Dealers always interested in keeping an eye on their brethren
August 16, 2011
Filed under Columns
Dealers call. And they email. And more often than not, it’s to protect their fellow dealers.
One dealer took time to write a letter to the editor in hopes that fellow dealers would read it and not be taken by a scam artist.
Another dealer, Jan Downing, was thinking of new avenues to generate revenue. She was in the same boat as nearly every other dealer — tired of seeing the potential of the March and April business climate be subdued by a May and June that left plenty to be desired.
So she took a call at her Outdoors in Motion dealership in Rutland, Vt., from a retail auction house to try to sell some of her vehicles.
“I felt like I got taken so bad, and people need to be aware of this,” she said. “I’ve used every one of the auctions I see advertising in your magazine for years. They’re a great bunch and I never felt like I was treated wrong or losing money. I know all of them personally, and it’s been great.
“But for some stupid reason, I went ahead with this new retail auction even though it sounded too good to be true. It was hard for me to believe that a retail auction could produce the kind of numbers that would make it worth doing.”
Long story short, her dealership took a $70,000 hit on motorcycles and snowmobiles that she shipped to the auction site.
“It almost put us out of business. As I was scratching my head, I thought there really ought to be a way to tell other dealers they should really check it out, and in your mind when it’s too good to be true, it probably is. After being in the business for 30 years, you thought I would have learned by now. But times are tough, and you start trying different things. This was one thing I shouldn’t have tried.
“I went into it wide-eyed. It’s on me. I’m the only person I can kick in the butt. They just did a good job at what they do. They’ve got salesmen that I need.”
How bad did it get?
“There was one motorcycle that had a wholesale in NADA of $8,500. We got $5,800. I could have put it out in front of my store and sold it for at least that, and had the customer would have had to bring it back for service!”
These are just two examples of why you want to make sure you don’t skip over a single story in Powersports Business. I’ve seen how dealers peruse each edition. In fact, I had a birds-eye view of sorts on a recent airline flight to Montreal for Club BRP. Seated in an aisle seat, I woke up from a nap to see a dealer a few rows ahead making sure he didn’t miss a page of Powersports Business. That he was still reading much later in the flight means that we’re providing you with important stories — the kind that can make an impact on your bottom line. Later at the hotel, another dealer lounged in the lobby with his copy of Powersports Business in hand. Time is fleeting, but find time to read PSB. Tuck it your carry-on before you leave for the airport; place it in your bag on the way home from work. Trust me, it’ll be time well spent. If not, you know where to reach me to let me know how to make it better.
“We kept riding until we hit the Artic Circle, and we turned around and came back,” Smith said. He’s glad he took the journey, but it was tough with snow, rain, road construction and fallen stones to drive around.
“What it did is it build a lot of riding credibility,” he said. “After it’s over, it’s hard to say ‘This guy doesn’t have motorcycle cred.’”
“We were all stunned to hear of the recent passing of Ed Lemco. Most of our staff had worked for Ed, and many of our 20 group members had close ties to him as well,” said Steve Jones, senior projects manager for Gart Sutton & Associates. “He was a strong dealer advocate and a staunch supporter of driving dealership growth and profitability through best business practices.
“Gart put it quite simply: A legend has passed. Ed will be greatly missed by many.”
Countless dealers relied on Lemco for guidance in their careers; we reached out to some of them, who provide their thoughts on his legacy elsewhere in this edition.
Dave McMahon is senior editor of Powersports Business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-383-4411.