Can-Am dealers are tops for side-by-side shoppers: study

COVID-19 drove industry-wide changes in dealership sales behaviors, but for the third year in a row, Can-Am dealerships were the top ranked UTV brand, reports the newly released 2020 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. UTV Industry Study.

The study measured in-person treatment of UTV shoppers who visited a dealership between April and August 2020, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on dealership behaviors. Rankings by brand were determined by the Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring of dealership behaviors to industry sales success.

Can-Am side-by-side dealerships were tops among all dealers in Pied Piper's "mystery shopping" study.

Honda dealers were ranked second and Polaris third. PSI scores for all brands declined from 2019 to 2020, reflecting the industry-wide impact of COVID-19 on dealership behaviors. Brands with the largest declines were Bobcat (-23), Kubota (-17), Yanmar (-14) and Mahindra Tractor (-14).

The industry average PSI score declined from 99 in 2019 to 90 in 2020. In 2020, only the Can-Am dealers, with an average score of 101, scored above last year’s industry average score of 99.

Comparing dealership behaviors in 2020 to 2019, those behaviors that decreased the most include offering a test drive, giving the customer printed materials, giving compelling reasons to buy from this dealership, mentioning unique vehicle features, and asking the customer for contact information. In contrast, examples of the few behaviors that increased from 2019 to 2020 include asking whether the customer had visited the dealer website, and specifically asking the customer to buy.

“Dealerships that sell effectively are enjoying record UTV sales in 2020 despite, or possibly because of, COVID-19,” said Fran O’Hagan, president and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company, LLC.

Some dealerships have been using COVID-19 as a reason to skip sales steps. To be fair, some sales steps require additional effort because of COVID-19, such as cleaning off vehicles following a test drive. Customers were offered UTV test drives on average only 22% of the time in 2020, compared to 32% of the time in 2019.

However, other behaviors, such as asking the customer how the vehicle will be used, or providing a vehicle walk-around presentation, also declined from 2019 to 2020.

“More customers than ever are shopping for UTVs in 2020, and the most successful UTV dealers will be the ones whose sales teams work hard to be helpful to those customers,” said O’Hagan.

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The 2020 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index U.S. UTV Industry Study was conducted between April 2020 and August 2020 using 1,456 hired anonymous “mystery shoppers” at dealerships located throughout the U.S.

Examples of other recent Pied Piper PSI studies are the 2020 Internet Lead Effectiveness (ILE) UTV/Motorcycle Industry Study, in which the U.S. Harley-Davidson dealer network was ranked first, and the 2020 Internet Lead Effectiveness (ILE) Auto Industry Study, in which the U.S. Toyota dealer network was ranked first.

Complete Pied Piper PSI industry study results are provided to vehicle manufacturers and national dealer groups. Manufacturers, national dealer groups and individual dealerships also order PSI evaluations — in-person, internet or telephone — as tools to improve the sales effectiveness of their dealerships. For more information about the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, and the proprietary PSI process, go to www.piedpiperpsi.com.