Drag Specialties Tour finds a full house

By Kate Swanson

24-stop training tour greeted with enthusiasm by Minnesota-area dealers 

Dealers were welcomed to the sound of Toto’s “Africa” and Journey’s “Stone in Love” at the 2017 Drag Specialties Tour Stop in Minneapolis. The distributor, along with Parts Unlimited, announced in late October that dealer training tours would take place throughout the summer. 

“This is the first time that Drag Specialties has done something like this. I think dealers have appreciated the in-person training so far. It’s an opportunity to learn,” said Rob Bluma, regional sales manager for Drag Specialties.

With 24 stops across the U.S., the response from dealers has been positive. Nate Rothstein, a manager of Crow River Harley-Davidson in Delano, Minnesota, said the tour stops were helpful for business. 

“It’s so informational. My rep does a great job; she’s very dedicated and friendly, but it’s different when you’re here and you can focus in on each product,” Rothstein said. “The more information you can have on a product, the better you can sell it to your customers.” 

After the Minnesota vendor presentation, dealers had the opportunity to gather in the hotel’s parking lot and see bikes outfitted with the products they had just learned about.

Kurt Kaufmann, account manager for J.W. Speaker, told Powersports Business that the tour stops have been good for overall business and for dealer relations. 

“We get the somewhat rare opportunity to speak directly to 15-30 of the top dealers in their respective regions all in one place,” he said. “As a vendor who is trying to push the industry forward, it takes dealers like these to make their customers aware of our products and how they are different than current offerings. This has proven to be a great venue to accomplish that.”

Drag Specialties’ regional sales manager Rob Bluma (right) shows off the Drag Specialties’ catalog cover bike, a 2009 Dyna Fat Bob, for dealer attendees.

Wisconsin-based S&S Cycle also showcased its products to dealers during the presentation. Paul Devine, vice president of sales, said the Minneapolis tour stop felt like it was it was in the company’s own backyard. “We’ve been a company since 1958, and we have more than 5,000 products, so this gives us a chance to condense down to what’s new and what’s not,” he said.

Dealers who attended the tour stop made similar comments about the information they were learning and felt it would lead to sales growth. Jerry Kamrow, vehicle assistant manager at St. Paul Harley-Davidson, said: “The benefit of this event is the product knowledge. You can read articles about the products, but getting to talk with the manufacturers who know their products the best and interacting with them like we would with customers is important.” 

After listening to several vendors describe their Drag Specialties product offerings, dealers were invited to the parking lot to visit the Drag Specialties semi-truck and see all of the products on bikes. 

“Up to this point you needed to invest in a product to be able to see it up close. That’s why we have different builds on display bikes, so dealers can see and hear them,” said Bluma.

“All the dealers I have spoken to have said they left having more knowledge and feeling more confident in recommending products to their customers,” said Kaufmann, of J.W. Speaker. “My favorite is seeing the faces of guys who have been in the motorcycle industry for more than 30 years light up when they see our adaptive headlights illuminate an entire parking lot out at the truck. It’s something that can’t be replicated in a conference room!” 

As an added bonus for dealers, Drag Specialties included buying incentives, such as discounts on vendor products with no minimum order required. 

Viking Land Harley-Davidson parts associate Ellie Wells attended the event with two co-workers. “It’s been a really positive experience. It gives us a better chance to learn, and they offer added buying opportunities, which is great too,” she said. “It’s hard to focus on learning about new products during the business day with customers in the store. When we’re here, we can be focused in and learn more.” 

 

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