As Shenk worked to get things turned around, he received a strong backlash, perhaps from employees, perhaps from ex-employees: nine flat tires, all sidewall punctures on his personal vehicles, and his personal computer stolen from his home in November 2009.
And it wasn’t like the inventory was in good shape; he had to spend some $3,000 to recondition one brand new, three-year-old streetbike before he could sell it.
Staffing issues were another major problem. In the 12-person Punta Gorda store, Shenk had 35 different employees in 2009, 25 different ones in 2010, and another 26 employees in 2011. “Maybe I hire them too quick,” he says with a shrug, “but at least I don’t wait to get rid of them once I see they aren’t right for the job.”
One big step he took right away was to retain Victory Solutions, an outside contractor, and its electronic guest register and call center. “Victory Solutions is one of the most valuable sales tools we use,” Shenk says. “If you’re going to grow, there is nothing more important to know than who did not buy and why they did not buy.” Few dealers have this information, and Shenk maintains that they are missing out on a valuable sales tool as a result.
“Victory Solutions gives us this information, plus tools for follow-up and prospecting as well as the traditional after-sale info on unit and service customers,” he says. “Having Victory Solutions make additional follow-up calls also gives us better results because the callers often get more information than our sales staff does, leading to more sales.”
As Shenk struggled to get operations under control at the two stores and as the calendar flipped into the new year of 2010, there was some cause for optimism. The store sold 30 units in that first month, posted total revenue of $278,043, but still had a loss of $9,376. In January 2009, the store sold 24 units, generated total sales of $262,813 and had a loss of $13,327. However, January 2010 was the coldest in Florida in 40 years.