Departmental cross-training is also practiced by a significant number of entrants. The one trend I liked best in this category was the growing propensity for dealers to actively seek solutions from the rank-and-file and across departments, with Sales offering solutions to Parts or Service, and vice versa.
Some things that almost every Top 100 entrant is doing:
- Ringing a bell when a someone purchases a motorcycle.
- Having customer lounge areas with flat screen TVs, and free coffee.
- Employing smiling receptionists.
- Holding charity rides.
- Having weekly or monthly store rides. At least one dealer makes them weekend-long events which, in my mind, is a great idea.
- Store tours, where customers and prospects are taken through each store department and introduced to the staff, shown the department and given an explanation as to how it fits into the overall dealership picture. Staff members also frequently hand out small gifts when their portion of the tour is completed.
- Offering VIP service plans, whereby all service required over a period of three years is covered. Some dealerships actually include tires and other expendables beyond oil and filters.
- Offering expedited service for traveling riders. One store even keeps a work bay on standby for this.
- One-day service for simple maintenance, oil changes, safety checks, brakes, etc.
- Though I didn’t do a scientific analysis of media expenditures, it seems in spite of the revolution in online communications, that dealers who invest heavily in their websitesare also do a lot of direct mail and a fair amount of radio and TV.
As always, reading through the Top 100 entries is an education. There are some really good thinkers out there with some great ideas who are obviously looking for ways to expand their share of market.
The best dealership in my mind (they’ll have to remain nameless) is located in a small metro area, in the sticks. This store has managed to reverse the male dominance in their market, stating its customer demographic as 49 percent male and 51 percent female. If every one of you could do that, this industry would return to selling a million units a year.