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4/4/2011-Sea-Doo expands its demo tour

April 4, 2011
Filed under Features

Grassroots program scheduled for 24 stops across U.S.
After taking its show on the road last season with a grassroots demo tour, Sea-Doo will continue to rely on its demo tour concept this year, expanding the Sea-Doo iControl Test Ride Tour to 24 cities across the United States.
Each event, held over the course of a weekend between late March and June, offers consumers the opportunity to experience the company’s latest watercraft, including iControl technologies like Electronic Brake and Reverse (iBR). Trained staff will be on hand to help consumers on and off the boats, answer any questions about the product and steer those interested in buying to the nearest dealer.
According to WaterTop Unlimited’s Tim McKercher, who organizes, promotes and manages the iControl Tour effort for Sea-Doo, there is no better way to educate consumers on new technology and get them excited about a product designed to be ridden than to actually have them ride it, and do so in a fun, safely designed event with true product experts that can ease any potential purchase anxiety.
“With the introduction of the iControl technologies, specifically the braking ability, we knew we had to get people on the machines for them to really understand how big a difference the iControl systems make compared to everything else they have ridden or read about,”
McKercher explains. “The tour did a phenomenal job spreading the word that Sea-Doo watercraft have brakes. Last year we hit 12 markets and spread the word of the new technology and created sales opportunities.
“This program is strong in getting people off the fence to purchase, but also strong in bringing pre-ride, non-interested buyers into the purchase funnel. We reached a 12 percent demo-to-sales conversion rate at events.”
According to McKercher, the iControl Tour has other fringe benefits as well. It gives both BRP and the dealer network the opportunity to bond in a grassroots atmosphere, gets more dealership staff on the product, so they can better advise consumers, and provides a venue to get customer feedback on the product and third-party insight that is then shared via YouTube videos. The stops also provide the opportunity to get local media acquainted with the newest safety features on the product and hope they’ll carry that message to readers and viewers.
This year’s undertaking is significantly larger than the 2010 program. A total of 24 events are on the schedule, split roughly between an East Coast and West Coast team made up of Sea-Doo brand and product experts. The team’s goal is to concentrate on the demos, allowing dealers to focus on getting high-potential customers on site and making the sale.
“We believe in the Very Important Customer (VIC) approach,” said McKercher. “We treat each person as if they were the only one there, explaining everything and giving them an in-depth Sea-Doo experience.”
The experience starts with a greeter, who will direct them to a tent where they will enter personal information, share what they are looking for in a boat or PWC, and sign a liability waiver, all of which will be captured on electronic tablet. Guests are next outfitted in riding gear, and informed of the actual demo process. After being handed off to a specialist at the dock or beach, guests will get a walk-through of the product, given a reminder of the rules, and then allowed to venture out onto the demo course. Different portions of the course are designed to highlight specific features of the craft.
Dealer Checklist
The iControl Tour is intended to be a turnkey, first-class demo effort, complete with four brand-new Sea-Doo watercraft, branded truck and all the accessories and riding gear required to put on a self-sufficient, stand-alone event. Still, there are numerous things dealers can do to take full advantage of the demo weekend and promote their dealership … as well as hopefully get excited consumers to the F&I desk.
Here are some suggestions:

  • Post the event date, time and location immediately on the dealership’s home page, as well as in any event section and all applicable social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
  • Inform your entire customer/owner base about the “customer appreciation” Sea-Doo demo event — with date, time, location — via e-mail or direct mail.
  • Work with district sales managers to ensure the dealership understands all sales programs prior to the event.
  • Invite key staff to participate in the pre-event dealer training to give them greater insight on the product when talking to customers.
  • Contact local media and invite them out to experience the latest in boating safety technology.
  • Have a local celebrity as a loyal customer? See if they would be willing to attend, even if only for a few hours, and promote the opportunity for a meet and greet.
  • Bring units on trailers to the event for display, and promote as “take-me-home-now” deals.
  • Finally, follow up on leads through the data-capture information from BRP. PSB
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