Think you know it all? Do your homework so you know enough

Publish Date: 
Jul 29, 2014
By Dave Koshollek

'TIS THE SEASON for new motorcycle releases and the accessories that accompany them. In that regard it doesn’t hurt to ask ourselves, “What do my customers expect me to know about the new products we sell?” I bet your answer to that is a somewhat sarcastic “Every freakin’ thing!” That’s impossible, so what’s reasonable and how should we prepare for the work and questions ahead?

Sure, the customers can read the ad copy in the catalog, but what they really want is the inside information from you, the expert.

If you’re working in service as an advisor or a technician, we can all agree that the first step is to become familiar with the changes in the new vehicles. Motorcycle manufacturers differ in how they distribute service information to the dealerships. If your brand is late to the party with service manuals and parts books, then at least review the setup, pre-delivery and inspection manual front to back, along with the owner’s manual.

Yes, I said the owner’s manual. It’s reasonable for customers to expect that we know what’s in their owner’s manual. Of special importance are the manufacturer warnings, instructions for new accessories such as an audio system or GPS unit, and information such as what’s performed in the first vehicle service and whether special lubricants or fluids must be used.

As far as product information about the new accessories, it’s as simple as reviewing the new accessory catalog and identifying the accessories that are different from last year. Hopefully the catalog publisher notes the “new” accessories in some manner. I know Harley-Davidson does, and that makes it much easier to focus my attention on the few hundred new accessories in the mix of more than 6,000 accessories in their big catalog.

Now that you’ve identified which accessories are new, get up to speed on the 20 percent of information that 80 percent of our customers expect us to know.

A common customer question is, “Does it fit mine?” So get comfortable with the accessory’s fitment by brand, year and model, and know whether there could be a conflict with other accessories.

Sure, the customer can read the ad copy in the catalog, but what they really want is the inside information from you, the expert. To start, decipher the marketing verbiage and deliver, in your own words, two to three features and benefits that tell the story of what the product does, what makes it unique or better, and why this product is good for the customer.