How do dealers stay in business?
I have become really perplexed with my experience with motorcycle dealers as of late. Here's my situation: I'm currently looking for a 2015 or 2016 (preferably the latter) Versys 650LT. Ideally I would like to trade in my 2012 Vulcan 900 Custom to eliminate having to sell it privately. I have contacted a number of dealers to inquire the OTD (out-the-door) price, since some dealers like to add on several hundred in "fees", and to try to get an estimate on what they'd give me for a trade-in value on my bike. Additionally, due to my job, I am generally unable to speak on the phone during normal business hours, so I explain in the initial contact that email / text works best. The following is a synopsis of what I've experienced...
Dealer #1. I contacted this dealer near St. Louis, MO to inquire on a bike that I thought had an excellent price. I was immediately contacted by a customer service rep, indicating a salesman would be in contact. Sure enough, the salesman contacted me the next day, and asked if I could swing by so they could value my bike. This was an immediate red flag, as my contact info clearly showed where I was from (6 hours away), which indicated to me that the salesman didn't even bother to look at the request fully. In either case, I responded that I was unable to swing by due to my location, and again reiterated what information I was looking for. Several days went by, then he emailed me back and bluntly said it was sold. A week later I noticed another bike that seemed cheap, so I emailed back inquiring about that one. That was two weeks ago, and I haven't received a response yet.
Dealer #2. I contacted a dealer in the Dallas, TX area. Again, explained that I was looking for the OTD price, and would they be interested in a trade-in. Was contacted that same day by a salesman who asked if I was still interested in the bike, to which I replied what info I was looking for. He said the OTD price would be "around $xxxx". I asked if he could provide a breakdown, as it was unclear if he was including taxes in that number. Three days later he texts back and simply asks if I'll be paying cash for it, and asked when I planned to pick it up. Keep in mind that he never did answer my questions, nor did he give me a breakdown of the cost.
Dealer #3. I sent a request to a small-town dealer in south-central Kansas, and received an automated email response moments later indicating that I would be contacted. Three days later I emailed them again, asking if anyone was planning on getting back to me. The salesman replied that he never received an inquiry from me, despite me having received an automated response. The next day he asked for pics of my bike, to which I sent him some within the hour. I never heard anything back. Coincidentally, my girlfriend was going to be in that same town the next day, so I asked her to stop by the dealer. The salesman claimed that he got my email, but the pictures were not attached. Did he think to tell me that the pics didn't come through? Apparently not.
Dealer #4. I contacted a dealer in central Oklahoma. Despite me explaining why I was unable to speak on the phone on my initial request, I get an email from a salesman saying to call him. I respond, again explaining my situation, and again explaining what I am looking for. That was four days ago, and I have yet to hear anything back.
In all of my correspondence, I have been polite, courteous, and professional. However, I feel like I am having to practically beg to get any of my basic questions answered. It clearly comes across that none of these dealers are truly interested in selling a bike. Quite frankly, I am not real interested in giving my business and hard earned dollars to a company that doesn't seem to care to give me the time of day, cannot answer any of my questions, and ignores me. How do any of these dealers stay in business, when this is how they treat their customers? I'm about ready to forget it, and just keep my Vulcan.
Sorry for the rant. I just need to vent my frustration of the situation.