Business Growth

Taking a Pulse on 2018

Glenice Wilder Vice President EFG Companies
Contributing Author:
Glenice Wilder
Vice President
EFG Companies

It’s August and we are in the dog days of summer. Most powersports dealers and enthusiasts are between peak spring and fall seasons. So, how is your year going? Are you meeting your mid-year goals? On track for year-end sales projections?

According to the 2018 Powersports Business Market Data Book survey, 58 percent of dealers polled expected new unit sales to rise 10 percent this year. This increase follows an increase in new unit sales in 2017.

However, the surprise for me was the conflicting data around the sale of pre-owned bikes.

  • 33 percent of responding dealers stated that their expectations were unchanged for used bike sales.
  • 27 percent of dealers expected used sales to grow less than 10 percent.
  • 14 percent of dealers expect used sales to increase more than 10 percent.

That’s a lot of numbers to digest but let’s step back and take a critical look. We all know that while bike OEMs have increased incentives for new unit sales, many of our potential customers simply cannot afford a new ride. A bright, shiny bike might bring them into your dealership, but their financial reality might require a more prudent approach.

Here’s a few more numbers to consider. This month, the Federal Reserve announced that inflation had jumped 2.9 percent – the largest increase in six years. The Fed also implemented the first of three interest rate hikes in the second quarter. Lastly, the price of gas has increased 24.3 percent in the past 12 months – impacting expendable spending and depleting tax cut benefits.

What should a powersports dealer do with all of this data? Our recommendation is to consider these details carefully when making every sale. Be very transparent about the true cost of each motorcycle. Explain the long-term costs of each bike – whether new or used. Discuss the sometimes hidden cost of keeping a bike on the road, and build in customer protection products to offset unexpected expenses.

Pressing Reset

If you’ve not met your mid-year goals, it’s not too late to make some headway. Looking to move some new unit inventory? Make sure your customers know what’s sitting in your dealership. Utilize digital tools including emails and social media to become top-of-mind with your customers. Maybe they’ve thought about buying a bike but are still in the research phase. Be a useful resource and move them closer to a sale.

Does your website accurately reflect your inventory – with a price calculator to make ownership more attainable? Is your team trained on how to follow up with customers over email? When was the last time you checked the spelling and grammar on those emails? Recent research from EFG of more than 1,400 consumers indicates the importance of having a well-developed digital platform:

  • 50 percent of customers check a dealer’s online customer reviews prior to considering them for a potential vehicle purchase.
  • 71 percent compare dealership website prices before deciding which dealership to visit.
  • 83 percent expect a response from the dealership within 24 hours of sending an online inquiry, and 16 percent want information immediately or within the hour.
  • 43 percent say the more information you can provide online, the more apt they are to visit the dealership.
  • 45 percent rank poor spelling, grammar and punctuation as a top three reason to eliminate a dealership from consideration.
  • Only 9 percent want a phone call from the dealership after they’ve submitted an online request.

Mid-year is the perfect time to review your goals, assess your sales to date, and make a plan for the remainder of the year. This includes taking a step back and evaluating all consumer touch points. With more than 40 years helping dealers navigate shifting consumer tides, EFG Companies knows what it takes to maximize your profitability both today and tomorrow. Contact us today to get started.

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