Sam’s Powersports Garage aimed at dealer profitability
Sam’s Powersports Garage will hit the Internet on March 1, offering dealers a unique way to cut the learning curve of the industry. Created by industry veteran Sam Dantzler, the site will be set up on three different levels.
The first level is free to all who sign up with a valid email address. Included will be exposure to some fundamental principals that move the needle in the powersports arena, as well as a monthly newsletter with some of the latest ideas. Topics include: What to do first, infrastructure, expense as a percent of sales, etc.
The remaining two levels are paid subscription memberships, which can be purchased independent of each other, or as a package.
The first level is dedicated to best practices for all departments in the dealership, from traffic logs to departmental synergies, advertising to staffing. Other topics include: used bikes; desking strategies; maximizing F&I; process or talent; upselling and adding on; productivity, proficiency and efficiency; repair order summaries; and daily dials.
The second has to do with all-staff training, from the porter to the GM. From having a process, to analyzing commonly used sales processes from around the industry, Dantzler dissects what an employee needs to know to hit the ground running. There are management sessions on hiring, staffing ratios, recruiting and retention. There are quizzes at the end of sessions, with quiz results automatically forwarded to managers for awareness of training completion.
Both paid subscription levels will provide access to a “Forms Bank,” where dealers can download sample job descriptions, pay plans, accountability forms, employee evaluations, etc. All training is done by Dantzler himself, and comes in the form of videos (more than 100 of them), audio podcasts (introducing new ideas and best practices), articles, a monthly newsletter, forms and a blog.
Dantzler said the content will be refined, reshot and updated so dealers have the best opportunity for success.
Dantzler also touts that the site is not meant to take the place of 20-Clubs (20-Groups), which he still finds immensely valuable. He’s on contract with several OEMs to moderate nine groups this year.
“I had all of these great bikes in the garage, but I’m traveling too much to enjoy them,” Dantzler said. “I love talking about bikes and training, but I love riding them more. Dealers were always asking me if they could get ‘Sam in a Box’ so as not to incur the expenses of flights and hotels, so that was swirling around in my head as well. And then one day while I was sitting in my hotel room watching Glenn Beck, I was amazed at the simplicity of his chalkboard training. Whether or not you like Beck is irrelevant. He has a unique and casual way of taking complex and heated subject matter, and breaking it down in a conversational manner that the audience can relate to. Add these three pieces together, and you get the Garage.”
How many people walk into a dealership and leave without ever buying one of your products? Why? It comes down to two things (that the dealer can control): 1. Lack of knowledge of best practices, or 2. Lack of staff training.
“Dealers are smart people. They are entrepreneurs. They lay it all on the line, and most have an insane passion for the product,” Dantzler said. “Unfortunately, many run the store as enthusiasts, not as a business owners. Business decisions oftentimes are in conflict with enthusiast decisions. A small percentage of dealers know this about themselves and look to peer groups such as 20-Clubs to solicit the best practices. Others wait until a magazine crafts an article on the topic. Most can’t implement because they are caught up in the daily drama of retail.”
Front line staff members want to do a good job. Most don’t know what a good job is, as the owner never gave them a job description (or Employee Handbook, or Policy & Procedure Manual, etc). So they come to work and react to what is happening around them. Dealers chronically run understaffed, forcing employees to just “clerk” someone standing at a register who is waiting to pay. This isn’t creating a show. This isn’t selling. This isn’t creating customers for life.
Far too many dealers do not actively seek out the best practices, nor do many provide constant ongoing training for their staff. The site was designed to bring this to dealers. What would it mean for new employees to hit the ground running within 48 hours, not just know where to stand or where the bathroom is, but actually know the value of a customer?
“Reacting to floor traffic may have worked back in 2007 and prior, but it’s a recipe for failure moving forward,” Dantzler said. “We must create experiences, and cause sales to happen. That’s why I encourage dealers to step into my Garage.”