Is Your Dealership Stale? Getting out of the rut.

The summer is drawing to a close and now is your chance to sit back and reflect in yet another year of business.

I came across a recent article at Entrepreneur magazine that reflects on 15 ways to liven up a brand and thought some of these tips would be effective for dealerships looking to get out of their rut. So here they are with my powersports suggestions on putting them into use.

  1. Monitor engagement. Take the time now to look back and see what worked and what didn’t work on social media. Look back at the analytics on your website to see where the traffic was coming from? Are you seeing a significant amount from a source you didn’t think was working? Now is the time to sit back and plan on your 2017 promotion initiative.
  2. Add a new product. Is there a helmet line or gear company that you were considering putting in your store? What about an entirely new category? Now is your chance to bring the product in, train your staff, and get it ready to sell. Take the opportunity of the “downtime” to strategically decide what your customers want and then go out and get it.
  3. Create a fun campaign. Halloween and the fall harvest season is one of the most popular times of the year for retail. Why not take advantage of that for your own clever marketing campaign. You could host a costume party, a trick or treat, please just nothing pumpkin spice.
  4. Redesign your website. Yup your old site is looking dated. If the budget exists, you could go all in and do a complete redesign using one of the the major providers, make sure it’s mobile friendly (Is you’re website mobile friendly). But if the budget isn’t there please go through your site, page by page and remove any outdated information. Old used bikes, non-existent sales programs, etc. get them off your valuable page space. Update your photos with new, correctly lit images, follow each link to ensure it’s still correct. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward with this silent sales person. Sure it will take time but a page at a time will yield valuable results.
  5. Commission a new logo. It might be time to look at something new for your dealership. Is your current logo outdated with colors from the 80’s. It might be time to freshen up the appearance.
  6. Create a fun new slogan. Similar to a logo, what does your slogan or tag line say about your business? Is it still relevant or are you just using it because it’s what we’ve always done?
  7. Meet your customers? As your dealership slows down in the next couple of months, this is the perfect time to offer customer training nights (Powersports Business Quick Tip — Educate Your Customer) not only will your customers be better educated, your staff will as well, and the added benefit of getting to know your customers at a time of the year when you can spend time to really talk to them will greatly increase their likely hood of shopping at your dealership.
  8. Attend a conference. The AIMExpo is taking place in the near future and the IMS shows are almost upon us, use both of these opportunities to increase your knowledge of the business. It might also be a good time to see what other conferences are going on in your area outside of the industry.
  9. Participate in a local event. Check with your local chamber of commerce for events and fairs going on in your neighborhood. You’d be surprised how many local people didn’t really know you existed until they saw you at the church fair or festival. Take some to to stay local and see what opportunity might exist.
  10. Target a new audience. Have you looked at the growth of adventure bikes in the industry or the increase in the female demographic? What about ATV’s & SXS for hunters or agriculture use? Take the downtime to really give some thought to demographics and groups that your products can solve a problem for.
  11. Partner with another business. This one should be pretty simple. Your bike in the back of a truck at the local car dealer or a fully outfitted quad in the outdoor supply store will do wonders for visibility with people that might not know about your shop or the products you offer.
  12. Host an open house. Yes, this is the best time of the year for an open house or training seminar.
  13. Go retro. How about a flashback weekend? Capitalize on the public’s love of nostalgia. How about old staff uniforms or throw back pricing on limited items?
  14. Go digital. This goes back to #4 above. Take a serious look at your digital strategy and what needs to be done today, tomorrow and down the road to ensure you aren’t left behind.
  15. Know when its time to pivot. Take this chance to really look at your business. Figure out what isn’t working and punt it. Don’t continue to do something because it’s how we always did it. The business world is changing rapidly and if you don’t you’ll be left behind.

Thank you to Entrepreneur for the inspiration. Now get out of that rut and succeed.

As always the ideas expressed above are my own and I make no claims to the success or failure of implementing them. They are suggestions to make you think. Please vet all ideas against your business plan before implementing them.

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