America’s Motor Sports adds service, in-house marketing directors
Despite a tough Q4 for many dealers across Nashville, Tennessee-based America’s Motor Sports maintained single-digit increases in both unit sales and volume and a double-digit increase in its service department business at the end of 2017.
Chris Watts, vice president of America’s Motor Sports, said that the dealership has chosen to focus on its service department, F&I department and social media influences in 2018. America’s Motor Sports capped 2017 by being ranked the No. 8 dealer in the Powersports Business Power 50.
America’s Motor Sports, with locations in Nashville, Madison and Dickson, has made several improvements in the past year, including restructuring its service technician’s pay and making key managerial changes.
“We’ve taken one of our service managers and made him service director over all three stores,” said Watts. “It helps us do a better job of maintaining the same process across all the dealerships.”
In addition to naming a service director, each location also began offering bonuses at different levels to pay technicians at the end of each year. “Based on their production for the entire year, they can get extra money as an end-of-the-year bonus,” added Watts. This incentive has helped retain the dealership’s technicians during the months of the year when business slows down.
“It has been a good morale booster,” he said. “Our margins have increased in the service department just from the fact that we’re getting more production out of the same number of technicians.”
Along with continuing to improve its service department, Watts said the dealership is also making changes within its F&I department. “We’re trying to get refocused on the finance department. We’re going with a different menu provider and we’re adding more in-house training.”
America’s Motor Sports carries a variety of brands, including Can-Am, GEM, Hammerhead Off-Road, Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Slingshot, Suzuki and Yamaha. Recently, the dealership has also added Mahindra Off-Road and Royal Enfield.
“We feel like Royal Enfield is a good price point for the younger, millennial riders,” he said. “We’ve already sold a few even in the winter here, so we’re excited that come spring time we’ll see some interest in that.”
With Nashville’s increasingly urban feel, the Royal Enfield lineup should appeal to those younger riders. America’s Motor Sports makes it a priority to engage younger riders and ensure the future of riding.
The dealership sponsors a state-approved “Learn to Ride” class, which gives customers opportunities to have hands-on training on their new units and new riders a chance to learn on a loaner bike. America’s Motor Sports provided students with a Royal Enfield bike for this year’s class of new riders. “They’ll get to see it in class and that will raise some interest in the line,” he added.
Graduates of the class are encouraged to visit one of the dealerships locations and show off their certificates for a free t-shirt. “It’s a nice introduction to riding and to us,” said Watts.
In order to keep those introductions coming, the dealership also hosts multiple events per month in each of its locations. At its Madison location from March to October, America’s Motor Sports hosts Bike Nights every fourth Thursday of the month. Activities in the past have included everything from slow races and tire toss to a frozen t-shirt contest.
“We keep our events interesting, keep people engaged and interactive,” said Watts. “It’s a fun event, not a selling event. We want people to come out here for two or three hours and create that community goodwill throughout the motorcycle community.”
The dealership also believes in supporting its community through giving back. Each year, America’s Motor Sports teams up with local bicycle clubs and acts as a drop-off point for the Bikers for Toys event in December. The dealership collects bicycles and toys up until a few weeks before Christmas and then they are delivered to local children.
Another way America’s Motor Sports keep its customers engaged is on various social media platforms. With word-of-mouth and traditional advertising efforts transitioning to a majority of social media content, Watts said that adding a marketing director in-house was “one of the best things we’ve done as far as creating a position within the organization.”
The marketing director manages Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope platforms for each of the three locations. The majority of America’s Motor Sports’ outreach efforts take place on Facebook. The dealership posts how-to videos, event notifications, available inventory and new product info.
“We continue to get more engagement with our customers. The ones who are watching the videos are coming in and asking about that bike,” said Watts. “We definitely feel like we get more questions from those particular customers and we get a better connection with them overall.”
It’s yet another way that America’s Motor Sports plans to ramp up its business in 2018.