March 8, 2010: Attracting repeat business outside the dealership

Ernie Miller believs his store’s lofty CSI sales score as is indicator that product knowledge and integrity, two of Miller’s Yamaha constants, go a long way to easing the purchase decision for the consumer.
But just as important is the dealership’s willingness to spend time with their riding community in a way that goes beyond the showroom floor.
“We invite them pretty much every weekend to go out riding with us,” he said of his consumers. “We’ve noticed that has brought us some repeat business as well as those customers bringing in their friends and family, whether it would be to purchase a new bike or buy accessories from us.”
In fact, Miller has seen such an impact that last year the company became the primary sponsor of one of the area’s largest bike night events. This weekly event is held about 10 minutes away from the dealership and attracts a diverse crowd of riders. Before this year, Miller and his staff merely attended the event.
“We were spending the time regardless,” Miller said, “but now we’ve made it our own. We’ve invited our own customers down. Our customers get exclusive parking there, right up front. They’re right in the middle of the action.”
Miller uses the event mostly as another way to interact with his consumers, but he also finds it a great way to build interest in certain demographics — like Harley-Davidson riders that would not otherwise consider his store.
“They (Harley riders) are not going to be too interested in sport bikes or even our cruisers,” Miller said, “but you throw an ATV or a watercraft in the mix, that’s something that they can’t get at a Harley dealership, and it interests them.”
Beyond building that consumer relationship that transcends to a high CSI score, Miller also feels strongly about ensuring his sales staff has the proper product knowledge.
“If you’re talking to somebody who knows what they’re talking about,” he said, “you’re a little more comfortable buying from them as opposed to if they really don’t understand the machine or they keep having to refer to manuals.”

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