Attention, dealer principals: This lesson is for you

Publish Date: 
May 23, 2013
By Rod Stuckey

DOES YOUR DEALERSHIP have an owner marketing plan for the fast approaching third and fourth quarters of this year?

Every month, my team and I contact more than 1,500 dealerships regarding their current marketing, so we’re very familiar with different perspectives, programs and objections to dealer advertising across the nation and across different OEMs. 

One thing that continues to amaze me is how many owners delegate marketing to a marketing manager or store manager who simply is not qualified or experienced enough to understand the significance of a well-thought-out, planned-in-advance, data-driven, evergreen marketing system pre-built for sustainable growth. 

Making money in the motorcycle business today is not about reacting to the swirl, changing tires, selling spark plugs, or even greeting customers on the showroom floor.

I understand that each and every day you, the owner, wake up with more things to do than time to do it in. I “get” the collection of responsibilities and distractions often referred to as the “swirl”; I’ve been caught up in it as a dealer principal myself. In fact, I still fight with the day-to-day grind. The level of potential disruptions faced on a daily basis, including bankers, attorneys, accountants, cash flow, accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory, staffing, training and, of course, the greatest time vampire of them all — customers — can feel overwhelming.

But I also understand that making money in the motorcycle business today is not about reacting to the swirl, changing tires, selling spark plugs, or even greeting customers on the showroom floor. Sure, all of these things are important, but you, the owner, can and should build a team to handle those components of your business. In this new economy, success is about the marketing of your dealership, and it’s simply too important to delegate. 

Whether you sell Harleys or Hondas, the only thing that sets your dealership apart from your competitors is your marketing. Marketing is your leverage to either outperform your competitors or to be outperformed.

What good is a multimillion-dollar facility with loads of current inventory if no one is coming through the door?

No other responsibility is more important for the owner’s attention than making it rain customers. Like it or not, your marketing is always playing a huge role in the performance of your dealership.  

MY BIG MISTAKE
It’s just like gravity: we can’t see it, we really can’t touch it, but it’s real and it’s the force that keeps us from floating off into space. Gravity doesn’t care if you like it or even pay attention to its existence; it’s still working.

Successful dealership marketing principles work the same way. They’re affecting the performance of your dealership, whether you know about and implement them successfully or you are completely unaware of their existence. (Continued)