Give your customers a reason to shop

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INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 18, 2011 - The old days are long gone and the industry is now competing in what is considered the new normal, meaning the heyday of easy motorcycle sales have given way to needing to give customers a reason why they should spend money with you.

"Our current situation will remain. We are in the new normal. This what it's going to be like and we have to get used to," said, Daniel McQuiston, the chairman of the department of marketing and management at Butler University's College of Business. McQuiston offered this message to a roomful of MIC members during the organizations annual meeting yesterday at Dealer Expo.

But what does this mean for the industry? How does it operate and compete in this new normal? McQuiston said that businesses have to establish three objects for competing in 2011. These include:

  • developing a strategic framework
  • create a differential advantage
  • develop skills through training

    The goal, he said, is to truly understand the customer, better than ever before as the new, modern customer is only going to buy a product that offers them the most value.

    With the Internet, customers are now armed with more information than most sales staff. The idea, he said, is to offer the insight and expertise your staff has to add value to the products your selling.

    It's also important, McQuiston noted, to specifically define who the competition is, and in the powersports industry that's just about anything — other forms of transportation, any other forms of recreation, video games, basically anything that is "perceived by your customers as an acceptable substitute for the products and services you offer."

    You have to know this because it's not just important to position your business against the dealership down the street, but to position against any other thing that your customers can think to be doing besides riding a powersports vehicle.

    Operating in this new environment, he added, is an exercise in heading into uncharted waters. To do this, businesses must get the training needed to change their organization and adopt a consultative selling process that helps solve a customer's needs.

    – Dennis Johnson