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The best practical powersports advice of 2013

Neil Pascale, Columnist
March 28, 2014
Filed under Columns

Doing something different today. Removing the podium. Rearranging the chairs, so it’s less a traditional classroom format and more of a circle. So sit down. Relax. And no, you can’t have the remote.

What have I picked out for us to watch? Call it the best of 2013, if you like. Today I’ll share some of the most practical ideas that I’ve heard from your colleagues over the course of 2013. These were strategies discussed by dealers that struck home. Not necessarily because they were revolutionary in thinking, but because they were smart and practical. We could do these, and become better at what we do. A dealership general manager and friend of mine, Alysan Azman in Ohio, once said something that resonates to this day: “All of us are too busy to try and reinvent the wheel.”

Well said, Alysan. So forget the reinventing and let’s focus on the practical.

Goal-setting

Matt Middleton, service manager of Ray C’s in Lapeer, Mich., was discussing strategies at building service department business. But what really stuck with me was a conversation Matt and I had before when he mentioned one of his “WIGs.”

“Your what?” I asked, wondering just where Matt was going with this.

As it turns out, “WIGs” is an acronym for Wildly Important Goals, a process the multi-brand dealership uses annually to build business.
“Each department sets a goal,” Matt says. “If you pick six, eight or 10 things to focus on, you’re not going to get any of them done. If you pick one, two or three, you’re going to get those done.”

What was one of Matt’s WIGs last year?

“The P&A dollars per repair order — we were slacking on it,” he said. “So we put that on our WIGs board this year because our goal was to get that up over $200 per repair order. We’ve hit three months out of six.”

Why not the just-lookers too?

Joshua Lavine, general manager of Barney’s of Brandon in Tampa, Fla., provided one of those “Why didn’t I think of that first?” ideas this winter.

He described how the multi-brand dealership has taken a common practice — the dealership walk-around — and turned it into something more. Something much more. Commonly, dealerships walk new unit buyers from department to department, ensuring the customer can meet the different managers and identify more purchase opportunities. Joshua’s store has taken that concept an extra step by encouraging all customers — not just unit buyers — to do a dealership tour. They even incentivize the customer to take the tour and their employees to give the tours. Why?

“Staff members are creating relationships with a lot more customers than they ever had the opportunity to do before,” Lavine said. “Even if this customer leaves our dealership and buys a bike off Craigslist or from his buddy, he’s coming back to say, ‘Hey remember me? I did the dealership tour. I want to buy the first accessory for my new bike from you.’ It’s just creating extra opportunities.”

It’s about the content

John Lyon, general manager of Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Barre, Vt., admits that his dealership, like many, is “learning as we go” when it comes to Facebook.

What’s the key to their success?

“I don’t think the importance is how often you’re posting,” Lyon said. “The importance is really what you’re posting.

“The staff loves Facebook, and we all have our own Facebook accounts. What Facebook posts we end up focusing on are the things that are unique. We don’t read a lot of stuff because they’re posted just for the sake of posting. You have to think about what you’re posting.”

Neil Pascale is the industry communications manager for Dominion Powersports Solutions, a dealer solutions provider that includes DX1, ZiiOS, Traffic Log Pro, PowerSports Network and Cycle Trader. He can be reached at neil.pascale@dominionpowersports.com.

 

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