Worth Harley-Davidson is high on HOGS

Publish Date: 
May 23, 2013
By Joe Delmont

IN 2012, Worth Harley-Davidson sold 1,055 new motorcycles and 378 used bikes, making it the top-selling Harley dealer in the United States. And Rick Worth’s team did it in a market of about 1.75 million and with lots of competition in the area — five Harley dealerships within a 30-mile radius (or a 30-minute drive).

“If you’re in the right spot, you’re within 15 minutes of three dealers,” Worth says. “That means we’re all fighting for the same greater Kansas City market.”

How do they do it?

Worth H-D sits on seven acres overlooking Interstate 29. From there it’s only a five-minute bike ride across the river to get from Missouri to Kansas. That’s important to understand, because Missouri’s blue laws prohibit the sale of motorcycles on Sunday and Worth has one Kansas competitor who can sell seven days a week.

“It’s tough,” Worth says, “because customers don’t understand. In Missouri, you can sell anything on Sunday — beer, whiskey — except titled vehicles. We’re open on Sundays but we can’t even talk about selling a motorcycle. We have to post signs in the store that say we can’t sell motorcycles on Sunday.”

So Worth Harley-Davidson is built for entertainment — the heart of the dealership’s marketing program. In fact, it may not be too far off to say that the “Worth entertainment complex” also sells motorcycles. The 10,000 sq. ft. outdoor Event Center in front of the dealership is equipped with music, lights and heaters that make the space enjoyable for 10 months of the year. But more about that later.

Images by Gary Rohman

The three-year-old store covers 51,000 sq. ft. It features a 20,000 sq. ft. showroom floor and another 9,000 devoted to service. It also has a 10,000 sq. ft. new bike warehouse adjacent to the main showroom; the two areas are separated only by glass garage doors. This setup enables Worth to keep most of his bike inventory on display.

“My [sales] philosophy,” he says, “is that it is very difficult to sell a hat out of a box, and it’s almost impossible to sell a Harley that way.”

Worth has 117 employees, and one of them does nothing except arrange and clean bikes.

Four factors helped boost Worth H-D from the run-of-the-mill store it was seven years ago to the national sales leader it is today: setting systems and processes, hiring and training, building traffic through events, and obtaining inventory to build its allocation.

Worth has a very structured sales process, monitored closely by several sales managers who watch the floor at all times. “Sales representatives have a set script that they follow,” Worth says, “and there is no deviating from it. That’s an important part of our process.” (Continued)