Each year, our most successful event is by far, our Midnight Madness Sale.
RTT always had the annual sale in order to make room for the winter stock of snowmobiles. This was the first year that we had a separate building for snowmobiles, but we held the 14th-annual sale anyway. Seventy-five percent of the inventory is priced at or below cost. Advertising would lead you to believe that the sale lasts for only one day, but we secretly extend the prices to those who don't want to wait in line to have a vehicle delivered on that busy day. Each year has been different, and weather really plays a role in how many customers arrive at the store.
This year, the threat of rain held us back, but only a little. Those who know about this event know it is really for the customer. This year. 41 vehicles were delivered and 33 were paid with a pickup date during the week, for a total of 74 vehicles. We have done slightly better in other years, but I think this was fabulous when considering the state of the economy. We kept the sale open for the following week and earned another 150+ sales. The gross sales for the month of August topped $2 million, but we are more concerned about the savings and the giveaways. We figured, for this particular sale, the savings and giveaways for that day plus the following week topped $350,000. Our return on the investment is in repeat business and referrals.
The event is for the customer. It is a true sale. We do not mark the inventory up just to give a rebate or cash back like many dealers do. We lost money on many of these vehicles to get the new customers and create the referrals. Some of these customers drive from Indiana, Missouri and Iowa, and they are waiting at the store two hours before we open. Others fly in from out of state. Many return year after year to see if they can instantly fall in love with another bike! It's really the best time to buy. Free food and drinks are served all day. We have balloons for the kids and friends show up in costume to support our Madness theme. This year, we wore shirts with a mad scientist on them and decorated the inside of the store with skeletons and bats. The outside of the store displays Tiki torches and Tiki god statues. We really go all-out for this event.
This year, we brought in a cash booth, where the customer stands inside while fake money flies around them. Customers could catch a bill in mid-air, but only one, so they had to go for the highest bill. Each denomination corresponded to a list of giveaway items from the store and vendors, plus gift certificates, etc. They could pick from the list that corresponded to their dollar value. We use this sale as an opportunity to give away store merchandise that hasn't moved all summer, plus other vendor merchandise.
This year, we gave away over $20,000 in gift certificates, oil changes/service work, helmets, jackets, tires, MLB tickets, armor, gloves, motorcycle covers, and more. This isn't counting the $1,500 in limited-edition t-shirts given to every customer, or the smaller items chosen by the winners (hats, cleaners, grips, etc.). We continue to give away items during the week to the remaining customers, but the day of the sale is the best day to get the swag. This year, the giveaway items for the entire week were worth a total of over $30,000. After it was all said and done, we found that we sold vehicles to 30 percent previous customers or referrals from previous customers, and we earned 70 percent new customers out of the 14th-annual Midnight Madness Sale.