Archive for the ‘Dealer Training’ Category

Customer Service Isn’t Dead

April 10, 2010

It’s Alive and Blossoming at Your Apple Store

It’s easy today to wring your hands and really despair over the state of customer service by America’s retailers. Plenty of examples of disinterested, couldn’t-care-less service practices pop up every day. But things aren’t as bad as they might seem. Actually, customer service is offered at a very high level in some places. Just visit your friendly Apple computer store and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s refreshing if you’re a consumer and educational if you’re a retailer.

First, a disclaimer: I’ve been an Apple guy since I bought my first computer 25 years ago. It was a MacIntosh SE, the third machine in the revolutionary MacIntosh line. I never regretted that purchase, nor have I regretted any of the many Apple purchases I’ve made since then. Today, I’m a dedicated iPhone user; in fact, I do almost as much work for Dealernews and its website on my phone as I do on my laptop.

Back to my point: Apple has two things going for it: It knows how to meet market needs and it knows how to take care of its customers. Let’s talk about customers.

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Modern Selling: Creating a Friend

November 3, 2009

By Guido Ebert

Research shows that the two main reasons consumers often dread visiting motorcycle and automobile dealerships are 1) the disrespect inherent in being ignored while on the showfloor, and 2) the way in which salespeople tend to descend upon them like hawks on a field mouse. Polar opposites, but equally harmful to the selling process.

I make it a habit of visiting the five local dealerships near my home in the Minneapolis area. While I’m greeted like a long-lost friend at three dealerships — Hitching Post Hopkins, Leo’s South and Scooterville — at the fourth dealership, I often spend 20 minutes walking the showfloor, milling around the Ducati, Triumph and KTM sections, without anyone speaking with me. At the fifth dealership I’m followed around like I’m a thief on the prowl, explained every vehicle or product I stop to take a look at, and never left to simply enjoy the practice of “browsing.”

Ignoring the customer has obvious drawbacks and has long been taught to be among the top reasons for losing a possible sale, but is attempting to capture and control the customer — considered a “must-do” in many sales textbooks — any better for the selling process?

Some sales trainers working in the industry now say selling shouldn’t be a matter of controlling the customer, but a matter of creating a fan of (more…)

Assurant Solutions To Drop 20 Group Business

May 27, 2009

Assurant Offers Gloomy Outlook For Powersports

Joe Delmont

Joe Delmont

Assurant Solutions, the company that purchased the Lemco 20-Group business several years ago, said today that it is getting out of the 20 group business. At the time, the Lemco 20 Group operation was the largest of its kind in the powersports industry with about 325 participating dealers. Assurant purchased the business from RideNow, a major powersports dealer organization, which had purchased it from founder Ed Lemco.

In a memo to clients today, Jimmy Atkinson, Assurant vice president, said the company plans to “transfer” Assurant’s 20 group business to long-time trainer Gart Sutton.

Sutton’s GSA Best Operators Clubs business will contact the 300 or so members of Assurant’s 20 groups, Atkinson said, to “ensure a smooth transition.”

It’s not clear from the memo what this transition involves for dealers.

The move to GSA is effective June 1, 2009.

GSA also is negotiating to purchase Assurant’s traffic log business, Atkinson said. This deal could close within 60 days, he said.

In a related move, Assurant will close the Denver office on Friday, May 29, Atkinson said. Denver had been the headquarters for the Lemco operation prior to Assurant’s acquisition of the business.

A Gloomy Forecast

In his memo, Atkinson presented a gloomy forecast for the powersports industry. Noting that unit sales this year are down more than 30%, he said that “thousands of dealers will close over the next year.”

Based upon the number of franchised dealers operating in 2008, that’s a closure rate of almost 30%, higher than anything I’ve heard previously.

Atkinson said its Insureco operations will close Aug. 1, 2009, and dealers will have up to 60 days to arrange for replacement services.

Assurant Solutions remains committed to its vehicle service contract business, Atkinson said, adding that the company expects to “participate” in the recovery of this industry.

Dealernews editors are in the process of contacting participating dealers, as well as representatives of GSA and Assurant for details on this important announcement. We’ll provide additional information as we obtain it on this blog and at dealernews.com. For additional details on this story, visit dealernews.comJD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com