If you are reading this blog, or any in this publication for that matter, chances are that you care about your business and want to see it grow. Chances are that you want to be the best employee, manager or owner operator that you can be. Chances are that you are the proactive type, who realizes you don’t have all the answers and are humble enough to look outside of yourself for some guidance on how other professionals operate in your field. So when in this entrepreneurial driven business do we stop inventing processes and adopt standard best practices? I’ve broken down some thoughts by department.
We know that you need to at least greet people when they walk through the door, you need to ask qualifying questions of your prospects in order to help turn them into buyers, you should be prospecting (for customers, not dates) in your downtime, you should be upselling F&I and also PG&A goods before the close and you should be using social media as a tool to communicate your dealership culture and what makes you different to your customer base instead of just listing the same inventory that all of your competitors have.
We know that you should go through a standard checklist of wearable items on a service bike and show the status to the customer with every service, you should have a designated waiting area for express services and you should be reaching out to customers when their appropriate service is expected based on mileage
We know that your store stocking plan needs to change with the seasons, your duty lies not only with your walk in customers, but also with keeping the service and sales departments supplied with the PG&A they need to do their jobs, you are charged with the seemingly impossible task of maintaining a margin in the world of smartphones and price matching and you need to maintain a look in your department that our customers have become used to in a retail environment.
The list goes on and on. If you are a professional this is nothing new to you. This is not an all-inclusive list, but just some of the obvious. Most of what is generally accepted as best practices you don’t even need to think about...just do! So, if most of this is thought out for me and I just need to implement in my departments, where should I focus my brainpower? After all, I’m an entrepreneur and I like to create something from nothing. I’m a motorcycle guy to boot, I don’t follow rules…I break them!
Focus on what we don’t know
So where do we look for problems/solutions/data for issues and opportunities we might not even know exist? Right in front of our face—everyday hopefully. Our customers are our greatest source of information for questions like: What can we do better? What products would you like to see in the store? Are our services up to your standards? What do you buy from our competition? How can we get you to buy that from us? There are many tools at our disposal in order to ascertain this info from our customers. Survey monkey, Facebook polls and customer feedback cards are all accepted means, but the most important element is listening with a genuine interest in the customers’ feedback and fostering an entire culture around that. This is where you can focus that creative energy.
By asking the right questions, collecting data and batching your answers you can then prioritize, plan and execute a strategy to address the issues and opportunities that are found. After all, our customers are our most important resource in business and are the vehicle to our success. Your job is to make sure that you are the store who is keeping them riding.
Napoleon Tetreault is a sales representative with Tucker Rocky, an aftermarket PG&A distributor in the powersports industry. He works with powersports retailers on merchandising, profitability and management of the parts department as well as the education of dealership personnel. His experience includes being the GM of the largest indoor motocross facility in the US, owner/operator of a regional distribution company and current role with Tucker Rocky. He can be reached at: