V-TWIN INDUSTRY expert Grady Pfeiffer this summer announced he had signed on to help Dealer Expo develop a co-located trade event specifically for the V-Twin dealer community. The American V-Twin Dealer Show will be held simultaneously with the 2012 Dealer Expo Feb. 17-19 at the Indiana Convention Center. Pfeiffer spoke with Dealernews on the new venture.
How’s the health of the V-Twin industry these days, and why is a show like this important now?
Pfeiffer: What we’re seeing is a trend back toward Harley-Davidson motorcycles and making parts that fit them. While companies always did this, for the last several years they concentrated on the custom side of the business.
Today, dealers need to focus on what they can do to a Harley-Davidson. Yes, they will get some custom bikes in to work on occasionally, but not to the previous extent. The independent dealer base needs help. They’re trying to figure out how to make money and keep their doors open. They’re doing everything they can or know how to do to stay in business. It’s our responsibility to help them with an event like the American V-Twin Dealer Show.
They need to know what they can do to service a customer when they come in with their Harley for a new seat, handlebars, exhaust, accessories, some motor work. It’s about primarily fixing up that Harley and, to a great degree, the bagger side of the business. The touring bike also has caught on like wildfire — the Harley- generation is getting older, and those riders prefer a touring bike more than they did before. That’s a major customer target for the dealers.
So what will the American V-Twin Dealer Show provide them?
Pfeiffer: Educational seminars on running their business from a financial standpoint. Sessions on human resources — how you find and hire good people. The turnover in many shops, even Harley stores, is high, and finding qualified people is not very easy.
A good friend of mine is a dealer, and we talk a lot about these issues. His frustrations have involved people — HR and training. In most cases, a small store doesn’t have a lot of resources, so the owner has to be the trainer. That owner, in many cases, needs some updated training.