A new job description related to follow-up sales

It takes 20 touches, including store visits and follow-up calls, to buy a motorcycle. On average and per the MIC, almost half of every new bike purchased over the last several years was to a new bike buyer. The average bike owner will spend more than $250,000 over the course of his lifetime in our sport/activity. Add all that up and what do you get? A new job description is what.

Isn’t it a bit arrogant of us to think that the customer is coming into our store on touch No. 19? Don’t you think a new bike buyer needs someone they can have fun with and trust, not just a price? If he spends $15,000 on a new bike today, what about the other $235,000 that he hasn’t spent?

To be clear, the intent of this article is not to take the urgency off of making the deal today … not at all. We all know that customers come “off the ether” once they leave the shop. When 2-4 percent of the population rides motorcycles, that means 96-98 percent don’t. Translation: 98 percent of his friends are telling him why buying a motorcycle is a bad decision, or giving him reasons not to buy the bike. So do all you can to capture the sale today, and be realistic that 9 out of 10 times, it won’t happen. That said, if you let him get to touch No. 20 on his own, it may be four years, two states and six dealerships from now.

It boggles my mind how much salespeople focus on today’s floor traffic, yet begrudgingly make the follow-up calls for tomorrow’s traffic only because, “It’s part of my job and I have to do it.” As mentioned above, if the salesman sold a $15,000 bike, that means on average the customer is ultimately going to spend another $235,000 over the course of his lifetime. The initial $15,000 is 6 percent of the total of $250,000. Yes, 6 percent. Ninety-four percent of the money from that customer hasn’t been spent yet. You can have some, all, or none of it, and your success lies in your ability to stay in touch with the customer.

What would the job description of a salesperson look like if 94 percent of his efforts were spent on follow-up and cultivating relationships? The importance of these two profit centers (the front door today vs. the phone calls and emails for tomorrow) is so backwards, and dealerships invariably end up swimming upstream, all while continually turning over staff. When will employees realize that the follow-up sales process is worth exponentially more than the first sale? If employees applied half the effort in keeping a customer that they do in acquiring a customer, the repeat and referral business would be through the roof. And it’s easier to get the guy to buy one more, than it is to get the new guy to buy one! Other than the baby from the Jimmy Fallon commercials, who doesn’t like easier and more money?

There’s a new battery out there that is a fraction of the weight and size of the original OEM batteries. How many calls have been made about those batteries? The new lineup of Oakley, Icon, Harley-Davidson, Affliction, KTM, (fill in the blank) apparel just hit your floor. How many calls have been made? New models continue to arrive daily. How many calls have been made to schedule test rides?

Assuming that some semblance of a personalized greeting was done, there is no more valuable tool in the salesperson’s toolbox than a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. It also happens to currently be the most underutilized tool in dealerships. CRMs are all different, and they are all great. They all have their plusses and minuses. It doesn’t matter which you choose. It’s just like that treadmill in your basement that you hang your wet laundry on … it works fine. You just gotta use it!

The economy has changed many things for powersports dealers. We have seen a steady flow of dealers closing their doors because they try to run the operation as they did in years past (same number of staff, same archaic IT systems, same lack of attention to websites, Internet and social media). It doesn’t work.

Change or die. Salespeople can no longer be dependent on the ebb and flow of floor traffic for the day. They need to stop waiting for the door to swing open and start causing it to do so. This takes a shift in thinking as to the importance of the follow-up and customer relationship process. In years past, we told salespeople to sell bikes and occasionally do their follow-up as time allows. Flip it. The job description for today’s salesperson is relationship building through follow-up, which causes door swings. The full potential comes on the heels of this critical shift.

Sam Dantzler is the founder of Sam’s Powersports Garage, a membership website dedicated to best practices and all-staff training. He can be reached at sam@samspowersportsgarage.com.

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