These articles recap some of the opportunities uncovered by Gart Sutton & Associates’ powersports specialists during consulting visits.
These are followed by recommended actions that address the issues. Our goal is to provide ideas to help improve your dealership.
Two years ago, the owners bought out an older, well-established dealership in a small, rural area. It has recently been moved from a small, 3,000-square-foot facility located in the downtown area to a 14,000-square-foot former supermarket building on the edge of town. The newly remodeled facility is partially visible from a main highway, but there is no direct access. The absentee owners originally left the daily operation of the business in the hands of the existing dealership staff.
The goal for this engagement was to identify and establish the processes necessary for the profitable operation of each department and the overall dealership. The following describes the findings for the sales department.
Focusing on sales
They are selling a lot of units, but because of the lack of a data management system, there is not enough data to determine the profitability (if any) of these sales. They must establish the profitability of every deal and install controls to ensure acceptable profits are made on saleable units. Non-saleable units must be disposed of quickly to reduce flooring costs.
The showroom area is bland and uninviting. The customer waiting area is blocked by counters and displays. Units are packed together on one side creating a sea of handlebars. On the other side there is a field of identical clothing racks. There are no windows. There is no music. There are some good wall displays. Clothing should be mixed with appropriate units to increase exposure to the product. Adding relaxing background music and lifestyle displays will promote a shopping/buying atmosphere.
Customers are not logged, so there are no measurements of closing ratios or traffic flows. There is no prospecting system. Salespeople who are not face-to-face with a customer should be on the phone trying to get appointments from prospects.
They have accompanied street demo rides for qualified customers. This best practice provides strong closing opportunities. Adding a pre-planned route would allow them to control the ride and reduce risks.
No structured selling process is being followed. Worksheets are not being completed for each sale. No formal sales meetings are being conducted. The only follow-ups to the sale are done by an outside company.
Salespeople handle the sale, including accessories, but much of the closing has been done by the G.M./sales/F&I manager. Separating the sales and F&I processes will lead to higher closing ratios.
Author, speaker and educator, Gart Sutton has been retained by every major powersport manufacturer/distributor. He is a frequent keynote speaker for national motorcycle conventions and state motorcycle dealer association events. Visit www.gartsutton.com.