How to sell scooters - Mike
How to sell scooters

The following extract from the course notes provided to delegates to the British Association of Scooter, Trialbike And Racing Dealers course on marketing for dealers may be of interest to those people considering the purchase of a new or used scooter. This is apparently part of the industry standard induction course for many scooter importers, dealers and salespeople. The following document, leaked to us by a recent scooter convert, is strictly confidential?


These fall into two categories: young enthusiasts, and rich middle aged people who want to reclaim the glory days of owning a Puch Maxi. The first group have no money. The second group want everything on a plate, don?t go out in the rain (because they?ve got a car) and expect discounts even though they?re rich. Clearly neither is an attractive marketing prospect.

Sales literature

Manufacturers and importers should try to avoid producing sales literature. If you must have some, translate it from Italian into Polish then into English. DO NOT PROOFREAD IT. Photographs should be those which also appear on your website to avoid providing new information, and reproduced at half the original size. Do not include even basic information about the product as this may benefit your competitors. Do not use more than one picture of each product. Don?t say how wide or long the machine is, how high the seat is, or whether it is 2- or 4-stroke. Our research shows that serious purchasers don?t need to know this technical stuff. Use lots of swirly graphics and a distant shot of the machine being ridden through a burning cornfield by a girl wearing stilettoes and a bikini while waving a flag. Under no circumstances show close ups of dashboards or engines, inside seat compartments, or general views of machines being driven by someone wearing the required clothing and headgear in a real suburban environment. This is important because they look like pratts.


Even if you have a website, there are still ways of ensuring that this will not benefit potential customers. Where possible, the site should not be working at all. If this cannot be arranged, install an opening screen of a spinning logo which takes 45 minutes to download before crashing the user?s PC. Only then can the user go into the site proper. At this stage, refer them to another site based in the former Yugoslavia, which has the same information that appears in your sales literature (see above) only this time it?s in italian. A list of current dealers may be helpful, so don?t include one. Equally, include no prices or warranty information, and lots of broken links. As a rule, the information on all manufacturers?, importers? and dealers? websites should be exactly the same. Under no circumstances say anything interesting about the products. Prices on all websites must be identical.

Handling written, telephone and e-mail enquiries

It is important that customers feel you are easy to contact. It is not important that this should actually be true. There is no need to read letters, as they are only from children at public schools trying to blag a poster or a colour leaflet (and they never include payment do they?) Letters that contain requests for special information such as ?I would appreciate your advice on choosing a scooter as I am partially disabled?? should be binned immediately. They?re just someone having a laugh. When answering the telephone, hide your surprise that anyone found your ex-directory number and just say ?Yes?? in an impatient way. Make it sound as though you are writing down the caller?s details (repeat the postcode back if you want to make it look really authentic), then hang up. The person may call again when their information doesn?t arrive, but that?s another chance for you to be surly and totally unhelpful.

Try to connect telephone callers to extensions where there?s no receiver connected, or where you are absolutely sure the person who could help them is on holiday. Make sure you say ?Bear with me? at least three times before transferring the caller.

E-mail enquiries need particular care. NEVER reply the same day. Put all incoming requests for information in a folder and look at how big the folder gets week after week. It?s brilliant! You may want to ensure that there?s a button on your website to encourage people to enquire through this method so your folder gets even bigger. If something goes wrong and you are forced to reply, just type ?Yes? and press send. We have found this stops further enquiries.

Tips for retailers - advertising locally

Don?t, unless you are planning to drop a franchise in the next few weeks then you can go on and on to customers about how crap that manufacturer?s bikes and service were, how one could never get parts etc. With luck, the manufacturer or importer will continue to refer customers to you as being their nearest dealer, for about ten years.

Showroom design

Small, cramped and filthy is the keyword here. Ensure that door handles and floors are oiled daily and that everyone smokes at least ten cigarettes an hour in the showroom ? not outside, it looks awful to passers-by. Take a few scooters to bits for effect. Persuade out of work actors or friends to stand around the counter holding exhausts and bearings and looking threatening. Try to close the shop early without explanation several times a week and always put a sign on the door saying ?Back in 5 mins?.

Large airy spacious showrooms will happen occasionally however careful you are. In this case, train staff to ignore staff and walk around with bits of paper looking important and busy. The answer to any question is always ?Well if you are prepared to leave a £100 deposit I?ll see if I can get one. I don?t know what the price is. We?ve got a damaged one at our other branch ? do you want it or not??


Make sure your youngest and stupidest member of staff always answers the phone. If they go off to find out something hard (like the shop?s address), get someone else to quietly replace the receiver. Customers are best left to walk around on their own. Do not make eye contact as it may be offensive to some religious groups.

Phrases like ?Good morning? are subjective and may be offensive to some other religious groups. Just tilt your head back and raise your eyebrows quizzically until the intruder tells you what they want. Then tell them you just sold the demonstrator and leave it at that. Brook no further discussion on that or any other subject.

Laugh loudly with your colleagues as the customer leaves the showroom. If the potential customer is of the distaff side, say ?Phwoar!? before you laugh. Girls think that?s really funny.


A real time waster! You can ensure that people don?t get anywhere here by never offering demonstrations. If the customer persists with their mad request, sell the demonstration bike. If that fails, take a few bits off it before they arrive. Empty the fuel tank, short out the battery, squirt oil into the silencer, smash one indicator, let the front tyre down to 10psi, and reduce the idle speed so it stalls continuously ? be creative! Only arrange test rides when it is raining, for obvious safety reasons.

They?ll need identification, so don?t mention this when they ring to arrange a time. When they show up, ask for two bank statements, a passport, and a letter from their solicitor confirming that they are in a position to proceed with the purchase.

They may also need protective safety clothing. Always wipe a bit of dog mess around the inside of the helmet (and of course on the footrests), and pour some black ink into the gloves. Point them towards Hanger Lane gyratory system to help them get used to how the machine handles in real traffic.

Put them on a 50cc version only when they intend to buy a 125. If they want a 50cc, tell them they could try the 180 because it?s exactly the same really apart from the seat lock. Then point out that their licence doesn?t cover them to drive it so they can?t possibly go beyond the forecourt.. Make sure they understand that if it was down to you you?d let them have it for the weekend free, but ?it?s the insurance that?s the problem.?

Prices on the road

Have a small supply of photocopied price lists full of spelling mistakes and with several handwritten amendments. It looks more professional. Used stock listed should have been sold several months previously wherever possible.

A new rider will obviously require a helmet and other things. Don?t even think of including these in the price. Or stocking them. Above all, it is your responsibility not to tell customers that the machine they are buying has been superseded and that the new model has 20% more power, a CD player, a jacuzzi, costs £500 less and includes servicing, parts, labour and comprehensive insurance for as long as they own it.


Conditions on the high street are incredibly difficult for retailers, who take only a tiny percentage of the actual price of a new bike. By remembering what you have learned on today?s course, you can ensure that the number of dud cheques passed in your shop will fall dramatically as will the number of people paying by credit card with the consequent high bank charges.

Scooters are dangerous, so it?s no bad thing that those who just fancy having one for fun or leisure are not encouraged. No manufacturer wants the blood of even a single customer on its hands. There are many more ways you and your service department can help achieve this.

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Re: How to sell scooters - Brian
You forgot to add the bit about explaining that the driving licence system for scooters and bikes is ten times more complicated than for a car.
Not only is your provisional licence not valid on the road until you have taken a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) course which is only run by one person within a fifty mile radius and whose phone number is ex-directory, whereas with a car provisional you can go out with your dad, mate or girl/boyfriend without having any practical training, but for a bike you are faced with restrictions which mean;
You can only learn on a small (under 125cc) bike, whereas for a car you can learn on your dad's Jag, (if he can insure you).
You need a week off work to take the test, whereas for a car you only need an hour off.
Your licence on passing only covers you for a restricted range of engine sizes/power outputs, at least for the first two years.
Etc,, etc. etc. It is so complicated that I can't remember the full details without looking them up!.
The only conclusion I can come to is that the authorities are bent on making it a difficult as they can to get on the road on two wheels short of an outright ban.
The result of the convulated licence/ testing arrangements is that most young riders drive on a provisional licence for up to two years without ever taking a test and those that survive then graduate to a car.
Re: How to sell scooters - Mike
All true.

The 2-wheel fraternity would benefit from a bit of PR.

Re: How to sell scooters - Brian
Looks like it's only you and me whats interested!

Value my car