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June 13, 2011 – ProfitX an expense? ‘No way — it’s money in the bank’

June 15, 2011
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Gaby Gregoire admittedly was unfamiliar with many of the speakers prior to attending Powersports Business’ Profit Xcelerator in Las Vegas for the first time.

“Some of them I didn’t know anything at all about before I went there,” he said. “It was my first time there. But all of the seminars I really liked. I took a lot of notes and the time I spent there was very, very useful. The presenters were awesome.”

As part of his experience at ProfitX in 2010, Gregoire, who owns a pair of Gregoire Sport dealerships north of Montreal, attended a seminar presented by Sam Dantzler. The topic was how to get members of a dealership’s parts staff to become sellers rather than clerks.

Now that Gregoire has implemented the tactic as a regular course of his business, all he had to do was look at his bottom line success to determine that he’ll be returning to ProfitX. The education-themed seminars and accompanying trade show targeted at improving a dealership’s business are set once again for Sept. 25-27 at the Red Rock Resort Casino & Spa in Las Vegas.

“Since we’ve implemented this program that we learned about at Profit Xcelerator, our parts sales have increased 10 percent,” Gregoire said. “If I did not go to Profit Xcelerator, I would not be doing this sales program right now and enjoying it so well. I’ve been to many industry meetings and events, and trust me, Profit Xcelerator is one that I’m not going to miss. I will be there this year and the next year and the next.

“I learned so much in two days. I mean I took a lot of notes and many things I learned there I never would have thought of myself.”

Gregoire sometimes sounds like a broken record to his fellow dealership owners in other locales.

“I suggest to every dealer that I see to go to ProfitX. Some of them see it as an expense because it’s not tied to a manufacturer or group meeting. I say, no way is it an expense — it’s money in the bank.”

Gregoire simply implemented one of the many ideas provided at ProfitX, then watched as his parts sales flourished after a needed boost.

“We’ve done our weekly meetings with the parts staff ever since I got back from the Profit Xcelerator,” Gregoire said. “Now I’m working at the parts counter with the staff. We do role-playing during our weekly meetings. When I see a situation come up during the week, I can say ‘This is how we did it, and this is how we should do it.’”

The weekly meetings with his parts staff of five and accessories staff of two are both brief and effective. Gregoire has especially taken pride in watching his staff members gain confidence with their interpersonal skills.

“One thing we’ve found out since we started doing this is that we have to have the parts staff create relationships with the customers,” he said. “A guy can go buy any part he wants to buy on his couch at home. But we have to give them a reason to come see us. When they come into the store for an oil filter or spark plugs, we have to find out why they really came into the store.”

And that’s where Gregoire’s staff implement some of the tactics used at the ProfitX seminar hosted by Dantzler.

“We find out that once those relationships start getting built, the customer starts to ask for his own parts guy,” Gregoire said. “When the customer leaves the shop, he says ‘Thank you. I didn’t think I would get what I needed and get a lot of good advice to go with it.’ And our parts guys are happy because the customer comes in and asks for him by name. It’s rewarding. The guys like it. Customers are so hard to find now that we have to make them stick with us.”

Gregoire has more than 30 years in the business and began working on the parts counter upon learning of the growth opportunities gleaned at ProfitX. The dealership itself has been up and running for 45 years, so Gregoire would have every reason to believe he wouldn’t have a need to attend ProfitX.

“We all learn from each other,” Gregoire said. “I’ve done this long enough to know that nobody knows it all.”

He’s also owned a dealership long enough to know that when members of the parts staff start sharing high-5s, parts sales are up.

“Every time a big sale happens, they tell each other, slap hands,” Gregoire admitted. “One guy came in looking for an oil filter, and he left with two new tires and an exhaust pipe. When they get a big sale, everybody knows.

“You can’t just give the customer what they wanted. It makes a big difference when you offer what you have to sell.”

Gregoire’s success rate from ProfitX doesn’t appear to have an ending in sight. His newly confident parts sales staff now provides their boss with selling tactics.

“One of them said ‘We don’t’ sell enough battery chargers. Why don’t we come up with a way to sell more?’” Gregoire recalled. “So starting on April 1, every time a customer bought a battery, we offered the charger for half price. We usually sell 40 chargers in a year. We went through 50 in one month.”

“The program I learned at Profit Xcelerator is really good, not just for myself. The staff all participates and shares. We’re getting good results, so it’s encouraging for everyone.”

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