Heavy stock brings customers to Mississippi dealership
Got Gear sees increases in 2012, with high hopes for ’13
Customers visiting Got Gear Motorsports in Ridgeland, Miss., would be hard pressed to not find what they’re looking for.
The 12-year-old dealership that started as a single-line Kawasaki store has since added Polaris, Victory, Honda, Yamaha, KTM, GEM, SYM, Hammerhead go-karts and Toro lawn mowers to its lineup. And its stock shows. With more than 600 units on hand, from motorcycles to ATVs, scooters to boats and more, Got Gear is designed to be a one-stop shop.
“We’ve got choices here, and I think the customers like that,” sales manager Raymond Walters said.
The dealership prides itself on being able to provide for its customers’ needs, with a generous showroom selection and more units in an off-site warehouse. The staff will even search out units at other dealerships or with the OEM if a customer’s looking for something specific.
“We try to keep a good sample of the popular colors, and if there’s something that someone wants that we don’t have, we make every effort to get it for them,” Walters explained.
Looking back, 2012 was positive for the dealership, with customers emerging from their recession-time waiting periods and finally spending on toys.
“2012 was a good year. It was up tremendously from 2011. We finished out 2012 really strong, with one of the biggest Decembers we’ve ever had. In fact, I think it was the biggest December we’ve ever had,” Walters reported.
Overall, the store saw sales up in the low- to mid-teens. The PG&A department followed with a 12-15 percent increase. Though service was a little slow due to turnover, the department still fared better in 2012 than in 2011, and plans are being made for improvement in 2013.
Also successful was the F&I department, which is seeing a penetration rate of about 40 percent on warranties.
“We make sure we present it to every customer, for one, and then when we’re going through our sale process, our salesperson mentions it and then again when they get to the business manger,” Walters said.
On top of Got Gear’s wide selection, demo rides are also driving customers to the dealership. Got Gear offers demos on any model, except super sport bikes, and Walters said demos have made a huge impact on the store’s sales.
“We want people to ride them. I don’t want people to come in here and spend their hard-earned money and not come in here and ride them,” he said.
Often, customers will research a model extensively online and in forums, but once they take a test ride, they’re lured to a different unit.
“A lot of times we’ll get, ‘I don’t like that bike as much as I thought; can I try that one?’” Walters said.
For 2013, the dealership plans to increase its pre-owned sales. The dealership improved in that department in 2012, but it has even bigger plans for the coming year.
“We’re making a big effort to more than double what we did last year. We think that’s one of the areas that’s key for growth over the next few years,” Walters said.
Got Gear has already assigned staffers to focus on buying bikes full-time, and customers are bringing in bikes to sell on a weekly basis. Pre-owned, the dealership has found, has better margins and gives the store an extra advantage.
“There’s not as much competition on the used market. It’s hard for a guy to shop for a bike online that’s exactly the same one,” Walters explained.
The dealership is already on track for a successful 2013. Though January plateaued, February sales skyrocketed, up almost 70 percent from the year-ago month. The dealership is now hoping for a good riding season, which Walters believes will continue to boost the store’s sales.
“We’re hoping for 15 percent growth and really expecting 10 percent, maybe a little better, but I think 10-15 percent is going to be good for us,” he said.
To get there, the dealership is going to continue treating its customers well and going above and beyond to get them what they need.