Performance PowerSports is an independent shop that sells pre-owned motorcycles, ATVs, PWC and boats. Jason Caponi, managing partner, says the dealership also focuses on carrying quality parts for its customers. “We don’t want to say we carry all Parts Unlimited or all Tucker Rocky,” he said. “We strive to offer our customers better products, not just the same old products re-packaged. We look for the best quality and value, and we also look for unique products, things that not everyone offers.” Since there are so many options, Caponi says customers have come to view the store’s staff as parts consultants. “They really don’t know the ins and outs of the products. It’s our job to lead them down the best path we can. We do as much research as we can,” he said referring to finding return rates, listening to customer comments and personal experience. The dealership isn’t just a consulting group for customers, it’s a consultant for other dealers as well. Performance PowerSports works with the Georgia Motorcycle Dealers Association to provide a consulting service mainly for smaller dealerships. “We go into small dealerships and set them up with the processes and procedures that larger dealerships have, which creates greater efficiencies and better revenue,” he said. “When things were good, some (dealers) were just selling bikes. They never really sold the back-end products, so their customers weren’t coming back in the store. We’re putting those things in place.”
“The economy: Qualified buyers are really what it boils down to,” Caponi said. “People who are shopping don’t have the credit score or credit history to support purchases. They aren’t qualified buyers in the bank’s mind.”
Pre-owned sport bikes are the most popular item on the market for Performance PowerSports. Caponi says a main reason for that is because sport bikes are the dealership’s specialty compared to other motorcycles, like cruisers.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
More consumers are walking through Performance PowerSports’ front doors, says Caponi. “The weather is changing here for us in Georgia,” he noted, “so we’re having more people come out and shop.” Unit sales, however, have dropped off considerably, notes Caponi, but the dealership’s parts sales have increased.
PARTS AND SERVICE
The dealership services all makes and models besides a few brands like Harley-Davidson. “That’s not usually our clientele anyway,” he said, referring to the cruiser and touring markets. Performance PowerSports’ parts department is one of the most successful areas of the dealership, but Caponi says repair parts are doing much better than aftermarket accessories. “People are doing their own maintenance, getting tires, doing their own oil changes. All the little stuff like that is selling the most,” he said. “People accessorizing their bikes to make it fancier, faster or nicer
hasn’t stopped, but it has dropped off.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Performance PowerSports does a lot of Web advertising above and beyond hosting its own Web site. Caponi says they utilize tools like Google ad words and search engine optimization, which pushes their dealership’s Web site toward the top of the list when people search for certain key words. “We’re also doing some stuff with Craigs List. We use those types of tools to advertise our products. We’ll get customers that way,” he said.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Work on your relationships,” Caponi said, referring to both customers and OEMs/distributors. “It really boils down to relationships. You can’t survive without having those relationships. If (the dealership) is a dirty, nasty place, (the customers) won’t be comfortable, so you’re hurting your relationship. When they come into your store, what do they see? Are they comfortable? Clean it up. Would you shop there?”
— Karin Gelschus
Copyright 2009 Powersports Business