Just yesterday, my uncle bought a new bike. Now it isn’t new, it’s a 2009, and although we were at an H-D dealer, the bike was a Yamaha V-Star 1300. While I will go into details about the bike in another article, the point of this is to show how Chris from Lakewood Harley Davidson made that buying experience a pure joy.
The reason this surprised me is the experience I had at Barb’s Harley throughout taking my MSF course there, and being at the dealer for various events/rides. I guess it makes sense to start with Barb’s right? I generally like going to any dealership just because window-shopping is a blast, but also it is nice to feel-out the people that work there. Both me and any given sales rep know that I am not in the market for a $15,000 bike at the moment, and I don’t expect to be treated special for just stepping foot into the dealership. However, I want to be able to talk to someone and LEARN about the bikes, and by having someone casually tell me about the new Milwaukee-Eight 114ci motor makes me want it and the expensive bike it’s bolted to.
While at Barb’s, I was generally ignored or immediately tried to be sold on financing a Street 750…no. It was almost like the saw this young guy without tattoos, for now, and immediately consider I’m just a dingleberry who doesn’t bikes so just get him on this plastic learner and get him out the door. Nobody tried to just be normal and shoot the shit with me and get a relationship built up, because of that, I really never had a desire to consider buying a bike there. My dream of having one of four Harley’s was just that, a nice dream to have years down the road.
That all changed yesterday thanks to a cool dude from Shamong.
My uncle had talked with Chris on the phone before we drove an hour to look at it so he was already set to deal with him. I am like my uncle where if we are going to take the time to see something in person, we are serious about buying it and he made sure Chris knew that. So after a lovely lunch at Whole Hog Cafe and many conversations about the bike, we arrive a Lakewood. The dealership itself it very nice, and like Barb’s, there are plenty of bikes outside to wet your whistle before walking through the door.
We see the V-Star outside and take a quick look before going inside and she looks great, old man is happy thus far. We go inside and meet Chris, as it turns out, I have seen him at Barb’s for some rides and he worked there for awhile too. Without going through a transcript of the entire time with him, Chris did the perfect thing any sales rep should do; leave the B.S. at the door. H-D dealers don’t like having metric bikes on their lots and all three of us knew it. This was about makes a quick dollar and trying to move it out. There was no attempt to up-sell to an H-D, there was no mention about financing until he physically had to ask during the paperwork, and he even brought the bike into their service department to get the clutch tension inspected at our request.
More importantly, when my uncle did confess to his desire to save and buy his dream Street Glide, Chris didn’t even talk about pricing or new features or anything of the sort. Now you may ask why this is important, so I shall tell you. My uncle (and mostly me) research bikes and cars before buying and know our stuff. He also has me, the walking encyclopedia of motors, to tell him about anything related to bikes and cars. Chris, I assume, picked up on that in various conversations and realized that we know about the Street Glide, we both want a Street Glide, we know about various features and specs on the Street Glide, we know. There was no need to sell us on one since we already are drooling over them and have made it clear that we cannot afford them for ourselves which is why my uncle is buying the V Star.
He is the type salesperson who can read is clients well and is only interested in making us happy while making a quick dollar. We also already know he made his money off the previous owner of the V-Star since he traded this bike in on a brand new H-D and knows him personally. He even called him on his cell to ask a few questions we had about the bike. Once again, you might think this is silly, common sense, why am I still reading? What Chris did, and I am dead serious about this, is ensure that when either my uncle or myself are ready to get our first H-D’s, we will be coming directly to him and Lakewood Harley.
What makes this extra warm and fuzzy is that people like Chris are exactly the type of people we need in motorcycle dealerships in order to get more people buying and riding bikes! If you do a little research, you will find that while more people are currently buying motorcycles in the U.S. of A, they are buying used bikes. That is simply due to people my age who want to ride but cannot logically afford a new bike thanks to student loan debt, higher cost of living, and Candy Crush. I say logically because that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t buy a new bike, there is just little reason to since we aren’t seeing the benefit and that is the fault of every dealer out there.
When I was at Barb’s H-D, I felt like I was ignored for a variety of reasons and I partially get it, but at the same time I have no connection and reason to spend my money at a dealership 20 minutes from my house. At Lakewood H-D, Chris made me feel welcome. The way he helped my uncle buy a relatively cheap metric bike told me that I should really try and get my savings in order so I can buy one of the many H-D’s I want from him.
So to Chris, thank you. In about a year or two, expect my call about a flat white Street Glide or 114 Heritage Classic. You are my H-D hero and thank you for getting me excited about buying an H-D…eventually….someday…we’ll talk.