At J&W Cycles in Washington, Mo., customers are given a wide range of options to provide feedback for the store. “Along with the manufacturer surveys, the sales department includes a survey with their thank-you letters in order to find out if their customers’ needs were met during their visit,” the dealership’s Top 100 application said. “With these two surveys, along with our testimonial page on our website and any questions or comments that are received through our social networking sites, we make sure to examine every positive and negative issue.” Both positive and negative comments serve as training points for the sales staff.
The No. 1 sales rule of Power- sports of Joplin? “Think how you expect to be treated when you enter a business, and then multiply it by 10,” the Joplin, Mo.-based store said in its Top 100 application. “That is how we expect our customers to be treated.”
The apparel department of Xtreme Machines in Millstone Township, N.J., features a fitting station with measuring tape and other supplies to properly fit customers. “Our staff custom fits Arai and Shoei helmets to our customers’ specific size and shape,” the application said. Alpinestars apparel and Leatt Braces are also personally fitted to each customer.
Bayside Harley-Davidson of Portsmouth, Va., employs a Fit Shop in its showroom for customers interested in testing out different accessories. “The Fit Shop includes a 2011 FLST Fat Boy with interchangeable seats, handlebars, and windshields to enable our Chrome Consultants to ensure fitment for any customer,” the store’s application said. “For example, specially designed Suspension Simulator Mats are used to help customers feel the difference of a lowered suspension on their motorcycle firsthand, and an adjustable windshield helps the customer determine the correct height for their needs.”
Ducati Newport Beach of Costa Mesa, Calif., offers free pickup and delivery within 25 miles of the store. The dealership also extends a pickup service to the city of Palm Springs, which is about 120 miles away. “We arranged with [Palm Springs’] local riding club a service shuttle to pick up and deliver bikes to our service department,” the Top 100 application said. “The club now refers to Ducati Newport Beach as ‘their dealership,’ even though several other dealers are geographically closer than us.”
Advantage Powersports of Kansas City, Mo., employs a 5-foot Rule: “This rule requires all associates to acknowledge, greet and assist every customer that comes within 5 feet of them,” the store’s application said. In addition, store associates are each given the authority to resolve any customer problem up to $100.
Champion Motorsports of Roswell, N.M., added a Parts Finder feature to its website this year, making it easier for customers to look up their own parts, and order from the Internet. “We also added Paypal as a payment option, which has increased Internet sales,” the store said in its Top 100 application.
Butte, Mont.’s TwoWheelz has catered to the recession by offering customers a layaway program. In most cases, customers can put a 25 percent down payment on merchandise, and are put on a 90-day payment plan.
Outer Banks Harley-Davidson of Elizabeth City, N.C., lays out as much information as possible on its website to make shopping easier. Customers have direct access to all of the store’s sister locations, event schedules, and photos, its new and used motorcycle inventories, and its Facebook and Twitter links. Also included on the site are current promotions, which are front and center on the home page, as well as a link to sign up for an e-newsletter.
Staff at Struthers Bros. in Des Moines, Iowa, mop the floor daily, as well as rearrange machines at least once a week. “Whether it’s just lining them up differently or moving them entirely across the showroom, we feel it’s important to maintain an ever-changing look,” the store’s Top 100 application said.
Killeen Power Sports in Texas decided to open its doors an extra day a week — Mondays, when many stores choose to close. This will give the store an additional two months of retail days annually, the Top 100 application outlined, and so far, staff can see the difference in sales in all departments.
There’s a reason why Shenandoah Harley-Davidson of Staunton, Va., sells two to three times as many Harleys into surrounding dealer territories than other stores. “We interact with everyone who enters our building,” the Top 100 application said. “If a staff member works in the showroom, they are required to strive to always work facing the front door — and of course, all counters are set up to do so.”
To amp up the camaraderie among team members, Seacoast Harley-Davidson of North Hampton, N.H., employs a weekly “E-Team” or “Entertainment Team,” a team responsible for dreaming up staff activities and other fun stuff. “Three people are chosen each week to get together and plan an activity for the rest of the employees at the dealership to participate in,” the store’s Top 100 application said. “Each team receives $50 a week to put their ideas into motion. One week, we had a team bring in hot apple cider and doughnuts for the staff on a Saturday. Another team organized a ‘pin the star on the tree’ around Christmastime, and the closest pin won the $50. It’s a way that we encourage everyone to be involved, and help make someone else’s day fun.”
When the AMA Supercross comes to Phoenix every January, you can bet Sierra Cycles will be there. The Sierra Vista, Ariz.-based store not only brings its staff, but also includes some of its customers in the experience. “Sierra Cycles purchased a section of tickets that we offered to our customers, and their families and friends as well,” the dealership’s Top 100 application said. “We ended up having to purchase more tickets, as they sold out quickly. We plan to make this an annual Sierra Cycles event.”
This story originally appeared in the Dealernews April 2011 issue.