We talk about growth plans for Powersports Business every week. Ideas come from a range of team members, from associate editor Liz Hochstedler and myself to advertising staff to our digital marketing experts.
We acknowledge that industry personnel continue to turn to us for insight on a wide variety of topics. Take a recent 17-day span this fall, when we hosted two webinars that attracted hundreds of industry members.
First, the State of the Industry webinar, sponsored by ADP Lightspeed and MB Financial Bank, attracted OEM staffers by the dozens, aftermarket company reps who were seeking insight on the dealer landscape, and dealer principals themselves who sought more. Sure, the Market Data Book itself, published in September, once again remains coveted by those from inside the industry, and others looking to perhaps join us. But the webinar, based on the data and charts in the publication, took the intelligence one step beyond, and certainly lived up to our goal of Inspiring Success Through Market Intelligence.
A stellar lineup of Powersports Business data sources who presented on the webinar brought in a wealth of unsolicited letters of appreciation. “The 60 minutes was time well spent. Do more of them!” was the CliffsNotes version of many emails and calls we received.
Less than three weeks later, associate editor Liz Hochstedler and I were back on the webinar preparation front, this time working hand-in-hand with the folks at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute to present a product entirely unique to our tenure here at the magazine. We were continuing to see the importance of the service department to the dealership growth patterns in our recent quarterly dealer surveys. No shock there, really, since the economic times are forcing consumers to hold onto their bikes longer rather than upgrade to new or pre-owned. So we produced a 25-page PDF titled “A Dealer’s Guide to Hiring, A Service Department White Paper.” We turned to dealer principals themselves to gain more insight into the “who, how and why” of hiring techs.
In order to reach as many dealer principals as possible, we included a webinar as part of the product. Once again, our audience — you! — continued to show your support, this time with a heavy emphasis on dealer principals and service managers participating. With a wealth of presenters such as Alex Baylon from MotorcycleIndustryJobs.com, Henry Lonski from Lonski & Associates and John Zalenchak, general manager of Mosites Motorsports in Pennsylvania, providing their expertise, we took another step into offering insight that can help dealers run their business more efficiently. View either webinar at your leisure at powersportsbusiness.com/webinars.
The themes brought out by the white papers and special products are intelligence and efficiency. You want information and data and examples in as many ways as possible, and you want it all delivered in an effective manner. It’s an approach that we first launched with Profit Xcelerator, and that we’re continuing to develop with projects that spotlight powersports dealership successes.
So with that in mind, we’re proud to announce the launch of the Power 15, celebrating Powersports Business’ 15 years as a brand — in print, online and in-person. The Power 15 will feature 15 U.S. dealerships that, as we see it, go a step beyond in any or all of a variety of areas of the business of owning a thriving dealership.
We’re certainly not back to pre-Great Recession times in the industry, and depending on the day and the dealers that we talk to, any growth since then has been limited at best. So we’re launching the Power 15 to showcase the dealers who have capitalized on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to inventory management, business operations, employee training, professionalism, customer service, marketing, growth strategies, service department efficiencies, marketing and events, website and database management.
We’re not interested in showroom photos, and it’s not up to us to determine which dealership has their helmets stacked the neatest. Instead, Liz and I will talk to dealer principals to get to the core of what makes their dealership operate in a manner that makes them stand out from others. Instead of the showroom photos, we’ll reveal information, such as the hiring process that allows the general manager to find the sales associate who is driven enough to ensure that the showroom is tip-top shape.
The elements that make for a successful dealership in 2012 are much different than they were when Powersports Business launched in 1998, and we’re proud to have GE as a partner to help us launch the Power 15. To many of you, it’s no surprise that GE would be the first to step up in an initiative such as the Power 15 that will generate best practices from dealerships large and small, from multi-store businesses to single-store operations that feature a high level of business acumen. The partnership is an ideal fit for GE, which as dealers know, has stood by the industry with both floorplan and retail financing in good times and in bad.
A special Power 15 supplement will be included in the Dec. 21 edition of Powersports Business, and dealers selected will walk away with a variety of promotional materials to market their dealership. We’ll also be turning to Power 15 dealers in future projects, including webinars, an online Power 15 supplement, E-newsletters and more.
Don’t miss it
• Harley-Davidson of Scottdale was one of the many dealerships in attendance on the MMI webinar, and you can learn more about the latest undertakings from owner Bob Parsons in this edition. In an effort to get more non-riders into his customer base at that dealership and its metric partner, GO AZ Motorcycles, Parsons is pushing the needle. Let us know what types of similar efforts your dealership is doing to attract riders. We’ll take a look at some in an upcoming edition who have added dirt tracks on dealership grounds as part of their demo lineup.
• I get more intrigued by the Gibbs Quadski every time we hear something from the Auburn Hills, Mich., manufacturing plant. It’s the type of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that allows us to uncover something new and different just about every day. With a host of former North American OEM staffers on board with the company, Gibbs figures to make a splash for the long haul. Speaking of splashes, Liz managed to avoid getting soaked when she became just the fourth female to ride the Quadski at a media event in Michigan.
Dave McMahon is Senior Editor of Powersports Business. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763/383-4411.