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Dealership fosters community engagement

By Kate Swanson

Power 50 dealer finds ways to involve customers

Killeen Power Sports, a 2015 Power 50 recipient, has made a 2016 goal to continue engage its customers in every way possible. The dealership, based in Killeen, Texas, has a rich history in powersports, with more than 30 years of experience. Owners Jim and Linda Foster bought the dealership in 1983, and today their son Jared serves as the dealership’s operations manager.

The dealership has been involved with a Triumph 20 group, a decision that Jared Foster said is invaluable to the dealership’s operations. Its dealer principal is a longstanding Texas Motorcycle Dealer Association board member and a lifelong member of the American Motorcyclist Association.

“We find it pretty invaluable because when you look at it, if you’re not chatting and you’re not listening to what everyone else is doing, you’re behind the curve. We’ve always found value in that,” said Foster. “We have an entire used bike business, and the way that we approached it has entirely come out of listening to what other members of our 20 groups have done.”

Texas Used Bikes, a secondary business for used inventory, helped the dealership sell 148 more major units in 2015 than in 2014. David Lang, Killeen’s sales manager, travels to National Powersport Auctions in Dallas at least once every three months to purchase clean, used bikes that fit the market segment. “We seem to notice that the more bikes we have, the more bikes we sell,” added Foster.

Killeen Power Sports carries new units from Can-Am, Honda, KTM, Polaris, Suzuki, Triumph and Victory.

Killeen Power Sports carries new units from Can-Am, Honda, KTM, Polaris, Suzuki, Triumph and Victory.

“A major part of our growth has been in our used motorcycle segment and it’s an area that I’m very driven in,” said Lang. “The model that we came up with, TexasUsedBikes.com, is incredible for us. I’ve sold motorcycles to people from California to upstate New York.”

Killeen Power Sports also employs a part-time employee to take photos of the bikes, and the business is promoted on various social media sites like Facebook and Craigslist.

In 2015, the dealership focused on training, improving its service department and keeping its customers engaged. Marketing director C.J. Brown has seen a large increase in engagement from the Texas Used Bikes Facebook page.

“Especially on Facebook, we’re always learning new things, and I spend a lot of time every week boosting different posts and seeing what works and what doesn’t,” said Brown. She found that asking customers to post pictures of their bikes has been a successful way to gain more responsive followers.

“You’re really going to get a whole lot more engagement if you have your customer take a picture of that bike on his or her own and tag your business,” said Foster. Customers are proud of their bikes, and Killeen Power Sports aims to give them an outlet to share that enthusiasm with other like-minded riders.

Brown also used 2015 to learn more about Google AdWords and gain more perspective in online marketing. “We approach it as a kind of relationship management,” said Foster. “It’s about multiple touches and as a reminder that we’re here and we’re the people that they need to buy that bike from. If they see it 15 times in a month, in my opinion, they’re that much more likely to go and buy a bike at some point.”

These efforts, combined with a lot of Facebook ads, increased the dealership’s traffic and engagements by approximately 200 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Events at Killeen Power Sports are focused on community building, rather than sales, as highlighted in this photo created of a motorcycle jump in front of the Texas dealership.

Events at Killeen Power Sports are focused on community building, rather than sales, as highlighted in this photo created of a motorcycle jump in front of the Texas dealership.

Located just off U.S. Highway 190, Killeen Power Sports gets a lot of business from nearby Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the country. About five years ago, the dealership began offering storage options to deployed military as a way to meet demand in its military-rich population. Due to decreased deployment overseas, the service has not been as needed as of late. But the tagline, “Better than your buddy’s garage,” still draws a few of the 40,000-50,000 military personnel stationed at Fort Hood.

With such a large military population, it’s not uncommon for the personnel to change every 13 months to two years, according to the local newspaper. “It definitely goes back to that transient community,” Foster said. “Every time we have a bike night, it’s an opportunity to introduce somebody new to the community about what we do here.”

Killeen Power Sports carries a large inventory of multiple brands, including Can-Am, Honda, KTM, Motor Trike, Polaris, Slingshot, Suzuki, Triumph and Victory. In fact, in its first year with the Polaris line, the dealership has sold 35 Slingshots.

So far the dealership is on track to reach an 11 percent increase over 2015, which is encouraging to the entire team. “Our goal is for an 11 percent increase over 2015. I believe when all is said and done we should hit that goal that I have wanted. We’re going to sell 600 units this year, 700 if it’s up to me,” said Lang.

Lang has also been credited with helping the dealership sell a record number of dirt bikes and ATVs in 2015. The dealership hosted a customer appreciation day at a local trail riding spot. “It gave them a great opportunity to ask questions about their dirt bikes and ATVs and just really get the feel of riding while having experts around to help if they needed it,” said Foster.

In addition, Killeen Power Sports hosts an annual FMX Night, as well as countless bike nights at the dealership and a local bar, Pluckers. The events are an essential part of fostering relationships between the salespeople and potential buyers and are not sales focused.

“It’s more about hanging out and getting to know us as people and knowing our customers. It’s about camaraderie and sharing the lifestyle, not about selling anything,” added Lang.

Killeen strives to treat its customers like family and keep them engaged in not only a brand, but a lifestyle. “We sell freedom; we sell entertainment, and we sell friendship,” said Lang. “It’s about sharing out lifestyle and idea of this lifestyle, getting people to jump on the bandwagon of enthusiasm and sharing that with other people.”

“It’s really about the customer’s experience. Young people are investing more of what they want their money spent on, not so much in material goods, but in the experience of things. … You can share a bike with your community, so that gives us a little edge. We’re here to sell fun, and we’re here to sell good experiences,” said Foster.

 

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