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4/4/2011-Among the elite in serving industry customers

April 4, 2011
Filed under Columns

There are numerous ways you can define excellence, especially in a business environment. In many ways, though, our excellence as businesses is determined by the way we treat our Those customers mean everything to us. We spend a great deal of time and money pursuing them with our marketing efforts. We build databases so we can log them, track them, contact them and hopefully someday sell them on something. We cater to them. We negotiate with them. And we sell something to them.
Way too often for dealerships, however, it all ends there at the signing of the contract or the delivery of the unit. Whether intentional or not, that customer and their purchase becomes a part of our history, as though putting the sale in the books means closing the books on that customer.
The best companies, though, are only getting started with their customer relationship at the close of the sale. They’ve developed a customer retention program that makes the ownership phase much more rewarding than the sales process — for both the customer and the dealership. They host open houses, customer appreciation events, ride events and ultimately, they create a customer for life.
The dealers we recognize in this issue, the Elite Dealers, are among the businesses in this industry with those types of philosophies. We’ve worked with two manufacturers, Yamaha and Suzuki, to identify these Elite Dealers, companies that have demonstrated excellence when it comes to customer satisfaction. As a collective group, the dealers average 95 on their CSI scores, covering the level of satisfaction for both the sales and the service parts of the relationship. More importantly than the score itself, however, are the tactics they use to satisfy their customers. You can learn more about those dealerships and their strategies beginning on Page 13 of this issue.
We here at Powersports Business do much more than just write about the industry’s leading dealers, however. We also do what we can to fuel dealer growth and profitability with our annual Profit Xcelerator dealer educational conference and expo.
Now in its third year, ProfitX is poised for its best year yet. To be held Sept. 25-27 at the Red Rock Resort Casino and Spa in Las Vegas, this growing event offers dealers not just the leading strategies and best practices for growing their profits, but also one-of-a-kind networking opportunities with the industry’s leading dealers and suppliers.
Already attracting a number of dealer groups, ProfitX will offer a variety of sessions on improving sales and marketing tactics in addition to specific topics to help dealers grow every profit center in their operation, from preowned to the service department, new unit sales and marketing to PG&A.
We invite you to join us at this year’s event. It’s two short days out of the dealership, and we guarantee it will offer you numerous ideas for growing your profits. You can see for yourself at www.powersportsbusiness.com/profitx.
While we’re on the subject of the “elite,” I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge why Neil Pascale’s mug and opinions have been replaced by mine on this page. In short, Neil is moving on from PSB, choosing to further his career in a business development role for an industry supplier.
It goes without saying that we’ll miss Neil around here, on both a personal and professional level. In his five years here, he has redefined excellence for our brand.
He’s guided the editorial of PSB with a knack for the news and an incredible skill for editing and packaging up an issue every three weeks. Along the way, Neil flashed those business development abilities by creating a number of custom publications, webinars and even our growing ProfitX event. We’re indebted to Neil for setting a higher standard, a goal we all seek to achieve on a daily basis. And we’re also happy to report that Neil will remain with us, in part, as a columnist in every other issue.
As we seek a replacement for Neil, I’ll fill in as editor-in-chief. Who am I? Well, I was part of the team that helped to launch PSB back in 1998, I’ve been the editor-in-chief of PSB’s sister publication, Boating Industry magazine, which serves the manufacturers and dealers of the marine industry. And most recently, I’ve been fortunate to work closely with Neil over the past few years as publisher and editorial director of PSB.
You have my word that the standard that Neil helped us set will not be compromised. We’ll be back out with another issue in three short weeks, and we’ll be packing it with the same high-quality news and editorial that you’ve come to expect from PSB over the last 13 years.
I look forward to serving you the way those dealers we recognize later in this issue serve their customers.
Matt Gruhn is group publisher and editorial director for Powersports Business. He can be reached at mgruhn@affinitygroup.com.

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