Here we are, another October. Another selling season passing, with yet another before us. I find it interesting how the different seasons bring different types of focus. Let’s look at what some of the seasons bring in motorsports.
The summer months bring cash flow (yea!) along with not as much thought about who and what’s doing the generating of that cash. The money’s coming in so why worry? No problems. You look at the bottom line on your P&L and you’re in the black — cool!
The hustle and bustle of the summer selling season overshadows at times what isn’t being done, or should be done. Parts department purchases aren’t scrutinized as closely while unit orders ("Don’t worry, we’ll sell them...") are being made based on how cool something is and that free flooring carrot being dangled in front of you. Back end sales aren’t where they should be (lots of cash deals, sound familiar?), but you’ll look into that when it starts to slow down a bit. You’re making money at the moment and that’s what counts. Service is humming along. They’re getting PDI’s done, you see the volume, and that means productivity right? It’s summer, all is grand.
Fall generally brings a little more P&L scrutiny. You begin looking a little more closely at the different departments as the cash flow you had during the summer months subsides, and growing bottom lines are about to go into winter hibernation. Keeping as much cash as you can to get you through the slow months starts to merit some thought. Fall is retrospective.
You start looking at what you’re purchasing a bit more, what you need and what you really don’t need. Some of those great purchases that were going to make you money during those summer months (your parts manager promised) have turned into inventory that has yet to give you a return on investment and that cash you thought you had is sitting on shelves in your parts department. The free flooring is not free anymore and neither is keeping all those cool units.
You start thinking it’s time for the Giganto Fall sale, the mother of all fall sales, on inventory that really should have been focused on in the preceding retail months. Service department productivity is now getting scrutiny as you start thinking about how you’re going to keep your techs busy through the slow months. Back end sales have been lackluster but that’s going to change going into the next spring selling season — your F&I Manager assures you — cash deals or not. Your flooring is sky high and, as the first snowflakes fall, you’re thinking you’re never going to let that get out of hand again.
It’s winter, and you’re thinking about all the things that could have been done this year, which you will make sure are done next year. You know what you should have been watching all along, that you’re watching now and that you do watch at times. And that will never happen again because what was once black is now red — because you do some things, sometimes, usually, or occasionally....MM
Mark Mooney is the principal of Mark Mooney Powersports Consulting, a Santa Cruz, California, company that works with OEMs and powersports dealers to strengthen dealership performance. Mark is a nationally known speaker and teacher that works with dealers throughout the United States. Mark Mooney Powersports Consulting is “empowering performance and strengthening profitability through practical solutions.”