Fall has finally set in across our country, and temps are starting to cool off. Many dealerships have shifted strategy away from selling motorcycles and pushing hard on the sale of ATVs and side-by-sides. The market demands this, as hunting and harvesting seasons are in full swing. A dealer’s strategy should always adjust to what the market is demanding. As a dealer’s strategy adjusts to the changing demands, you must also be prepared to push through the winter carrying good momentum into spring.
Think of professional athletes — during the off-season they do not sit around and wait until pre-season starts to get into shape. The best dedicate the off-season in the gym, in the batting cages, working with trainers to be at their best when pre-season arrives. The same should go for a dealership. In order to have the best Spring 2018, dealerships must work harder than ever in the winter/off-season.
Here are my 5 tips to a strong winter that ensures success into spring of 2018:
- Put a plan in place to ensure the strength of your winter season. This includes a strong advertising plan now and throughout the winter. Many competing dealers will not read this or any other industry blogs. They will not advertise through the winter. Stay in front of consumers and earn their business with a strong advertising campaign.
- Get the staff right and ready. Make sure the right employees are in place. Make sure to treat employees well and empower them to be successful. Give them some time off to regroup but give them the tools during the off-season to become better in their role in the dealership. Host weekly meetings/trainings with employees to improve their skills.
- Put on events inside the store that get people excited. Now would be a great time to host a weeknight hunting seminar or winter service tips. Invite reps in from aftermarket suppliers and have them bring accessories to go on ATVs and SxSs the dealership sells. Showcase them and offer those in attendance an incentive.
- Put large incentives on your sales staff through the winter months. Their pockets are probably feeling light, and this may lead to some discouragement. Give them some incentives but also give them tools. Dig into that CRM. Call old customers and see how that 5-year old machine is treating them. Invite them by to test ride the latest and greatest.
- Train the service department how to make calls to past customers and invite them by for a winter service special. Getting customers into service is the best way to upsell new parts and accessories or maybe even a new machine. If techs are slow enough, perhaps even offer a free 30-minute performance inspection to customers.
If dealerships plan to have a successful winter, they will most likely carry that momentum into the spring with even more success. Naturally because of weather, things will slow, but hose dealers who put in a strong fall and winter season will shine come Spring 2018. Don’t start pulling back on your business just because sales will slow. Have a plan for the off-season. Be a dealership like the athlete that puts in all the work in the off-season. Plan today, execute through the slow season more than ever, and spring will shine on your business with success.
Ryan Brown is vice president of Powersports at Big Time Advertising, a digital advertising agency focused on the powersports industry. Ryan has over 15 years of experience in the powersports industry as a rep and GM of a national top 10 multi-line dealership. He uses his knowledge of the powersports industry and digital advertising to put together winning advertising plans that deliver more leads to dealerships across the country.
Ryan can be reached via email at Ryan@gowithbigtime.com