Gear 2014: The Soft Sell of Safety

Publish Date: 
Aug 22, 2013

“SAFETY ISN'T SEXY, so it’s really hard to sell safety.”

The quote comes from Brian Weston, managing director for Arai Helmet Americas. When it comes to selling riding gear, that sentiment is echoed across the board.

Talking about the safety aspects of helmets and gear tends to get a little touchy, largely because of the negative images it can evoke. Highlighting safety features means highlighting the what ifs of riding, and no one likes to think about what happens in a crash.

So the trick is to focus on how those safety features improve the actual riding experience. “We really don’t like to sell safety per se,” says Eric Anderson, CEO of Vroom Network. “The reason people are riding motorcycles is for the escape, the adventure and the adrenaline. But, on the other hand, we want you to be prepared to be comfortable, and part of being comfortable is looking the part.”

Looking the part means wearing the appropriate gear, but a rider is unlikely to be swayed by a list of how the gear will help in a crash. “Part of that presentation is in regard to safety, but it’s not your opening statement. It’s a soft sell,” Anderson says.

Rick Menapace, president of PMG, is familiar with that selling strategy as Arai’s strategic marketing firm. “Not only is a better fitting helmet safer, but it’s also a more pleasant experience,” he says, citing reduced noise and a more comfortable ride as selling points.

The soft sell of safety still requires some hard knowledge. The greatest resource dealers have is their distribution rep, and combining that with hands-on experience is even better.

“I used to tell reps I’d agree to purchase stuff, but they had to come train my team on it. Having the reps as a resource is huge,” says Rod Stuckey, a former dealer principal who is the founder and president of Dealership University and Powersports Marketing.

Cody Wolf, who handles sales and marketing for EVS Sports, says that dealers can also ask manufacturers for more intensive training. He says that companies can “assist and educate with video calls or conference calls so that those parts managers can look at that customer and gauge what he’s doing, and know, based on our product line, what they’re going to need.” (Continued)