310 Nashville Road
Bowling Green, Ky., 42104
62 Mackay Way
Glasgow, Ky. 42141
Gill celebrated his 25th anniversary last year at the Glasgow facility, the first of two he’s opened in Kentucky. Ten years after opening at Glasgow, Gill started the dealership in Bowling Green. Both facilities are about 14,000 square feet and employ roughly 15 employees each. Both stores carry Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki motorcycles and ATVs. The Bowling Green store added KYMCO scooters and ATVs in the past year and a half.
A recent bill proposed in Kentucky would outlaw ATVs for children under 16. “We see that as a big problem for our industry,” said Bowling Green General Manager Perry Vincent, “because there are bikes out there for age groups.” Vincent said the dealership has been pro-active with safety issues, even losing sales to prevent parents from buying ATVs that are too big for their children. Vincent said the dealership is currently drafting a letter to legislators opposing the ATV bill.
Honda is the No. 1 ATV seller for Mike’s Cycle World, which sells roughly twice as many ATVs as motorcycles, Vincent said. He said the Honda Rancher is the store’s top seller as the Honda brand name carries a lot of weight in his area. “We are seeing a change in that,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of Yamahas being sold with the new Bruin they have out.”
In motorcycles, Yamaha’s 650cc V-Star is the most popular. Vincent believes the mid-range bike has been especially hot for beginning bikers, both men and women. Vincent also notes the mid-range bike, from 650cc to 800 cc, continues to outsell the bigger models, due in part to its lower price.
More than ever, Vincent said, consumers are purchasing accessories for their motorcycles, particularly jackets and gloves. “People want to make more of an individual statement,” he said. “They’re living a lifestyle and they want that lifestyle to be their own.”
Parts and Service
Both stores have two techs and a service manager for their parts departments and three employees in accessories. The parts and accessory departments are divided with all accessories staff on the sales floor. So consumers end up talking to more than one salesman. First, they would meet with a vehicle salesperson, than later a salesperson from accessories. The theory of multiple salespeople, Vincent explained, is the dealership has more chances to make a personal connection with the consumer by having more than one person to talk with.
Promotional home runs
Yamaha’s roll the dice promotion over the winter was a huge hit, Vincent said. Consumers signed up for the chance at rolling dice to win two selected ATVs or two motorcycles. Each dice had a letter spelling “Yamaha.” If all six letters came up on a single roll of the dice, the consumer won. The Glasgow dealership used the promotion as part of its 25th anniversary. About 200 consumers rolled, but there were no winners. Another promotional winner was an anniversary celebration put on at Glasglow. The event included a meal for customers as well as a band, face-painting, dunk machines and more. Vincent said the turnout was the biggest ever for one particular event. “We found out sometimes it takes money to make money,” he said. “It had a great customer relation aspect to it and we sold several units during that time too. We never had spent that much money on one particular event.”
Words of advice
Vincent emphasized the importance of training. Members of the dealership recently returned from a training seminar in Orlando, Fla., as part of a 20-dealer group. As a result, the dealership’s managers will be taking a closer look at the stores’ processes and see how they can make “tweaks” to improve them, Vincent said.
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business