PowerSports Business

Powersports Business - May 25, 2015

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MOTORCYCLE www.PowersportsBusiness.com Powersports Business • May 25, 2015 • 29 Ducati tops PSI rankings for second year in a row Test rides, information collection improve across the U.S. BY LIZ KEENER MANAGING EDITOR For the second consecutive year, Ducati dealers led the industry in the annual Pied Piper Pros- pect Satisfaction Index (PSI). PSI measures how dealerships treat motorcycle shoppers in 50 different sales process categories. Though Ducati led the pack at 116 points, with a 4-point lead over second-place Harley-Davidson, the overall industry improved as well. The industry aver- age increased 3 points to 107. Thirteen of the 17 brands studied increased their scores over 2014, while the four that saw decreases dropped by only 1 point each. "It's very encouraging," Fran O'Hagan, president of Pied Piper Management Company LLC, told Powersports Business. OVERALL INDUSTRY IMPROVEMENT Collectively, motorcycle dealers from across the U.S. contributed to a 107 average score, the highest the industry has achieved since Pied Piper began tracking motorcycle dealer PSI in 2007. But there are certain areas where the dealers especially stood out in the 2015 survey. "There are specific examples of where the industry has improved dramatically, and I would say the headline, the most compelling change has been the increase of test rides," O'Hagan reported. PSI measures if salespeople offered an immediate test ride, or if they offered a future test ride. In 2011, salespeople offered immedi- ate test rides 15 percent of the time and future test rides 19 percent of the time, meaning 34 percent of the time some sort of test ride was offered. However, as of 2015, test ride offers skyrocketed, with 35 percent of dealers offering an immediate test ride and 28 percent provid- ing a future demo, for a total of 63 percent of the salespeople studied offering test rides. "Almost two-thirds of the time some sort of test ride is mentioned. That's brilliant!" O'Hagan said. "Who in the motorcycle industry would have believed me, if I told them in 2011 that test rides would double over the next five years?" Test rides have been a source of contro- versy, O'Hagan says, as dealers try to balance the sales opportunity that comes with offering demos versus the risk of adding miles onto and possibly damaging new motorcycles. On top of that, dealerships that carry several brands can have a hard time prepping each model for test rides, and demo insurance can be hard to find or costly. "What I definitely can tell you — and we've seen this over the years — the dealerships that figure out a way to make it happen outperform the dealerships that do not. Difficult or not dif- ficult, it is worth it; there's no question," he said. For dealers who don't have models prepped for demos at all times, offering future rides is a viable and worthwhile option, O'Hagan reported. "We have found that on average, when deal- erships offer future test rides, and customers make the effort to come back for a specific test ride appointment, they go on to purchase from the dealership 8 times out of 10," he said. SECURING CONTACT INFORMATION Another area in which dealers bettered their score was collecting a shopper's contact infor- mation. In the 2015 survey, Pied Piper found dealers collect contact information 57 percent of the time. In 2008, they only did so 38 percent of the time, and the number has been gradually growing since 2012. "No dealership general manager or dealer- ship principal is going to want to have custom- ers walk out of the door at their dealership without having given contact information. But yet if nobody's measuring whether it will happen, a lot of times it just doesn't happen," O'Hagan explained. Harley-Davidson dealers led the pack in this category, collecting customer information 67 percent of the time. Ducati dealers did so 61 percent of the time, a 21-percentage-point improvement from 2013. Though they didn't meet the industry aver- age, a couple of Japanese OEMs also increased their collecting contact information scores. Kawasaki grew to 48 percent from 34 percent in 2014, and Suzuki upped its score to 42 per- cent from 32 percent the prior year. More salespeople in 2015 also suggested writing up a deal, with 41 percent attempt- ing to write up a deal, an improvement from 33 percent three years previously. Leaders in this category were Triumph, Honda, Har- ley-Davidson, Suzuki a n d A p r i l i a , w h i l e Indian, Husqvarna, Can-Am, Yamaha and Star dealers were least likely to suggest writ- ing up a deal. Industry wide, the score for selling the dealership, not just the product, increased to 45 percent, which was an improvement from 41 percent three years ago. The brands at the top of this cat- egory include Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Indian, Star and Can-Am, while Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, KTM, Moto Guzzi and Husqvarna dealers were least likely to sell their customers on their dealerships. ROOM TO INCREASE SCORES Though many scores were positive, O'Hagan points out that there are still a number of areas in which the industry can improve. For one, motorcycle dealers are seven times more likely to undersell their product than oversell it. The study also found 87 percent of shoppers were greeted with, "Can I help you?" upon arrival at the dealership. "That doesn't mean that they don't build rapport also, but the problem with 'Can I help you?' as your first words is 'I'm just looking' comes after that, and then you have a hole to dig yourself out of," O'Hagan said. And even improving numbers could be bet- ter. For example, if only 41 percent of salespeo- ple suggest writing up a deal, 59 percent don't. "Industry wide, ask for contact information is at 57 percent, and that's substantial improve- ment, but that still means that half of the cus- tomers walk out the door, and the dealership has no idea who they are, which is terrible, if you look at it that way. So there's plenty of room for improvement," O'Hagan said. "And if you look at any of these measurements that we talk about, the same applies. Test rides — there's some mention of test rides call it two- thirds of the time, but that still means for one in three customers, there's no mention." PSI also measures how frequently sales- people push their customers toward a differ- ent brand than first requested. PSI mystery shoppers are sent in inquiring about a specific brand of motorcycle, so PSI tracks if those customers are persuaded to look at a compet- ing brand. Harley-Davidson, Victory and Can- Am salespeople are loyal to their brands more than 97 percent of the time. However, one in four Kawasaki salespeople lead customers to another brand, and one in five Yamaha, Suzuki, MV Agusta, Indian, Husqvarna and Aprilia salespeople do the same. "For Kawasaki, if you walk into dealership and say, 'Hey, I'm interested in this Ninja 600,' and the salesperson says, 'You should really consider this CBR600 instead,' that's a real prob- lem for Kawasaki because Kawasaki spends all this effort and money on advertising and build- ing their brand, generating floor traffic, and then when they find the floor traffic, the dealers are sending the customers to buy something else," O'Hagan said. "Maybe the dealership has solid reasons to be selling them something else, but that has to really irk Kawasaki." He added, "Kawasaki isn't the only one; there are a couple brands that are nearly as bad. It kind of gets to what we found in the RV industry [in previous years], where just the very act of showing those Kawasaki dealers that this is what your salespeople are doing, there are going to be some instances where sales- people are behaving in a way that isn't even good for the dealership, let alone the OEM, so it's something that we find fascinating." Despite finding room for improvement in a number of categories, O'Hagan says improved scores overall show many dealerships' sales pro- cesses are becoming more refined over the years. "I wish I could say it was something magic about PSI, but really PSI just measures the deal- ership's sales process, so really what it's saying is dealerships that care about and focus on how the way their team sells outperform the dealer- ships that do not," he said. The PSI study found that the dealers that are ranked in the top quarter of the country according to PSI score sell 22 percent more motorcycles than those who are not. DUCATI DEALERS TALK UNIQUENESS Ducati and Harley-Davidson have jockeyed for the first and second positions, with each brand taking one or the other, since 2012. For the second year in a row, Ducati bested Harley- Davidson, but the score reflected a lot of effort on the parts of Ducati and its dealers. "You've got to give the OEM credit. They came up with this idea on their own. Their approach to their dealership's sales process is to have their dealerships take responsibility for it," O'Hagan said. "Ducati encourages the dealer- ships to use PSI, but Ducati doesn't hold the deal- ers accountable to a particular score. There isn't a certain benchmark that they're trying to hit." Pied Piper has found over the years that the best strategy is to have dealers own their sales processes, rather than just copying what works for someone else. "With Ducati the secret to their success is that they have managed to bring up their average score by improving the performance across the board, dealer by dealer," O'Hagan said, adding that Ducati has been able to boost its overall score by not only bringing up the top performing dealerships, but by also focusing on the traditionally poor performers. The same has worked for Harley-Davidson as well. Two categories in which Ducati leads all 116 112 110 109 108 107 106 103 103 102 102 101 101 101 97 96 95 95 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 Ducati Harley-Davidson Victory Triumph BMW Industry Avg Can-Am Suzuki MV Augusta Kawasaki Moto Guzzi Star Indian Aprilla Honda Yamaha Husqvarna KTM See PSI, Page 30 Source: 2015 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index TOP MOTORCYCLE BRANDS FOR PIED PIPER PSI Ducati dealers lead the industry in offering test rides.

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