Be exceptional

Tim CalhounRunning a company that sells products for nearly every type of motorcycle, scooter and ATV, I can tell you first hand how difficult it is to market to each of these sectors and do a competent job in all of these different arenas.

It is an expectation that I sell into each of these markets and garner a predetermined percentage of our annual sales from each of the product lines that fit into these assorted categories. I think this is fairly identical to the situation many dealers find themselves in all the time. How do I address each market category so as not to lose any potential income?

After many go-arounds and late night planning sessions, after untold hours struggling with these questions and reading more than my fair share of books by marketing and business gurus, I have some very simple advice.

If you cannot economically scale to service all markets, (Chaparal or Bert’s, for example), or if your market or clientele does not demand you do this, (ATV in a concrete jungle, Ducati in an extremely rural community), or most importantly, if you are not passionate about the direction your company is headed, the job you are doing, or the markets you are serving, then stop trying to do a really horrible job of being everything to everyone and start being really exceptional at one, two or three sectors.

My company will continue to offer products in each sector but in the last two years we have become exceptional in three specific areas. This success of this is directly reflected in many ways. My staff has become exceptional at selling and servicing these areas. Our bottom line has continued to grow, as have gross sales. The best result of all, though, is that of a growing internal culture of staff members who have a common passion, have more fun at their jobs and are able to share this in their daily interactions with our customers.

Poll your customers, find out what they want, not what you think they want, then try to deliver that in a way that allows you to be passionate about your work. If you are the driving force in your company and your company’s work is not exceptional, maybe that is the real underlying issue in your success. BE EXCEPTIONAL.

Tim Calhoun is the executive vice president of LeoVince USA, a dealer-direct manufacturer of exhaust systems. Its Italian parent company is the world¹s largest powersports exhaust manufacturer.

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