From that first glimpse, Guerin’s staff strives to escort the customer through every aspect of their visit to the store. “I’m here every day as an owner, and I know what I expect as a consumer,” he says. “Customers want, from the moment they walk in the door, the whole experience. Everything in this store is based on the in-store experience. People need to be greeted immediately, and they need to be taken care of the entire time they are here in the store. That’s really the key to it — to engage the customer from the moment they walk in the door.”
The sales process at Ducati Newport is built around the same focus one learns in journalism: show, don’t tell. The key is finding out what customers want rather than simply telling them what they need. Sales techniques are still there, but the pressure of the hard sell is eliminated. With the open-floor layout, the lack of pressure, and a sales staff specializing in European machinery, the overall atmosphere is more akin to an Apple store than a motorcycle shop.
“We’re going to make it a pleasurable experience, whether it’s buying a bike, buying a jacket, buying an accessory or getting service. It’s having the right people. Everyone we have has the right attitude, the premium-experience attitude,” Guerin says. “It means they take the time; that you’re not a number. They develop relationships. The people that buy motorcycles here and get service done here become part of the family. We try to get to know who they are, and let them know who we are.”
The technical service side of Ducati Newport is just as important to the health of the dealership. Guerin’s background includes 35 years in the auto industry with a focus on service. Building an industry-leading service department was always part of the plan.
“It’s the convenience, level of training of technicians and follow-up,” Guerin says. “Pick-up and delivery has made a big difference. We have two master-certified Desmo techs for Ducati, and we do inspections on every bike. We try to exceed the expectations of what people with the product have been used to in the past, including myself. I was a Ducati consumer, so when we built this store, we based it upon our experiences elsewhere.” (Product was good, he says, but the service was lacking.)
The parts department also is expected to deliver a premium experience. Stocking levels are aggressively monitored and maintained, especially with OEM accessories, a strong point for both brands. Accessories decorate every single demo bike in the fleet, giving customers the chance to touch and use the parts in action. Dedicated apparel specialists are on hand.