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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?

» View PDF of Article (371.6 KB) PDF Document



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?

» View PDF of Article (277.5 KB) PDF Document



Powersports Business Blog Lack of floor traffic sinking your dealership?

Powersports Business Blog
Lack of floor traffic sinking your dealership?

September 2011

Too many hard-working motorcycle dealerships today are holding on for survival, trying to grind out a living relying on the same number of customer “ups” in a week that they used to see on any given day. First of all, yes, you are in good company; there are plenty of other dealerships in exactly the same predicament; and yes, most would agree that you and your team didn't cause the downturn. On the other hand, you and your team are the ones who can change behaviors to drive success at your dealership right now.

Let's focus on sustainable ways to drive more floor traffic. Note that I said, “sustainable,” since a one-time, budget-busting advertising blitz is probably not the long-term answer. Here are three free or inexpensive solutions that are sustainable:

» View PDF of Article (429.2 KB) PDF Document



Powersports Business Blog Do your salespeople ask for the sale every time?

Powersports Business Blog
Do your salespeople ask for the sale every time?

August 2011

Probably not. We know that asking for the sale is an obvious key to selling motorcycles, but we also know that on average, U.S. motorcycle salespeople ask for the sale less than half the time (48 percent to be exact). Given that asking for the sale directly sells more motorcycles, why do so many salespeople resist?

Two reasons: First of all because we humans dislike rejection as much as we dislike anything. Salespeople must understand and overcome the natural tendency to avoid asking for the sale just because they believe the answer will be “no.” Ask anyway. The math says that a salesperson will have to ask for the sale to six or seven customers before one will buy. Also, only by asking for the sale will a salesperson discover — and be able to overcome — a customer's objections or obstacles to purchase. Secondly, your salespeople may be worried about coming off as too pushy. Encourage them to worry less. We know that on average. motorcycle salespeople “over-sell” less than 5 percent of the time; compared to “under-selling” 25 percent of the time.

» View PDF of Article (344.8 KB) PDF Document



Powersports Business Don't talk your customers out of buying

Powersports Business
Don't talk your customers out of buying

July 2011

If your salespeople are having trouble turning shoppers into buyers, find out if the salespeople are talking customers out of buying. No salesperson would turn away customers on purpose, but by skipping the “fact-finding” step of the sales process, a salesperson may end up making customers less likely to buy.

What attracted the customer to your dealership, and why are they interested in that particular motorcycle? Armed with an answer to those questions (as well as some other probing questions, too, hopefully) the salesperson can tailor his or her customer interaction to help build trust and value and help confirm and support the idea the customer already has: to buy a motorcycle.

» View PDF of Article (330 KB) PDF Document



Powersports Business Does your facility really make any difference to sales success?

Powersports Business
Does your facility really make any difference to sales success?

June 2011

The best sales team selling out of a tent will run rings around an unskilled sales team at a beautiful dealership. Dealers quickly learn that skilled and trained employees are the most important ingredient for a successful dealership operation. But what about the facility? How much of a difference does a facility make to sales success?

» View PDF of Article (376.9 KB) PDF Document