SECRETS TO WINNING. While most dealer 20 groups will suggest investing 1 percent to 2 percent of revenue into advertising, Sharma says he spends "about 0.4 percent, and a lot of that goes into events. "We don't advertise on the radio or in newspapers — it's too expensive," he says. "We take the money traditionally spent on advertising and spend it on customer events. If a person has a really great experience here, they are going to remember it and go talk about it.
"So whatever we can do to associate MotoCorsa with fun, we do. We put on a ride, sponsor track days, show weekly races with commercials edited out, and hold new product introductions and fashion shows with refreshments."
In Portland, on the first Thursday of every month, art galleries showcase their wares on sidewalks. Sharma and his crew have been known to park bikes in the center of the action, cordon them off with velvet rope and use them as a display. They also park bikes near Portland's busiest, trendiest sidewalk cafés and wait for people to talk with them.
"You can find opportunities everywhere," Sharma says. "We just received an inquiry from a builder showing off a model home. The builder wants to know whether we have a pair of bikes he could place in the garage during the open house. Why not?
"The bottom line is stay involved in the community and make the customers a part of your family by treating them like family," Sharma says. "Work on your customer relationships and every one of them will become a walking advertisement."
Story originally appeared in the April 2007 issue of Dealernews.