“It goes back to something we used in our car [business]: Try to find guys who are best and find out how they are doing it, and don’t reinvent the wheel. If someone out there is doing it [better], why not look at it?”
Powersports marketing also varies, since price isn’t the determining factor the way it is in a car purchase. “Our promotions are all about store, brand, fun and urgency,” he says.
Which brings us back to promotions and events. McGrath spends more than $100,000 annually for advertising, primarily in radio and direct mail and mostly to promote events. Only a small amount of that is based on product, so he can qualify for OEM co-op dollars.
“We love this kind of stuff,” McGrath says, “For us, it’s a great way to tell [customers] who we are, what we’re about, and why we’re a fun place to do business.”
And it seems like a good way to grow a business, too — since the McGrath gang has tripled annual revenues in four years.
Dealership photography by Gary Rohman
MOTOCROSS CLINIC BUILDS FUTURE CUSTOMERS
The annual springtime clinic fills up fast, and it’s a popular family event. The daylong clinic and ride is capped at 75 riders and costs participants $50 for the clinic, track time and a snappy T-shirt.
“It’s so cool to see these kids,” McGrath says. “It’s fun for the parents to follow the kids around to the stations and listen to the parents play back the key [training] words to the kids. And then see them ride. It’s their day at the track. It’s terrific; it’s really neat for them.”
If you’re wondering how much McGrath makes on this deal, forget it. It’s not a moneymaker. He hasn’t done an ROI on the project, but that’s OK; He doesn’t expect to turn a profit on it, even though he sells product at the track.
“It’s not a giant sales pitch,” he explains. “We don’t sell enough out there to pay for hot dogs. We do it so they know who we are. We do it to support the sport. We have to live in the world we’re doing business in.”
Cedar Valley Trail Riders is a nonprofit motocross club based at the track, and Jason Brandon is one of the volunteer members who works closely with McGrath on the clinic.
“Mike approached us when he bought the dealership,” Brandon says. “Mike really is interested in the sport and he promotes it. Normally, we don’t see that at the dealer level, and we really appreciate what he does for the sport.”
(So does Dealernews. McGrath Powersports is a four-time winner of the annual Top 100 Dealer award and has won Best Event honors for the motocross clinic project.)
The daylong motocross clinic is divided into two parts: a morning training session and an afternoon riding period. The morning session includes five 30-minute sections discussing mechanics and techniques. In the afternoon, participants have a chance to put into practice what they learned in the morning. It’s an open practice, and anyone from the general public also can come in and ride.
“It’s real good for the kids and the parents,” says Brandon, a 20-year veteran of the club. “The kids might not listen to their parents, but they listen to their instructors. It’s just a real great event.”
Activities are concentrated. “They might get 15-20 starts on a gate,” McGrath says. “It might take a year for first-year guys to get that many starts on this track.”
“This event is an amazing opportunity for the young riders to get the care and training from local pros to make sure they are safe at all times and performing the best that they can,” McGrath says. -- Joe Delmont