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  1. Good topic Neil!

  2. Jon-Erik – I agree that confidence is king. In traveling around the country (and helping on the phone) and working with dealers, I am seeing a huge hole in the confidence level. Most dealers and staff aren’t recognizing that training for all departments is what will build that confidence. We have all used and heard the phrase “knowledge is power” and todays challenges bring that to the forefront of this debate. Of course, the second part of the training issue is whether the management can REALLY train corectly. My hope is that Dealers and Managers will get the training done to assure their growth and presence in the community. Everything will begin to fall into place from there.

  3. Miss Gelschus,

    You bring up several great points in your article “Jack of all social networking sites, master of none”.

    At this point in time dealers, manufacturers, and everyone else is jumping onto social networking hoping that they can increase sales or at least not be the one that is not using social networking.

    However, many of them do not understand the negative impacts that social networking can bring. I have already seen dealers create Twitter or Facebook sites thinking this is the best way to communicate with customers and new prospects, but then lack the use and functions of the site, let them slide and in the end actually losing a customer because of the lack of communication that the customer expected.

    I warn everyone who asks me about these sites to be careful how and where you post. As you stated, use it incorrectly, and you are wasting your time and people will not take you seriously. Use it correctly, but don’t respond promptly, as a customer expects, then you lose the customer as they think this is a reflection on the person’s customer service.

    We are all talking about, many of us are using, every recreational industry is trying to promote it, but no one has described written recommendations on what site is better for selling motorcycles, dealership specials, open houses, sales promotions, etc. We as industry leaders need to do a better job of assisting people who do not understand these networks how to effectively use them.

    As an OEM, it is our responsibility to assist dealers, instruct dealers and guide dealers on how to effectively use them. To tell a dealer that they should have a dedicated internet person, when they do not even know what Twitter is, is like banging your head against the wall. More than ever, I am telling dealers to hire an intern, who understand how the social network operates and is cheap or even free labor. I can expand on this topic if you would like. I am pushing all of my dealers and consulting clients on how to effectively use each site, how each is important and how it can help their business grow.

  4. I’ve always found it invaluable to ride/drive/captain everything I’ve ever sold. If you can’t talk about personnal experience in ride, handling, etc., then your just waisting breath. You can talk all day about someone else’s reported experience, but it’s just that, second-hand infomation. Watch your client’s eyes when you tell them about your own time in or on the machine he’s interested in, they go from bored to truly interested.

  5. Neil,

    I would like someone to show dealers how to calculate the ROI on their Google keyword ads. Many of the dealers selling to consumers at cost plus 20 percent are also the dealers spending the most money on pay-per-click ads.

    I think if they realized the actual NET PROFIT that these ads did or did not create, they might raise their prices or lower their ad spend.

  6. Great points, and excellent comparitive.

  7. I mean come on, sometimes living in a constant state of denial is not healthy either Gart. Save us the soapbox speeches – some salespeople only respond to angry managers. Do you hear of the Army Drill Sargent being happy and nice? Do you think he cares about YOUR day? Hell no, you do it his way – period.
    Yes, we need to focus on how to get buyers in our showrooms to buy. Yes, we need to focus on how to get the manufacturers to make the product and ship it to us dealers so we dealers are to be able to sell product. Yes, we need to focus on how to get the financing companies to finance more buyers.
    Negativity breeds insolence, insolence breeds anger, anger breeds the desire for more creative thought processes! Do not just take it lying down, get angry – get out there and sell and earn your living (and do not forget to buy)!
    It is not all puppies and flowers for the working stiff.

  8. I agree with just the price and name but I would include size too.
    A “Sales Tag” should be just enough information for those that are knowledgeable of their needs to make a selection.
    Those that are new to the type of product should see just enough information to create a need to speak with a sales person.
    I do not put prices on our major units. I want my sales consultants available and willing to assist prospects seeking out the ride that best suits their needs.
    This makes them consultants, not salespeople.

  9. We are all human.
    However prospects walk in our doors to leave the “world” behind. Everyday should be a celebration of the products we sell. You have to speak their language too. No,you cannot always leave your troubles at the front door. What you can do is walk in each and every day, happy to present the best products and convert that negative energy into passion. Passion sells.

    CB: Drill sargeants are best left in the military-If you have to yell to get your way, you are not managing your emotions, so how can you manage a shop and personnel?
    Be happy with yourself first. Define your goals personally and professionally. Build a team with common goals and conviction you can take them there.
    Or you can always go sell Maytags.
    Those guys seem real happy…

  10. Great article. We are just starting to use Twitter as a tool as well.

  11. The good U.K. dealers have been selling 3-4 used per new for years. Why not, the margins are better, customers can’t shop me for a better discount at a neighboring dealer or the Internet and I get along fabulously with the sales rep (me). Our used product is a big reason why we’re down as little as we are. Now is the time to prepare to expand.

  12. Jimmy, or any other dealer: In 2007, our national dealer survey showed of a dealer’s total revenue, preowned sales only made up about 13 percent. (New unit sales were closer to 50 percent) Is it possible to get that preowned percentage closer to 20 percent this year?

  13. What would be the next step. Is there anyone we can send letters to??

  14. Marty: I’m sure a letter to your legislator would not hurt. I also can tell you the AMA continues to be proactive in requesting answers to our questions. -Neil Pascale, Powersports Business editor

  15. I figure if it is worse than the Northeast (where I am) it would be less than 6 percent. I’d love to know how to make it more, or if I am even close.
    Thanks, Eric

  16. I’m going to take a wild guess – 9.6 percent – at the average GP margin in the West. But, hey! Does this include just new or new/used??

  17. I’ll wait until the end of today to answer, but in reference to Kim’s good question: we’re referring to only new units now.

  18. I’m guessing their selling them at cost to reduce inventory. So I guess their margains are holdback 5 percent if they are a Honda dealer, 4 percent for others.

  19. To end the drama … Eric was right. Slightly south of 6 percent.

  20. Karin – Your comments are so correct. We (Channel Ideas, “The BOS”) tell our clients that the best way to make more money is to spend more on good people. If someone isn’t performing, the “line needs to be cut”. That doesn’t say that paying more (to new hires) automatically provides better performance but good or proven new employees will cost more yet greatly increase profit from hard and smart work. We need more dealers to understand this is a big part of making it in this down cycle of the industry.

  21. Question 1: Polaris RZR
    Question 2: Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Nightster
    Question 3: Honda

  22. 1. Polaris Ranger
    2. Ninja 250
    3. Kawasaki

  23. Raptor 700R



  24. Between the three of you, you’ve got the first two questions right. Nobody has figured out the third. How about one more day to see if somebody can hit all three in one fell swoop!?

  25. 1 – Polaris Ranger
    2 – Ninja 250
    3 – KTM

  26. Very close Colin. Here are the answers:
    1) No. 1 in the UTV/ATV category for January-May: Polaris’ RZR
    2) No. 1 metric bike for January-May: Kawasaki’ Ninja 250
    3) OEM with two of the top three selling dual purpose bikes: Yamaha
    Thanks again to R.L. Polk for providing this data for Powersports Business readers.

  27. Hi Neil-
    The news is indeed good, especially when considering how volume impacts the percentages.
    Although, I’ll go out on a limb and temper your optimism. We are moving in the right direction, but it will be many moons before we actually see black; and, when we do, it’ll be just a little bit of black for many more moons thereafter…

  28. Many times people are frustrated at the lack of response that they give the sale to the first person who actually answers their questions. So go ahead and keep thinking it’s too time consuming…I’ll take the sale.

  29. Test Rides done right sells bikes.I designed a survey for a Victory store to determine the prospects needs (AND EXPERIENCE).At the halfway point of the pre-determined route(scenic and well traveled) The salesperson would ask(as we take the pic of the prospect next to the bike) how this vehicle met those specific needs as well as how it affected their senses.Upon returning to the shop we completed the survey reinforcing features and benefits.
    This worked extremely well.

  30. In Eastern Virginia, our gas prices are around $2.25 and have been for the past few months. However, mpg is still very much a factor in 49cc scooter sales (well over a 100mpg). Our unit scooter sales are down from last year, but so is our whole volume of MCs, ATVs and PWCs.

  31. 1 polaris sportsman 500
    2 honda shadow 750
    3 kawasaki

  32. Hey Karin! what’s going! This is Dean from Tank Sports. How you been?

    Yes, we ran Cyber Monday sales two years in a roll. Didn’t have much success because we guessed that dealers are actually spending time with their family.

    Hope to see you this year in Indy!



  33. Here in the northeast, it’s trendy to be “green”. I’ve seen more than a few non-motorcyclists buy scooters more for the idea they’re being righteous than anything else. Why do Prius owners buy a Prius? Because it LOOKS like a hybrid. If it didn’t look like a Prius, a scooter, or something else obviously very “green” they wouldn’t look twice.

  34. Makes it tough to advertise savings on PG&A when the manufacturer we represent does not allow us to advertise discounts on current available items.

  35. Always good Neil.

    Don’t forget that World of Powersports has an Inventory Buy-Back program for its dealers info at

    No reason to keep junk setting on the shelf. We moved 4-5 items that were over 100 days in stock on Craig’s list also.

    Mike Jackson
    World of Powersports

  36. Mike, what is your e-mail address? Thanks! Monty

  37. Monty: Mike’s e-mail address — as well as all the bloggers —  can be found by clicking on “authors,” which can be found on the left hand part of your page under the “Pages” menu.

  38. Jennifer,
    I think this is a great way to keep the showroom in the face of the personnel. Ownership has been a big deal for me to get from my staff. I recently hired my daughter Jen and she has made a difference, but can use some help so we will keep monitoring the site. I am not sure if complacency is the No. 1 reason. As you have stated, I tend to think it is lack of direction and focus due to a focused goal. At least it seems to be that way with me. Now that you have it, what do you do with it? How much time do you need to make it something? I will admit the better the showroom looks, the more the staff is enthused.

  39. Thanks Jennifer, just waiting for Black Friday, now I think I will blow up the store. Have a great idea to make a Rockstar Christmas Tree — I need some empty cans to hang on the tree! I might even try poking holes in the side and running lights in them. Any ideas to expand on this ? Wicked

  40. Tim,
    Thank you for your response.
    For success in any aspect of business a process or procedure has to occur. The visual merchandising process starts with someone designated to be or take a leadership position of directing the stores look and appeal. One person should ultimately lead and oversee the visual merchandising. They will be the go to person and coordinate with all the departments and managers.
    Secondly, this person has to be supported in the store, all managers and staff needs to coordinate and work with this person. All staff can participate, contribute ideas and perform the task. Staff ownership is a huge benefit in any aspect of your business and I encourage you to keep them motivated. With that said, staff also needs the benefit of someone that is watching the calendar (seasons, holidays, store events). Visual merchandising is not only about product placement, it is about creating an urgency to buy. It’s keeping up with each season in a timely manner (not setting the store for holiday two weeks before Christmas) as to capture the mood of the season thus encouraging sales. People shop with their senses, eyes/ears/smell and touch. Your designation of a Visual Merchandiser/In Store Marketing leader has to been empowered and provided with and a list of requirements, duties and GOALS. The Visual Merchandisers goal is to move more products; this would include vehicle units to helmets. Of course Visual Merchandising will not replace sales staff, it is by design is to enhance the focus of consumers and drive them to buy.
    In your situation it sounds like the process of visual merchandising should be defined and implemented. Sadly, complacency is a problem in powersports; I have observed situations where that is causing (in my opinion) a lack of progression. Complacency does kill and is killing some powersport retailers. We have to change; powersport retailing has had a low bar set when it comes to visual merchandising overall. Of course many stores are excellent and have a high standard, while others still think it’s the 70’s & 80’s. One of the biggest changes in the last 10 years is the internet. The Internet has changed what people expect to find when they are shopping for products. Thankfully, the visual merchandiser can wow customers in a way the internet cannot, with instant gratification. Internet retailing, generally speaking, is about larger selection and pricing, where as Brick and Mortar stores can be about WOW, NOW and walk out the door with it.

    Perhaps your daughter is just the person for the job. Below is a list of qualities I would look for to satisfy the position.

    1.Goal oriented/Self motivated
    2.Must understand product placement/be willing to study and learn
    3.Creative (able to work with limited resources/create signage/usage of materials)
    4.Organized (can work a deadline/can find products/POP/
    5.Leader of people (able to excite and motivate)
    6.Open minded (no and I can’t and that won’t work is not going to progress the store)
    7.Resourceful (making displays out of things and stuff laying around)
    8.Communicative (able to express ideas and concepts)
    9.Clean & tidy (housekeeping issues are very important to all stores, no one wants to shop in dust land!)
    10.Able to stand up for what needs to be done (not be steam rolled uncooperative managers or staff)

    In closing, staffing is one element of successful merchandising; Fixtures/ Product placement/seasonal rotations/staff education on products/ tie-in with national and local marketing champagnes/store events or powersport events/Housekeeping and more are all other elements I hope to speak about in other blogs stay tuned.
    NOTE: We can’t control what goes on outside of our businesses doors, but what we can control should be a top priority!

    Thank you TIM! Go Forth and Kick IT …

  41. Wicked- Love to see themes used in stores! sounds creative, hope you can get us a picture of your creation. Anyone else have a killer idea???

  42. Differentiation is of course, always good, but how do you differentiate yourself in a small start-up dealership? We don’t do track days (no tracks), MotoGP and Supercross is a long ways from here, and expensive to get to, plus our product lines don’t support that kind of activity. We don’t have time for group rides (one day off a week as it is) and one salesman, and the parts tech and service tech are dirt guys and don’t care for the street (no dirt line). I rarely see any advice for new small operations with little funding – might be nice to see a series of articles aimed at this particular segment of the industry.

  43. Hi Neil-
    Great advice! You may also like to let your readers know about the service department profit potential that exists through auctions. Pick-up some pre-owned machines (either at auction or from off of the street) that will benefit from some service department love. Sell spruced-up units for a profit in the dead of winter at auctions. Good day, Matt.

  44. Jennifer
    You hit the nail on the head with this one, love it!

  45. Thank you Bud!
    Whom out there has a special topic for us all to talk about??

  46. We joke about salesman that can’t hold margins and can only sell by discounting. We call them cheerleaders. A cheerleader salesman is one that takes it off, and you get it all the time.

    It is astounding to think that getting customer information and following up on those customers is not being done 100 percent of the time by 100 percent of anyone who would call themselves a salesman. That would be like me telling everyone I am a carpenter but not making anything out of wood. I think that would be offensive to the guys that actually are carpenters and do make stuff out of wood.

  47. We created a simple Excel Spreadsheet we call Deal Maker. On it we capture contact info, vehicle model, accessories and a running total with fees at the bottom of the form. Everything we discuss with the customer is on this sheet. Each time we contact the customer we take notes. It’s a cheap way to keep up with contacts. Our close ratio improved dramatically. Anyone outside of the impulse buyer has to be contacted at least four times to close a sale. The impulse buyer moved to another planet last year.

  48. Our company has been using Facebook since September and we reach close to 500 or more possible consumers. It is a great way to show new inventory as it hits the showroom. We also like to promote our customers that purchase units from us and help them whenever possible. It helps build customer relations beyond the sale. I am surprised that more dealers are not taking advantage of the free networks.

  49. Jennifer – Hi. I really liked what you had to say. I’d like to talk to you – I have a software company with all the Biker’s Choice products in it. But also, I’m the biggest small business advocate you’ll ever meet. I am the Northern CA Retails Solutions Provider for Quickbooks as well. I have a bundled package just for dealers (MFR’s too) – great hardware, kiosks and I’d be glad to do a training class or showcase if you’d like.

  50. sport bike #3

    tour bike #2

  51. QUESTION #1)
    A) 1
    B) 3

    A) 3
    B) 1

  52. #4 for both questions.

    Mark Sheffield

  53. Sport bike rider – answer: 3.

    Touring rider – I say answer: 3.
    My father says- answer:1.

  54. No one has guessed the top two choices for each question quite yet. So let’s give you all a little more time. Oh, and Jodi, tell your father that older doesn’t always mean wiser. (You’re right!)

  55. top 2 answers:
    Sportbike 1, 2
    Touring 2, 1

  56. As promised, here are the answers courtesy the J.D. Power and Associates study:

    The No. 1 reason a sport bike consumer will select a certain brand is (3) reputation for performance; followed by (2) reputation for durability/reliability.

    For the touring crowd, the No. 1 reason why they select a particular model is (3) comfort followed closely by (1) style/design.

    Happy New Years!

  57. There are now more female buyers and other employees in dealerships in Indiana than ever. One store have a female service manager. Nearly all of the HD motorclothes managers is female. Dealerships have hired female sales people. Dealerships are stocking way more female oriented product. Not all are perfect. there are things to improve on. Three different Indy dealers have womens nights. Yet after all of this the female specific items are the slowest moving items in the store. I understand the intimidation factor, but msf courses, ladies nights, female managers and other employees, what more do you want

  58. I think as an industry the motorcycles OE’s and the aftermarket are doing a very good job of catering to and trying to attract the female rider. Several brand managers at Parts Unlimited are female, leading to correct brand decisions that appeal to women. All of the aftermarket distributors have an emphasis on brands that are appealing to the female rider. The OE’s are offering more and more product designed with women in mind: seat height, entry level models, etc. Why are the numbers not increasing, good questions. Perhaps a bit more in-depth research at the “seat” level will supply some answers. There is no doub’t that the female rider is considered a growth area for our industry and I believe if changes are necessary they will be made.

  59. We have been working on attracting female Buyers, with some success. As a Yamaha dealer our sales of new cruisers to women riders went up by 20% with the introduction of the V-Star 950. However the FEMALE specific items in store are slow moving. Maybe we are over estimating the potential.

  60. Sorry, but I think that women buyers being 12% of the new motorcycle buyers is an incredibly high demographic. Almost too high, and probably arrived at by a huge advertsing and marketing program from the US motorcycle manufacturers / distributors. Considering that any form of motorsports is principally a male passion.

    Look at some other motorcycle venues besides street riding, like professional roadracing to motocross racing, the number of women drops to around 1%. While in professional car racing (from Indy, to F1, to NASCAR, etc) its even less, with Danica Patrick in roadracing currently the only exception. Or Ashley Force in Pro Fuel Drag Racing.

    I’m also into sports cars and hot rods, and I attend car events or track days most weekends, and out of 200-300 patricipants pulling up in Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Corvettes, there is usually not one woman driver / car owner. How many women do you see on Speed TV’s Barrett-Jackson auction coverage bidding on $100,000 muscle cars? -0-

    Motorcycle and Motorcycle Product manufacturers would find their advertising dollars spend more wisely by targeting any and all new riders to come into the sport, male and female, by offering entry level bikes and scooters. Targeting just women alone to draw them into the sport will never be as cost effective per capita, but 88% more expensive compared to only targeting men as evidence by the current 12% of women riders in the sport, now.

    All us guys would love to have more women join us in the sport as riders and bike owners, but it will never grow beyond the current levels.

  61. Our clientele is roughly 40% women. That said, women-specific items are still slow movers. What women ARE buying are small, lightweight, easy-to-handle bikes. (Of course, we’re a scooter shop, so that’s all we sell!)

    Other than that I believe the key is treating all our customers with respect. Don’t scoff at the “beginner” questions, and don’t be surprised if a woman reveals herself to be an experienced rider. You want a welcoming, inviting, comfortable atmosphere in your shop or women will leave and never come back.

    That’s what works for us.

  62. “Sickening, shocking, unacceptable”? “It will never grow beyond the current levels”? We’re talking about business here. I don’t believe our industry is actively alienating women or we are such wise predictors of the future that we can accurately forecast what will “never” or “always” happen.

    I do believe women influence the vast majority of consumer spending and, as a multi-brand dealership business mgr, I know those decisions include many powersports purchases for themselves and others. I also believe OEM’s and PG&A manufacturers have done a good job of offering women-friendly products and will continue doing so.

    Change is incremental, business cycles and economic factors like gas prices will influence the number of new riders of both sexes. In May, our shop is hosting a chartering event for a new Star chapter instigated by two cruiser-riding women. Let’s remain focused on good business decisions and share in the fun of everyone who enjoys our passion.

  63. Women prefer to ride next to you, rather than behind you

  64. While I’m not sure that a lack of participation by the fairer sex in powersports is “shocking”, it is certainly a fact. Other than testosterone injections, we might think of addressing the fear factor that women mention, over and over, when confronted with anything powersports related. Women are intelligent consumers who value safety and “getting back home” as priorities in any endevour before “adrenaline rush” and “excitement”. Argue as we may for whatever biological and sociological reasons may contribute to this, when the technology became safer and easier to access, a huge increase in female participation occurred. So why do so many dealers and suppliers focus on pink helmets and lowered seats when airbag jackets and improved mass centralization will bring more sales? The answer? I’m waiting. So are millions of women, young and old. My advice, create a separate market that caters to women’s interests without diminishing the other market that men maintain. Be creative.

  65. Sell em….most everybody in our area are selling youth products…the heart of the matter is lead poisoning….It would be very hard to prove a child got lead poisoning from a motorcycle….the problem we had was when we pulled all of our accessories…incl. helmets off the shelf…a racer of ours needed a new helmet (which does save lives) and we were NOT supposed to sell it to him? We sold it…I could not deal with it if the kid were injured because he could not purchase the proper safety gear…one problem is with the manufacturers trying to get the dealers to buy the stuff when they knew for a year that the products would have to be pulled. Polaris (at first sent us a letter about 20 days before the ban went into effect) saying tough titty….your stuck with it and we wont take it back..they have since helped with flooring..just shows you how the manufactures treat the dealers….they dont care, they just want it out of their inventory…

  66. No, no, wait….VESPA!

  67. NORTON!! Please? I’ve got a Molson’s bet on it.

  68. We can argue about the numbers, but the fact remains women are present at every level in powersports, as consumers, employees, owners, leaders, educators or someone that specializes in the retailing aspect. We must remember the slide rule, we also have more men participating in riding so the additional women riders may very well be still around 12 percent. With that said, we have many more women entering the dealerships to make purchases. It makes no difference if they ride or not to me, it’s what I can sell and will my staff learn or take an effort to do so….If you can’t sell to women, you need to learn how, it’s just a little technique in salesmenship

  69. Husqvarna sales are up – they just do not report to the MIC

  70. Karin Gelschus - Associate Editor, Powersports Business

    Lets have a few more, and I’ll give you a good hint.

  71. Triumph Motorcycles

  72. Cobra Motorcycle Mfg. You know, the fastest 50s in the world that take every championship that they come across. They have a 65 too.

  73. Victory

  74. VICTORY!

  75. Karin Gelschus - Associate Editor, Powersports Business

    OK here’s a big hint: one person said it. I’ll post the answer early this afternoon.

  76. Changed my mind…….Vespa

  77. Karin Gelschus - Associate Editor, Powersports Business

    OK enough suspense…

    ANSWER: The company that has the lowest percentage decline in new unit sales compared to 2008 – BMW Motorrad USA.

    The company’s end-of-year on-road sales only declined 22 percent, which is about half the decline the rest of the industry faced, stated BMW in a press release. The Motorcycle Industry Council hasn’t yet released end of year sales numbers, but at the end of the third quarter, on-road sales were off almost 44 percent.

    Last year BMW was one of just two motorcycle manufacturers to have positive growth.

    Stay tuned to Powersports Business for the full-year sales report in the coming weeks.

    Congrats Patti! You’re the only person who guessed right!

  78. Makes sense. Our ads don’t really contain any of these unfortunately. Guess it’s time for a make over!

  79. Jennifer, how about 15+ years. Does the old Dorcy Tail light lenses count? Could not find any Wheelsport inventory (before your time ?)
    We still have 70+ Rocky Cycle piston kits, old Acerbis Plastics, Ceet seat covers and sticker kits.
    The good news is we bought this stuff on close outs for .10 on the dollar and we have listed most of it on Ebay. Now its moving and we are buzy selling when its cold out ! The vintage guys love us.
    Craig Silvers, Owner

  80. WOW! that is devotion to your products, Thanks for sharing your story… Whom else out there is holding? Come on you guys and gals, now is a time to laugh at these things, deal with them and move on! Never be too pround to admit something got by you, it happens to all of us from time to time!
    OUT WITH THE OLD PRODUCTS and PLEASE in with some new!

  81. I wonder how many dealers are frustrated by being told they have to “cater” to a female audience. Asking questions instead of rattling off features is called “selling” not “catering” to a particular audience. The same applies to both female and male buyers. They just want to know how it is going to enable them to have more fun or look cooler. Women buyers aren’t that different from male buyers. Motorcycle dealers have just been preaching to the choir (men who grew up riding) for so long they don’t realize that the same techniques and practices that help them sell to women, will help them sell to a broader range of men too. Maybe THAT is the reason that the motorcycle industry is having so much trouble connecting with youth? Kids are savvy, demanding consumers. They have more research at their disposal, and peer reviews are the norm. All buyers want to know “what is in it for them”, nothing to do with gender.

  82. So, how can you say Genuine didn’t discount when they offered up to $500 in accessories to close the deal? Isn’t that discounting the value of the accessories? Or, do you consider that as “value added.” In my opinion, value added and discount are interchangeable. Sounds like what you meant to say is Genuine didn’t discount the unit price in their promotion.

  83. I almost always feel the same way as your fellow in this article. I walk in, and they instantly judge me by my flannel shirt and frumpy appearance. What they don’t understand is that even though I could probably pay cash for the dealership they work for, I am still tight with the money. I want to be treated with respect and am very offended with the financing pitch. I once walked into a dealership (H-D) that we previously sold 25 years ago, only to have the salesman pitch the financing on a new Harley.

  84. Use your small size to your advantage, brag about personal service from the owner or G.M., When customers call or come in they always know who they are dealing with and you know them (by name?). I bought my first new bike from a small shop that every time I went in the owner waited on me and always knew my name. I was a loyal customer until he sold out to a large chain that did not know me and did not care. If you are a street dealer and have a team that “don’t care for the street” that is a reflection on the whole dealership, you need to fix that. Make time for that Saturday or Sunday dinner ride, make it fun, arrange a private room with a place ahead of time. Invite couples (remember who has the purse). Above all make sure personal service is your policy 24/7 and tolerate nothing less.
    Of course these are just opinions and we all know what they say about opinions………

  85. Honda I assume!

  86. Triumph

  87. Noncurrent is soon to be a thing of the past. We are so low on Suzuki motorcycles, and Yamaha is starting to show signs of becoming less available. With dealers stretching to give product away for almost no profit, and expect it to help their current situation, they too will soon have nothing to sell used bike prices are climbing as well.

    A solid value based sales presentation, with excellent sales skills have more over benefitted us in moving noncurrent bikes, spending extra time with the customer and fitting the bike into their lifestyle and focusing on what the product will do rather than price, and age moves the old units out with out panic selling, also hire a few new salespeople everything is new to them they seem to always sell the stuff your staff views as aged!

  88. Well… my opinion this has got to be pretty strange. Heated seats, heated grips…all great add ons and tools for hardcore riders and for those that love to ride as many months of the year as possible, but lets be serious. Isn’t this a bit much. Personally this would be something that I would NEVER consider buying and just can not fatham the fact that your average…above average or under average rider would consider. Just my opinion. Good Luck to Entrosys…stranger things have happened. Look at the “Pet Rock”….marketing…marketing…marketing….

  89. I live outside Sacramento… I can’t tell you how many times on a ride in July I’d love to have something like this… Not necessarily that wonky looking, but it’s not an insane idea by any means.

  90. Thomas R. Battman

    I can see a touring guy riding with that – but I’d like to try it on my ATV! People love ridiculous products, but I’d be curious to see the price tag on this bad boy. Good topic KG!

  91. The cooling part might prove to be popular, heated whatever sells well! I remember a guy around here who used to run the exhaust up his pants leg in the wintertime. And he was riding a two stroke! Hard to figure what people will do.

  92. Really great idea. We currently are using a digital photo frame at our POS station for customers to view that is loaded with new product images and they seam to like to check it out. Having a computer on the floor will take it up to a whole new level, thanks for the great tip.

  93. We’ve been using the program and think it’s great. Cam has done a great job of personalizing the messages and is very prompt in responding. We are currently using the Valentine card on Facebook and in an e-mail blast campaign.

  94. It seems that keeping warm when the weather turns cold has extended the riding season for many riders. Keeping cool has not been addressed up to now and for those in hot climates will probably look at this product. Many riders shed lot of protection in the heat in order help keep cool this type of product could help keep people safer and extend thier riding during hot days.

  95. Brilliant! Nothing to look at. Hard to figure out any details from the photo but the concept is way cool! Could be a hot product! Puns intended. If the price is right will sell a bunch to serious long distance riders and commuters.

  96. If it’ll get me a few more days/hours/miles of actually riding my bike, there’s merit to it. Will it sell? I don’t feel qualified in the slightest to answer that.

  97. Since I was unable to even get a glimpse of an MSRP for this unit, I will take a guess that it’s VERY expensive…So, if the BMW riders out there care to justify this expense, then go for it !

  98. It’s too bad that I only “feel” this when I enter a Honda Powerhouse store or some other “MEGA DEALERSHIP” that has recently expanded to try to match with Honda…Too much overhead seems to mean, buy something or get out…and that’s TOO bad !

  99. Advanstar’s new ‘Family Friendly’ policy for Vendors explicitly prohibits the seductive show models that were there in years past. (Everyone remembers LBZ’s booth – complete with stripper pole on 2nd level and real-live porn starts to service it!)

  100. Neil,

    Given that you have a better ‘dealer mailing list’ then almost anyone else; wouldn’t the returned PSB magazine be a decent indication of the number of dealers that actually closed? I realize that won’t cover the ‘terminated’ franchise dealers that decide to stay open as independants; but I would imagine that you have better data than almost anyone.

    How about a comparison with the Honda Dealer Locator List from 2007 with the one now on the site. . Did anyone else notice there is no Honda Dealer in Orlando Florida now?

  101. The summers are hot as you know what here. And with the proper riding gear on, it can get really uncomfortable (especially in traffic)! I think it will sell if it’s reasonably priced!

  102. What happened to the age limit and the no stroller policy? We’re trying to do a 2 year deal in our booth with a kid in a stroller screaming at the top of his lungs? PRI and SEMA stop these people before they enter the expo area and lead them to the Kids Center…

  103. Hi Jennifer. I understand you’re referring to internal lighting for dealerships here, but do you have any knowledge of LED lighting for the vehicles themselves? We’re developing an electric scooter with one of our clients, and are looking for DOT approved LED headlights as the power consumption of most regular units is too high. We’re also considering using a regular unit and simply replacing the bulbs with LEDs as an interim solution, so any information on lighting suppliers in the US would be welcome. Foreign suppliers have been universally unreliable and slow to respond.

    Many thanks,


  104. Motorcycle shops should remember we are selling fun!! make it fun

  105. Tory…I have been preaching this to outdoor power dealerships for the past 5 years. It is amazing how many still believe in the concept that, “I have my customers, they know where I am at and I do not have to advertise or more importantly, market to them.” We deal strictly in targeted direct mail programs. We always encourge mailing your customers. Quite frankly, it will be your easist sale if you invite them back.

  106. >> The most successful motorcycle dealerships find ways to stand out from the crowd and build a relationship with their customers. <<

    True. Too many dealerships use the "thump" approach to increasing sales. You know the drill, where they call the sales team in to the office and "thump" on them to make more sales. Without understanding that Sales is process. Not a destination.

  107. Frank

    This is EXACTLY what Triumph did before the introduction of the Rocket III. Each dealer got a piston to show the massive size of the new engine. IT WORKED!!!!!

  108. Understanding the mergers acquisiton and investment side of a dealership is very important. Sadly very few dealer have any idea of how to proceed. While they may know how to run a successful operation, they have no idea of how to sell one. Even in today’s tough times, there are a surprising number of options.

  109. We found the attendees to be in good spirts, but focused. It appeared to us that dealers came intent to either buy or get specific research. Their mood seemed relaxed, but business oriented. As for names, ours being 50 Below as been a conversation item and smile starter for over a decade.

  110. What’s old to you is still “new ” to the customer. Don’t panic when a new customer shows interest in an aged unit. We all get desperate in these times – I have been able to get full retail for a majority of our aged inventory. Not all sales go easy. You still have the shop till I drop guys. But we work every deal for every dollar.

  111. We find that sales continue downward with regards to your scooter sales question. Definitely sales peaked in 2008 ,mtotal off for 2009. The weather here in Colorado has been colder than usual til now, but scooter sales have yet to return. We feel that once weather is warm that person will look for product, along with rising fuel costs this should fuel a return in their sales. Thanks Roger at RMK

  112. I have had this happen to me as a consumer, i have a dealer within 20 miles of my home, i spent 1/2 an hour wandering around the sales room floor before i got fed up and left. I now travel 40 miles and across a state line to another dealership to do my business. I’m even willing to deal with the extra “out of state” stuff rather than ever going back to the local place. That first experience was 3 ATVs and 2 scooters ago!

  113. You got ignored which is terrible. Equally bad is that I don’t like dealing with those very slick salespeople who I can tell are trying to quickly determine if I’m ready to buy today. They are so phony and really turns me off to deal with those types. I always feel like they are never giving me honest advice — only telling me what they think will get me to buy today.

    I also have a guitar hobby and my favorite stores to buy from are the ones that let me come in and play and never ask me what I’m going to buy today. Those are the stores that I enjoy to visit and inevitably buy the most goods from. I guess this would be like the Starbucks approach to business — make the customer like to visit the store and they’ll stay longer give you better word-of-mouth, and in the end buy more.

  114. I believe there are a number of segments that need attention.
    Here are my top 3
    1.) Attitude-It all starts here;when prospects come through the door what do they see,hear and feel?
    2.) Aptitude-Are the staff members experts or merely inexpensive employee’s filling seats and putting in their time?
    3.) Options- When traditional financing options (In all Departments) break down what options are dealers offering to their prospects before they walk out the door?

  115. — How can websites like offer product from Tucker Rocky so cheap and still make money?
    — How does JC Whitney now qualify as a ‘Powersport dealer’ for Tucker Rocky when 2 years ago Gander Mountain didn’t (and they were actually dealers for Arctic Cat).
    — With all the warnings about the ‘Big Box’ companies getting into Powersports; it looks to me like ‘Powersports’ is trying to get into Big Box.

    The above is just an example. Scorpion now sells direct to Amazon; distributors are fulfilling their own orders through Shopatron (but only if a dealer can’t)

    Tough economic times have made manufacturers and distributors enter into deals they never would have considered 5 years ago.

    Watch out – if we (the dealers) don’t supply our customers with the product; the product will find someone that can. Time to step up your game – or get out…

  116. Karin, you bring up a great point. However, I think that their excellent customer service is driving their pricing structure. If they provide superb customer service, they get returning customers, develop relationships and are trusted in their pricing.

    As we all know, many customers shop for a year or two before they make their purchase. If they see that the price did not go up significantly or not at all, they are more likely to purchase from that dealer.

    As Scott said, it is all about the commitment. If a dealership is willing to commit to the basic principles, then the customers will keep coming back.

    On the flip side, I work with a dealer who is the most expensive dealer in the country for the products they sell. However, people buy for the customer service, the dealer events, and other benefits that the dealer offers. Paying a high price, knowing you will get a return on your investment will also drive revenues and will act differently from the traditional supply and depend model that we were all taught in econ 101.

  117. Mike I think you are right about the current economic conditions influencing the deals being made in what I would consider outside of our industry. Obviously every company deserves the right to make a profit but what about the overall damage a short term quick buck could cause? It also seems inequitable as dealers are now facing more restrictions on where they can sell parts and what they can list them for, while at the same time manufacturers and suppliers are reaching out and exploring more options. Where does the dealer fit in all of this? I think the focus needs to be on getting the consumer in the store or at least on the dealer’s web site.

  118. Is discounting hurting your business ?

    One of my clients told me that discounting is killing his bottom line. What began as a practice to reward and retain high volume customers has become a curse.

    He says that now all of his customers expect discounts on everything, parts, service, clothing and major unit sales ! He says that he is discounting 8 to 10% on average, sometimes as high as 20% to keep customers happy. I can’t imagine how he is going to stay in business at this rate.

    Are you experiencing this problem ?

    What are you doing to combat this issue ?

  119. I have an ATV powersports, it’s worth to have it even if it’s a good weather or bad. This is my buddy through all this year. You should buy it, I will assure you you won’t regret after you experience it.

  120. I think it may not just be an issue of whether or not a dealer stocks a large selection of women’s apparel – the bigger issue is how women are treated in a dealership. My personal experience this week was of being in a large multi-line showcase dealership, examining the merchandise for 25 MINUTES and of being IGNORED the entire time!! Not ONE person greeted or acknowleged me, never mind offering to help as they saw me looking…. It’s no wonder women feel initmiated! Come on dealers, make the ladies feel welcome! (it doesn’t cost a dime!).

  121. The reality here is that Lady Riders expirience may have had nothing to do with her gender.
    When I would prospect for new dealerships I would look for how I was greeted or in many cases not.
    and I was ignored alot.
    recently in our economic climate I have also observed sales people who are happier to complain about how business is off to each other and when a customer walks in they would be on such a role they ignore him or her.
    aparently a sign of a lack of sales skill and or training.
    but that is just my .02

  122. Nice review for an ATV Powersports for the year 2009

  123. Discounting has always been around; and always been a concern, the internet has just made it easier for our customers to find. Unfortunately discounting has hurt our business some; but it has been overcome by our marketing efforts to reach more customers that are looking for great service. Discounters CAN NOT provide the same level of service as a full priced supplier. They just don’t have the margin to pay the restock fees on returns, pay the call center staff to answer questions, and stock the inventory needed to provide quick delivery times.

    My economics professor told me that when an industry begins to compete on price it is time to find another industry. I don’t think we are there yet, but there are a few discounters that were selling lots of product in 2008 that are no longer in business today. All the research I see shows that less than 10% of consumers are true price shoppers. Most are ‘Value’ shoppers – so adding value to your product and showing your customer that the price difference is justified due to your service, availability and location are all very important factors in making your customer feel like they are getting the best value.

    My experience is that people buy from people – not companies; so teach your guys how to ‘add value’ instead of discounting and you’ll keep your customer happy and keep the bottom line black for a long time to come. If a customer is willing to go to someone else for a 20% discount was he really your customer to begin with?

    We will always have to put up with discount operations – we just need to educate our customers on how we are a better long-term choice.

  124. Matt,

    You are correct, it has nothing to do with gender, but lack of customer service and lack of focus on the ultimate goal.

    A sales person will stand there and say that is not my job to sell accessories, but they are missing the big picture. That is a potential customer who may one day want a new bike. Who are they going to come see? How do new relationships start?

    Furthermore, the lack of help is a reflection on the dealership. Would you purchase a new vehicle from somewhere that you cannot get help with a jacket? What kind of help will you get when you really have a problem?

    In current economic times, it is up to the store manager / owner to use this time to train its employees and help raise its customer service levels to new heights.

    This is also a perfect time for product training. How do you assist a customer better, knowing the product and how you can get it for them. Whether it is a helmet or a new sled, knowing what is right for your customer is key.

    So, whether the customer is a male or female, the potential for them to spend a little money at your facility is key. It may be an accessories sales, but small profits pay to keep the lights on, the insurance paid and other bills paid so that there is somewhere for everyone to come to work to every day and so that there is the potential to sell a new bike because you have the ability to pay the bills and have inventory.

    More people need to look at the whole picture, but again, it starts with leadership

  125. Excellent point Fran. This in fact is one of the base concepts upon which we developed the V-SEPT CRM tool. V-SEPT enables dealers to print a brochure for the specific model and color unit the customer is interested in. The key is, to your point, the brochure is customized to the dealership and the salesperson. THe dealership can put “Long copy” on the reason to do business with them right on the brochure itself enabling the selling to continue in a very meaningful way for thoes who won’t purchase on that visit. This solves a related problem you didn’t address (future article ?)which is getting contact information from that prospect. We train dealerships to ask the customer if he would like a brochure? 90% will respond positivley. Asking for thier phone number, to print the brochure , is a comfortable and effective way to capture that critical piece of information making follow up possible.

  126. 1) Harley
    2) Kawasaki

  127. 1) BMW
    2) Yamaha

  128. The solution to this is really VERY simple. The OEMs need to supply literature at no cost to the dealer. PERIOD!!! The fact that the dealer is expected to carry this burden of marketing is utterly ridiculous.

  129. Karin Gelschus - Associate Editor, Powersports Business

    Drum roll…

    And the manufacturer that ranks No. 1 is Victory Motorcycles with a PSI score of 107. Trailing Victory by one point was Harley-Davidson and Ducati.

    As for most improved, Triumph takes the cake. The company gained 7 percentage points for an average dealer PSI score of 104.

    For more in-depth coverage, see the May 3rd issue of Powersports Business.

  130. Looks like GoGo Gear has got that issue covered with sizes up to a 22.

  131. Karin Gelschus - Associate Editor, Powersports Business

    Ellen, do you know of any other brands?

  132. These are all excellent ideas for dealership videos. It is because of the popularity and benefits of YouTube that PowerSports Network recently enhanced its Web Site Flix video product for dealers by leveraging YouTube. Having dealership videos showcased on YouTube not only increases the potential audience size, but it enhances the dealership’s search engine presence. And since PSN dealer videos can be tied to specific pieces of inventory and offer links to the dealer’s site, as well as important dealership information, dealers get even more benefit from uploading their videos. Regardless of how dealers decide to leverage YouTube, it is clear that dealers should be tapping into the many benefits the service offers.

  133. PSN – great comments! That is great to hear how you are incorporating video into your website development and services that you are offering the dealerships. i know that I would be interested in learning more on how you are integrating video to assist dealers with inventory.

    Video is a great tool for dealers to use to show case inventory, the special features that the unit offers, etc.

    thanks again for the comments.

  134. Tourmaster, Cortech, Fieldsheer and Pokerrun brands all carry sizes up to Ladies 20-22. They also carry tall sizes….

  135. Do you happen to have April data? I’m curious to see if other dealers experienced what we have, which is a huge drop in mid-April and now May.

  136. Good points. I have a recommendation for your readers that use WordPress in terms of making your site mobile device friendly. As you know one of the powers of WordPress are the plug-ins. There is a slick plug-in for iPhone called WPTouch iPhone Theme. This plug-in turns any WordPress site into an iPhone compatible website. Here’s the link:

  137. Actually we’re seeing good results from April, but it depends on which region of the country you’re in. What state are you in?

  138. I have always been a big fan of “made in America” Polaris,,,Was real happy when they started making engines in US,,,Not happy about Mexico,,Hope negative feed back gets them to change their plan,,,BUY USA !!

  139. Being from Wisconsin, the loss of local jobs is always bad news. Polaris states that they are looking to improve their worldwide sales when in fact they are looking for cheap labor and less tax. I believe this will lower their US marketshare, as it should!

  140. Polaris may have just lost a life long customer with this move ,own seven diferent Polaris products at this time. Was proud to say Made In USA ,tried to persuade others to buy from Polaris. I know over the years some parts have been from China, Japan, Mexico, but to just shut down a plant for the almighty dollar may hurt the entire Made In USA idea!!!!! I did not consider others before, but not sure I can support a Company who maybe did not give Wisconsin a second look!!

  141. Polls are great but the data is only interesting when its specific. Personally I really like Polls via LinkedIn as the data is relevant to the voters profiles.

    Personally I’d love to see a poll or statistics on how powersport manufacturers are splitting their ad spend / marketing budgets and how important it is for them to connect with consumers via social media, blogs, forums and online or new media applications.

    Great site. thanks for the opportunity to add my thoughts!

  142. After being a Polaris dealer not so long ago and knowing how this company treats it dealers its not suprising how it treats it employees, so much for made in in america they are just all about the $$$$ forget how they affect peoples lives. They were one brand we sold and the worst company!!!!

  143. I think it’s only like 5 or 6% or something like that…


  144. You guys are pretty close… but the correct answer hasn’t been posted yet.

    By the way, this is data from the Motorcycle Industry Council.

  145. 3% of people in America own a motorcycle. SEM is a great way to target only those who are looking to buy, right now, in your local market area.

  146. Hilarious! I have seen them. Imagine it is popular in the pits at NASCAR 🙂 I will go with stupid on this one. Would love to be in court to hear the defense for the DWI! hahahaha.

  147. Most sales consultants will perform at least some of these key skills inefficiently:

    • Inbound & Outbound Telephone
    • Follow up of Unsold Opportunities
    • Proactively prospecting current/previous owner base
    • Consistent customer contact for increased loyalty

    These issues are the justification for call centers. If call center personnel are dealing with similar issues, it is surely a matter of training.

  148. Most visitors to dealer websites are looking for one of three things:

    1) View New or Used Inventory
    2) Schedule a Service Appointment
    3) Availability of Parts

    Above the fold content and website optimization should focus on these and only these three areas.

  149. When the parts department sells parts at MSRP to the service department the dealer principle makes the profit

  150. Hi Karin,
    > Yes, not long ago we created a Facebook page. Got quite a bit of action
    > in the first few weeks, but it pretty much died after that. The problem
    > with social networking on the internet is like everything else. You get
    > out of it what you put into it. Money, time or both are needed. We can’t
    > afford to pay someone to spend the amount of time necessary to get the
    > full benefit from the site. Would it work? Most likely. But we are
    > spending our time at local events with direct public contact, which
    > seems to be our most effective advertising strategy. With an overworked
    > skeleton crew that allows us to keep the doors open it is impossible to
    > accomplish all the promotional options available. So yes, we have a
    > page and we could use any other means of electronic communication, but not the time or money to take advantage. I would bet that a
    > dealer extensively using social networking is doing little else.

  151. Our marketing stratagies are shifting drastically. We are spending alot more time and effort doing Facebook and Twitter these days. It turns out to be directing our message to the right people instead of a few lucky enough to see or hear the message on TV, radio or print. We made a group on FB and asked all of our employees to join and add their friends to the group. In less than 2 days, we had over 400 people interested in OUR business and our products. When we post something on the group, we let our employees know what we did and they “Share” or “Comment” on the topic. With just 7 of our employees active on FB, a general “group” comment will hit over 2000 people directly. It is impossible to calculate the entire network of people that the message can hit, but I would dare say it could be in excess of 5000 people for one posting. Again, on the first 400 people that joined our group, they were all “invited” by someone in my store. They then had the option to join or not. If they joined, they must have a genuine interest in something we sell or service here. Yes, some of the 400 people are in their early 20’s, but the future of the Powersports industry is going to someday be in their hands. What a better way to keep our face in theirs…..

  152. You are spot on, Fran!
    And, I would add that dealers can safely and easily never turn down a trade by 1.) using National Powersport Auctions’ Value Guide (shows what units have been currently selling for @ auction) through their website,, and by 2.) having NPA sell the unit as a consignment.
    As a matter of fact, if retail is slow, dealers can introduce a whole new revenue and profit center to their business by advertising that they buy bikes…regardless of trade intention…w/ the goal of selling at auction.

  153. How might one access a copy of the report you refer to in your arcticle ?

  154. You can get the report on the NRF website,

  155. When is someone going to point out that it takes more energy to produce ethanol than you actually get out of it? All it is is another corn subsidy!

  156. We have 3 dedicated e-salespeople now an sold more vehicles outside our 5 county (shrinking) PMA last month for the fist time ever. 90% of leads during business hours are responded to within 2hours in our store.

  157. Most frustrating is stocking another dealers old inventory because we bought it all when they went out of business! We seem to return OEM parts once a year from the .10 cents on the dollar buyout. the big downfall is all these non current parts and inventory are taking up the room and the cashflow that exciting new product could be having. non current doesnt draw new customers in either. we need to look into ebay selling now instead of concentrating on our local customers needs.

  158. These are Bad A**, We stock, Sell and Service these and have races in our warehouse!

  159. Forrest Flinn, PHR

    I completely agree with you. I’m an industry dealership operations expert and work with hundreds of dealers across the country for the past 14 years. My professional certification is in the field of human resources and my undergraduate work was in accounting. You combine both of those two fields with a little psychology and you have discipline of human performance improvement.
    Now, on that note, it comes right to the basic task assessment that every position must go through to get to the “real job description” that we use to recruit, train, perform reviews, and ultimately discharge an employee over for performance reasons. Included in that task assessment there needs to be “Collects cutomer data from 100% of the customers 100% of the time”. If you cannot perform this task, you cannot work here? I know that is hard core however, being a general manager for a large multi-line dealership in the past, makes me wonder what else cannot that employee do. The task of providing useful and relevant data to the CRM system should be mandatory. As far as being tied into compensation by doing the assessment and enforcing the policy you are building it into their pay structure. Times have changed and our industry is using outdated job descriptions that were borrowed from other dealers decades ago. These job descriptions can provide potential legal issues and are usually out of date and not useful or relevant.

    Uncle Forrest

  160. I missed the seminar, is there a recording ?

  161. I’ve found it best to contact a customer for approval when the actual billing exceeds 10% over the extimate. These are tough times, and we have to be fully considerate of that fact.

  162. It would also be an opportunity to sell a priority service plan so that future repairs and maintenance are budgeted for, with no surprises – offering a small intro to that plan would also be a good gesture

  163. I would put my money on the belief that women simply don’t have the desire to take the riders seat. I can’t tell you how many women wouldn’t even get on the back of a bike let alone take complete control. I don’t see any female alienation in our industry. Motorsports are simply more of a male thing and always will be. 12% seems very realistic and acceptable.

  164. Great viewpoint, Tim. You nailed it right on the head. My first thought was that with an exhaust system being the #1 aftermarket change made to street bikes riders will undoubtably take a stock system and modify it should this law get passed. Which will result in louder exhaust systems. And leave it to the politicians to put the false emissions spin in the mix. Putting their own personal agenda ahead of the ripple affect this law would have on aftermarket exhaust companies such as Leo Vince. Our economy needs a boost..not more backlash.

  165. I did write protest letters to Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) who heads my district where I live in Woodland Hills, CA, and to Governor Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. My biggest objection to SB435 as originally written was the required annual vehicle compliance inspections to re-register our motorcycles, while cars in California are not inspected at re-registration. However cars must have a paid Smog check every 2 years. Bikes do not…while we all remove our charcoal canisters and modify our exhaust the minute we bring our motorcycles home.

    They did listen to my objections (and those of others Californians I must assume) and they deleated the required annual Motorcycle vehicle inspection from the bill.

    As for the SB435 Required Noise Certification on aftermarket exhaust systems, I say “YES!” I am for it.

    Because nothing will change. Police have never enforced the current “Modified Exhaust” law on the California law books, so they will not bother to enforce SB435 when it takes effect as well. There is no difference between the old law and the new law. And the new law is still just a Fix-It Ticket like the old law, if and when it is enforced. At least the cops can now see if they pipe has an approved sticker on it. As if it matters, because in the past they could write tickets without it as well.

    I’m a hard core sportbike rider and I do have modified racing exhausts on all my street sportbikes. And I have never gotten a noise ticket in 30 years of riding in California. My local Ducati dealer illegally sells and installs Ducati Performance racing exhaust systems and CPU modules bikes on my registered street bikes in violation of state and federal laws. All metric bike dealers in CA, with the exception of Harley-Dealers who are under the eye of CARB and can’t even sell Screamin’ Eagle Performance parts, do sell and install aftermarket pipes.

    Sportbikes with race silencers are 4 times quieter than straight pipe Harleys. Sportbike People will still buy Leovince pipes with SB435.

    Still, it is the American V-twin / Harley crowd who ruin it for everyone with their straight unmuffled pipes, which you can hear from miles away on a quite Sunday morning. And I have to stop talking to my friends when those Harleys fire up and pull out up at the Rock Store. And yet, the Police never ticket them. It pisses me off. Some of my friends are cops and I ask them why not. They are bike riders themselves with modified exhausts, or the Harley riders don’t run from the Police like Sportbikers often do, and finally, they do not have the time to enforce vehicle infractions,or they’d have to write up every car and bike on the road. So loud exhaust in California will continue as always…..

    I just wish SB435 had some mandatory enforcement balls to get the straight pipe Harleys off the road.
    Tom Calhoun, meanwhile, should get off his soap box. He has nothing to complain about, rather he should be grateful that guys like me got SB435 modified so he can keep on selling illegal exhaust systems in California to street riders.

    If Calhoun has anything to worry about it is the new 200hp / 400 lb. Sportbikes are already way too fast and too light with stock exhaust systems! No one has the need to buy an aftermarket exhaust system any more. The motorcycle manufacturers will put him out of business before the State of California does.

  166. I probably talk to 40 Polaris dealers every week, and they report to me business is flat. They are not selling units like they hoped, however, any positive comments are usually on UTVs. I like good news, but I need 3 months of positive economic results before I say we are beyond stable and seeing a recovery. So I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring.

  167. We ran holiday specials at ATV Wagon 2 years running with positive results. One of our secrets is we allowed the sale to run a week before and after Thanksgiving. We got the ‘planners’ and the ‘procrastinators’. Note your offer must be truly something great or it will not work well.

  168. I am an experienced powersport toy user, and I have seriously considered owning a 250cc Ninja. Their inexpensive, sporty, fun, and great on gas mileage. Consumers still want to have fun, but they need to do it on a budget. Small displacement, low cost machines may be considered ‘entry-level’ but due to the recession, they should be considered economy brands. I think we see a move more toward a purchasing trend rather than new entry-level riders increasing; however, the reality is the smaller-bike owner today will upgrade to a bigger bike tomorrow.

  169. 2 things.
    This is the first time I have heard of a helmet trade. We have been encouraging dealers to do jacket trades for years.
    Second, and probably goes without saying, but those trade in helmets are a huge liability. Cut them up for demo purposes, especially the high end ones. People can then see the difference.

  170. I am curious where you got your statistics in this article–80% etc. and “single biggest predictor…” Thank you, I enjoyed the article.
    Joan Rippe

  171. We have been doing this for a while now. It is the other franchise for H-D dealerships.

  172. Thanks for the question Joan. Two different answers…

    First, the 80% statistic isn’t Pied Piper’s; it is simply an average borrowed from one manufacturer’s research.

    Your second question was about the “single biggest predictor” of internet sales success which we mention is a timely response. This fact comes from Pied Piper’s own internet sales process research, where the experiences of “real” buyers were first measured and tied to sales success. Those findings are then used to allow Pied Piper to measure those specific behaviors using “mystery shoppers.” There’s more about this unique approach, (Pied Piper has a pending business methods patent for it), at

    Back to your question, for internet mystery shopping Pied Piper measures 19 different specific sales behaviors, but timeliness is the one most closely predictive of sales success.

    Merry Christmas everyone,

    Fran O’Hagan

  173. Hey Fran,
    It needs to pointed out that the JD Power release was a bit misleading in that it is not the average age of US riders that is climbing (actually the opposite is true for the first time in many years), rather that the average age of NEW motorcycle purchasers increased.
    Given the historic challenges of selling a new unit, it is believable that the most likely purchaser of a new unit is someone with cash, or outstanding credit – baby boomers.
    The Motorcycle Industry Council’s most recent survey of owners (not new purchasers) found instead that the average age has decreased for the first time in many years – and that the influence of Gen Y is being significantly felt for the first time. Of course, they’re clearly more likely to be buying a used bike, but the good news is that they’re riding, and likely to be a good prospect for a new unit down the road.
    And, given the creative destruction you describe, this younger generation will need a much different marketing communications approach than we’ve traditionally seen. Good blog…

  174. Another point to make in that situation is that a trade-in is a wholesale transaction, not a retail transaction. Using craigslist to comp asking prices and Ebay to comp actual selling prices are both good practices, but using NPA Value Guide will give the true current wholesale value. Many dealers show a customer the Value Guide as a way to ease their expectations of “retail” as a trade-in value.

  175. I believe this to be a very true statement. Going into the fourth quarter I was pleasantly surprised to see 32% average growth over the previous year, and then have a record December in my department. It has also continued into January where we will likely see as much as 40% growth. Likewise our sales and service departments are showing significant growth your the same time periods. This year is looking bright!

  176. Another one to consider, this from Dairyland Insurance:
    We are hosting two insurance seminars in Indy – on Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m. both days in Room No. 130. The title of the seminars are “Increasing Your F&I Income.”

  177. Great post! The Flip camera is definitely the easiest, unfortunately doesn’t have an external microphone input yet. If you want to use an external mic (which is a good idea) I would suggest the Kodak Zi8 – about $100 on amazon and it has an 1/8th inch input.

  178. Good to see Mr Buell is still active in the sportbike market. I love the look of his designs.

  179. Jennifer’s retailing principles apply to any retail or service environment. I applaud her no nonsense approach when it comes to relating to customer loyalty. Show your customers respect, warmth and share your knowledge and you won’t have to worry about the bottom line. If you’re there for them they’ll be there for you.

  180. Excellent post, wish more business would learn this concept. I’ve spent more years than I want to admit working customer service and what I see lately passing for it, is just sad and inexcusable. Thanks for sharing and let’s hope the idea spreads like wildfire.

  181. Thanks for your comment, in the big picture we see all retailers have devauled the humane resources (retail sales positions). Thankfully we do have powersports stores that take it very seriously and if they were hotels they would be rated 4 and 5 stars….I would encourage any retailer to raise the bar in humane resources and realize that the cost of lost sales due to poor service is far greater than a little more compensation for higher quality staffing.

  182. Jennifer, Thanks for the thoughts on LED lighting. In one of your articles you mention cost being a con to the product… What can we expect to pay for LED spot lights?

  183. Let me speak with the vendor I meet at Global, at that time he was not able to provide me with a exact costs. I would expect it to be about three times a standard fixture, however, they will last ten times longer. Stay tuned feel free to contact me for more information….

  184. Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in and view the post's comments. There you will have the option to edit or delete them.

  185. Hi

    Thanks for taking this opportunity to talk about this, I feel strongly about it and I benefit from learning about this subject. If possible, as you gain data, please update this blog with new information. I have found it extremely useful.

    Thank you
    Buy sell classifieds

  186. Congratulations, Liz!

    Thank you for making this commitment to our industry. You’ll find the riding experience will help you with your share of our responsibility for this industry: Help dealers through education, products, services & solutions.

    I challenge everyone who works in this industry that hasn’t earned their endorsement yet to make the same commitment you have!

  187. Good post. Something we should all be thinking about. To piggy-back on your statistic, Pike Research put out a study that predicts there will be 466 million electric motorcycles, scooters, and e-bikes sold between 2010 and 2016. Sounds pretty aggressive compared to your numbers from

  188. Great post Liz. I am so excited to be presenting at ProfitX. I know mobile marketing is a hot topic throughout the powersports industry right now and I hope I can bring some clarity and strategy to dealers and businesses that want to implement this very effective medium.

    I look froward to meeting everyone.

    Ron Cariker
    President – 7 Media Group

  189. Good article & right on the money.
    Attractive AND Functional retail displays are a critical part of a successful in-store marketing plan

  190. Jennifer I like your artical it is right on! As a fixture mfg. I have had many clients that were selling helmets off the floor on top of boxes. Once they purchased a few nice tower displays from us they were amazed at how the sales increased. If a product is not presented properly people are just not attracted to it enough to hold their interest and make a purchase.
    Regards- Mike

  191. Jennifer Robison

    Thank you! retailers that cater to a hobbie like the powersports industry too often underestimate that you more than likely need to learn and utilize retail practices including great merchandising. We are an industry ripe for another growth curve when we change our priorities and goals.

  192. Jennifer Robison

    Well said! This is a time to step up and set a higher bar. NEVER GIVE UP!

  193. How about participating in Revive Your Ride!? It is the free, industry-wide marketing program brought to you by the nearly 300 aftermarket members of the non-profit Motorcycle Industry Council. The program is designed specifically to build floor traffic for dealers and to help customers find their way to their local powersports retailer, updating their parts, accessories and gear and then back out on the road enjoying their ride.It’s simple; it’s about building consumer interest, floor traffic and sales. During the promotion periods it offers customers a chance to win money and product. Fall promotion starts October 15 through December 31. Grand prize is $10,000. Dealer incentive too. Details coming soon. See us at ProfitX. Find out more at

  194. Great Tip!

  195. Thanks for the great information. Will put into practice

  196. You need to start shopping at an authorized Harley Dealer. They have what a woman needs

  197. You people really have no ideal what goes on in a dealership, easy to come up with a fix when you are behind a computer. If the manufactures cannot drive in more floor traffic, most likely the dealer will have no chance. People are not looking to buy powersport toys in this economy; you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

  198. Liz,
    Thanks for your article. I am told by many dealers that not enough women come into their shop to carry it, or not enough women ask about gear. The part I think they are missing is that a woman often won’t feel welcome if there is nothing for them there, deterring any type of conversation or another stop in the shop. I recently did a survey of my female customer and most of them shop online. It is only partly for convenience. Many don’t have a dealer near them willing to stock for them. It is a missed opportunity for the dealer – both online and in store.

  199. this is a good reminder to establish an easy way of getting customer info & then foloow up properly – i must say, at the show, i’m great for getting the info but then it sits in a note book until the next show – shame on me, i know better…prospecting without checking the nuggets that sometimes have gold in them.

  200. Its time to care and take care of the customers you have…This is what sets you apart from the competition.

    Nice article and all retailers, don’t forget that these details make a BIG diffrence to your customers.

  201. 85% of buying decisions in a family come from the women…make your stores women friendly even if it male products. The wife more often than not has the final say if he gets a new helmet or bike….Cater to them they are in your stores, they may ride or not but while the husband is at the parts counter she is milling around looking at what she could buy for her or her family….

  202. Photos are so effective, I love to see what is new or happening from a Facebook friend or business. Show me is better than just telling me…

  203. Anybody happen to notice how much TV ad are focused on holiday (Christmas season) promotions and products. WalMart is promoting Layawaya, and so can any dealers that use light speed. Get shoppers in NOW, get them to pay cash for the item and its gone before the end of the year! Take advantage of what mainstream retailers are doing to get into peoples heads about holiday gift giving….

  204. How many of you have started to prep your stores for Holiday business????

    what is your store planning?

    How will you and your staff beat the slow season? are you just going to lie there and roll with it or can you take the challenge and make some money?

    Its sooooo easy to just say, its the slow season we will hunker down and hope it picks up…Customers need to be courted, they want to know your alive and that you have things they want…They will not likely just shop you with out a fresh or new reason.

  205. You are definitely not alone in facing that challenge, Doug. The reality is that there are many competing priorities once we return back to our daily work, which makes it more important than ever to ensure those leads are captured in an actionable way as soon as possible after they are received. An ideal solution can be to use a smartphone to capture requests directly in your customer/lead management system on the spot.

  206. Jennifer I absolutely agree with you. Excellent point to add and I also think that video is another great way to capture the attention of fans and their friends. Our industry of powersports is about the fun and excitement and video is perfect avenue to communicate that passion.

  207. Good write up. Our industry needs more awareness of what QR (and soon near-field or NFC) can do.

    I did a writeup on an idea of how OEM’s and PGA manufacturers could use QR codes to help out local sales of products. I figured it fit with what you’ve written so it was worth sharing. I’m linking back to your post as well.

    Here’s my writeup:

  208. flalalalalala Nov 26th is Small business shopping day! Encourage it powersports stores are small business too!

  209. Thanks for the tip, Jennifer. You inspired my latest blog about Small Business Saturday! Thanks!

  210. Sweet! Small business is our business!

  211. Mark: You are right on with the three “A’s.” These are some key attributes that really help support the proper business processes. Unfortunately these attributes probably will have little impact if the culture within the company is not right. Culture is not a process and something that can be rolled out “starting Jan. 1.” At the core, it is the essence of how a company is going to conduct their business (both internally and externally).

    Think of top-line companies like Ritz-Carlton and American Express. What is your expectation in dealing with the culture of those two companies? Now think about the largest CPG retailer and the largest electronics retailer (whose names have been left out for politeness). If you have to return an item to the CPG store, it’s a very simple process and civil, if not friendly. Try to return a product to the electronic retailer and you feel like you are on trial for something. In the back of the store, I imagine their return processes are probably much the same. In the front of the store however, the story and experience is much different for the consumer- due to the different cultures fostered by each business. It seems the one company gives their employees the ability to address the customer’s needs while the other company’s mandate is to protect the company’s interests at all costs (aka discouraging returns).

    All of these companies may have the three A’s, but is the culture within the business- starting at the top- which ultimately determines the behavior of their employees, and ultimately the extent that those employees are allowed to go to make a customer happy.

  212. I have worked for a large volume family run dealership for 25 years now. As the sales manager, dutys included Vacuuming and waste disposal.
    The owner of the company to this day, takes out the trash and vacuums the floors.
    Serves us well..

  213. My thoughts and prayers go out to his immediate family and friends. I didn’t know John but he sounds like he was a great family man!!

  214. Linda, my prayers go out to you. I met you and John early in my career with what was then Ehlert Publishing. You were both so generous with your time and educating me; the newbee. I’ve always remembered that. I’m so very sorry to hear of John’s passing. May your great memories give you comfort during this difficult time.

    Stacey Marmolejo

  215. Motorcycle business is dead. These big guys and all their money will destroy this industry too. Its ashame, I guess the world has gone by me. There is no room for the little guy anymore, I feel like Lazarus the beggar at the door of the rich man fighting his animals for a scrap of food.

  216. Tim, this is probably why at race events, and recreational riding spots, we have experienced a boom in sales of your products and we have noticed more and more are using the LeoVince spark arrestors. They are high quality, quiet, and great value. Your philosophy is obviously taken to heart in sales and production because you truly have great products and a strong company.


  217. How can I get a copy of your ‘you gotta wanna’ on cd or dvd?

    thank you

  218. Wow. The hypocrisy on Target’s part is stunning. Here’s a massive retailer, who’s almost as “bad” as Wal-Mart when it comes to disrupting local economies by driving out smaller retailers, forcing wages down, etc., etc. complaining because they are now getting the short end of the stick.

    As soon as I saw this stuff, as well as Amazon’s Christmas season commercial basically telling customers to go into a store, scan the stuff and then buy it off Amazon, I knew it was only a matter of time before the S#!* hit the fan.

    It looks like it’s time for the goose to come home and roost with the crows, or the gander… Or something. 🙂

    Grab some popcorn ’cause it’s gonna get ugly.

    It’s also “funny” that Target used to use Amazon’s platform for their e-commerce, then got rid of Amazon to try to build their own e-commerce business, and proceeded to blow themselves up over and over again because of bad technology and execution.

    Now that Target is throwing this public hissy fit, the blogosphere has turned it around is accusing Target of trying to find a way to “raise prices”!

    Looks like more heads are gonna roll at Target. What’s wrong with those guys?

  219. This is an excellent reminder Mark, and still remarkably a very underused tool. The proliferation of social media and various public rating systems should prove that a customer’s opinion is 100 times more valuable that anything that a salesperson may say. There is a level of credibility already established if you get recommended by a friend. In this market where quality leads are much. much harder to come by, a salesperson should be doing everything they can to try to hit the ground running.

    Also on the subject of post-sale follow-up, a handwritten letter will get you much more visibility than an e-mail or printed (templated- gasp!) letter.

  220. Hi. You Gotta-Wanna is a book. It is for sale on Amazon or you can order it from me for $19.95. I do have an old 1985 CD of the 7 step Lemco procedure that does talk about You Gotta-Wanna. It is an hour long with My brothers Ed, Ron and I roll playing it out. It also has a 30 minute telephone procedure video included. It sold for $195.00 I also have a 10 subject CD That sold for 149.00. If you want all three I would send them for $195.00 plus cost of shipping. If you should be interested in sales hiring and training I have been doing it for 30 years with great results

    Hope you are having a good season.


    Steve Lemco


  221. I could not agree more!

    If we have learned anything from being in business since 1958 We have learned SERVICE starts at the front door not the shop door.

    We also are a family business and treat every customer as such FAMILY.

    central Ohio

  222. I live in Monroe,Ga and I was in east Ky riding and wanting to look at the new terex and people in the area recommended Kawasaki of Paintsville. I visited them and was so impressed with the knowledge and friendliness of Mr. Holbrooks that I purchased one. I dont think that I would have made a quick decision like that if it wasnt for them making me feel like family.

  223. Sorry, most don’t believe unemployment is down. Obama removed 2.5 million jobs as permanently gone, which changed the math and is untrue. People just stopped looking. Plus, what about the service people that will now be looking for civilian employment.

  224. You know, if you produce ZERO UNITS for a full model year…I would imagine this to be the case….Suzuki is close to being DOA.

  225. Upland is in Bloomington with that address (350 W 11th). 🙂 It has a tasting room in Indy on College and 49th. Might want to switch that up. The Indy Tasting Room addy is 4842 North College Ave.

  226. There is nothing more appealing that buying a Harley from someone who wears his pants up to his chest. Devos knows nothing about the motorcycle industry, he’s just looking for cool ways to spend his money.

  227. As a business owner i would recommend Cycle Lend in a heartbeat, they were very helpfull and always available for any kind of questions. This company is pleasant from day 1 , and i plan on continuing business with Cycle Lend for all of my lending needs for my customers.

  228. This is a great list, but it misses the vibrant local and independent Downtown restaurant scene we have to offer all within walking distance of the Convention Center. I’d recommend checking out our dining guide here: Please let me know if I can provide any additional information – I’d be more than happy to help!

  229. For a great listing of local and indpendent restaurants located Downtown, I would highly recommend checking out our dining guide:
    Please let me know if we can provide any additional visitor information. I’d be happy to help.

  230. Leave the rally at May 11th-20th 2012, if changes are made do them for 2013, other wise I encourage people to attend May 11th-20th for the rally, visit for the latest news and events in the works

  231. Well,,, what is the projected retail price range of this product???

    While i fully applaud your efforts to help solve ethanol-related problems,,,,how does it TRULY solve much if it is only for vehicles used in competition?????

    unless it is going to be priced $ 4 — $ 5 dollar range it just does not seem like a good buy for the COMPETITION rider… make it STREET legal and it MIGHT be a different story…

    on a side note this fuel has been hinted around since July-ish of last year,,, whoo hoo big news!!!

  232. Brilliant! Looking forward to this show.

  233. Well put, Mark, but what about commitment in the service department ? Thanks, Mike Wickern, Owner & Head Wrench, Blackdog Motorsports Ada, MN

  234. I guess Suzuki didn’t think about that when they were cashing the check ?
    Baby !

    • My thought also mike. Amazing Suzuki has pulled this scam. Sell them the engines and then sue them for using them!!! Outrageous. Amazing this angle was not covered by the story.

      • supplier of engines suzuki Hison to have in China. Hison is sold only in China apareils Suzuki can not intervene. However, export demand suzuki conformance tests for other countries. Hison not want to pay too, are willing to sell thanks to Suzuki Motor and the copy of the shell seedoo but want to go out the dollars

  235. I agree. Not only this but if you are a woman salesman and a couple come into your store to purchase something, anything….be 100% certain you speak to the woman. When you make eye contact make it with her.Get her name and use it when you speak . When you respond to any inquiry /question look at her first and then to the man. I don’t care if the man is the one asking the question. Respond to her and include him. While a woman makes up 10% of your sales that woman will decide whether this couple returns to your store. For your mailers include her name as in “Candy & Denny it was so nice to talk with you today “. Thank you for coming into our shop. It was my pleasure speaking with you both. Hope you will consider us for your bike needs. You have the power to create a lasting relationship. Guys remember this too. Speak to the woman. Do not exclude her.

  236. I wonder if BRP will do the same thing before CFMOTO ( Zhejiang CFMOTO Power Co., Ltd.) comes out with their “jet boat” that is copied from the BRP Utopia Jet Boat. The boat is already out in other countries and the prototype will be coming to the US soon. The proto-type Can-Am Outlander 800 copy is already in the US!
    It is time these companies stand up to these Chinese “copy cats”!!!

  237. Is there additional value with Loyalty/Gift Cards?

    Would there be considerably more value if the cards could be tied to a Pre-Approved Revolving credit line?

    Has anyone tried it?

  238. I’m pretty sure that Hison copied the Suzuki engine, that is why it was described as “unlicensed”! Hison PWCs are blatant copies of Sea-Doos and Kawasaki designs, the first of which had this knock off Suzuki engine for power.

  239. Good move. This is a great series of shows, but having a not for profit industry group produce them always meant the shows couldn’t be responsive as possible to the individual markets and attendees. This move should help on that front and the new entity be more innovative in the production of the shows.

  240. “Munjal said Hero has cash reserves of about $1 billion. Investindustrial SpA, the private-equity firm that owns Ducati, is looking to sell the OEM for about $1.3 million. ”


  241. Your article says ” Investindustrial SpA, the private-equity firm that owns Ducati, is looking to sell the OEM for about $1.3 million.” For that price, I would find a way of buying Ducati! LOL!!

  242. In 2005 the CRF250R MSRP was $5999.00
    The same bike(fuel injection) now listed as a 2012 is $7500.00
    I know there have been subtle changes along the way.
    Like for instance, buyers don’t make any more money in 2012 than they did in 2005, maybe less.
    The car guys at Honda have forgot why people buy motorcycles.
    The Europeans build cool stuff, but 8 grand plus, does not help any.
    Yamaha, and Kawasaki, Suzuki, are no better. Oh you can turn the head around and call it revolutionary, I suppose. The XR750 crowd did that for years for all kinds of reasons.
    The author is right. People are riding. Out here in fly over country it is recreation,Hare Scrambles and GNCC. MX tracks are hard to find.

  243. having to wait and view a NPA ad everytime I want to view an article sucks.
    please change this,it is very annoynig

  244. If you click through to the article, you realize that PSB made an error… Only a factor of 1,000… 🙂

    Maybe PSB is using the same math that Dealernews uses to estimate Indy traffic? 🙂

    “Investindustrial is seeking to sell or list Ducati for as much as 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), the Financial Times reported last month, citing Andrea Bonomi, chairman of the European buyout firm.”

  245. How do I sign up for Sam’s Powersports Garage newsletter?

  246. Jennifer Robison

    Most powersport stores are using the lowest cost lighting and its more costly than they know. Stores use florecent drop box light. This type of light was designed for office so that it would not cast a shadow for working in cubicals. This type of light is a general space lighting and is inefficent at lighting products to feature and draw attention. I work in too many powersports stores that do not have light for products on walls and this makes it dark and hard to see from a distance.

    FYI, customers won’t go to spaces that are dark and they won’t shop items they don’t see very well. SO pump up the lighting budget, its not the kind of thing a trip to Home Depot down the road will resolve!

    Lighting makes ALL the difference!

  247. Hi everyone,
    I’m sorry I made the mistake about the sale price. It is $1.3 billion, as many of you have found. The mistake has been corrected.

    Thank you,
    Liz Hochstedler
    Associate Editor

  248. There are already plenty of laws that cover it plus the simple fact is that if you cause an accident for any reason, you are liable.

    Failure to maintain control, unsafe safe lane change, failure to stop and on and on.

    Education, lots of education, I’m all for it. More laws….hell no!

    Besides, how is someone using their phone or navigation system any more distracted than a parent reaching over the seat to deal with the screaming child in the back? Or how about a couple arguing with each other…distracted? I think so! Or the person eating, drinking or putting makeup on? Or eading the paper propped up on the sterring wheel?

    We do not need any more laws regarding this!

  249. Please don’t stop the Ladies Events @ Dealerships!! Even if there isn’t a discount, the opportunity to check out new Ladies gear & learn some seminar skills while meeting other female riders is invaluable! Perhaps coupons can be handed out?-one for him and one for her, so your lady patrons can take the coupon home to her favorite male motorcyclist? –LMMG (97Suzuki Intruder 1400 + 09Suzuki GSX-R600, 19.25 years riding!)

  250. I purchased my 2008 ZX-10R in Germany (US Specs) brand new. I replaced 2 batteries in less than 1 yr. The first one did expire and the second went after a month in the garage. Could this be voltage regulator issue. Any info is will be helpful.

  251. Continental’s Conti Motion is the brand’s top-seller in the U.S., and it saw more than 50 percent growth in the U.S. in 2011.

  252. All well and good…. but just how many Cruisers does Polaris need in it’s two-wheeled division … ? They are building great products… but seems like a lot of duplication to me… just sayin’


  253. I sell 3 metric lines. I think everyone was up at least mid teens. Weren’t they.

  254. Wow , american know how in action .. bravo ….

  255. As someone who LOVES riding all kinds of bikes, atv’s and you name it this sounds like a great move. I look forward to seeing what happens.

  256. There’s a reality show on now called Hotel Impossible, and the host/consultant shows the owners of their negative reviews on review sites. I think your advice about owning up to them is very good. If it’s possible for the business to post an honest, helpful review/followup/rebuttal so that others can view it, that would go a long way.

  257. Great points, Liz…thank you for bringing attention to this topic as it affects the livelihoods of everyone in our industry when customers choose whether or not to do business with our dealers.

    I’ve done a couple of studies recently to analyze the status of dealer Places pages and found results that correlate with your commentary.

    For one particular OEM, the percentage of dealers that had verified their Places page was only 43%. (If I were the head of this OEM, I’d have an initiative to have this at 100% in a month). The ratio of positive to negative reviews was 15:16….so, there is a better chance than a coin-flip that everyone that depends on these dealers (including themselves) from OEM, distributor to Mfr. has the potential for lost sales based on dealer online reputation.

    This and other digital opportunities can be addressed very easily:

    1. The OEMs must get involved. The days of “we have a web site, so we are good” were gone a couple of years ago. OEMs can easily turn their field reps loose to help their dealers secure their Places page on their dealer visits.

    2. Continued online reputation management is just as important, and there are companies that specialize in it for dealers such as Duo Web Solutions.

    3. All of us need to pay attention to what’s going on outside our industry. Let’s face it, we aren’t at the forefront of many technologies since we aren’t as large. However, it is very easy to look over the shoulders of the very-well funded ones including automotive & big box retail to see what’s new and observe consumer shopping behaviors.

    This and other digital opportunities are here for us today, and dealers need our help. They have the toughest job out of any of us.

    I challenge everyone that collects a paycheck from this industry to make a commitment of doing whatever they can to help out dealers.

    Thanks again,


  258. Thanks for the comment, Don.

    I just found this article today that says 70 percent of global customers trust online reviews.

    Liz Hochstedler
    Associate Editor

  259. I could not agree more, Liz. I’ve spoken to a few of our own accounts about this very topic after doing as you said and reading their google or manta reviews. They’re venomous!

    Strangely enough, most of the folks I’ve spoken to have an “oh well” attitude about it or “at least folks are talking about us.” I can’t understand this thinking. While there’s no need to get into an argument with some anonymous hater on the web, because that will certainly backfire, I would have to respond, were the review about my dealership.

    You are 100% right though. People see those consumer reviews and they make a difference when deciding whom to give their business to.

  260. There is still some apprehension for many dealers (and OEMs) to crack this nut. They think that one negative review is going to somehow torpedo their business and so they often look the other way and deny that anything bad ever happens in their company. No business is perfect and mistakes will happen because businesses are largely run by humans. Ignoring issues is not going to make them magically go away.

    The worst part of this whole scenario is not the guy that posted a bad review. It’s the other 80% of customers that had a problem and just went away without making a peep. At least the guy that tooted his horn gave you an opportunity to (publicly) address and fix the issue.

    Back when i was working for a large automotive group I witnessed that they thought CSI was everything. Many dealers artificially pumped up their scores by incentivizing customers with gimmicks- some as blatant as stapling a couple dollar bills to the surveys. Today the internet has educated the buyer and forced transparency among businesses. As Liz points out, measures have been put in place to dissuade business from artificially filling the balloon with all positive reviews. Customers can see through that anyhow.

    Lastly, Craig’s point is poignant- OEMs can help dealers with claiming their Google Places pages. I’ve said it to many companies before and will continue to say it- PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU ANYWAY. YOU MIGHT AS WELL PARTICIPATE IN THE CONVERSATION!


  261. Hi Liz: I am very pleased to read your article drawing attention to online reputation, I agree with your recommended approach on all points. One of my favorite quotes on this topic is from Warren Buffett;

    “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

    A few notes to add:
    1) The only way to have a review removed from Google Places or any of the other review sites (ie Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing) is if the reviewer does not utilize a valid email address when they post the review. If this happens, report it to Google and/or review site provider and it will be removed.

    2) Posting fake reviews will get your banned by Google — forever. Given that 75% of an average dealers traffic, this would be a major problem. Do not even think about this route.

    3) Bad reviews aren’t bad. What I mean by this is all reviews give you insight to your business — be honest with yourself about the validity of the statements — do you have areas to improve upon? Plus the broad platform of the web actually gives dealers an opportunity to respond in their own voice when they do get an unfair, unbalanced “bad” review. People are reasonable, they can see when a reviewer is being driven by emotion and/or their own self interest. When the owner of a dealership responds to a review like this publically, in a calm, customer-focused way, generally the result is positive.

    4) Dealers always ask “How do I get customer reviews?” A-S-K. If I was a dealer, I would invest in a few affordable laptops for my sales and finance team. When a customer has just purchased their shiny new toy hit them up for a review when they are flying high! No brainer!

    Heather Blessington
    CEO , Duo Web Solutions

  262. Hello I’am with the Arizona Precision Motorcycle Drill Team. I was wondering if your company would support us by supplying us with your shoei Helmets. In return we would like to advertize your Company at our events & performances. We also would like a banner we could put up at our Rallies and performances. I hope you will work with me by one supplying us with helmets and two by us advertizeing your products. I would like to get some sponsors to help us and you are one of them in which I have chosen. I’am looking forward to working with you . Sincerely Yours, AZ Drill Team Coordinator… Debra Wallace

  263. Debra Wallace 480-415-7667

  264. One quick update, the web address for JETSKI JUNKIES should be or The posted address is for our Jetski Junky friends in Australia:)

    Kev- JJUSA


    • Chris Gerber (

      Hey Larry, I assume you’re referring to our enewsletter. There is an unsubscribe button at the top and bottom that should get you off the list. But, to save you a step, I’ve unsubscribed you from the Powersports Business mailing list. Let me know if you need anything else.

  266. Great news, I grew up near redbud track and trail and I was lucky to have a place to practice and race quads. This will do wonders for the local business.

  267. What do you think of that made ​​Hison gives false CE certificate and that customers who purchased ons can not register the Jets?

  268. The economy is still struggling. Typically a motorcycle is a second vehicle and isn’t practical for everyday use and the cost can’t be justified.

  269. Words cannot even describe how much fun my son has had riding his Can Am in local trail rides and have the people gather around and straight up admire this machine! One of a kind!!!! Bad Ass!

  270. After a few years of owning a power sports shop I have ran into a problem that I’m not sure how to handle. Sometimes you get a customer that will need a repair that exceeds the value of the vehicle. During this time I usually try to explain to the customer that in this case it may be best to consider, used or aftermarket parts. The problem with this is that I can’t warranty the work. Sometimes it doesn’t work out well with used or aftermarket parts and I end up fixing the vehicle the right way for free. This presents a few different problems. Do you think I’m better off just refusing this work, or quoting the outrageous price it would take to fix the vehicle? Most of the time when you refuse they take it somewhere else, which is fine with me. This however does not sound good in person to person advertising.

  271. I think this is a very worthy cause, more companies should do more for our wounded veterans if a small company can do big things, big companies should do bigger things for our wounded veterans.
    Thank you uvcountry

  272. Happy to hear that Kevin and Mona are making a comeback. I have always liked the BBC line of bikes. Welcome to San Bernardino CA

  273. Well hopefully Kevin and Mona can clean up the image of Big Bear Choppers over time. It will be a long and hard slog but the styling of the various models is still pretty cool today. There are those who say that fat tired choppers are dead but there are many more who still desire them. This is motorcycling, not a bloody fashion show.

  274. Liz, you touched on a very, very important topic. This is a critical, yet often invisible part of every company that is in business to make a profit. We provide clients with the technology to track and listen to their phone calls. It is common that new clients are often shocked by what they hear when they first start listening to their calls. Almost every business improve on their phone skills. We have clients that provide phone training for businesses and it is amazing to compare the “before and after” results.

    There was also a study conducted that called about 3000 car dealers after-hours. The results showed that 38% of them either had no voicemail or a voice mailbox that was full. That is essentially like slamming the door in the face of 40% of people that wanted something from your business.

    The other challenge with voicemail is that even when people DO reach your voicemail, 80% of them simply hang up without leaving a message. Utilizing call tracking technology, companies can capture that caller’s information regardless of whether they leave a message or not, giving you the opportunity to call them back.

    Missed Calls are another “profit leak” for companies. These are people that call your company, maybe wait through six rings, and hang up before anyone picks up. Again, with call tracking these calls are also captured and companies are instantly alerted that they missed a call.

    Thanks for shining some light on this crucial topic!

  275. The alsops are criminals. do NOT do business with these people. We that have been cheated, hope that justice will be done and that nobody will be burned by them anymore.

  276. I can’t believe anybody would glorify these scumbags. After ripping off countless people including wire fraud for overseas purchases, the audacity to tout themselves as “back in business” is sickening.
    Apparently Doc Robinson’s on Mona’s teet here and on Cyril’s blog.

  277. Kevin Alsop is a lying, cheating crook in my opinion.I sold two of my bikes to finance my dream bike (Bear Bones) after visiting B.B.C. in late October. On Nov. 14th I wired $10,000 of my hard earned $ for a deposit on my build, A week later the E- Mails, phone calls ended, My money gone now with Kevin hiding behind bankrupcy.I never recieved a phone call from Kevin as he stated in this article.Justice will be served one way or another,Watch yor back Kevin, As you know, I am not the only one you screwed.For anyone out there wanting to do business with, RAGE HARD DON’T !!!!!!