Pro Yamaha Certifies 100 Dealers

More than 100 Yamaha dealers have achieved Pro Yamaha status in the 13 months since Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., launched the program designed to induce dealers to adhere to what the OEM considers key points for representing its brand.

Yamaha launched the Pro Yamaha program Jan. 1, 2008, in an effort to help dealers become "better, more profitable, more customer-satisfying." Dealers are asked to take online training courses and carry out certain real-world activities pertaining to five categories: 1) customer satisfaction, 2) lifestyle marketing, 3) a knowledgeable staff, 4) service excellence and 5) brand representation. Dealers then receive points for benchmarks achieved within each category. A dealer attaining a prescribed number of points obtains a Pro Yamaha designation and related incentives – both financial and otherwise.

"The five categories were created based on a significant amount of information we gathered over quite a bit of time from customers, telling us what's important to them and their dealership, and how we can best meet their needs," Joe Dagley, division manager of dealer training at Yamaha, told Dealernews. "In today's economy we're not seeing huge growth of new customers coming into the market. The economy is running a little flat, so we have to get our dealers to understand that to grow our business we have to do a good job with our customers and make sure that the community says, 'That Yamaha dealership is the place to buy’.” Each of the five categories carries a prescribed number of points. Together, they add up to 500 points. Dealers who reach 385 points become a Pro Yamaha Candidate; those who reach 420 points are considered Pro Yamaha and receive even greater benefits.

Yamaha has online training modules to help dealership employees with customer satisfaction, sales, sales management, service management, service advising, parts-and-accessories management and retail finance.

"There's a special section of the Yamaha Dealer System [YDS] that's called the Pro Yamaha Dashboard, and it has all of the requirements based upon those five categories and gives dealers live, up-to-the-minute updates," says Dave Park, national dealer development manager. "So if they need to take a certain online class, they'll know that immediately, or if they haven't yet held a consumer event, they'll know that. So it's YDS that really helps them understand what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by."

"The dealer can then assign his staff certain training modules, and we can track them to realize which students are involved and completing the training, which student did what, all across the country," says Dagley.

Yamaha says it plans to continue the program throughout 2009.

- Submitted by Guido Ebert