25 Craftsman Lane
Merrimack, NH 03054
10,000-sq.-ft., BMW-exclusive dealership founded in 1985. At present location for 18 months. Seven employees.
“As in any business, my greatest concern is the continuing process of finding channels to sustain growth,” says Mike Guldenstern, general manager. “Here in New Hampshire we have the highest motorcycle registration rate per capita, and fantastic backroad riding opportunities. So, from my point of view, the challenge is attracting and retaining new customers.” What does Second Wind BMW do to attract new riders? “We hold open houses and exhibit on-site at local events. We were just at an Oktoberfest that along with our dealership included German car dealers, bands, and food. We also hold charitable events, and
advertise in malls, in newspapers, and on TV.
You name it, we’re out there somewhere.”
The sizzling sellers at Second Wind include BMW's K1200 GT sport-touring model and R1200 CLC touring model. The dealership encourages its customers to take demo rides in beautiful southern New Hampshire, “the best way to experience the machines.” Guldenstern says the dealership carries the full line of BMW apparel, which “has been selling quite nicely — very high-volume. As the technology has become more mainstream, we've also seen a sharp rise in GPS unit sales.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
If you had asked Guldenstern three to five years ago what Second Wind’s typical customer was like he would have said a 30-to-50-year-old male. And today? “To be honest, due to the marketing that we and BMW have been doing lately, it’s been all over the map, a real demographic collage. We’ve had customers as young as 20 and as old as 86; women and men — you name it.”
BMW of North America alsohas been helpful in providing financing incentives over the last year, which has accelerated new-machine purchase volume.
“And we have seen a larger number of customers accessorizing their new bikes, both with apparel and hard-mounted accessories to the machine,” he said.
Guldenstern has heard of anti-powersports issues vis a vis two-stroke personal watercraft on lakes, and ATV land erosion issues, “but not in our market of street motorcycles.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Guldenstern says Second Wind BMW had already invested heavily in machinery and display fixtures for the shop when it moved into the new facility nearly two years ago. “Now we’re investing more in training time for service, sales, and parts management personnel.
“We’re really trying to provide the best tools to allow our management team to operate efficiently, and in concert with one another.”
The dealership’s service winter storage program ($400-$450) includes storage in the heated shop, engine oil/filter/brake fluid changes, wash, battery monitoring and tending, gasoline filling and stabilization, BMW safety inspection, and prepping the bike for spring.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
New Hampshire International Speedway is just one hour away from Second Wind BMW. Customers and employees go to Loudon for track days. And during large events, NHIS draws out-of-town customers who shop at the dealership or come in for small service repairs.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“The crux of our business is taking care of every customer, whether it's challenging or easy,” says Guldenstern. “Make sure you exceed your customers’ expectations, every single time.
“Through personal staff training here, every employee knows that at the end of the day, what matters most is doing the right thing for the customer. If that means taking extra time, staying after, or coming in early, that's what they're empowered to do. And we, as managers, are behind them 110%.”