CUSTOMERS WITH C$
Lorenz’s store is situated in a unique location (not just the provincial border thing). Lloydminster’s economy is driven primarily by the petroleum industry and agriculture. This brings in farmers and oil field workers flush with oil money. It means the store isn’t moved by the same economic winds that blow through other shops. It also means that attracting talented employees is sometimes hard when there are so many well-paying jobs.
“I think this is one of the few places in North America where you can have a grade 10 education and within a year be raking in a $100,000-plus salary,” he said. “It makes it hard to bring in talent when there is this allure. You’re constantly battling oil fields.”
This audience of mostly 25- to 55-year-old male oil workers makes up about 70 percent of his customer base, and they tend to want the newest, best thing on the market. To reach them, Lorenz knows he has to be on top of his product and communicate this to the buyers by working local ATV rallies and exhibiting at an annual show at the local fairgrounds.
For the rallies, he makes sure every available staff member is out riding with the clubs, hopefully on demo units. If he or they can’t make the ride, they pitch in later with prize donations, help mark trails, do cleanup, cook burgers — whatever it takes. At the annual Lloydminster Showcase, Lorenz and his crew bring in some specially built show quads and side-by-sides — the kind of stuff that gets the crowds buzzing.
“Last year we did air suspension on a Commander with toggle switches so you could cycle it through and make it duck, dip and dive,” Lorenz said. “We had one of our customers, he was in [British Columbia] that same weekend and he heard about it over there. Somebody was sitting in a coffee shop talking about it. So, it gets our name out.”
He also connects with his customers by riding with them. Lorenz capitalizes on his OEM’s snow check program for new snowmobiles: Anyone who pre-books a unit in the spring receives a free, sponsored sledding trip in the fall.
“[One time] we took them to the Rocky Mountains and went sledding for three days. You’re not selling to them, you’re just riding. You’re drinking together at night,” Lorenz said. “The response from that has been positive in both unit sales and customer loyalty. These guys are sitting in the local pub with their buddies talking about it. It sure works.”
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
It doesn’t seem to be the conventional wisdom, but given Rec-Tech’s size and the dearth of other competitive brands in the area, Lorenz says he has good relationships with his surrounding BRP dealers. Given the OEM’s strong hold on the market, the other brands don’t seem to matter much.
“Probably the best thing I’ve done for the store is keeping a working relationship with the other BRP dealers,” he said. “When we have a customer working us back and forth, it’s no problem when the customer’s sitting there to call the other dealer and say, ‘Hey, what did you quote this guy?’ Once the customers know that these guys are friends and they’re not going to slit each other’s throat, that’s huge.” (Continued)