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How to Make Your Dealership a World-Class Retailer

Picture this scene: An excited customer has been talking to your sales professionals, test riding motorcycles and finally makes the decision. Numbers are discussed, information is shared and a credit application is submitted.

The customer is invited to have a seat in the customer lounge, enjoy a cup of questionable coffee and spend a little time watching ESPN. It’s during this period when something strange happens to the time-space continuum.

Your salesperson is now pacing back and forth in front of the business manager’s office like a caged panther. The sales manager is contemptuously staring at the business manager as if he took the last donut. Moments seem like hours.

And the customer’s experience – the only perspective that matters here – has gone from “Yay! This is fun!” to “What’s happening? Why is this taking so long?”

What if you were to create a “Motorcycle Orientation Experience” for this part of the process?

Imagine This

You place custom-colored garage tiles on the floor of the waiting area and add chrome polished posts with velvet rope stanchions to set off and highlight the space. While you await the final financing decision, roll the customer’s new bike into this spot and have a talented staff member from the service department meet with the buyer to go over the following: 

  • Review the motorcycle’s basic operating controls and procedures: “The first thing you should always do before operating is walk around the bike and give it a good visual inspection … ”
  • Show any special features of that specific model: “These are ‘one-touch’ bags; here’s how they work …”
  • Offer breaking-in advice: “You should consciously vary your RPMs, enabling your valves and piston rings to set …”
  • Remind the buyer about the importance of regular maintenance using the owner’s manual: “Here’s the first scheduled service and what we do …”
  • Highlight your service department’s strengths: “And here you know your work will be done right. We have over 127 years of experience in our service department …”

Your service person also should weave in signature stories of customers who have been helped by a such services as an extended service plan, appearance protection and theft protection: “I don’t know if you know Corey Williamson, but he’s a long-time customer and a long-distance rider. Last year he was headed to Sturgis when he shucked a main shaft third gear in his transmission. Fortunately, he had the extended coverage, got his tranny repaired and his expenses covered.”

Look at what this does from a world-class retailing perspective:

  • No wasted time in the process.
  • Customers are meaningfully engaged, and their condition is improved.
  • Your dealership’s experience is further imprinted on your customer.
  • You’ve got a chance to tout your service department’s benefits.
  • You’ve taken steps to increase this customer’s satisfaction – and your revenue — by raising awareness of important backend protection programs.

This is world-class retailing.

Now, of course, you must order the garage tiles and velvet rope stanchions, make a spot for them and get your service team on board. But, man — when you do, this idea can work wonders for both you and your customers.