Having to sell a motorcycle isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable task. Knowing you’ll be dealing with flaky people and not knowing how long it’ll take for it to be gone and have the cash in your hand can be frustrating.
The best and fastest way to sell a motorcycle is ensuring you’ve formulated the right ad. And every little detail within the way you advertise can make all the difference. I have sold over a dozen motorcycles in the last few years and can tell you exactly what you need to say and do in your motorcycle ad that will sell it quickly.
Find The Right Platform
The first thing you’ll need to do when creating an ad for your motorcycle is figuring out which platforms you’ll be using to show the ad in the first place. While newspaper and magazine ads can be effective, they often cost money and aren’t looked at as much by potential buyers.
Posting your motorcycle ad online will be your best bet. This is the direction society is moving, so you’ll need to use at least some form of online advertising if you wish to sell your motorcycle quickly.
Luckily there are plenty of free online platforms you can choose from that are frequently visited by potential buyers. My personal favorite online sites to use are Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Cycle Trader. All of these platforms are simple to use, easily accessible, and best of all they’re free. Cycle Trader does have other packages you can purchase that lets you post more picture and have highlighted ads on their site, but you can absolutely get away with their free package.
It’s also good practice to post your motorcycle for sale on several different platforms at the same time. You’ll want to get the word out there and everyone has a preference of where they look for motorcycles that are for sale. Essentially, you’ll be making your net wider and catching more people’s attention by doing this.
Take Lots Of Pictures
Taking a lot of pictures of your motorcycle is an essential step in the ad creating process that should never be skipped. But unfortunately this is the most common thing for sellers to neglect. I’ve seen far too many ads where there weren’t any pictures posted at all of the motorcycle.
Before you start making your ad, set aside a half hour and take some good pictures of your motorcycle. And take a lot of them. You may not be able to post all of them, but you’ll be able to pick out your favorite ones. Take your motorcycle to a nice looking place such as a canyon, cool street, or an artistic brick wall.
You don’t need to be a photographer to get good pictures. Pictures from your smart phone should work just fine. Just make sure the pictures are focused and clear so viewers can see the details of your motorcycle. Posting pictures will significantly increase your chances of selling your motorcycle at the price you want at a much faster pace.
Don’t forget to get close ups up the instrument panel, gas tank, and engine. Take pictures of your motorcycle at all different angles so potential buyers feel like you’re not hiding anything. A rule of thumb I always stick to is posting at least 8-10 pictures of the motorcycle if the platform allows it.
Write A Detailed Description
Once you feel you’ve taken some good pictures of your motorcycle and have picked out at least 8-10 pictures you’re going to post on your ad, you’ll need to begin creating the ad on whatever platform you’re using. All online sites used for advertising motorcycles for sale are pretty simple and straight forward.
There will be a section where you will be allowed to write a description of the motorcycle. Along with the pictures, the description of the motorcycle is one of the most important things that will make or break your selling experience. You will need to write a detailed description of your motorcycle and not write a lazy 2-3 sentence explanation.
There’s a lot of psychology that goes into the description of a motorcycle ad. Writing minimal sentences subconsciously tells potential buyers that you don’t care to sell your motorcycle and will often cause an automatic pass before they even click on your ad.
A lack of description also means that the potential buyer has more work to do in a sense they need to call or contact you for more information which is what most people don’t want to do. Help them feel like they’re getting to know the motorcycle and that all their questions are being answered through your description.
Now, that’s not to say you need to write a novel about your motorcycle. You can still keep a description of the motorcycle informative but simple. Try to stick with writing 2-3 good paragraphs about the motorcycle. This is long enough for potential buyers to read and become interested but not too long to make them bored.
You’ll want to be as transparent as possible while creating an ad for your motorcycle. That doesn’t mean you need to list every single thing that’s wrong with it, but be honest about some of the big problems it may have so potential buyers aren’t so surprised when they come to see it.
Personally, when I’m looking to buy a motorcycle and go to look at one only to find it had major problems with no indication as such on the original ad, I’m automatically turned off because I don’t know what else the seller is trying to hide. Being honest from the beginning and letting viewers know that your motorcycle may have a problem or two helps them trust you a little more as the seller.
It’s also not a bad idea to include why you’re selling the motorcycle. There’s really no wrong answer for this unless, of course, you’re trying to scam someone into buying a lemon (which should never be done). If you’re selling it because your spouse is making you, say that. If you’re selling it to fund another project or that you just need some cash, say that. One of the first questions people will ask you when they come look at your motorcycle is why you’re selling it in the first place. It’s okay to be honest with this.
Once a potential buyer has come to look at your motorcycle, you’ll need to continue to be honest with the transaction. If they ask a question that you know they won’t like the answer to, you still need to tell them the truth. But hopefully you’ve set the price right that your answer shouldn’t surprise them.
Don’t Forget Contact Information
I’ve helped a handful of people sell their motorcycle. One of the biggest complaints people get is that they haven’t gotten a single email, text, or phone call. Often times when I look at the ad they created, they forgot to put their contact information down. People can’t call you if you don’t have your phone number listed.
Before hitting “submit” on your motorcycle ad, make sure your contact information is easily seen and that viewers don’t have to go on a treasure hunt to find it. Yes, having contact information available like this will likely attract a few scammers, but that’s just something you have to deal with when selling a motorcycle.
Make yourself as available as possible. Post your phone number and report you take phone calls or texts if you’re willing. Add your email in case anyone prefers communicating that way. Some places, like Facebook Marketplace, will automatically send you a message if someone is interested in your motorcycle. Even then, you can still try adding your phone number in case someone is unfamiliar with how Facebook Marketplace works.
In addition to that, make sure you are willing to answer unfamiliar phone calls or texts. You’re going to get a lot of those when you are selling a motorcycle. If you work during the day and can’t take phone calls for a while, make sure your phone inbox isn’t full so people can leave a message.
Set The Right Price
When creating an ad for your motorcycle, you’ll need to set a price for it. Do a little bit of research beforehand to see how much your motorcycle is worth. There are plenty of resources out there such as NADA Guides and Kelley Blue Book that can help you understand the ballpark of what it’s worth.
Once you decide how much you want to get out of your motorcycle, set the price on your ad a little higher than what you expect to get. Buyers seem to assume that sellers are negotiable on the price. Being completely firm on the price isn’t necessarily bad, but it could drive away a lot of potential buyers.
Buyers like to feel like they’re getting a good deal. Setting the price higher than what you want to get out of it will mean you’re negotiable which is attractive to potential buyers.
What You Should Avoid
When writing an ad for your motorcycle, there are a few things you should avoid doing that will likely scare off viewers and potential buyers. As a recap from what we’ve already discussed, avoid using minimal pictures and a short description on your ad. Don’t lie about your motorcycle and it’s functionality.
For some reason, a lot of people write the description for their motorcycle ad in all capital letters. Not only is this grammatically incorrect, but it’s extremely annoying for people who are reading it. It might be a good idea to have someone else read your description and look over your ad to make sure it makes sense (and that they don’t get the sense you’re yelling at them through all caps).
Also try to avoid using any type of acronym. You’ll often see people say something like “$2,500 OBO.” A lot of people understand the “OBO” means “or best offer,” but not everyone will know. Avoid using any type code like this so you have total transparency and you won’t leave a single person in confusion while reading your motorcycle ad.