Liz Hochstedler, Managing Editor
December 28, 2012
Filed under Power 15 Dealers
At 35 years old, Leo’s South shows no signs of slowing down.
The 12-brand dealership situated just south of the Twin Cities has recently undergone a transformation, switching the showroom from a segmented layout to branded displays. The change, which occurred this summer at the encouragement of BMW and BRP, has brought positive feedback from customers and salespeople alike.
Because of the better margins offered in pre-owned, Leo’s has begun leaning more heavily on used.
“For pre-owned, we are aggressive in taking trade-ins from customers we encounter and then seek out trade-ins,” owner Wayne Bedeaux said.
The dealership has conditioned its customers to offer their units to the dealership when they’re up for grabs. In fact, they’re so accustomed to it, that the store has 90 pre-owned bikes in stock already this winter, when it usually only carries 50-60 during riding season.
“We’ve had to start turning a few away unfortunately, which I hate doing,” Bedeaux reported.
The dealership runs each pre-owned unit through the service department before it hits the sales floor, so Leo’s can be confident in standing behind the vehicles.
“We run everything through our shop after we get it in, fix up what needs to get fixed, change the tires, make it look nice,” Bedeaux added.
New sales are harder to come by, but Leo’s leans on its customer service, longevity and positive reputation to earn market share.
“We’re searching out new lenders all the time to find alternatives to the OEM financing because the OEM financing typically doesn’t have any return or very little, so we use that very infrequently,” he said.
The dealership has signed up with a group of credit unions that offer good interest rates and better approvals. Bedeaux said he works with a variety of lenders because some favor the powersports market at some times, but not at others, and some only cover certain segments.
When Leo’s moved to a branded showroom, most of the PG&A got moved to the back of the store. Though this isn’t ideal, Bedeaux has designed the showroom to lead into the PG&A department.
Branded apparel is placed near each brand’s unit area, and similar aftermarket brand’s garments are located nearby.
“We also try to stock a different variety of different products and always have full size runs and good colorways,” Bedeaux explained. “We pick good lines, and the lines we carry we try to carry pretty deep.”
Consistency has been essential to success in Leo South’s service department. Each tech has been with the dealership for four years or more.
“That’s good to keep that quality to keep the comebacks at a minimum,” Bedeaux said.
One of the ways the dealership has kept its techs on staff is to keep all but one on board in the off-season.
“That’s really the key. It’s hard to find good techs. We really struggle with that,” Bedeaux said.
Most of the marketing for Leo’s South is through the dealership’s website and its twice-per-month e-newsletter, which is delivered to 5,500-6,000 subscribers.
“This is almost all my more core customers, my regular customers who are spending the money here,” Bedeaux said.
The e-newsletter promotes everything from events to seasonal sales. Subscribers receive a $10 coupon upon signing up, and they get additional deals throughout the year.
“I try to do a lot of stuff that’s exclusive to the people that get the newsletter, such as a $10 or $20 coupon only for those who get the newsletter,” he added. “That’s been very successful for us, and we’ve been growing that.”
In the sales department, Bedeaux keeps a close eye on the units in stock and how long they’ve been in the dealership. When the OEMs offer consumer rebates and incentives on non-currents, he pushes hard to take advantage of those offers to save margin and move vehicles.
“With PG&A we try to maximize all the OEM’s return programs,” he said. “Each one has got their own unique program, so we trying to maximize those programs, and we try to return that before it gets old.”
What attracts employees to your dealership?
Leo’s South management makes an effort to create a fun work place, where employees are treated fairly. Staff receives holiday time, a discount on health insurance and discounts on product.
Location: Lakeville, MN
# of Locations: 1
Full-time employees: 22
Year founded: 1977
Principal/Owner: Wayne Bedeaux
OEM brands: BMW, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Can-Am, Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Vespa, Piaggio, CFMOTO, Ural