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Performance and Profitability: Are You Ready for UTVs?

By Mark Mooney

 

Day in and day out, week after week, change is all around us. And one of the cool things about change is the growth that it can cause in both an individual and a business, if you’re ready for it. And therein lies the rub, being ready for it – and, more importantly, accepting of it.

Not all outdoor power equipment dealers are created equal, just like not all powersports dealerships are created equal. My powersports dealership carried outdoor lawn and garden products just like the many of you who have added UTVs for retail.

My lineage, my DNA, is from the powersports industry. The practices, procedures, the processes that I learned throughout the years and put in place in my own dealership evolved just like the products that we retailed and added over the years. When I added outdoor power equipment to the mix in my dealership, I was thinking “Why not?” Folks who ride motorcycles also mow their lawns, don’t ya think?

I was always looking for other products and retail opportunities that would grow my business, and give me other revenue streams. Can you imagine telling an OEM that you wanted to become a snowblower dealer when you’re a mile or so from the beach? I did. They laughed. And I laughed all the way to the bank as I sold a bunch of them throughout the years. Just because you live at the beach doesn’t mean you don’t have another home where it snows. Many of my clients did, and I took advantage of that.

I carried riding mowers and walk-behind mowers, blowers, trimmers, edgers and tillers. Yes, I had to educate my sales staff on zero turns, what hydrostatic meant, and how to properly present the products. We worked it, and we learned.

Approximately 40 percent of outdoor power equipment dealers now carry some line of UTVs. I’m pretty sure this percentage is going to grow as more of you add to the mix a segment of vehicles that, in the past, was not readily available to businesses such as yours. And here’s something else that will grow: recreational customers. Just like I understood that folks who rode motorcycles mow their lawns, don’t you think that perhaps some of your clients have a recreational side to them?

Everything evolves. The products we carry, our teams, our endeavors. And if you’re not evolving with the times, chances are you’re going to feel it in your bottom line at some point or another. If you stand still, folks, you will get run over in today’s business climate. And I can guarantee that you have competition out there that is not standing still – and they want your business.

Now think about this: If you’re adding different products – such as UTVs – to the mix, not all products are presented and sold in the same way. Sales processes that assist in retailing those products need implementation.

Sales processes should guide the sales encounter, not control it. You cannot script out the individuality of a person; we are who we are. Some folks say “hi,” some say “hello,” some say “howdy,” but they all accomplish the same thing – they greet. The same with sales processes – if you have someone trying to follow something word for word, or step by step, you’ll get uneven results.

It’s the actions in the processes that you want addressed during the sales encounter. Here are some ideas and thoughts to help you all put together a sales process.

People will do business with people they like and trust. Take the time to find out something about the person to whom you’re speaking in the beginning, not at the end. If you care about them, they’ll care about you. Be sincere in your desire to know. Folks know if someone is being sincere or not. Find common interests: community, sports, family, neighborhood, hobbies, passions. Building friendships generally begins with common likes or beliefs.

Mention the advantages of doing business with you. Don’t surmise that customers know what you’re all about, or how well you do things. Tell them what sets your business apart from others.

To begin with, dealers who provide compelling reasons to buy from their dealership at least 70 percent of the time are a plus-15 percent retails over dealers who don’t.

Always use the client’s name when addressing him or her. Build trust and rapport from the outset. Investigate the needs of your customer. You need to know before you show. Questions you should ask include:

  • Who is the UTV for? What would you/they like in a UTV? What suits your/their needs?
  • How did you hear about us? Were you referred? If so, by whom?
  • What do you ride? Who do you ride with, and where?
  • Is there a budget, trade in, factors influencing purchase time?
  • What are you considering (specifics into why they are looking at models, brands)?
  • What online sites have you visited for your research?
  • Do you follow us on Facebook?
  • Have you visited our website for information?
  • Was your online research a determining factor for coming in?

 

Be consistent in your presentation each time, every time. Part-time presentations are like part-time employees. They only work part of the time.

  • Explain warranty, warranty enhancements (extended warranty plans, coverage, etc.) to protect their investment.
  • Involve the customer in the presentation. Listen!
  • Have clients sit in the vehicle. Showcase its features and benefits. Ask how they like the looks, and distinguish it from other brands.
  • Offer, explain financing options, mention and show available accessories.
  • Give compelling reasons to buy at your dealership (what sets you apart).
  • Reasons to buy now. Ask for the sale.

Most salespeople are asking for the sale less than 30 percent of the time. Dealers who ask for the sale at least 70 percent of the time are a plus-34 percent retails over dealers that don’t. Ask and you’ll receive; don’t, and you won’t.

It will always come down to this, take control of the sale and do the basics. You can’t sell standing up, so invite your client to sit down with you. Show and offer compelling reasons to buy from you, and the reasons to buy now.

Show them numbers. If the final figures are agreeable, ask them if is this the unit they would like to own and take delivery of today? Ask for the sale, write it up, and close the deal. Explain all the financing options that are available, get a credit application and deposit. Don’t forget, if no sale is made the first time around, invite them back in.

Get contact information, and always follow up. Dealers who ask for contact information at least 75 percent of the time are a plus-20 percent retails over dealers who don’t. You can’t follow up with someone if you don’t know who they are! Make sure you’ve gotten contact information for follow-up.

The first follow-up call or e-mail should express gratitude. Thanking them for taking the time to come in shows you care. Tell them you’ll be staying in touch. During the second call, investigate further the timeframe for purchase. Reinforce what sets you apart from others, and that the dealership wants to earn their business. Thank them again, invite them back, and let them know that you’ll be staying in touch.

Use visuals – brochures and pictures – in your presentation, and remember: a picture is worth 1,000 words. When giving a business card ask for one in return (easy way to get contact information), and staple your business card to brochures (harder to lose), before the client leaves.

Offer a test ride if necessary, and if not now, schedule one for a future date. Dealers who offer test rides have a much higher closing rate than dealers who don’t.

Make the experience enjoyable for everyone, and, whatever you promise, whatever you say, back it up.

What products could you add to increase retails and revenue streams in your business? Worth considering don’t ya think? What’s the worst that could come of at least thinking about it? You either add new products, or you don’t, simple.

Chew on this: companies such as Caterpillar do not enter markets without being ready to enter them, or without the thought of financial gain for themselves and their dealer body. They’re in the UTV business for a reason. Are you ready as well?

 

Mark Mooney

Mark Mooney is a former dealer principal of a multi-line metric dealership with annual sales in excess of $10 million. He has partnered and works with many major OEMs to provide dealership consultation and sales training for their dealer bodies. He has delivered keynote speeches for OEMs, taught numerous classes on dealership management, trained sales teams throughout the United States, and improved bottom lines. For more information, visithttp://www.markmooneypowersportsconsulting.com

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