Thursday, October 23, 2014

Puzzled at a Harley Dealer

I recently traveled to western New York and visited Buffalo Harley-Davidson.  I know, I'm getting a reputation for being a Harley watcher.  What's my obsession, you ask?  I'll tell you that in a few seconds. 

Anyway, the Harley folks in Buffalo have a very nice building with tread plate and hardwood floors, and other attractive masculine decoration.  They have lots of bikes in stock, both new and used.
Overall view of showroom.

They also have a small display of twenty or so vintage bikes on display, mostly Harley, but some others as well.  That is the real reason why I went there.  I came in the front door, and headed for the old bikes.  Here is a smattering of what was there:
Old one with itty-bitty engine.

Topper scooter.

1970 Police Special.

That one toward the rear has a 0 cc engine.  It's a bicycle. 

1971 XLH.  Last of the 900 cc Sport.

Not much use for these in South Carolina, but Buffalo, yes.

1917 J Model.
A print.

I noticed that a salesman was helping someone else amongst the new motorcycles for the first twenty minutes or so I was there.  I snapped quite a few pictures of the old iron, then walked into the main part of the showroom. 

They had bikes ranging from around $5000 to the upper $20,000s.  I looked at several, examined the price tags, and generally loitered amongst the wares.  By that time, the salesman had retreated to an office and was talking with another employee. 

As I happened by the office door, he yelled out, asking me whether I needed any help.  I replied that I was just browsing.  Still, I was surprised because he didn't get up out of his chair or give me another look, absorbed in his conversation with the other fellow.

Now, people have said that I look like I might be the kind of guy who would ride a Harley, if anything.  How did this salesman know that I didn't have a wad of cash or a nice-size checking account? ...the wherewithal to leave the place riding one of his bikes? 

Wouldn't it be, at the least, expedient for him to have struck up a short conversation with me?  Perhaps he could ask if I ride.  That would be an easy ice breaker.  Or how about asking if I had considered riding a Harley, and whether he could help sort out the various models of bikes that were on the floor?  Maybe even step way out and ask whether he could get a piece of literature or some technical specs for me to take home to study and dream over. 

He did none of these things.  It wasn't as though the showroom was busy.  I was the only one there. 

How can the dealership stay open without some level of interest of its salesmen in making a sale? 

I have noticed this near home in South Carolina as well. Neither Power Sports of Greenville nor Foothills Motorsports in Piedmont have salesmen who get up from their chairs when a potential customer comes by.  Any time I have been interested in a bike, I have had to ask for their help.

Harley surely didn't make a sale in Buffalo that day.  Not to me, anyway.  They didn't even try.  I wonder how often they do -- and I wonder how often they could


Having left there puzzled, I ran across another Harley dealer not too many miles away.  This one had only one bike on display, and it wasn't for sale.

You can sit on it, but you can't buy it.

The store was in Niagara Falls Ontario, and sells only Harley-related merchandise like tee shirts, jackets, and souvenirs. 

Harley-Davidson, Niagara Falls Ontario.
Yet again, I went in to browse.  You never know what you might find.  The lone visible employee, a girl at the sales counter, stayed by the register, and didn't offer to help me find anything either.  That is probably more understandable than at the Buffalo store, this being more of a self-service-type place, and considering that it is off season at the Falls. 

I didn't buy anything there either. 


Or, maybe salesmen are not expected to sell these days.  If not, what good are they? 

What do you think?  Have you been on the verge of buying but couldn't get a salesman to give you a little help and take your money? 

1 comment:

rc5695 said...

its a Harley. You're supposed to want it already, he doesn't need to sell it to you.