It’s always interesting to see how distributors approach the summer show season. Some opt to invite only their vendors and reps, while others include days for dealers to attend. Both approaches seem highly effective, with manufacturers appreciative of the one-on-one time they receive with the actual reps who will be selling their products, and dealers continuing to come in droves when they’re offered a chance.
Marshall Distributing had first dibs on the distributor show calendar, with an early July event in Frankenmuth, Mich. More than 40 vendors attended, all of whom have helped Marshall expand its footprint by 11 percent over the past year.
The format featured pairs of Marshall sales reps meeting with each vendor for 30 minutes over two-and-a-half days.
“It went well,” Joe Mooney, president and chief operating officer of Marshall Distributing, said after the event. “The one-on-one interaction is a tremendous sales tool. The more my guys learn, the smarter they are when they go into the dealerships. And that means more sales all around.”
Sales have been strong for Marshall in 2012 across all powersports segments.
“We’ve had a very strong spring and summer, and we expect to have another year of positive growth,” Mooney said. “It’s been driven by the incredibly hard work of the people from top to bottom to service our dealers.”
And after impressive expansion of its dealer partners in 2011, Marshall expects continued growth.
“Based on what we saw in the first quarter, that number [11 percent] will be higher in 2012,” Mooney said.
Mooney said dealers are signing on with Marshall for a variety reasons, including the success of its newest distribution center in Sparks, Nev. The facility opened in August 2010 and provides one-day shipping for dealerships in California.
“We’ve also add to our sales force, and there had better be a business correlation if you’re adding staff!” CEO Roger Marshall said.
“We’re offering greater breadth and depth in our catalog,” Mooney added. “New products isn’t new to Marshall, but the volume of the new products is much higher.”
That expansive lineup drew aftermarket manufacturers from the motorcycle, scooter, ATV, UTV, snowmobile and PWC segments to the meeting.
“We’re growing in every category,” national sales manager Chuck Herman said. “We’re looking for vendors that have a quality product and can deliver in a timely manner. We listen to our sales staff about what the dealers are asking for, and what their customers are asking for.”
The President’s Award for Sales Excellence went to Sandy Hendrian, Doug Powers and Greg Sims-Marshall. The Chairman’s Award went to Doug Powers, Tom Cunningham and John Fitzgibbons.
Record half for KTM
KTM North America, meanwhile, was the first OEM to host a Dealer Meeting, when attendees gathered in June. As usual, a riding spot for its dealer base was priority No. 1. Following the Dealer Meeting in Sacramento, dealers previewed the 2013 KTM Off-Road model lineup at Hangtown.
KTM North America president Jon-Erik Burleson presented dealers with a goal of helping the brand become the most sought-after OE in the North American dealer market.
Barbara Kenedi (head of related products) and Hubert Trunkenpolz (chief sales officer and a member of the KTM board of directors) shared news of KTM’s market stature and it’s long-term commitment to two-stroke development.
KTM sold a record 50,233 motorcycles in the first half of 2012, an increase of 36 percent over the year-ago period.
Despite an industry-wide decrease in motorcycle sales in Europe, KTM in July had a 41 percent market share increase in Europe to 7 percent of the total market. The company attributed its success to the off-road Freeride 350 and the launch of the KTM and Bajaj-partnered Duke in India.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the “A Night of Firsts” dinner hosted by Davey Coombs was the honoring of John Penton at the event’s conclusion. Penton was credited with being “the first to believe in KTM in the United States” and dealers in attendance honored him with a standing ovation.
“There was a lot of excitement around this year’s dealer show and we couldn’t have asked for a better event,” Burleson said. “We had much to celebrate this year in both unit sales and racing success. It was nice to share those moments with our dealers. KTM is very excited for the future.”
Dave McMahon is Senior Editor of Powersports Business. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763/383-4411.