85,000-sq.-ft. dealership (including old 56,000-sq.-ft. building) founded at present location in 1982. The Ray Price staff uses the old building as a detailing, racing, and used parts/clearance shop. Carries Harley-Davidson and Buell. 52 employees.
“I don’t think anyone has figured out the young market,” says general manager Chris Haddock. “Every type of retailer is trying to determine how to bring this middle-school-to-high-school person into the fold as a future customer.
“We run two major annual events and bring in 5,000 people per day, counting strollers. We always have a children’s corner with cotton candy, candied apples, and playground equipment to ensure that this young person has a good time and wants to come back to Ray Price Harley-Davidson.
"If we are just a dealership they come to with their parents, they’ll want to leave. If you’re not focused on future business, you don’t need to be focused on today’s business. You have to give them something to ride that they can relate to. We promote ourselves as a family business.”
Hot at Ray Price: the Fat Boy, the Heritage Softail, and the limited-edition CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) units, which are pre-sold. “Due to the Rider’s Edge program we sell a lot of Buell Blasts. We’ve expanded that line as Buell has,” says Haddock.
“We offer our Rider’s Edge students the bikes they learn on. A lot of people buy that small unit then trade up.” The dealership is known for its high-performance work, and Screamin’ Eagle items sell well. Price will be doing consulting on top-fuel race machines.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Haddock came out of the corporate world and joined Price in 2002. “There’s a really dynamic move of professionals with high incomes coming into the sport,” he says. “Many times they have not ridden before. Rider’s Edge has been a tremendous crossover tool for us, because a lot of people are intimidated by Harley-Davidson as a whole. We’re filling our classes at a greater rate than the national average and 30% of our graduates are female. They may have had some experience riding on the back. In interviews we’ve found that they may not have ties to Harley, but want to be part of this mystique.
“We as dealers have to do a better job of reaching out to these women. When a person ‘buys a motorcycle,’ they’re really looking for a home in a dealership. Ray has the mentality, ‘Build it and they will come.’ Our responsibility as a management team is to invite them to kick off their boots and stay a while. Dealerships doing that are gaining in sales.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Ray Price has 10 technicians, and has the resources to serve 13. “We run a preferred customer program,” explains Haddock. “During winter, we can pick up a motorcycle and deliver it back to a customer’s home. We also have a service department loaner fleet. This luxury item has to be a convenience. I’m 56 years old, and if I have to ask my wife to pick me up when I drop off my bike, then bring me back to get my motorcycle — give me a break.”
All the technicians are Harley-certified and are a graduate of a American Motorcycle and Marine Institute (AMI), Motorcycle and Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI), or the local Sanford Tech, which is being groomed by Harley-Davidson.
The dealership’s parts manager began at Ray Price in 1982. “We offer consistent and stable employees to our customers,” notes Haddock. “In parts we’ve hired professionals to give our customers the kind of service they expect. And with Ray’s leadership, we’ve been able to train to that level, too.
“In MotorClothes, every person who works for us — part-time or full-time — has been trained in how to sell helmets, gloves, leather jackets, etc., the fitment and recommendations of what’s needed for riding. Those employees get an opportunity to meet every person who has gone through Rider’s Edge.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“From the standpoint of Harley-Davidson, it’s, ‘Location, location, location.’ But in my mind, it has to be, ‘Customer service, customer service, customer service,’” says Haddock.
“The sooner that we dealers buy into that, the better off we’ll be for the future. We have 52 employees with very little turnover. We also have a core customer base that we build on. When you have a core and add to that every day, you continue to grow your business. If you don’t have the core, you don’t know where you stand.”
1126 South Saunders Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Ray Price Harley-Davidson/Buell – Raleigh, NC – Jan. 19, 2004