If I haven’t been out and about at industry events lately, I’ve been on the phone with dealers, aftermarket suppliers, service providers and OEMs, and I can’t help but come away from nearly every conversation with a smile on my face.
I joined this industry four years ago this month, and I remember how gloomy it was at the time. Dealers were still reeling from the recession that led to staff cuts, store closings, a decrease in financing and low consumer confidence. As upbeat as many of us tried to be, there’s no doubt it was hard.
While we will all admit that sales aren’t where they were pre-2009, there’s an unmistakable air of confidence among many in the industry. The saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” and there is absolutely no doubt that everyone in this industry is stronger and smarter than they were just a few short years ago.
I’m constantly seeing dealer educational events, like the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo, fill up. Dealers go into work each day, armed with more knowledge than they had the day before. They’re studying their customers; they’re studying their community, and they’re fighting every day for their business.
I love watching that fight in action. You may have seen my recent story about 2013 Powersports Business Power 50 dealership Bob Weaver’s Motorsports & Marine. When I talked to Bob for that story, his enthusiasm was contagious. His sales weren’t up as much as he wanted for the summer, but he wasn’t throwing in the towel. Instead, he told me, he was going to capture as many motorcycle sales as he could, even as New York’s weather began to cool. And then he was going to keep his head up and take aim at ATV, side-by-side, Slingshot and snowmobile sales.
That’s what I love about Power 50 dealers, and so many other dealers across North America. Those who survived the tough times have no quit in them. Instead, they’re always looking forward, always implementing new ideas and always looking for a way to not only increase their sales, but also to make a person’s life a little better by becoming a powersports enthusiast.
Every industry has ups and downs sometimes, but it’s those who preserve, keep their head up and adapt who succeed.
Liz Keener is the managing editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine and online. She assembles the brand’s three-times-a-week e-news and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive national dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis, Power 50 dealership honors program and dealership conference, Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo.