6431 Market St.
Wilmington, N.C. 28405
Even though Britt Motorsports owner Scott Britt has been in the industry 33 years, he still attends classes put on by Assurant Solutions. His desire to learn is a key factor in the dealership’s success. “I’ve never stopped learning the motorcycle business and trying to be a better motorcycle dealer,” Britt said, adding he could be a poster child for the cliché, “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” He started out painting motorcycles, which expanded into metal work and later complete framing of custom motorcycles. The dealership offers its own custom bikes as well as kits for people to customize their own motorcycles. Custom bikes are a large part of the dealership’s business as they sell them worldwide through the store’s Web site. Most of the dealership’s sales, however, are done locally. Among the four locations, Britt Motorsports sells about 2,400 motorcycles per year. Britt says that’s a substantial amount considering the combined population of the three cities in which the stores are located is less than 300,000. Contributing to the dealerships’ success are 85 employees who Britt says he can’t say enough about. “I’ve been blessed with people, long-term staff,” he added. “Staff makes all the difference.” The employees have helped run a unique combo of dealerships. Between Britt’s four dealerships, he houses Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Big Dog, American IronHorse, Ridley, Polaris, Big Bear Choppers and Sucker Punch Sally’s, in addition to Britt Customs.
A few things crossed Britt’s mind when considering his biggest concern, one of which is federal regulations. Britt says the Consumer Product Safety Commission has put the industry under pressure with the law banning youth ATVs and bikes. “We have storage rooms full of product that we’re not allowed to sell and we haven’t heard yet what’s going to happen,” he said. “We always have to worry about legislation and people who really don’t want to be around motorcycles.” On top of that, Britt said financing has been “the worst it’s ever been. We’ve had days here where we’ve had 20 turndowns before we got an approval.”
The Kawasaki VN 900 is in high demand for a couple reasons. Britt says the bike offers a great price point and the dealership was able to hit a broad market with it because of the appeal to women motorcyclists. “We’ve designed a kit we call the Lady Signature Series that has a very low seat height on it,” he said.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
With the economy in the state it’s in, Britt says more people are looking toward preowned motorcycles. “I think used bikes are going to be great this year,” he noted. “That’s going to be a huge part of the business.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
The training Britt and his staff have received through Assurant has given them the tools to pull away from other dealerships’ parts and service departments. “We totally believe we have to exceed customers’ expectations to be the dealer people want to visit,” Britt said. Adding to the departments’ appeal, customers can watch their bikes being serviced through a glass window. “I built a Tire and Lube Center where people can actually watch their tire or oil being changed,” he said. “I think the simple service (tire or oil change) is going to be the key to success in service this year.” The dealership’s parts department does a great deal of business, especially with the kits it sells. Britt says they have a growing dealer network for the kits, and they sell them directly to consumers.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
The conventional methods of advertising are still useful but Britt thinks this year people are going to try more creative ways to reach their customers. Britt Motorsports has done just that with e-mail blasts. “We really worked hard over the last winter to grow our e-mail list. We hired XEComm (a Virginia-based company that seeks to enhance customer communication via online and direct-mail products) to develop weekly sales and e-mail leads for us,” Britt said. “The e-mail blasts we’ve already had great success with. We started in about November and we saw a surge in business on the weekends after we had these e-blasts. That’s something we’re working to develop to the next level. People seem to be going more and more toward anything electronic. The Internet and e-mails are such a more effective way to reach our customer base.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Join a 20 group,” Britt said. “The more dealers in the nation that are able to understand the motorcycle business as a business, it helps us all because we then have the ability to grow our sales. You have to be an astute dealer in today’s market.”
— Karin Gelschus
Interested in having your dealership profiled? Contact Associate Editor Karin Gelschus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Britt Motorsports – Wilmington, NC – April 6, 2009