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Dealerships offer event-full opportunities

By Kate Swanson

Power 50 dealers share engaging events with their customers

A major theme all successful dealerships have in common is their ability to take care of their customers and to get those customers to return to the dealership. Events have proven to be a great way to gain customer loyalty, show appreciation and raise dealership awareness in local communities. Throughout the years of the Powersports Business Power 50 program, the editors of PSB have come across interesting events, both big and small, that can inspire other dealers with ways to promote more customer involvement daily.

One such dealership is Brewer Cycles, of Henderson, North Carolina, which hosts an annual community event that gains recognition on both local and national levels. Featuring more than 350 riders from all over the country, the annual Duke Children’s Charity Ride began in 1997 and has raised more than $100,000 in donations to support the Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham, N.C. The ride began with a focus to “unite the community business and vendors,” according to the dealership, and it continues to grow with every year.

Rawhide Harley-Davidson also chose to host an event that gives back. The dealership’s most popular event is its annual Military Appreciation Bike Night. The staff said, “Our strong roots in supporting the military definitely brings in the crowd. The event pulls in a few hundred people, and we have plenty of entertainment from a live band, free beers, great food, tons of games and raffles to support the Wounded Warrior Project.” 

Logan Powersports Group president Mike Ratz (center) poses with three particpants of the Mud Buddies Poker Run. Photos courtesy of Logan Powersports Group

On a smaller scale, Rawhide H-D also began hosting free pancake breakfasts inside its showroom, which helps bring in multiple customers together who were able to familiarize themselves with the new bikes and friendly staff. 

More and more dealerships are seeking out local charities and organizations to co-host events. Wild Prairie Harley-Davidson, a 2015 Powersport Business Power 50 dealer, based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, played host to the American Heart Association in February during American Heart Month. The event helped raise awareness for women’s health issues and also specifically showed appreciation for the dealership’s female riders. The Go Red for Women event included workshops like Bling Your Bike and Upgrade Your Growl, and special promotions catered to its female customers. 

In addition to the sales and service side, the event included a fashion show, including real customers and employees wearing branded Harley-Davidson MotorClothes. Attendees at the event were encouraged to sit on bikes on the showroom floor, while they watched the fashion show, and a guest speaker shared her story of surviving congenital heart disease.

The annual “Riding for a Reason” ATV/side-by-side Poker Run is now in its 5th year.

Logan Powersports Group, a Power 50 Hall of Fame member based in Logan, West Virginia, is well known for its annual Mud Buddies “Riding for a Reason” ATV/side-by-side Poker Run. The dealership partners with the Mud Buddies Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides fun family outdoor experiences for children with special needs. Mud Buddies provides a free, guided ATV/UTV rides for children with autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities. 

The fundraiser includes a free lunch, one door prize ticket per registration, free T-shirts with the dealership’s logo and a one-day trail pass to use on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. Logan Powersports provides everything that the rider gets for their registration fee and the money from registration goes directly to the Mud Buddies Foundation. “Hosting this event is our way of unselfishly giving back to our community and the surrounding area and providing a fun-filled day to disabled children who come from miles around,” said owner Mike Ratz. 

Freedom Powersports, the 2017 Power 50 No. 1 dealer, facilitated a community outreach event by partnering with the Ronald McDonald House and its biggest event of the year, the Wild Game Dinner. Freedom Powersports worked with Textron Off Road to donate a side-by-side to the fundraiser’s raffle and helped to raise more than $16,000 for the organization. In addition, due to the attendance at the event, the dealership received more than 100 leads and made eight sales as a result. 

Freedom Powersports, the 2017 No. 1 Power 50 dealer, partnered with the Ronald McDonald House on its latest community outreach event. Photo courtesy of Freedom Powersports

Another popular option for bringing in new and returning customers is an open house-style event. Maxim Honda Yamaha, of Allen, Texas, hosts an annual BIG Open House event at its dealership, gaining more than 800 visitors. The store hosts vendors on site and encourages customers to visit at least six of these vendors to receive a special percentage coupon. This incentive allows vendors to speak with attendees and gives customers a reason to stick around and speak to as many people as possible. In 2016, Maxim Honda Yamaha sold approximately $17,000 worth of parts and accessories during the single event.

Maxim Honda Yamaha also held a Yamaha demo event, one of its most successful events last year, which included a semi full of bikes and two full days of demos. “We had a great turnout, and our sales team followed up with each demo rider personally to see how they enjoyed the ride,” the dealership said. “We ended up retailing 23 new Yamaha motorcycles to demo riders over the following few weeks.”

Florence, South Carolina-based Black Jack Harley-Davidson hosted a Cinco de Mayo event, called “Cycle de Mayo,” which brought in approximately 200 people who attended the event and later took part in a benefit ride for a local child in need. Black Jack H-D strives to host at least two events per month to let customers know they are appreciated and also take time to introduce new people to its brand. 

Black Jack’s second most-popular event, an annual Anniversary Luau brought 150 people into the dealership last year. Festivities included free pulled pork sliders and drinks, a daisy duke bike wash, door prizes, demo rides and games. Same-day sales dealership-wide were up more than 500 percent from the previous year. 

Brewer Cycles’s annual Duke Children’s Charity Ride has helped raise more than $100,000 in donations. Photo courtesy of Brewer Cycles

Calculated Risk Motorcycle Group, with headquarters in Texas, put on a Midget Wrestling event at its Roughneck Harley-Davidson dealership in Longview, Texas. The dealership said this event brought a lot of attention and new traffic to the store: “It brought a lot of new faces and previous customers that had not been into the stores since the store’s acquisition the previous year.” 

With more than 300 people in attendance, Roughneck Harley-Davidson made $8,000 in MotorClothes sales in one day and sold eight motorcycles as a result of the event. 

The Transportation Revolution of New Orleans, Louisiana, began offering monthly “tech talks” with its service staff to promote a friendly relationship between staff and riders. “Our tech talk series allows us to peel the curtain back and show our customer a little bit about a bike,” the dealership said. “We have found that these events create trust with our customer and increase service business retention.” 

 

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