During the summer selling season, we are often too busy to have lunch, let alone focus on improving our business. But now, with the temperatures cooling off and the leaves beginning to fall, it’s time to look around and put a plan in place to get to some tasks that have been pushed aside.
With that in mind here are eight things you can do this weekend to improve your business:
1) Monitor social media engagement
Take the time now to look back and see what worked and what didn't work on social media. Look back at the analytics on your website to see where the traffic was coming from. Are you seeing a significant amount from a source you didn't think was working? Now is the time to sit back and plan on your 2018 promotion initiative.
2) Add a new product
Is there a helmet line or gear company that you were considering putting in your store? What about an entirely new category? Are snowmobiles or snow bikes in your future? Now is your chance to bring the product in, train your staff and get it ready to sell. Take the opportunity of the "downtime" to strategically decide what your customers want and then go out and get it.
3) Create a fun campaign or theme
Halloween and the fall harvest season are one of the most popular times of the year for retail. Why not take advantage of that for your own clever marketing campaign. How about a flashback weekend? Capitalize on the public's love of nostalgia. How about old staff uniforms or throwback pricing on limited items? Please, just nothing pumpkin spice!
4) Redesign your appearance
Yes, your old site is looking dated. If the budget exists, you could go all in and do a complete redesign using one of the major providers, make sure it's mobile-friendly. But if the budget isn't there, please go through your site, page by page and remove any outdated information. Old used bikes, non-existent sales programs, etc. Get them off your valuable page space. Update your photos with new, correctly lit images; follow each link to ensure it's still correct. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward with this silent salesperson. Sure, it will take time but a page at a time will yield valuable results. You might even want to look at your logo or company tagline and see if it's time to freshen them up as well.
5) Meet your customers
As your dealership slows down in the next couple of months, this is the perfect time to offer customer training nights. Not only will your customers be better educated, your staff will as well, and the added benefit of getting to know your customers at a time of the year when you can spend the time to actually talk to them will significantly increase their likelihood of shopping at your dealership. This is also the perfect time of year to host your open house. Use it to stimulate pre-holiday sales by offering up layaway and wish list options.
6) Participate in a local event
Check with your local chamber of commerce for events and fairs going on in your neighborhood. You'd be surprised how many local people didn't know you existed until they saw you at the church fair or festival. Take some to stay local and see what opportunity might exist.
7) Target a new audience
Have you looked at the growth of adventure bikes in the industry or the increase in the female demographic? What about ATV's & SXS for hunters or agriculture use? Take the downtime to give some thought to demographics and groups that your products can solve a problem for.
8) Partner with another business
This one should be pretty simple. Your bike in the back of a truck at the local car dealer or a fully outfitted quad in the outdoor supply store will do wonders for visibility with people that might not know about your shop or the products you offer.
Know when it's time to pivot. Take this chance to look at your business. Figure out what isn't working and punt it. Don't continue to do something because “it’s how we always did it.” The business world is changing rapidly, and if you don't, you'll be left behind.
Scott Lukaitis is a writer, photographer and powersports industry professional with more than 25 years of experience from the dealership to the manufacturer level. He owns and provides content for his websites njmotocross.com, lukaitisphoto.com and scottlukaitis.com and is currently the chief operating officer at Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant.
He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org