pennsylvania, multi-line dealership hosts four to five demo events per year, and sales usually follow.
“It’s by far our best tool, our best closing tool, no doubt about it,” said Dennis Martin, president and GM of Martin Moto. “When somebody rides in on a bike with 15,000 or 20,000 miles and maybe slightly worn tires, and they get on a crisp, fresh new bike, it’s going to impress. And that’s before you even factor in whatever advancements have come along and how the bikes have improved. It’s just very effective. When people come back from a demo, whether it’s at an event like this or it’s during the sales process, we find they’re much more interested in talking about a trade or actually moving through the process and making something happen.”
Martin Moto’s June demo event that the owner referenced was adventure bike-focused. Each attendee was given the opportunity to ride two or three adventure bikes at a Saturday event that ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We have all four metrics, plus Triumph, so particularly in the adventure segment, we have a lot of bikes, so it gives people the chance to ride,” Martin told Powersports Business. “We try to drill them down to two or three that they’re particularly interested in, and then they have the chance to ride them back-to-back on the same loop on the same day to get a real A-B comparison going.”
Martin Moto has been hosting various demo events for years, so the dealership has a system for test rides. The dealership markets the event; customers sign up online, and then they demo ride the day of the event.
“We’re fortunate enough to be in a fairly rural situation. We’ve got some really nice roads right out the back of our store, so we put together about a 20-minute ride, and we run these demo events about four or five times a year,” Martin explained. “What seems to work best, since we’re a multi-line dealer, is to focus on a particular segment, in this case ADV bikes. We can put people on an Africa Twin and a Tiger and so on and so forth and give them an opportunity that they don’t normally have to compare from one to another within the same segment. We do that for a couple different segments, but the ADV one we have the best response to.”
A few loyal customers, who are friends from their time in the R.A.T. Pack (Riders Association of Triumph), lead and trail the demo riders. Martin Moto provides the venue for the launch of the ride at the dealership, hot dogs for lunch and the bikes.
“Obviously we have to make a commitment in terms of putting five, six, seven bikes out and putting some miles on them in the daytime, so we have to include that in terms of the cost of the event,” Martin said.
But the results are worth the effort. “We don’t always sell a unit that day, but in the subsequent weeks, there’s almost always two, three, four deals that come out of it,” Martin reported. “It definitely is effective for us.”
Though there aren’t a lot of off-road riding spaces in eastern Pennsylvania, Martin Moto sees solid sales of adventure bikes.
“It’s a fairly good part of our business. It seems that a lot of folks who used to ride sport touring bikes have moved over to the adventure side, whether it’s a riding position issue or a carrying capacity issue, suspension. It seems to be less so off-road capability,” Martin said. “I always compare it to the SUV thing in the car business. People don’t want to take the Land Rover off road, but want a lot of the other things that come with a sport utility vehicle. In our case, an adventure bike, it is that larger fuel capacity, fairings, saddlebags and the different options and equipment that allows them to equip the bike to do what they want to do.”
The Triumph Tiger 800 is the dealership’s bestseller in the adventure segment.
Martin expects sales of adventure bikes will remain steady in his area through the rest of 2017 and into 2018.
“I don’t know that it will be super dominant, but there clearly is a demand for it. I think what’s going to be interesting, we carry Kawasaki, and the Versys 300 is very interesting because it’s obviously an adventure bike, but it’s entry level. The adventure bikes have traditionally seemed to attract boomers, and whether that 300 will encourage millennials to go toward an adventure-type of machine will be interesting,” he said. “So far we haven’t seen a tremendous response, but it just takes a while sometimes.”