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Powersports Business Blog Do today's motorcycles provide an opportunity to sell more extended warranties?

Powersports Business Blog
Do today's motorcycles provide an opportunity to sell more extended warranties?

July 2012

Stop and consider how much new technology is appearing on today's motorcycles. You know all about ABS brakes, maybe you have even ridden a motorcycle with traction control, but what about bikes with electronic suspension adjustment or a computer screen instead of separate instruments? Or ride by wire, or electronic quick-shift, or a plug-in GPS module to data-log laps around a racetrack? There are motorcycles for sale right now that offer all of that technology, and if the bikes you and your customers are riding today don't offer it, the bikes bought tomorrow will have it and more.

Regardless of whether or not we like all this new motorcycle technology, it is already here, and maybe we can use it to our advantage. Ask your techs how their work changes when repairing these high-tech bikes. They will tell you about plugging the motorcycles into expensive machines that communicate directly from dealership to factory over the Internet. They will tell you about replacing whole components rather than repairing them.

In the end, maybe these high-tech bikes will prove to be bullet-proof, but meanwhile who wants to be the first to find out how much repairs cost when these bikes are no longer under warranty? Also, could uncertainty over future repairs hurt resale prices? Instead, some dealerships are seizing the opportunity to sell many more extended warranties (often officially “service contracts”) to remove any fear of today's high technology turning into tomorrow's high repair bills.

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Powersports Business Blog Who has it worse than rejected motorcycle salespeople?

Powersports Business Blog
Who has it worse than rejected motorcycle salespeople?

June 2012

We know that the typical motorcycle salesperson has to ask for the sale seven times to hear a customer say yes. What if there was a salesperson who had to ask for the sale 50 times to hear his first yes?

Meet Jose Jiminez, who for the past year has manned a Southwest Airlines cart in the Ontario, Calif., airport, encouraging travelers to signup for a Southwest Airlines Visa card. Jiminez is not only a salesperson, but is one who can't let rejection get in the way of having a good day. Every day he interacts with several hundred travelers to find eight or 10 willing to signup for a new Visa card. Fourty-nine travelers out of 50 reject his pitch.

Jiminez has clearly learned how to cope with all that rejection, and a powersports salesperson can learn three points from him:

1. It's a numbers game. If you accept going in that it will take multiple “asks” to hear a yes, it makes the rejection less personal and simply part of what's required to get a yes. Jiminez said, “You can't get disappointed when one person says no, because the next person may be the one who says yes.”

2. Stay upbeat and friendly. It shouldn't be the rest of the world's problem if you are personally having a bad day. Your prospects don't need to suffer too. Switch gears when you get to work. As Jiminez points out, upbeat and friendly is part of the job.

3. Don't pre-judge. Ask everyone for the sale. “The person who seems sure to say no will often surprise you and turn out to be the one who will say yes,” Jiminez said. The only way to find out is to ask.

Pass these tips along to your sales team to put rejection into the proper context, and when you are next in the Ontario airport flying on Southwest, stop by and say hello to Jose Jiminez.

» View PDF of Article (253.3 KB) PDF Document



American Marketing Association: Marketing News Exclusives Harley-Davidson Leads the Pack in Retail Experience

American Marketing Association: Marketing News Exclusives
Harley-Davidson Leads the Pack in Retail Experience

May 2012

According to Mike Kennedy, vice president of North American sales for Harley-Davidson, their 2012 first place ranking for Pied Piper PSI comes after a year of focus on improving the sales process factors measured by Pied Piper PSI.

Q: How do you ensure that all of your retail locations around the world have a coherent branded experience and stay at the top of the game?

A: We're currently focused on a journey to elevate the customer experience. … We're on a multiyear strategy, which is called ‘Retail 20/20' and it's all about delivering a personalized, compelling, premium and truly custom experience to every customer, every day, everywhere and our dealers, of course, are central to delivering that experience. Our philosophy, specifically for Retail 20/20, is to be customer-led, meaning to truly understand customer motivations and barriers—and, ultimately, planning and developing and designing products and experiences with not only customer wants and needs in mind, but their input as well. …

We have over 100 of what we call field representatives that represent the sales area, they represent the marketing area, they represent the financial insurance area, as well as the service area, and they routinely call on those dealerships and coach and council and share best practices. … And over the last year or so, the sales side of that team has been focused on what we call selling factors … things like, Did the salesperson give you a compelling reason to buy or did the sales person offer you a test ride? Did the salesperson use good visuals in the sales presentation? Did they ask you for your name? Those basic elements, and the team has been definitely focused on those elements in coaching and driving the plans with the dealers.

» View PDF of Article (62.7 KB) PDF Document



Motorcycle & Powersports News Pied Piper Releases 2012 Prospect Satisfaction Index

Motorcycle & Powersports News
Pied Piper Releases 2012 Prospect Satisfaction Index

May 2012

Harley-Davidson dealerships returned to the top ranking in the newly released 2012 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study, which measured dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers. Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.

BMW and Ducati finished in a tie for second, followed by Triumph and the Victory and Indian brands from Polaris Industries, in a three-way tie for fourth. Industry-wide performance improved substantially from 2011 to 2012, with only three of sixteen motorcycle brands failing to achieve higher scores.

Harley-Davidson dealerships led all brands in 16 different sales activities such as offering test rides, obtaining contact information and asking for the sale. Brand performance varied considerably from brand to brand, with twelve different brands leading at least one sales process category. For example, Ducati, Husqvarna and Triumph dealerships were twice as likely to offer a brochure to shoppers than dealerships selling Suzuki, Honda or Kawasaki. Similarly, Harley-Davidson, BMW and Ducati dealerships were twice as likely to ask for contact information than dealerships selling Husqvarna, MV Augusta or Moto Guzzi.

» View PDF of Article (129.1 KB) PDF Document



Powersports Business Blog Harley dealers boast effective selling; what about other brands' dealers?

Powersports Business Blog
Harley dealers boast effective selling; what about other brands' dealers?

May 2012

2012 Pied Piper PSI results for the U.S. motorcycle industry confirm that Harley-Davidson dealerships sell as effectively in 2012 as they did back in 2008 — pre-recession — when motorcycle dealerships nationwide were still enjoying another year of solid sales. But what about the dealerships that sell Honda, Triumph, Kawasaki, or any of the other brands? Many of these dealerships operate in 2012 with half the dealership staff that they had in 2008. How effectively could they possibly sell today compared to 2008?

It took the Harley-Davidson dealerships four years for their Pied Piper PSI score measuring sales effectiveness to climb back up to their 2008 level; a performance that in 2012 leads the industry. In contrast, while the 2012 PSI averages for all other brands trail Harley-Davidson, the improvement for all other brands from 2008 to 2012 is much greater.

That's right, despite of — or maybe because of — the tough times and smaller dealership staffs, dealerships selling the non-Harley-Davidson brands on average sell more effectively in 2012 than they did in 2008. Leading the way, with the most improvement, are the dealer networks selling Husqvarna, Triumph, Aprilia, Yamaha, KTM, Moto Guzzi and Honda.

Some examples? The typical Honda salesperson in 2012 introduced him or herself to a prospect 78 percent of the time and asked for the sale 52 percent of the time. Yes, there is plenty more room for improvement, but in 2008 those figures were 59 percent and 44 percent respectively.

So take a moment to congratulate yourselves on improving how motorcycles are sold at your dealership. … Now back to work pushing those improvements even further.

» View PDF of Article (238.3 KB) PDF Document



Dealernews Which dealers sell best? Harley, Ducati and BMW, say mystery shoppers

Dealernews
Which dealers sell best? Harley, Ducati and BMW, say mystery shoppers

May 2012

Harley-Davidson dealers return to the top ranking in Pied Piper Management Co.'s annual study measuring how well dealers treat motorcycle shoppers.

The California-based research company today released results of the 2012 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study.

BMW and Ducati finished in a tie for second, followed by Triumph, Victory and Indian in a three-way tie for fourth. Industry-wide performance improved substantially from 2011 to 2012, with only three of 16 motorcycle brands failing to achieve higher scores.

Harley dealerships led all brands in 16 different sales activities such as offering test rides, obtaining contact information and asking for the sale. Brand performance varied considerably from brand to brand, with 12 different brands leading at least one sales process category. For example, Ducati, Husqvarna and Triumph dealerships were twice as likely to offer a brochure to shoppers than dealerships selling Suzuki, Honda or Kawasaki. Similarly, Harley-Davidson, BMW and Ducati dealerships were twice as likely to ask for contact information than dealerships selling Husqvarna, MV Agusta or Moto Guzzi.

» View PDF of Article (438.6 KB) PDF Document



Press Release: Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Dealers Ranked Highest by 2012 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) Industry benchmarking study shows widespread improvement in dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers

Press Release: Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Dealers Ranked Highest by 2012 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R)
Industry benchmarking study shows widespread improvement in dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers

May 2012

Monterey, California – May 7, 2012 – Harley-Davidson dealerships returned to the top ranking in the newly released 2012 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study, which measured dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers. Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.

BMW and Ducati finished in a tie for second, followed by Triumph and the Victory and Indian brands from Polaris Industries, in a three-way tie for fourth. Industry-wide performance improved substantially from 2011 to 2012, with only three of sixteen motorcycle brands failing to achieve higher scores.

» View PDF of Article (172.7 KB) PDF Document



Powersports Business Blog As dealer principal, do you act like a CEO or a janitor?

Powersports Business Blog
As dealer principal, do you act like a CEO or a janitor?

January 2012

Back in 1985, I scraped together every last cent to buy a Kawasaki Ninja 600R from a dealer in Pennsylvania, Bill Peacock. I still remember Bill's business card to this day because below his name he had chosen for a title, “Owner, Janitor.” His point was that his dealership was a small, friendly, hands-on family business.

One of the sales process steps our company measures today is whether a sales customer is introduced to dealership management before leaving the store. For the motorcycle industry, this step is uncommon; happening less than 10 percent of the time when motorcycle sales customers visit dealerships nationwide.

» View PDF of Article (363.5 KB) PDF Document



Powersports Business Blog Are the motorcycle brands you sell really just commodities?

Powersports Business Blog
Are the motorcycle brands you sell really just commodities?

December 2011

Wandering around this year's Long Beach motorcycle show, I was struck by how dramatically the U.S. motorcycle market has changed — and is still changing. Remember when the four Japanese brands and Harley-Davidson seemed responsible for 95 percent of what was happening, and niche brands like BMW, Ducati, Victory and Triumph were really just curiosities? Today the four Japanese brands and Harley-Davidson are still heavy-hitters, but the brands that used to be curiosities have come on strong with no end in sight for their growth.

Maybe it goes back to that word, “brand.” I've personally been a very good retail motorcycle customer over the years, and I can remember buying sport bikes because of their horsepower, their weight and their handling prowess. I didn't buy those bikes because of the manufacturer who happened to sell them. The danger of course — for that manufacturer or the dealer — is that being the best commodity is a title that is fleeting. If the purchase is strictly based upon the physical product, what happens when the next “best” product is sold by someone else?

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Powersports Business Blog Is your dealership closed when customers want to buy?

Powersports Business Blog
Is your dealership closed when customers want to buy?

October 2011

Earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law allowing Sunday motorcycle sales. While pushing for the change in law, New Jersey motorcycle dealerships observed that many of their customers had been crossing over the state line into Delaware to shop on Sundays. How many motorcycle dealerships nationwide are open on Sundays? For that matter, how many have extended hours on Saturdays, instead of closing early to allow dealership employees to head-off early to enjoy the weekend?

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