He also uses this relationship for sales referrals. Say a customer calls in and Lorenz or his staff qualifies him as a prospect, but he’s out of their territory. They’ll get that person in touch with the dealer in his area. This not only helps the dealer, but the customer gets a local store for after-sales support, service and that special something that comes with having “your local shop.” This tends to win the customer’s respect because it’s not the dollar that’s most important, it’s that the dealership wants what’s best for the customer, Lorenz noted.
Having a relationship with “the dealer down the way” also works well when it comes time to order new units. A quick check to see what’s still on the market means they can move or sell needed units until the stock is sold down.
He’s even gone into an OEM booking with three other dealers, saying they’d be doing the bookings together so they can manage their own inventory. The OEM didn’t appreciate this move, but Lorenz said it worked, “so we know what’s in the system and who’s got what.”
This way, they’re not sitting on top of non-currents that will drive down the price of the other dealers’ inventory. They also know what everybody is charging for freight and PDI.
Keeping in close contact with customers means providing them a trusted place to bring their vehicles for service and support. Given that Lorenz got his start in a shop on his dad’s farm, service is still a big part of profitability.
The bread-and-butter of his compact Service area is repairs, maintenance and factory work. They used to do a lot of high-performance work, but it started to become a hassle to bill out the time needed to do hop-up work correctly. They still complete some bolt-on work like pipes, chips and air filters.
There’s a test track on the premises so techs can take the machines out for spin. And about this time of year, Rec-Tech’s lot is going to be packed with watercraft coming in for winterization. The main focus is to get customers out rolling or sledding as quickly as possible, no matter the make of the machine.
“We try to keep all the fast-moving consumables in stock for all the major brands we work on, not just BRP and ATVs or side-by-sides,” Lorenz said. “Lots of our customers are running Hondas, Polaris and Kawasaki, so we try to be the place where they can stop in and pick up brakes, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, oil filters, and this gives our Service department a quick turnaround because they have the stuff there. Everything’s here so they’re not waiting.”
Service personnel are expected to take all available OEM training, online and in-person. Perks are given to techs who maintain certification for each product line BRP offers. After three months, techs are given a $50 per month tool allowance.
Overall, Lorenz commented that his store isn’t much to look at compared to some of the “cathedrals” he said he sees in the pages of Dealernews, and sure, he wishes it were bigger, but it gets the job done for now. A larger building that doubles the square footage is in the planning phase; until then, space will be a limiting factor.
And that’s where the rules of efficiency and minimalism come into play. Keep it tidy. Organize your workspace. Bide your time.
“I’d like to, if things keep rolling like this and we don’t have any major disasters, build a new shop here in two years. Just so we’ve got some room,” Lorenz said. “We need more people but we don’t have any place to put them.”
Dealer images by Arto Photography.