New PDI center, more online photos are key to sales
Phillip Orange, general manager at Team Mancuso Powersports South in Houston, can’t figure out the inconsistency that pre-owned sales bring in the winter months. But all he needs to do is look at the dealership’s bottom line to know that despite the retail sales fluctuation that pre-owned can bring, the segment has helped 2013 get off to a strong start.
In January, for example, the metric store sold nine pre-owned units. That was followed by February sales that nearly hit 30. But Orange and his fellow GMs at the five other Team Mancuso Powersports dealerships in the Houston area are excited about the future of pre-owned. The ownership group’s decision to open a PDI center for pre-owned bikes was just one of the reasons Powersports Business selected Team Mancuso as a member of the inaugural Power 15.
Located within 30 minutes of each dealership, the PDI center launched at the beginning of the year. All stores — four metric and two Harley-Davidson — send their pre-owned inventory to the PDI center, where they receive a thorough inspection. The shop even has a separate green room of sorts, where the units have their website photos taken.
“We take about 30 pictures of each motorcycle, and those are the pictures that our customers see on our website, on CycleTrader.com, Craigslist, and a bunch of other different avenues,” Orange said. “I’ll tell you what, it really has taken off. We don’t cut any corners on our used bikes. If the tire’s half worn, we put a new tire on it. If it’s questionable on anything, we do it. Every bike gets an oil change.”
Certified pre-owned bikes — estimated at 90 percent or more of the inventory at Mancuso — get a 30-day money-back guarantee, along with a three-month, 30,000-mile warranty for free.
And with a pre-owned inventory that expands to about 300 bikes between the six stores, there’s usually a perfect fit for anyone interested.
“If I don’t have it at my location, I find it somewhere else,” he said. “We have such a great representation of pictures on there that I can literally sell a bike from my showroom that my customer never touches or feels. And he’s only seen it based on what’s on the computer. So we do really well in the used market.”
The photos play an important role, Orange points out. Because they still have so much pre-owned inventory to ramp up through the PDI center, not all bikes shown on their website TMPSouth.com have the plethora of photos. It’s not uncommon for the units that have come out of the PDI center to have more than three dozen photos.
Orange admits that the abundant, high-quality photos aren’t necessarily an original idea.
“There’s a pre-owned auto dealership here in Houston called Texas Direct Auto, and they sell about 3,000 cars a month,” he said. “They provide an experience. When you walk into the store, it’s nothing but kiosks everywhere. The cars are there on site, too, but you shop on the computer first. That’s where our idea of building a room to take pictures of our motorcycles came from. Their place is sick, and we want to be a carbon copy of what they are in the motorcycle world.”
Orange figures that the photo element gives the dealership a leg up on others who aren’t in the game yet when it comes to properly portraying their inventory online.
“Go to websites. It’s pretty comical what you see for photos. Everyone’s stuck back in the Stone Age of 1995, from the way they do it to the lack of inventory on their site,” he said. “When the bike’s sold, they don’t take them off.”
Orange said his dealership has a goal of placing a sold sign on the bike on the website with 48 hours of the sale, and removing it 10 days after the sale.
“We want people to see that things are selling,” he said.