Dealership group buys third store, focuses on customer service
One of Del Amo Motorsports’ core values is growth, and grow it has. Since the dealership was established in a 6,000-square-foot building in 1985, it has since grown to a 45,000-square-foot dealership in Redondo Beach, Calif., and added another location in Long Beach.
Now Del Amo is growing again, with the recent purchase of an underperforming dealership in the Costa Mesa area.
“We see the potential in that. It’s in Orange County, and we saw the potential in a new dealership, and we kind of like to be by the beach, and it’s by Newport Beach,” reported Claudia Perez, general manager of the Redondo Beach store.
The launch of the store is not only bringing new sales opportunities to the dealership group, but it’s also presenting a chance for the dealerships to come together and work better in harmony.
Perez is helping set up the Costa Mesa store, which is expected to reopen under the Del Amo name in early April. After that, she will become operations manager of the Del Amo group, working to better unify the stores, “to make sure that we’re doing the same thing at all three stores, that a customer will come in and have the same experience at all three stores, a good experience,” she said.
Currently Perez works closely with Long Beach GM Terry Dempsey on marketing, events, employee training and other aspects, but when the third store is added, all will have combined accounting, processes, customer service policies, uniforms and more. For 2014, Perez’s goal is “making sure that we have growth in all three stores. That is going to be the challenge of the year because you can easily lose focus,” she said.
Del Amo’s growth hasn’t only been in physical facilities, but also in improving sales. Overall, unit sales were up in 2013, as Del Amo took advantage of Yamaha’s financing deals with Capital One, and pre-owned bikes sold well. Perez also believes Del Amo’s heavy focus on customer service training has made a big impact at the dealership, named in 2013 to the Powersports Business Power 50 presented by ARI.
“We are very much about training. Training is really our focus. Every week we have a meeting with each single department,” Perez reported.
In addition to weekly department meetings and monthly storewide meetings focused on customer service, Del Amo has brought in industry trainers to teach its staff. Yamaha’s Jill Hobbs hosted training sessions twice last year, and Sam Dantzler also trained Del Amo staff, with a return visit set for this April. The dealership also receives support from all of its OEMs, which send in representatives to train staff on their product.
“It’s a team effort, it’s from the OEMs to the managers to the staff, to understand the more they know, the more confidence they have and the more power they have to help the customers out,” Perez said.
Del Amo believes it has to focus on customer service in order to get buyers to turn to its dealerships when they’re looking for powersports vehicles. Perez has noticed that fewer people are simply walking through the door ready to buy, so the dealership’s staff is trying to build relationships with all potential buyers.
“It takes six to nine contacts to get the customer into the store, where before it was two to three, so the buying cycle has changed, and we’ve adapted,” she said. “The buying cycle of the customer is longer, way much longer than it used to be, and I think people have just become cautious with the economy.”
Del Amo is now working harder to earn each sale, but its efforts are paying off not only with current customers, but also with new buyers, many of whom come in on referral.
Along with unit sales, the service department is also starting to grow. The Redondo Beach store hired a new service manager in the fall, and new technicians also joined the staff, both of which have already made an impact in early 2014.
“We’ve been able to keep a good team back there, and this year they’re in a growth mode, so it’s very exciting to see that,” Perez said.
Parts has been in a bit of a holding pattern, as the department has experienced a lot of turnover, but with the recent hiring of a new purchasing director and the addition of a SIDI store-within-a-store in Redondo Beach, Del Amo has big plans for PG&A.
“We feel really confident in 2014. We expect really good growth in 2014,” Perez said.
Del Amo Motorsports is poised for improvement, not only in parts, but also across all departments and all of its stores. Perez credits Del Amo’s recent success to its employees, and their dedication not only to growth, but the group’s other core values — quality, team work, honesty and can-do spirit.
“We’re very, very happy, very fortunate, and it’s because of the team,” she said. “We have really good people working here.”
Del Amo Motorsports
Locations: Redondo Beach and Long Beach, Calif., new location planned for Costa Mesa, Calif.
Employees: 47 full-time
General managers: Claudia Perez (Redondo Beach) and Terry Dempsey (Long Beach)
Brands carried: Can-Am, Ducati, Kawasaki, KTM, Sea-Doo, Suzuki, Yamaha