Demo rides: ‘The best thing we do all year’ for PWC
Long Beach Marine Stadium gives plenty of test room for Del Amo events
What’s the best setting for a PWC demo ride? A tranquil lake? A seaside hotspot? How about a man-made stretch of supreme real estate?
Long Beach Marine Stadium proved to be an ideal venue for Del Amo Motorsports’ latest PWC demo ride, “Yamaha On The Water Demo Days.” Held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a Saturday in June, the event attracted more than 50 riders. Fortunately, many of them came ready to buy.
“We’ve sold 10 just from that demo day alone,” said Kevin Mooney, product specialist at Del Amo’s Redondo Beach, Calif., location. “That’s the most powerful selling tool we have for PWC, having them available for demo. In a day, you can get 50 people riding, and a solid 20 percent of them are ready to buy. They just need that something to push them over the edge. It’s not even like you can sit on it or can get an idea of how it runs inside the store.”
With an assist from the factory, Del Amo offered a half-dozen skis to be tested. Employee training began a few hours before the event, so that staffers were all well-versed in the selling points of WaveRunners. Customers were required to sign a safety waiver. Their next step was to register for the event via on-site iPads, so that their contact information was captured.
Mooney said the typical rider was eager to demo more than one WaveRunner, offering an ideal situation for the dealership’s staff members, who could describe the differences between the machines.
“A lot of the riders were excited to be able to get on more than one ski. That’s what they liked best about the whole thing,” Mooney said. “Switching between models and getting ideas of how the different hulls perform, you don’t get that experience unless you’re on it in the water.”
Prime real estate
The Long Beach Marine Stadium is far from consumer-friendly. In fact, PWC riders are allowed into the space only by permit, and permits are typically only issued to dealers for events like this. The site originally was built in 1932 to host rowing events for the 1932 Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles. It’s since turned into a powerboat racing haven. The demo riders had a space about 300 yards wide by a half-mile long to test the skis.
That was plenty of space for the customers to get a feel for the WaveRunners. Their riding ability ranged from newbies to the highly experienced.
“People were talking a lot about the performance,” Mooney said. “They had ridden rentals before, but those units usually aren’t perfectly maintained. Being able to ride something that’s brand new with Yamaha’s technology in it, that’s what people really liked.”
Reflecting on the resulting business created for the dealership by the day-long demo ride — a similar Sea-Doo event was held earlier in the summer — Mooney is already looking forward to the next PWC demo ride.
“Absolutely, they were both successful,” he said. “As far as watercraft events, that’s the best thing we do all year.”