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More than just features and benefits

By By Liz Keener

Kuryakyn, Mustang host Insider Summits for dealers

Leading up to the first Kuryakyn and Mustang Insider Summit, representatives of both companies didn’t know what to expect in terms of attendance.

Invites for the January event were sent over the holiday season, and RSVPs didn’t start ramping up until after the New Year. And on the morning of Jan. 11, they waited, and then they were pleased as a few dozen dealership personnel filled a meeting room at a Dave & Buster’s in Edina, Minnesota, about 10 miles south of the Twin Cities.

“I seriously couldn’t be happier. Like with anything, you write down notes, and it will continue to evolve, but I could not be happier with the way things worked out,” Steve Veltri, VP of brand management for Kuryakyn told Powersports Business as dealers were filtering out of the meeting room and into the arcade after the event.

Dealers from throughout the Twin Cities, Minn., region filed into Dave & Buster’s in Edina on Jan. 11 for the first Mustang and Kuryakyn Insider Summit.

Dealers from throughout the Twin Cities, Minn., region filed into Dave & Buster’s in Edina on Jan. 11 for the first Mustang and Kuryakyn Insider Summit.

The Insider Summits are part of a new partnership between Motorsports Aftermarket Group (MAG) brands Mustang and Kuryakyn. After announcing in early November that the two brands would be combining rep forces, they then launched their Dealer Roadshow and Insider Summits. Both events work hand-in-hand to deliver to dealers brand awareness, product features and benefits and information about programs that can help them be more successful.

The Dealer Roadshow portion involves typically four groups of two people each entering a metropolitan area and visiting a number of dealerships over two days, showing the dealers product samples, arming them with information and improving product placement within the stores. Dealers are then encouraged to attend their nearest Insider Summit.

Five Insider Summits were scheduled for this off-season, each running 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Dave & Buster’s locations across the country. Following the Edina, Minn., summit, Mustang and Kuryakyn headed to Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 25 and Orange, Calif., on Feb. 1. The tour concludes with Summits on March 14 in Addison, Ill., and March 28 in Tempe, Ariz.

The five metro locations were chosen based on the strength of the brand rep support in the area and the ease of logistics, especially in the first year. Dealership reach was also important. Dealers for the first summit came in from upwards of a three-hour drive away, and the same kind of reach was expected for the rest of the tour.

Each session includes background about Mustang and Kuryakyn, product overviews and techniques on how to sell the product and details about dealer programs provided by both brands.

“The driving force behind the Insider Summit is educate the dealer, so they in turn can educate the consumer, and they can in turn move more product. So that’s the basis behind the Insider Summit. It’s really about driving that education. … With knowledge comes confidence, and with confidence comes sales. Because of that, we believe we need this kind of a format to be able to do that effectively,” Veltri said. “For us, this face-to-face, this interaction, there’s nothing better.”

One of Kuryakyn’s primary goals was to differentiate between the Kuryakyn, Crusher and Bahn brands, so dealers would walk away with a better understanding of what each brand brings to their parts departments.

“One of the highlights was our ability to really talk about the differences between Kuryakyn, Crusher, Bahn, Mustang, what that means to the market, most specifically the Bahn and Kuryakyn relationship and what that means for the market. We were really able to, again, with eye-to-eye contact, have a discussion about what that means for future business,” Veltri said.

Mustang focused on bringing its factory to the dealers, showing the quality that goes into the seats as they’re manufactured in Three Rivers, Mass., and explaining why the price point is where it is.

“It was really about how we construct and build our seats because that’s generally the biggest point to get across. So many things today are mass produced, stamped out, and our products are handmade and quality, and to provide the dealers some selling information on such a high-price item is key to get that value across to the end user,” said Jesse Sargent, sales manager for Mustang.

Though Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice reps were in attendance at the Minnesota event and were expected to attend more of the summits, Veltri said the emphasis was on ordering product that sells from any of Kuryakyn or Mustang’s distributors. Both brands were sure to demonstrate to dealers which products are selling well at rallies and other dealerships nationally, so they can get those products in their stores, if the fast-movers are not already there.

“Here’s an opportunity to show them there is new products out there. It may not be on your shelf yet, but it needs to be on your shelf. And this type platform gives us the ability to say, ‘New product should be in your store,’” Veltri said.

In addition to presenting to the dealers, Mustang and Kuryakyn also encouraged feedback on their products and programs from the attendees, which included parts managers, dealership owners and other employees from franchise, independent and PG&A-only dealerships.

Steve Veltri, VP of brand management for Kuryakyn, said the biggest sign people were engaged in the Insider Summit was when they convened near the product at lunchtime, rather than filling up their plates.

Steve Veltri, VP of brand management for Kuryakyn, said the biggest sign people were engaged in the Insider Summit was when they convened near the product at lunchtime, rather than filling up their plates.

“The engagement level was good. The people I talked to saw the value in what we were doing. I think there was a lot of great questions, a lot of great feedback,” reported Mike Shell, national development manager at Kuryakyn.

Veteran custom bike builder Donnie Smith made the nearly 30-mile trek from his shop to the event, and even as a long-term partner of Kuryakyn’s, he said he learned more about the brand.

“I found the summit to be an informative and worthwhile experience. I would definitely attend another one,” Smith said.

Sargent received positive feedback from those he talked to as well. “I talked to a couple of dealers when they were here just what they thought about the presentation and was it worth it, and the four or five guys that I talked to all took away a couple things from it, and they’re taking that back to their dealership, as far as product features and benefits and some of our programs, and it was great.”

Veltri said one of the biggest signs that dealers were engaged came at lunch, when the dealers were free to begin dishing up their meals, and instead of rushing to the food, they instead moved up front to see the decked-out bike and parts up close.

Many also stuck around for a few minutes after the presentation, though Mustang and Kuryakyn provided game cards for the arcade as a thank you afterwards.

“It’s like a little reward to say, ‘Thank you. You took the time and energy and brain cells working with us today, so now get out and have a good time,’” Veltri explained.

After the fifth summit, the events will go on hiatus until late in 2016, after the motorcycle season has slowed down for the winter, but Veltri said plans for a second round of Insider Summits have already begun.

“We will not do Insider Summits throughout the season. We’re confident that that’s not the right timing,” he said. “You do not do a seminar in April or May in this industry. So we get it. After March we won’t see them again until the fourth quarter, and yes, this is going to be an annual thing for us — no question.”

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