'You go where you look': Rodgers on passion, competency and perseverance

Publish Date: 
Aug 22, 2014
By Marilyn Stemp

Mark Rodgers started at Hannum’s Harley-Davidson near Philadelphia, Pa., before moving to The Motor Co. in 1990. In 1998, he and his wife, Amy, started their consulting practice. They focus on sales and persuasion, the latter of which is the subject of Rodgers’ forthcoming second book, “The Persuasion Equation.”

Contributor Marilyn Stemp talked with Rodgers on the condition of sales at the retail level and what must be done to “sell more, faster.”

Dealernews: In your book “Accelerate the Sale,” you talk about inimitable marketplace superiority. What does that mean?

Rodgers: It means that you have to create, develop and articulate why customers should do business with you as opposed to anyone else. Jerry Garcia said it best, and I’m paraphrasing here: “It’s not enough to be good at what you do. You have to be seen as the only one who does what you do.” That’s inimitable marketplace superiority.

How do you do that?

Rodgers: At the Dealer Expo National Retail Conference this December in Chicago, we’ll talk about creating your inimitable marketplace, we’ll talk about jaw-dropping ways to engage customers fast, and we’ll talk about how to capitalize on “moments of power” in sales exchanges. We’ll also give keys so dealers can create what I call “perpetual yes.”

How is selling motorcycles different from selling other commodities?

Rodgers: Well, I don’t like to think of motorcycles as commodities like copper, coffee or pork bellies. But if you’re asking me to compare it to other tangible items, there are differences.

First, there are utilitarian uses, such as for a rancher who is buying a side-by-side to check fences. But if the item is a luxury or recreational item like a personal watercraft or a Softail motorcycle, that’s a different set of triggers.

When I buy a side-by-side, I’m buying a reliable way to work. That’s pragmatic. When I buy a PWC, I’m buying fun times with the kids at the lake. That’s emotional.

With intangible items, like insurance, it’s a whole new ball game. To sell things like F&I, a person needs a skillset known as instantiation. This means the ability to describe something abstract as concrete. Not everyone has this ability.