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Do not pull in on the clutch

BY TONY GONZALEZ

If you are taking in a collective breath at your dealership – after getting run over by the proverbial train that we call the selling season – know that you are not alone. Many dealers currently find themselves on the receiving end of a very profitable year, have managed to sell through their inventories, and now are sitting on a stool in the corner of the ring like a prize fighter after a championship battle. Pat yourself on the back, but then stand back up, put in your mouthpiece and get ready to fight another round.

Many of you reading this are preparing for a self-imposed hibernation by allowing your staff and yourself to, once again, believe that you are in the off-season. You believe that now is the time to survive…not thrive. I can tell you with certainty that there is much to be done, many more sales to occur, and as I always tell my dealers no matter what day of month it is: “The season starts tomorrow!”

Focus. While we get ready for hunting season, Christmas, and the new units to hit our floors, I want you to focus. Perhaps you have your own list of deliverables that you are focused on- if so, congrats, you are ahead of 90% of the industry. If not, here are some options for you to concentrate on.

Your phone is your cash cow. Thirty phone calls off your Traffic Log sells one unit. Is your sales staff prospecting off your traffic log and calling customers to merely check in? How long has it been since you called those customers that have bought from you? If you answer is over 365 days – you have orphaned them. Are you calling your Priority Maintenance customers now to get them in over the next few months – ensuring that your service department stays steady?

Desking deals is the weakest facet of sales teams. If you ask your sales manager or a member of your sales team, they will tell you that they work every deal for every dollar. The fact of the matter is – they don’t. Many of your front-line staff, not only do not know how to properly present numbers to a customer, but tend to allow the customer control your deals. Right now is a great time to take advantage to train your staff by training them exactly how to work a worksheet, explaining why numbers are where they are, and giving them examples of how to overcome an objection. Repetition and hands-on training are the keys to your success.

Taking in trades. Many of your sales managers simply do not know how to properly make used bikes super profitable. There is ample used inventory out there and it is a great profit center that your business should leverage. If you are not making a minimum of 20% Profit Margin on your used bikes, you are leaving money on the table. Show your managers how to use multiple sources to evaluate trades, control the unit when service takes it in for repairs, and how to strategically price the unit to ensure the highest margin possible. Remember, trades are unique…there are no comparable units at the competition – make sure you are taking advantage of this

Metrics don’t lie. If you are only looking at the number of bikes that you sold and the amount of Operating Profit that you made, you are missing the mark. Now is the time to understand how many people came through your doors and exactly how many customers initiated a transaction in your Service and Parts Department. Would you believe that there are many astute motorcycle dealers out there that measure the veracity of their sales department by the Transactions in their Service and Parts Department? That’s right folks, take this time of the season to learn about Transactional Data and how it should be motivating your sales staff. You are most certainly losing sales by not talking to every person that walks in your dealership, whether they are a sales, parts, or service customer.

Parts, Accessories, and Garment Managers: have you ever bought anything off of Amazon? If you have, you will notice that Amazon, before you check out, shows you that “People who bought thisalso bought thatand that…and that.”How are your Line Items Per Ticket in P&A? Too many customers are not afforded the right to see all of the things that they should be buying with their fill in the blank. Is your Parts team recommending three to five items that go along with a helmet when they are walking to the cash register? Gloves, jackets, lens cleaner, etc? When someone comes in to buy a case of oil, are we ensuring that we talk about crush washers, gaskets, etc? The worst feeling in the world was opening a new toy on Christmas morning and not having batteries to make it work. It is the dealership’s job to make sure we oversell to our customers. What’s the worst thing they can say, no?

Remember my friends, it is not how you start…it is how you finish. Do not kick into auto pilot by simply discounting your entire store and reducing hours. Make sure that you push hard to ensure that your staff stays engaged, that your dealership causesthat door to swing, and that you are prepared in time for the season…that starts tomorrow.

Tony Gonzalez is CEO of Garage Composites. He began his career in the motorcycle industry when he was hired by Ed Lemco in 2004. A true student of the industry, he quickly became a sales trainer and a moderator. Gonzalez has a keen model to motivate his clients and is considered one of the best 20-Club moderators in the industry. Tony believes that his greatest accomplishment was recreating the environment that put the motorcycle dealer first again. He is passionate about being a dealers advocate and firmly believes that his dealers are his family, not his clients.

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