Posts Tagged ‘dealership’

Stopping Internet-Phone Use In Your Dealership

March 4, 2010

Or Can You Make That Phone Habit Work For You?
Some Retailers Have. Here’s The Story.

It was the second day of a 20 Group meeting and the discussion turned to employee cell phone use. It was one of the hottest topics of the weekend.

“How can I stop my employees from spending so much time on their cell phones during working hours?” one asked. “They’re on the Internet all the time.” The question struck a nerve, and the discussion was off an running.

The consensus: Internet phone use in dealerships is out of control and there doesn’t seem to be any easy way to stop it. But do we really want to stop it? Using that ingrained habit has proved profitable for some retail operations like yours.

(more…)

Advertisements

Malcolm Smith’s Stamp of Approval: The Malcolm Test

January 12, 2010

File this one under the Things We Like category. Seems that motorcycling legend, Top 100 Dealer Grand Prize winner and all-around super nice guy Malcolm Smith has started up a new blog over at his dealership’s website. It’s called The Malcolm Test and in it Malcolm puts his considerable knowledge to use testing, reviewing and showcasing the products that he sells at his Riverside, Calif. store, Malcolm Smith Motorsports

Here’s some wordage from the blog:

I created this blog to test and showcase products that standout to me in some way. I appreciate products that demonstrate unique design, quality craftsmanship, and superior functionality.

Looks like he started it at the first of 2010 and thus far he has reviews up for the Gaerne GX-1 boot and the Motion Pro Tri-Drive Mini-T Handle. And Malcolm’s a smart cookie in addition to being a good dude — at the end of each review he includes a buy-it-now link to the e-commerce portion of his store’s site. Nice stuff and a great way for Malcolm to capitalize on his well-deserved notoriety. This is an idea that might be worth replicating in some way, shape or form.

On a side note, at last year’s Dealer Expo, we (myself, Arlo Redwine and former editor Guido Ebert) had a chance to sit down to dinner with Malcolm, his wife, Joyce, son, Alexander, daughter, Ashley, the filmmaker Bruce Brown and some of the crew from the store (sorry for forgetting your names everybody, it was the wine!). We had a nice night in a private room at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse where we got to scarf down some delicious food, drink some fantastic wine and simply enjoy everybody’s company. That may go down as one of the most memorable “business” dinners I’ve ever been a part of as Malcolm, Joyce and the rest of the gang were perfect company.

 With that said, here’s another bit from Malcolm’s blog — his impressive stats:

– Six-time Baja 1000 Winner
– Four-time Baja 500 Winner
– Two-time Roof of Africa Rallye Winner
– Eight-time Six Days Enduro Gold Medal Winner
– Star of On Any Sunday
– Owner of Malcolm Smith Motorsports
– Industry Leader
– Philanthropist
– Family Man
– Still Winning and Grinning!

Reaching Powersports Customers with Social Networking

January 4, 2010

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews December 2009 issue.

Happy New Year, all. We’ve made it through 2009 and the mad rush of the holiday shopping season and are now edging our way toward Dealer Expo and the great unknown of 2010.

I spent a lot of time online over the holidays (possibly too much) frequenting the social networking site Facebook, obsessively checking my e-mails, perusing various dealer and other industry-related websites. Along with figuring out that I need to get out more, I noticed that a lot more dealerships are embracing the online world.

Facebook pages. E-mail newsletters. E-commerce sites. Websites that are more than a store’s cyber-billboards. It seems that many more powersports retailers are starting to grasp the possibilities of the online world — but not all just yet. In fact, it’s going to be a long slog up the learning curve for the bulk of dealers. But the small empirical slice I saw looked promising.

Why is this so exciting for me? For one, I’m in a demographic that straddles the divide between the digital natives who have grown up surrounded by and regularly using technology and those whose VCR clocks (those who still have VCRs) will forever be flashing 12:00. I’m (more…)

Suzuki’s Mueller Moves to Glenn Roller

May 19, 2009

Hey, Suzuki dealers, been waiting to hear from Bob Mueller? Mueller was – until recently – sales development manager for American Suzuki Motor Corp. The key word here is “was,” as Mueller was caught up in Suzuki’s recent employee downsizing scheme.

But Mueller isn’t finished with the motorcycle industry. In fact, you can now find him working with Glenn Roller at the Glenn Roller Institute. You may recall The Educational Program, Roller’s comprehensive sales training program, offered through Suzuki, that promises to take any salesperson – if they are willing to study and learn – from a basic to a highly advanced level of sales competency.

The Educational Program takes the salesperson to a higher level of understanding of the sales process and teaches a sales system that raises sales efficiency (average amount of time and effort it takes to close sales). This system is so efficient that within seven minutes one can establish customer trust, discover what is most important to them and determine their financial parameters. These levels of understanding are incredibly successful because they are simple and can be applied with any personality style. This program includes a 400 page sales book, a 12 CD audio book, 190 que cards for practicing your lines, on-line exercises, and on-line results reporting to management.

I’m currently taking The Educational Program training course, a process taking four to six weeks to complete at 30 minutes a day. I’ll let you know when I’m done.

SBA Expands Loan Eligibility

May 3, 2009

Company’s Net Worth Less than $8.5 million? You May Qualify
More than 70,000 Additional Businesses May Be Eligible

Powersports dealers and manufacturers may have a new friend in the finance business, based upon word from the Small Business Administration Friday.

The SBA says it’s expanding the criteria for small businesses that may qualify for its largest lending program. The SBA’s announcement specifically notes that more than 70,000 additional firms—including auto and RV dealerships and suppliers— could be eligible as a result of the changes.

Automotive News has reported on its website that the program includes loans up to $2 million.

(more…)

Malcolm’s Protest Sale Gets Nationwide Attention

March 19, 2009

Interesting to note that it was USA Today that picked up Malcolm Smith’s protest sale of youth (12 and under) ATVs and dirtbikes. I’ve yet to see much (if any) coverage in the LA Times. Not sure about the Press Enterprise, Smith’s local paper, but I couldn’t find anything via Google.

I don’t know why this wouldn’t get more play in the local press given motorcycling — in all forms — is a huge part of the Southern Californiapicture-11 culture and economy. I know one place  you’ll get just about ALL THE COVERAGE you can stomach in regards to the lead content regulation effect on the powersports industry. That’s over here at Dealernews.com.

Here’s  the first paragraph of the story and a clicky to the full USA Today piece.

LOS ANGELES — Angry with a nationwide ban on sales of youth motorcycles and ATVs over lead concerns, one of the biggest dealers in Southern California plans to sell the child-size vehicles today despite potential criminal penalties.

Beemer Shop Owner Tells It Like It Is

March 12, 2009

The other night on The Story, a radio program that runs on one of our local NPR stations the host interviewed Ted Porter, the owner of Ted Porter’s BeemerShop. It’s an independent BMW shop up near Santa Cruz, Calif.

The show itself is simply long-form interviews with (mostly) ordinary people whose livesbeemer intersect with current issues. With Porter, the obvious hook was the economy and its effect on the motorcycle industry. During the interview with host Dick Gordon, Porter talked about his business and laid out one of the most compelling descriptions of running a motorcycle business that I’ve ever heard.

Porter’s tale was like a primer on doing EVERYTHING right, an approach that he said centered around that Business 101 basic — customer service. He explained in great detail why he ties the success of livelihood to this simple business concept (which doesn’t seem so simple for some shops). He also gave a ground level view of just how scary it is to be a small-business owner right now. Here’s a snippet from The Story’s website:

Ted Porter runs a motorcycle repair shop in California. He used to be a tinkerer. He fixed bikes on the weekends and worked a day job. But when his “hobby” grew a waiting list, he took the plunge and opened his own shop. These days, though motorcycle dealerships in his area have gone under, Ted’s business is thriving. He tells Dick Gordon about the one business decision he made that was crucial to his success in this wavering economy: staying true to the ideals of customer service he learned from his dad.

I highly recommend giving this interview a listen. It’s available as a podcast by going here or by looking it up on iTunes (search American Public Media: The Story).

It’s Black Tuesday. Some Kid’s ATVs, Bikes Banned

February 10, 2009

CPSC Staff Considers Issue.

Grassroots Lobbying Effort Begins in Missouri.

Effective today, retailers in the U.S. cannot sell products designed for children under the age of 12 that do not meet the limits for lead content, lead paint and phthalate, a chemical sometimes used to increase the flexibility of plastic parts.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) applies to used, current and non-current ATVs, motorcycles, and snowmobiles and related products such as collectibles, apparel, parts and accessories.

The penalties for violation are stiff: up to $100,000 per violation and up to $15 million for repeated violations.

The law affects some 13,000 franchised and non-franchised dealers, as well as OEMs, aftermarket manufacturers, distributors, and numbers of other businesses involved with children’s off-road machines, such as racetracks and race promoters. It applies to anyone involved in the so-called “stream of (more…)

Do You Want To Sell Your Dealership?

February 9, 2009

Groups Plan To Purchase Up To 40 Dealerships in 2009

If you’re considering the sale of your dealership, your chances of success might be improving. It looks like there is new money coming into the market with an eye to rolling up dealerships into operating groups

Long-time industry pro, Bill Shenk, is the point man for three groups, and his PowerHouse Dealer Services company has been retained to find and evaluate acquisition opportunities for these buyers.

The three buyers plan to purchase collectively up to 30 metric motorcycle

Bill Shenk

Bill Shenk

dealers and 10 Harley-Davidson dealerships in 2009 with more acquisitions planned for 2010, Shenk told me. The three groups did over $100 million in retail powersports business in 2008, he said.

Shenk wouldn’t tell me the names of the three groups or the money behind the groups. He did tell me that all three groups “are very liquid,” already have “successful OEM/powersports relations and operations,” so they can purchase and close on deals quickly.

The buyers, Shenk said, are prepared to acquire the dealership businesses and their real estate, providing a nice opportunity for owners to cash out of the business completely.

It’s easy for interested dealers to participate, Shenk says. “There are no listing frees, marketing fees, selling fees or other requirements or constraints placed on potential sellers,” he told me, “other than the standard confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements at the time of discussions.”

While the buyers will look at individual dealerships and groups, Shenk said they are limiting their purchases to businesses that have at least one of these franchises: Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. Dealerships can carry other franchises, but they most have one of these five major lines to be considered, Shenk emphasized. (more…)

Crimebusters! Florida Dealer YouTubes to Catch Cretins

February 4, 2009

Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing?

The owners of Pompano Pat’s Motorcycles in Daytona Beach are hoping that a surveillance video they posted on YouTube will help catch the two cretins who broke into the dealership and stole two scooters and two dirtbikes.

And when I write that they broke in, I actually meant that they BACKED A TRUCK THROUGH TWO GLASS DOORS. Not exactly your classic smash-and-grab.

Take a look here:

And here is surveillance footage of the two thieves casing the joint earlier in the day: