Open House Time of the Year – Revisited

Open House Time of the Year – Revisited

Back in 2016, I wrote a piece on why I felt the spring open houses that so many dealers do should be moved to the fall. Back then I felt that the timing was wrong. Why go through all of the work and effort when the springtime was typically a boom for business anyway?

At the time I suggested that holding them in the fall was more appropriate. It would boost the end of season business and allow people to get things set up for the long winter in so many parts of the country.

Well, here we are in 2020 in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. Open houses with large gathering of people are still very far away from happening across the country and even if they are allowed by government, will people turn out for them.

This makes my idea of the fall open house even better. By the end of the year, hopefully, things will be closer to normal and people will turn out in groups.

What do you think?

Read the original post HERE – Open House Time of the Year

Open House Time of the Year

Open House Time of the Year

Across the country, the weather is finally starting to clear up, and people are out on their bikes enjoying the ride. Motorcycle dealers everywhere are experiencing busy Saturday afternoons with people visiting and buying as they prepare for the season ahead. The staff has awoken from their winter’s nap and are moving like a well-oiled machine.

May in the motorcycle business is good. Now is the perfect time for an Open House.

Wait? What? Why?

I’ve always found it odd that dealers choose a time when they are already busy to increase their stress level, overwork the staff and spend money on promotions to bring more people into a dealership when you’re already busy.

Sure- strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of individuals when they are in the buying mood and the season is still young, but I can help but feel there is a better way, a better time.

What if dealers held open houses when traffic was low, pre-season perhaps? I think that might be a better alternative and here’s why.

  • Holding an open house in the offseason can be and extremely useful use of time. Each “guest” will be able to spend more of it with your staff enhancing the in-store experience. Instead of the harried afternoon of a typical open house, the more casual pace of an offseason open house will allow for a more meaningful conversation resulting in greater sales.
  • You won’t have to complete with yard work or baseball practice for their attention. In the off-season, your customer is looking for something to do on the weekend, why not make your open house that something. You could offer a seminar on getting your bike ready for the season, create a new model review with the help of your OEM, bring in distributor reps to provide new product training. The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of the downtime to offer a real benefit to the customer.

These are just a couple of the benefits of doing an Open House offseason. You can use the same reason above for hosting a fall open house. Time to put the bike away correctly, discussing winter storage, offering a winter performance or cosmetic upgrade special to keep your service department going through the lean times. Both you and your customer benefit.

So there you have it. My suggestion to abolish the spring open house. What do you think? I’m curious to hear your feedback.

Social Media is Not a Checklist

Social Media is Not a Checklist

By now everyone is aware of the need for social media. Regardless of your type, B2B, B2C, manufacturer, or retailer, you must have a social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn have all become a necessary part of the marketing mix. But what does it mean?
Social media is not a checklist. It’s not just post and pray. You cannot set up the accounts and post once in awhile and expect any results. Social media is no different than the rest of your business plan, and its integration is necessary. It is an integral part of your marketing and advertising plan, one that requires a budget, analytics, and a dedicated person to take care of the intricacies involved. Remember social media is post, connect and converse, all the time.
Gone are the days when anyone in your business with a Facebook account could be responsible for your social media strategy. And that is the essential part of this article. Social media is not a checklist. You can’t just open a bunch of accounts and call your social media strategy done. You need to put in place a plan for content, posting schedule, how to handle comments and who will interact online.
With the season slowing down, now is an excellent opportunity to put down on paper a plan to use these valuable marketing tools. Make sure your social media ties in with your monthly sales and marketing goals for a cohesive presentation to the end user. A disjointed and inconsistent message will cost you business.
It could be as simple or complicated as you make it, but working on a plan now will pay off in the busy season. At the very least the program should include each month’s marketing and sales goals and then the associated social media posts related to these goals. Are you having your annual open house? Then make sure you have an event set up on your Facebook page. Having the plan in place will allow you to build the appropriate content with high-quality images and a call to action. Include all of these needs in your plan to ensure you aren’t running around when the time to post comes.
The other important thing to remember is social media is “social.” It’s not just posting about your sales and business; it’s providing value to your customer and listening as well. Make sure the person in charge of your social stream has the knowledge to answer questions quickly and accurately. If they don’t, then please ensure that he/she knows who or where to get the correct answer. Build value in your customer’s eyes, and you will see an increase in business as a result.
So what are you waiting for? Need help? Use the power of immediate action and get going.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the content I provided this year. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing my knowledge and ideas each month, and I’m pleased to announce that I will be back for another year in 2018. With that in mind, if there are any topics you would like me to cover or provide insight to, please reach out to me via email at scott@scottlukaitis.com.
Happy Holidays!
Eight ways to improve your business this fall

Eight ways to improve your business this fall

This article first appeared on Powersports Business online October 26, 2017

During the summer selling season, we are often too busy to have lunch, let alone focus on improving our business. But now, with the temperatures cooling off and the leaves beginning to fall, it’s time to look around and put a plan in place to get to some tasks that have been pushed aside.

With that in mind here are eight things you can do this weekend to improve your business:

1) Monitor social media 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 2018 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? Are snowmobiles or snow bikes in your future? 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 or theme

Halloween and the fall harvest season are one of the most popular times of the year for retail. Why not take advantage of that for your own clever marketing campaign. How about a flashback weekend? Capitalize on the public’s love of nostalgia. How about old staff uniforms or throwback pricing on limited items? Please, just nothing pumpkin spice!

4) Redesign your appearance

Yes, your old site is looking dated. If the budget exists, you could go all in and do a complete redesign using one of the major providers, make sure it’s 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 salesperson. Sure, it will take time but a page at a time will yield valuable results. You might even want to look at your logo or company tagline and see if it’s time to freshen them up as well.

5) Meet your customers

As your dealership slows down in the next couple of months, this is the perfect time to offer customer training nights. 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 the time to actually talk to them will significantly increase their likelihood of shopping at your dealership. This is also the perfect time of year to host your open house. Use it to stimulate pre-holiday sales by offering up layaway and wish list options.

6) 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 know you existed until they saw you at the church fair or festival. Take some to stay local and see what opportunity might exist.

7) 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 give some thought to demographics and groups that your products can solve a problem for.

8) 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.

Know when it’s time to pivot. Take this chance to 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.

Capitalize on the end of the summer slowdown

Capitalize on the end of the summer slowdown

This article was originally published online at Powersports Business on August 16, 2017. 

10 tips to grow your business. 

The long days of summer are getting shorter, and kids are back to school in many parts of the country. Autumn is just around the corner, but just because the summer season is over doesn’t mean that you should sit back and take it easy. The fall season in many parts of the country offers some of the best riding weather, and you can benefit from the time to look at some key projects to work on in your shop. Here are a couple of things you can do in the next several weeks to make sure you capitalize on that time.

  1. You have to know what is working and what is not in order to grow your business. Now is a good time to monitor the engagement on your social media channels. Look back at the analytics on your website to see where your traffic came from. Are you seeing a significant amount from a source you didn’t think was working or how about no traffic from one that you thought was? You still have a couple of months to make those advertising adjustments and better plan for 2018.
  2. Fall is that time of the year when all of the new gear and bikes are hitting the floor. Are you promoting that you have those items? What about adding something new and exciting. 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 decide what your customers want and then go out and get it.
  3. 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 industry providers, make sure it’s mobile friendly. But if the budget isn’t there, please go page by page through your site 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.
  4. 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 a chance to freshen up the appearance.
  5. Create a fun new slogan. Similar to a logo, what does your slogan or tagline say about your business? Is it still relevant or are you just using it because it’s “what we’ve always had?” Are you telling the story of your company?
  6. Meet your customers. As your dealership slows down in the next couple of months, this is the perfect time to offer customer training nights. Not only will your customers be better educated, but your staff will as well. The added benefit of getting to know them at a time of the year when you can spend a chance to talk with them will significantly increase their likelihood of shopping at your dealership.
  7. Attend a conference. The AIMExpo is taking place shortly, 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.
  8. 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 know you existed until they saw you at the church fair or festival. Take some to stay local and see what opportunity might exist.
  9. 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 give some thought to these forgotten demographics and groups.
  10. Host an open house. Yes, this is the best time of the year for an open house or training seminar.

Know when it’s time to pivot. Take this chance to 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 do it.”

The business world is changing rapidly, and if you don’t, you’ll be left behind.