Black Sheep H-D has new name, same approach

By Kate Swanson

Harley-Davidson dealership in West Virginia undergoes name change

Let’s face it, many of us have felt a bit like the “black sheep” of the family from time to time. One Harley-Davidson dealer based in Huntington, West Virginia, is embracing this title. In April, 2016 Power 50 dealership Charlie’s Harley-Davidson renamed itself Black Sheep Harley-Davidson. 

“Our customers can relate to our name. There’s always bikers and riders who typically feel like they might be the rebel or the outcast of the family, so with our name change, our customers have really responded positively to it because they feel they can identify with it,” said Susan Lucas, the dealership’s general manager and partner. “We’ve definitely had people come in to see what was going on and see if there are any other changes.”

Black Sheep Harley-Davidson, of Huntington, WV, has focused on increasing its social media presence and expanding its event offerings in 2017.

Black Sheep Harley-Davidson is part of a larger group of Harley-Davidson dealerships owned by Charlie Cole, including the similarly named Black Wolf Harley-Davidson, Black Bear Harley-Davidson and Black Jack Harley-Davidson. 

In addition to the name change, Black Sheep hopes to continue building relationships with each of its customers. In 2016, the dealership brought back its monthly bike night events from May to September in an effort to attract more customers into the store. 

“Our focus this year has really been hosting events where we have the opportunity to talk with our customers. We’re having some smaller events to help attract new customers,” Lucas said. In July, Black Sheep will host a Beard and Bikes contest, which Lucas says has become a popular event among riders.

As Harley-Davidson continues the push to gain outreach demographic consumers, such as women, younger riders and minorities, Black Sheep has echoed the call. Lucas said an increase in Facebook advertising and an active social media presence has led to growth in 2017. 

“We began using paid social media advertising as a new way to connect to our customers and potential customers. With these paid ads, we have seen an increase in traffic to our events and with our promotions,” she said. 

In February, Black Sheep hosted a Mardi Gras-themed party and relied heavily on social media paid advertising. “We had over 100 people show up, a pretty good-sized event for February, and it was all though paid Facebook ads and email blasts,” she added.

The dealership brought back its monthly bike night events in May and will continue to work on building personal relationships with each of its customers.

Lucas said the dealership has also started monthly dealership rides in partnership with its local H.O.G. chapter on Sundays throughout the riding season. Its annual 9/11 Freedom Ride in September also draws a crowd and helps the dealership build a presence in its community. Throughout the year, Black Sheep has offered multiple workshops for current and new customers to learn about products, such as Harley-Davidson’s BOOM! Box Infotainment System, and Riding Academy lessons. 

Susan Lucas, Black Sheep Harley-Davidson’s partner and general manager, has overseen the Power 50 dealership’s progress in 2017.

“We have a ride scheduled every month this summer in two locations. It’s about getting people together and riding,” she said. “We’ve had a great turnout with those rides, and our customers really liked riding with our staff and H.O.G. chapter.”

Positive customer interaction remains a focal point of the Black Sheep experience. The dealership earned a 9.87 out of 10 for purchase experience by its customers, and the Harley-Davidson customer data showed that 100 percent of its customers felt they were treated with respect. 

“We believe that the key to our high customer satisfaction scores is to treat our customers how we would want to be treated,” said Lucas. “The staff here always go out of their way to give great customers service, which means to communicate through misunderstandings and work together to resolve any unexpected issues.” 

Black Sheep has earned more recognition from Harley-Davidson, receiving a Silver Bar & Shield Award in 2016. “Our biggest commitment is to our customers and customer service. If you take care of the customer and his or her experience, then everything else in the business will typically follow,” Lucas added. “What sets us apart is the total package customers get when they choose to do business with our dealership.” 

 

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