What’s next on your innovation list?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about the Indy shows of yesteryear, when dealers were tripping over themselves just to be able to see all the exhibitors. Booths were in the Indiana Convention Center. Others were in Lucas Oil Stadium. Vendors were stationed along the hallways, and I think if you went into the back corner of Champions you might even find some company hawking their Next Big Thing.

I’m now a veteran of a whopping two Dealer Expos, and I can tell you wholeheartedly that if I never hear about the good old days at Indy, I’ll be better off for it. Do the employees of your aftermarket company mope around all day wondering if the business will return to its highwater era? Does your dealership staff bring all the enthusiasm of a plum to work every day, waiting for the magic of the all-time sales year to magically reappear? How about your company of service providers? Does its staff prefer to keep technology in check simply because times aren’t what they once were?

As industry consultant Sam Dantzler so effectively put it during his morning presentation at Indy, “How’s the show going? Not as big as it once was, right? Can we all agree on that, and move on and find new ways to make motorcycles part of someone’s life?”

In other words, why look at the glass as half-empty? How and why does that benefit your business? I heard many folks lamenting the decline in exhibitors at Indy, yet I didn’t hear many say, “That’s perfect for us because it gives us that much more time to talk to the dealers who are here.”

Don’t think there were enough dealers in Indy? Sure, we all saw it. One unit exhibitor told me that he wrote 13 orders last year at Indy, and none this year. He chalked up a $30,000 investment and came away with a return of $0. In other words, his most recent trip to Indy will also be considered his last.

Were there dealers ready to do business? I certainly saw that, and had highly respected company executives tell me that while the number of dealers was less than they expected, the ones who were in attendance brought quality and interest that kept them happy.

Heck, a smallish vendor that was selling a business management software had at least a half dozen folks at their booth every time I walked by. And they couldn’t start tearing down early like others because they still had customers on Sunday afternoon. Many of the dealers that stopped by were greeted by name by the company’s staff, and chatted long after the walk-through on the computer monitor had ended.

Did the company request that some of their longtime dealers attend the show? Did they reach out to prospects from with a day’s drive of Indy to let them know they would be there to answer questions about the software? Did the company unveil an innovative addition to their product lineup? All of those could be true. Even if not, they’d be worth trying for your next show presentation, whether it’s American International Motorcycle Expo in Orlando in the fall or Indy in 2014. And it might even help you sell more product. You’ll read more about some of the innovation we uncovered at Indy in upcoming editions.

Don’t miss it

We always look for ways to help dealers and businesses stay abreast of trends that can help inspire growth. With that in mind, you’ll want to take a look at both of our cover stories in this issue. Managing editor Liz Hochstedler’s story about online reviews of your dealership is a must-read. Similarly, senior editor Tom Kaiser provides extensive sled details and tells you all you need to know about the “Yamacat” snowmobile partnership. Our Focus section on Elite Dealers features some dealers who are “moving the needle,” as Motorcycle Mall’s Rich Gonnello describes his dealership’s recent Suzuki promotion.


We had a faulty transaction in the Feb. 18 edition. An item on Helmet House’s staff additions contained a photo that was misidentified. The photo is of Zane Steele, not Joe Parr. PSB regrets the error.

More UTVs coming

In addition to word around Indy that Honda will be pushing out UTVs at an accelerated rate over the next half-dozen years, Bad Boy Mowers also is looking to grab some share.

Manufactured from top to bottom in Batesville, Ark., the OEM known for its zero-turn mowers is turning to automotive-type componentry for a reliable product. The company plans to release about a dozen new UTV models over the next year.

The Gold Guy helps

It was interesting to learn from Arturo Welch, one of the Elite Dealers featured in this issue, that one of the “Gold Guys,” Shane Maguire, is a strong supporter of Indian Motorcycle of the Twin Cities. So much, in fact, that the Gold Guy himself, a steady customer, infused some capital and became an investor in the dealership.

Dealers old and new

Congratulations to Steve Drane Harley-Davidson in Victoria, B.C., on the dealership’s 25th anniversary. They celebrated in February with a BBQ, a discount on most purchases and door prizes. Meanwhile, we recently learned of the grand opening of a brand new dealership. Glen Burnie (Md.) Motorsports sells Yamaha’s on- and off-road lineup.

Make something happen

I wrote earlier about making something happen, and getting dealers excited about your company and its products. Dave Bamdas does that with frequency. In addition to being the owner of Power 15 dealership RIVA Motorsports & Marine, Bamdas also operates RIVA Racing on the PWC side. Jeff Hemmel writes about the latest innovative product from RIVA, an ECU for Yamaha and Sea-Doo machines that’s both easy for dealers to install, and for customers to use.

“Ninety-five percent of the performance customers out there don’t have any idea how to configure a calibration or MAP for their engine,” says Bamdas. “For this reason, we serve up performance in easy to install Stage 1-4 Kits. Customers load a Stage 1,2,3, or 4 MAP into the ECU that we’ve perfectly calibrated for our corresponding kits. For example, if you have a Stage 3 kit, you go to the RIVA-Athena site and download the Stage 3 MAP. Now your ECU is equipped with the right settings for that particular kit.”

That, as Sam Dantzler suggested, is how you get people excited about powersports.

Dave McMahon is Editor in Chief of Powersports Business. Reach him at dmcmahon@powersportsbusiness.com or 763/383-4411.


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