Rod Stuckey

Understanding the Difference Between Search vs. Interrupted Digital Ads

Rod Stuckey | 11/11/2020

We’ve worked with well over a thousand dealers of all sizes and brands in every corner of the country and  often get asked the question:  “Should I do Facebook or Google, Instagram or You Tube, Search or Display and Re-Targeting?”  This all gets pretty confusing with so many generic terms like Pay Per Click and Digital Advertising.

Below is some clarification as well as a list of pros and cons with a different perspective on how to answer that overwhelming question. 

1.    Search Advertising: This is primarily Google Ads and is your basic sponsored listing that shows up when someone searches in Google (Formerly AdWords - I’m going to leave out Bing and Yahoo for the sake of this article because Google is the 800 pound gorilla). 

•    Hot Traffic from current in the market consumers.
•    Excellent source to conquest new in the market consumers who haven’t done business with you in the past. 
•    Low funnel leads with higher conversion opportunity. 

•    Arguably you’re paying for traffic you could have gotten for free through organic. 
•    Often shopping for the best price.
•    Because of its auction type bidding, can get pricey in competitive areas. 

2.    Interests / Interruption Advertising: Paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, Google Display Network and YouTube. *Side note: Facebook owns Instagram and Google owns YouTube. 

•    Warm traffic that found you while not really planning to.
•    Users are seeking an escape on this media and your products provide an escape. 
•    Typically very affordable.
•    May not currently be in the market. (Higher Funnel Lead Opportunity)
•    Less likely to convert into an actual lead on your site. 
•    Potentially paying for wasteful clicks. 

With regards to Search ads, by now you’re likely familiar with the common KPI’s of impressions, clicks, click through rate, conversions, and conversion rates. And, that’s all good stuff.  It’s refreshing to pay for advertising and have some data to back up your decision. However, all clicks and conversions are not equal and unfortunately we don’t have uniformity in how these metrics are being calculated. So, it can be difficult to compare apples to apples with your dealership’s results and your peers in a 20 group. 

For starters, how many of your clicks and conversions came from your Dealership’s name searches versus those who directly search for the year, make, model of their interest. Anytime you must “pay per click” for your dealership’s name, you can’t help but wish you’d have gotten that same click for free from the Map Pack or your organic listing. They may have just been looking for your phone number to call and check on their parts on order  or unit in service, and therefore you haven’t really earned a positive ROI on that paid click. In contrast, the person who is in the market for a new unit, has no real loyalty or affiliation with a local dealer and is just searching for a 2021 Polaris Ranger - Now that’s a click and a conversion your happy to pay for. 

For the record, I’m not saying that paying for clicks to your own dealership is all bad, it really is a dealer preference and budget decision. Many metro markets are super competitive, and some are downright ruthless. 

Then there is the interruption marketing. This can be with Facebook and Instagram paid ads and boosted posts, as well as on YouTube and the Google Display Network, which are those annoying pop up ads on the weather channel, Fox News, and other high traffic media sites.  These are paid ads that don’t typically convert as well as search, but they do get a lot of clicks to your site for a very reasonable ad spend. 

Because FB and IG are closed loop universes, they have tons of demographic and psychographic data on their users likes and interests and therefore can serve up ads that are almost creepy they are so relevant. Google’s getting better and better at interruption marketing on their platforms as YouTube continues to capture more interest information from its user base.  It’s also possible to build lookalike audiences and even upload your email lists to make your campaigns perform better. 

And this brings me to re-targeting, also known as re-marketing, whereby your ads are served up to those who have visited your website. These ads are sometimes referred to as stalker ads, but in reality, are highly targeted with zero waste unless the customer has already purchased from you. Conversions from re-targeting are usually low funnel. 
But, here’s where things get tricky for dealership specific search and interruption marketing. What most consider to be Google and Facebook advertising is simply building out a few generic ads, set the budget and geo-targeting, and then letting them run all month long usually routing the traffic to generic pages (which only create high funnel conversions).  

This works and gets solid results, but there is a much better way. 

We call it Dynamic Inventory advertising. With Dynamic search we download your website inventory every night and programmatically build an ad for every unit that links directly to the vehicle details page of that unit. So, if you have 250 units in stock, you have a custom ad for each of those rebuilt every night with landing pages completely relevant to the person’s search; therefore, making it a much lower funnel conversion. 

We’re also dialing in Dynamic Advertising for interruption marketing within FB, IG, and the Google Display network through re-targeting. So when a customer visits your website and views a specific vehicle, we then retarget them with that very unit and similar ones in your inventory through paid ads on FB, IG, and Google Display/YouTube and link them back to that VDP rather than your home page. It’s super trick and produces much lower funnel conversions with practically zero waste. 

So, to answer the question, “Should I do Facebook or Google, Instagram or You Tube, Search versus Display and Re-Targeting? The answer is, you absolutely should be doing it all because it flat out works and the results are so transparent and so quantifiable.  

You really should give it a try, and we’d love the opportunity to earn your business, so give us a call or shoot us a text at 770-692-1750. 


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How to Double and Even Triple Your Website Leads Without Focusing on Discounting

Rod Stuckey | 10/13/2020

Back in 1995 dealership websites were basically just online brochures that after viewed once, no-one ever had a reason to go back.   I’ll never forget in 1997 when my friend Craig Cervanka came into our dealership and showed me their “done for you” websites with all of the make and model information pre-loaded. It was slicker than Greased Lightning, a real game changer because no dealer could update all of that content on their own, which is why I signed up our two stores right there on the spot. 

Looking back, I wonder why I was so hyper responsive. What was the purpose of those websites back then when most consumers only had dial up internet that was painfully slow and no consumers were really trained to research and shop online? Well, just as I was taught with most advertising back then, they said the purpose was to get our name out there and build our brand, to create top of mind awareness and show we were a progressive, leading-edge dealer. Most all dealers back then, as well as the site providers were still trying to figure out exactly how websites would be best utilized. We even went through a phase where it was almost like the dealer with the most buttons (or links) had the coolest sites. Apparently, at one point the providers even thought dealer websites would be for entertainment as they began adding games and puzzles to the sites… heck we even had guest registries for visitors to sign in like you were going to a wedding or a funeral.  

I’ve watched, studied, and participated in the evolving of dealer websites for the last 20 years and something just continued to bother me. While sites did eventually transition to solid consumer research tools and quality lead generators, it still seemed that most dealer sites were very cluttered and busy with bright shiny stuff flashing all over the place and pop ups opening everywhere out of control with units zooming across the screen towing checkered flags. Sound familiar? 

And as usage has transitioned to nearly 80% mobile consumption over desktop, those types of experiences became even more frustrating for the consumer.   Now picture that type of site… and then compare it to Google’s homepage, the most popular and highly consumed website in the world. What does Google want you to do? They want you to engage and convert and their site is designed to do just that… and does it better than any other site on the planet. No clutter and no distractions, despite the temptations for millions in advertising revenue they could receive for displaying logos on their home page. 

This brings me back to that ever so important question of, “What’s the purpose of a dealership’s website?” Well it’s certainly not to build your brand and get your name out there as I was once taught. That’s all old school B.S. Isn’t the purpose of your site to share useful content for consumer research and provide a pleasant user experience that will lead site visitors to a path of conversion, similar to the way that Google does it?  Simply put, the purpose of your website is to generate leads. 

Well here at PSM we think that’s a pretty good strategy, and since launching our Firestorm Website platform in 2016 we’ve consistently seen our sites generate over double, triple and even quadruple the leads compared to our client’s previous providers. And best of all, we generate those additional leads without a focus on discounting. But, we’re not just all about the leads, we want to make your life easier too, and that’s why we developed the industry’s first quick-add mobile app that allows you to take pictures of your inventory with your smart phone and instantly upload those images straight to your site. No desktop required, it’s easy and saves you time and money.

Additionally, as former dealership people, we treat you the way that we wanted to be treated. We don’t do contracts, there are no long-term auto-renewals, and there’s no fine print. This means our clients do business with us because they like the way we take care of them and love the results we generate… not because they’re legally bound by a contract. We think that’s a pretty fair way to do business.

With PSM Marketing, you’re partnering with a privately held company that provides a boutique, personalized experience. We're not what some refer to as a, "big dumb company." When you call us, we answer the phone, and you can even get myself, the founder and CEO and our EVP (Tory Hornsby) on the phone if needed. This owner-involved culture has made PSM the highest Google-Rated website provider in the industry. Don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

And, being privately-held also makes us more nimble. There’s no red-tape for us to jump through, so it’s easier for us to maintain the best technologies available and be FAST on updates. This gives our clients a better performing website that generates better results.

And best of all, switching to a Firestorm site is a breeze. Many dealers are trigger shy about going to a new provider because of a bad past experience, but the team here at PSM makes the process quick and easy. So pick up the phone today and give us a call or shoot us a text at 770-692-1750. 


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Lesson Learned on How to Survive and Even Thrive in Difficult Times

Rod Stuckey | 04/02/2020
I’ve been working in this industry since 1993 and have certainly never experienced an opponent quite as mysterious as this invisible enemy we’ve all faced throughout the last couple of months. As I write this April is winding down and it looks like most dealers are figuring out a way to conduct business one way or another.  One of the positives throughout this situation has been watching how different dealers in different parts of the country have improvised, adapted, and overcome to do the best they can considering their circumstances.
Obviously, different dealers in different parts of the country have had to deal with different situations. Whether those be state and county restrictions or just the physical location of the dealership in proximity to the higher outbreak areas.

Last month I was talking to an OEM rep strong in the UTV segment who said they were actually running out of product because their rural dealers were so busy. Shannon Brown and her team at Road and Track Powersports have been absolutely killing it during April. I’ve spoken with Keith Johnston at Bobby J’s Yamaha and those guys out in New Mexico just keep on grinding and figuring out a way deliver units despite a closed showroom. And Curtis Sloan up at Sloan’s Cycle in Tennessee and his team are still rolling units, as are dozens and dozens of other dealers we speak with daily in nearly every corner of the country. 

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not sticking my head in the sand, because there are also dealers closing their doors, doing layoffs, and struggling to make ends meet.  Heck, here at PSM we just had the worst March and most likely April we’ve had in the last several years. How are we as an industry supposed recover when so much is out of our control, the enemy is invisible, and there are not really any dealerships who’ve been through this before that we can look to for wisdom. 

Well, maybe we haven’t been through this exact situation before, but our industry has had its share of trying times in the past and there are still lots to learn from those times. 
Back in the late 80’s through early 90’s this industry experienced 14 years of straight growth, 13 of which were double digit. We were hit by 9-11 in 2001 and that created a pretty scary dip, but we rebounded fast. But then came the recession of 08 and 09 and our dealer network shrunk by nearly half. 

So what was the difference between those dealerships who thrived and those who didn’t make it? 

Good times and a strong economy tend disguise a plethora of operations and marketing sins. The dealers I have witnessed firsthand not only survive, but even thrive in tough times are those who are willing to embrace change, and make the necessary adjustments required. 
We all have a choice. When can say “This sucks.. why is this happening to me? Or we can say “This is happening for me, and I’m going to learn from it and come out stronger on the other side.”
We can choose to learn and grow and challenge ourselves in difficult times, or we can step into fear and give up and squander the opportunities to learn. 
When we’re challenged, when we struggle, the harder things get, the more opportunity we have to make gains and learn.
If we stay hungry, we stay busy, and we stay productive, somehow, some way, we’re going to come out better on the other side. I have faith.
We hear about the American economy on the news and social media as if it’s one big category. In reality, the American Economy is made up of 3 very different sectors. There is the “Political” sector funded by us tax payers where Washington operatives, lawyers, lobbyists and lifelong politicians revolve around a fake money machine deciding how our money will be spent. Corruption happens all too often in this sector with city officials like former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, who with the help of his friends extorted city contractors and used public funds as his own piggy bank extorting millions of dollars.

Here’s how it was explained to me. There are 3 economies. One is the ‘Political’ economy where Washington operatives, lawyers, lobbyists, and lifelong politicians revolve around a fake money machine, much paid for by you and I, which is littered with corruption. Then there is the ‘Wall Street’ fake economy where industry insiders and researchers seek to capitalize profits in any manner possible, including fraud and collusion, to maximize personal enrichment. Then, of course, there is a conduit of systemic corruption and legalized bribery flowing between the two. 
The 3rd economy is Main Street America, where you and I live, in your town and mine. Where small-to-medium sized business drive the economy, do real work, and provide real jobs. In the first two economies, up is often down, and left is often right. No logic. However, in the Main Street economy honesty, hard work, and smart business reign supreme. 
This is important to understand, because only in the 3rd economy do the laws of nature have authority. In the first two, it’s a fantasy land. You and I have to understand where we live and work, in the Main Street economy, and not drift over into watching and copycatting those other two worlds which have no relevance to us. 
adversity we all have a choice. When can say “This sucks.. why is this happening to me? Or  we can say “This is happening for me, and I’m going to learn from it and come out stronger on the other side..”
We can choose to learn and grow and challenge ourselves in difficult times, or we can step into fear and give up and squander the opportunities to learn. 
When we’re challenged, when we struggle, the harder things get, the more opportunity we have to make gains and learn.
If we stay hungry, we stay busy, and we stay productive, somehow, some way, we’re going to come out better on the other side. I have faith.
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Powersports Marketing Boot Camp and User Summit Recap

Rod Stuckey | 02/17/2020
We just completed our Marketing Boot Camp and User Summit here in Peachtree City, GA and as always it was great to meet new faces and reconnect with our longtime clients and friends.  It’s amazing just how fast the lay of the land continues to change in the world of marketing, specifically with Powersports Dealerships. As technology and innovation continue to evolve, we’re beginning to see a trend of dealers making less careless spray-and-pray decisions and instead opting for a more targeted and quantifiable approach. This has been a longtime coming and it’s exciting to see. 

Our format for this event was different than previous years, but very well received. Here is what longtime dealer Curtis Sloan of Sloan’s Motorcycles had to say via an online review: 
I wanted to say thank you for 2 days well-spent learning a higher level of marketing know-how than any OE dealer meeting seminar, 20-group, or media consulting firm that we've been exposed to in recent years! The venue, food, and time-away-from-the-store were excellent as well. It was especially worthwhile not only meeting the PSM team members that we interact with by phone and email, but the interaction with other dealers was priceless. At Sloan's, one of the pillars of our success is relationship-building with customers and co-workers, and PSM consistently demonstrates that same core value. I look forward to the next Boot Camp so we can send other members of our management team! -curtis sloan-


Regardless of whether you’re a current client, previous client, or not a client at all our goal was to build a live event that was relevant, beneficial, and interactive for all. We’re very different than the other website, technology, and marketing companies in this industry and wanted to showcase that during this boot camp.

First of all, we’re still a privately held owner operated entrepreneurial company. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, we’re the only website provider in the industry that hasn’t been rolled up under the umbrella of one of the 800-pound mega companies who love their lengthy contracts, legalese, and on-retainer team of attorneys.  While some may see it as a disadvantage to compete with the giants, I see it as the complete opposite.  That’s why we don’t require contracts and do our best to have real people answer the phone every time you call.  If you give us a try and it doesn’t work out, we don’t get mad, we don’t send ugly letters, we just ask for your candid feedback to learn from so we can get better and hopefully  win back your business in the future. 

We’re also different because in my former life I was a dealer. And everything we do is seen through the lens of the dealer and the dealer’s customers; first and foremost. It’s just how I’m hardwired, and if I wouldn’t spend my money on it, we won’t sell it. Next, before we ever built our first product over 15 years ago, we totally immersed ourselves into the research and study of all things advertising and marketing. We’re not only marketing purist, but we’re also practitioners. Every single thing we sell to our clients, we also do ourselves, just like this direct mail piece we’ve been mailing for the last 120 plus month’s give or take. We use our Firestorm Email software weekly, our own Firestorm Website daily, and are very pleased that our reputation management system has assisted us in earning over 500 reviews on and over 177 on Google. 

This boot camp was designed to teach timeless marketing fundamentals and principles, and then understand how to apply those principles with real world tools and technology applications. 
We kicked the sessions off with a “Purpose of Your Marketing” presentation on branding, image, and TOMA (top of mind awareness) type of marketing as opposed to Direct Response, Lead Generation, Nurture and Relationship style marketing that is quantifiable. There is a BIG difference, and what most dealers have been taught is all wrong. 

From there we moved into what we call the four-legged stool. Right message, right market, right media, right timing.  You can get 3 out of 4 of these fundamentals correct and still waste every single dollar spent and watch the stool collapse. The sad thing about this is that the person responsible for neglecting one of the fundamental components is the same person who is quick to blame the media when it was set up to fail from the start. From there we covered Social Media best practices, Reputation Management, Google Ads, Email and Email Deliverability, Google My Business, Website best practices and more.

It was a LOT of content, and quite a bit of it was new based on recent algorithm changes, like the importance of email list hygiene and how that impacts deliverability, and how the new Google Map 3 Pack is a search engine results game changer. 

The last big point as to why we are different is because everything we build, test, and ultimately sell is designed with the aforementioned marketing purist fundamentals in mind, which most tech companies simply don’t understand. 

We’re looking to have another Boot Camp this fall, so stay tuned.  Today is the first day Tia is out for maternity leave and the only way we can pull it off is if she makes it back soon! Thanks for reading and as always give us a call at 877-242-4472 to learn more. 

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Rod Stuckey | 02/04/2020

I’m excited about a new feature we’ve added to our Firestorm Website platform. This is truly an industry first. Have you ever noticed how every dealer’s service department web page is pretty much the same? Typically, you’ll see a service appointment request form and a little ad copy about the state-of-the-art facility and certified techs, etc. That’s pretty much all we’ve had on our client’s Firestorm websites as well, but not for long. We’ve just released a new beta product for Service
“before and after” Jobs.

Here’s how it works.

A cruiser customer comes in and wants to have a windshield and saddlebags installed. Your service advisor (or tech) snaps a quick “before” the work photo with his phone. The work is then performed and an “after” photo is taken. Now before you say, “My service guys won’t do that!” stay with me. Utilizing our Reviews and Rankings app on a mobile device here’s what happens:

• The customer receives a text and/or email with the “before & after” photos, thanking them for their business.
• The customer receives a text and/or email with an invitation to leave an online review.
• The before and after photos are automatically posted to your dealership’s Facebook page.
• The before and after photos, with SEO rich content are added to the Service Department page of your dealership’s website.

I’ve spent many years running dealerships, so I never underestimate just how hard it is to implement best practices. As a Dealer Principal, I’d always ask myself, “Is this a hill I wanna die on?” And inevitably the answer to that questions lies in what are going to be the benefits of successful execution and how will it make the dealership more money.

So, consider these benefits:

  • Sending a customer photos of work performed with a “thanks for your business” message creates a premium experience which is excellent for CSI scores.
  • 95% of buyers read online reviews prior to making a major purchase.* Reviews boost your websites SEO big time, and the recency and frequency of those reviews are very important.
  • There are additional SEO benefits as you can easily input the customer’s location and work performed, which will show on your dealership’s service page, giving you an ongoing system for generating quality search engine friendly content.
  • As your customers photos are posted to your dealership’s website, Facebook page and review sites through our app, you create web-based “Social Proof” and multiply your overall reach to prospective customers and dramatically increase online visibility.

By the way, this is the same marketing automation app that allows you to take photos with purchase of your customers and send them a “Congratulations” text and email on their new bike, and post that to your Facebook page. Think about fitness ads & infomercials. It’s all about testimonials and before and after photos because there is no more compelling content for a business than social proof. A picture really is worth a thousand words. If you sell 100 units a month and every customer had 100 Facebook friends to share their photo with, you could be increasing online visibility to 120,000 more friends and family of riders each year.

But… back to implementation.  This will not be an “easy button” install with your staff, rarely anything new ever is, right? 

Here are some ideas:

  • Start by sharing the “why” and the benefits. Let techs and advisors know they personally can earn reviews and be featured on your dealership’s leaderboard. Everyone likes a little recognition.
  • Take the roll-out seriously by covering in a manager meeting and store-wide meeting. Create a contest with prices or spiffs for the staff member who sends the most photos with review invitations to customers.
  • Inspect what you expect. Login to the system and view the leaderboard and set goals for team members and cover in regular staff meetings.
  • Utilize the tool of repetitive communication by sending email reminders and provide friendly verbal reminders.
  • Regularly reward and recognize publicly your highest performers.

To see this app live in action go to:


This new feature is now live and we’re looking for a few progressive Firestorm Website dealers who wanna try it out. Give us a call at 877-242-4472 or email us at if you’d like to participate in our beta group.

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SEO and Reviews Combined Will Boost Your Site Rankings

Rod Stuckey | 10/17/2019

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 10 years since we launched the Powersports Industry’s first online reputation management solution. In that time, we’ve systematically generated over 160,000 authentic customer reviews for hundreds of dealers in every corner of the country and aggregated them on Way back then, we were a little ahead of our time with only the most progressive dealers understanding the importance of their online reputation. Fast forward to today, thanks to Amazon, Google, Facebook, and others and every astute dealer understands the need for an online reputation management solution.

But, the lay of the land continues to evolve and there are still many misunderstandings about the importance of consistently earning reviews for your dealership. One of them is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). When we first entered the website business and launched Firestorm Websites, we didn’t offer a separate SEO package as most of the other providers did. This is because we felt so strongly that we engineered SEO local business best practices into our platform. Things like link signals, on-page signals, GMB signals, Schema, etc. And I’m pleased to report that our Firestorm Website clients are experiencing excellent, and in most cases a boost in, traffic and leads compared to previous providers; validating that our architecture is on point.

But what we didn’t predict was that there would be an influx of digital marketing firms using cheap “ambulance chaser” type tactics in an attempt to scare dealers into using their services. This is what I’m talking about… I get one or two of these types of emails a week:


My name is Patrice Barnes, and I represent a California based company.

I was on your and found certain issues on the design and development area which might be one of the reasons for the bounce rate and the decreased traffic on your

Here, I have two plans for you.

Remove all the technical issues on your, make it SEO Friendly and promote the same to improve your online visibility and attract more traffic.

Redesign your altogether making it SEO friendly from the start and promote the same.

If this is something you are interested in, please revert back so that we can communicate further and proceed on the mission to improve your rank and its online visibility.

I’d be happy to send you our package, pricing and past work details, if you’d like to assess our work.

Waiting for your response.

Best Regards, 

Patrice Barnes, Digital Marketing Specialist

Well, shame on Patrice. This is completely bogus and whoever is behind this nonsense is a complete low life. While we do own that URL it isn’t even a live site and is redirected to This person has certainly never visited this site as they claim. It’s just a variable templated email that they are using to illegally spam businesses. It’s bogus and its BS. And what’s also BS is the obscure and manipulative tactics they use to prove your site isn’t performing. I should probably clarify; these tactics aren’t used by our competitors in the powersports industry (at least that I’m aware of). It’s outsiders and other fake businesses who are willing to stoop to this nonsense. 

Here’s what these bums wouldn’t ever tell you. While Google is quite secretive about their search algorithms, one thing we do know is that 3rd party online reviews rank in the top 5(!) most important factors in local SEO.

The local search experts at Moz concluded this in their most recent study, noting a 21.5% increase in importance from the same study conducted in 2015. This validates that online reviews are continuing to trend upwards in their importance for local business. Dealers can spend hours, days and even months analyzing their inbound anchor text, citation volume, page load speed, and hundreds of other SEO components that these unethical ‘Digital Marketing Specialists’ claim are causing site issues, or dealers can just go out and consistently and ethically harvest new reviews and out rank their local competitors the right way to boost quality local site traffic. 

This is why ongoing and consistently harvesting new reviews is a journey and not a destination. Rankings aren’t just based on the number of reviews and ranking, but also the recency of reviews. 

With this in mind, we’ve just rolled out a brand new feature on our Firestorm Websites that is an industry first. We’re integrating our reviews platform with our website platform to create amazing SEO and compelling social proof of your customers doing business with you and being displayed on your website. It’s in beta right now, and we’re looking for a few good dealers to help us pilot this exciting new feature. If you’re interested give us a call at 877-242-4472 or shoot us an email at 

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Five Back to School Lessons for High Performing Dealers

Rod Stuckey | 08/19/2019

It’s hard to believe Summer is winding down and school is cranking back up. Every year around this time I remind myself of the importance of sticking with the fundamentals in business and marketing.  The basics of “blocking and tackling” are not as fun and attractive as the trick plays, but in the long run they always pay off.

Often, we have dealers tell us things like: “Social media is where it’s at,” “We only do digital marketing,” “Direct mail doesn’t work,” and “YouTube is the place to be,” etc. The fundamental truth is that the media chosen is just one part of the equation. Just because it’s new or bright and shiny doesn’t necessarily make it the best way to invest your limited marketing budget. 

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at back-to-school lesson one: Determine what the goal of your marketing is (this particular marketing campaign or month, quarter, year). 

The only four ways your Dealership can grow is:

1. Increase the number of new prospects generated.

2. Improve the frequency of visits from regular customers and reactivate lost customers.

3. Boost the conversion rate of prospects to customers.

4. Raise the average value of each customer.

With quality marketing, plus quality training, all four ways can be accomplished simultaneously. By focusing on these four objectives when making your plan you can begin to gain clarity and focus in an otherwise overwhelming and cluttered plethora of options.

Back-to-school lesson two: Don’t make the mistake of focusing all your efforts and budget just trying to accomplish #1, getting new customers. This is so common. Dealers assume that their existing customers are already loyal and no additional marketing to them is required. Wrong, wrong, wrong. A significant portion of your budget should be allocated to #2. Your customers want to feel like they belong to something, that their business is appreciated, and if left untouched can feel apathy and easily be lured away by your competitors.


Back-to-school lesson three: Your online reputation matters. Consider this. Nearly everyone of your customers is researching your products and services online prior to purchasing. Even if they are an existing customer and stumble upon multiple negative reviews it could impact your business. The consumer’s ability to post online reviews on their smart phones while still standing in your showroom floor creates a very transparent customer satisfaction environment. All other advertising, whether intentional or not, usually directs your customers and prospects to the web. Therefore, if your online reviews are negative, then all other marketing dollars are wasted. If you don’t have a pro-active reputation management service like we offer you need to get one. 

Back-to-school lesson four: All marketing must focus on the right message, to the right target audience, via the right media, at the right time. We call these four critical components of your marketing the Four-Legged Stool. If one leg of your marketing falters it can easily collapse your entire effort. First is a compelling message. It’s what you say about your dealership, yourself, and your products and how you say it. The features, the benefits, the offer, the call to action, and the deadline are all critical pieces of your message. Why should your customer buy from you versus any and every other available option? 

The next leg in the stool is your target audience. Who specifically are you trying to reach? With less than 6% of households owning a powersports product it’s very easy waste a lot of money marketing to those not interested. How can you most effectively ensure that the money you’re spending on marketing is reaching those most likely to respond?

The third leg in the stool is the method of delivery. The media choices are overwhelming from radio, TV, movie theater commercials, direct mail, social media, Google Ads, etc. What media will you choose to send your message in an efficient and affordable manner without wasting money marketing through in-effective and wasteful media to those disinterested? 

And the final leg is timing. By hitching your wagon to relevant information in the customer’s day-to-day life and current ownership cycle you can significantly boost your response by making the message much more compelling. Holidays, birthdays, service reminders, new product launches, etc. are all timing related messages that can significantly strengthen response. 

Back-to-school lesson five: Your marketing should be designed to not only capitalize on those in the market to buy now, but to also establish the desire for purchase for those NOT currently in the market. In today’s market many of your prospects are not just undecided about whether or not to buy from you, but undecided about whether or not to buy at all. And this is one reason that most dealer (and OEM) advertising has a serious flaw. The ad is built under the assumption that the person is already committed to, or is currently shopping for a new vehicle. Thus, the advertising assumes the decision to buy and focuses on product, place, and price. Few back up one very important step to first establish the desire, and therefore ad spend is underutilized. It is the equivalent of trying to sell burgers to an audience with no appetite. 

This is one of the BIG differences in our new Bullseye multi-channel marketing system. It not only accomplishes the critical objective of backing up one step to establish the desire for new and used units, but does it for P &A, MotorClothes® and Service too. All in one integrated campaign. 

Here at Powersports Marketing we’re committed to these basics in everything we do. If we can’t incorporate these fundamentals, we don’t do it. Period. For more information contact us at 877-242-4472.

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Hit the Bullseye With Your 3rd Quarter Marketing

Rod Stuckey | 07/17/2019

Some experts are saying we’re currently in an economic boom like no other in American history. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 50 years, the stock market is strong, and we’re not experiencing the high inflation of previous era’s growing economies. I’ve been spending most of my weekends at the motocross track with family, and the races have been absolutely packed. And this is a different crowd than I experienced back in the 80’s and 90’s. Back then you had dirt bikes in the back of pick-up trucks and the occasional 3-railed trailers. The modern-day races are full of campers, RV’s, Totorhomes (yes, that is a real thing), enclosed trailers, plus UTV’s and golf carts because you have to navigate the pits in style. And, all the racers have multiple bikes instead of just one. It’s all remarkable to me, considering that land scarcity, liability and exposure, and other factors make the barrier to entry for off-road riding seemingly more difficult.


According to the most recent Powersports Business, major unit sales are up 8.3% from January to April of 2019 compared to the same period last year. It’s obvious to me that business is good and consumers are spending money right now. In particular, I notice the blue-collar crowd really has that expendable income from the economy being in a good place.  Builders, welders, oil rig workers, plumbers, HVAC guys, etc. They have the money and are spending it.

It is reminiscent of an era from 1994 through 2006 when our industry experienced 14 years of consecutive growth, 13 of which were double-digit. That’s nearly the exact window I was a dealer of multiple stores in the Atlanta area. 

I’ve had many of my old Dealer Principal friends say that we must have had a crystal ball in that we sold our stores at just the right time. I always snicker to myself and think, yeah we may have sold at just the right time, but it sure wasn’t the optimal time to launch a ground-up new venture at that time called Dealership University™, which was done right at the beginning of the great recession.

At Dealership University™ our target audience was obviously powersports dealerships and at that time there were roughly 7,500 franchised dealers that we felt were qualified prospects. Well… as old Murphy would have it, within a handful of years the dealer network shrunk down to nearly half of that number. Dealers were disappearing left and right as the market was correcting itself. 

We were fortunate that we developed several OEM clients that were key in our ability to navigate through these troubled waters. But something else was happening. The internet had busted onto the scene and was totally disrupting all previously held beliefs on what effective marketing was for a motorcycle dealer.  We immediately went ‘all in’ with our studies of internet marketing and how best practices could be applied to our clients so that we could build the best training possible. 

With only 3% to 6% of the population being motorcycle enthusiast and therefore a viable target audience for our clients, trying to create effective marketing programs that don’t include paying for a lot of waste can be tricky. But we did it, and our clients liked the best practices we developed so much that they asked us to do it for them. Hence, the birth of Powersports Marketing™. 

One of my big takeaways from the great recession was that in good times it’s easy to get sloppy and have “good business” hide a plethora of operating and marketing sins. In some ways we were fortunate that the thinning of the herd that occurred left us with a smaller group of dealers to work with, but they were, and many still are, the gritty operators who changed with the times. 

What has made us different than industry outsiders all these years, is we stand for zero-waste marketing. We don’t believe in ‘spray and pray’, branding type advertising; we focus on the most targeted viable prospects in your back yard that are most likely to do business with you. And if I wouldn’t spend my own money on it, we don’t sell it.

My spidey senses are tingling a little as I’m once again starting to see many dealers doing some really sloppy and wasteful advertising. With the election talk already heating up I can’t help but to get paranoid that we’re going to see a dip in consumer confidence in the near future and all be forced to tighten our belts.

It’s for this reason and more, that I’m pleased to announce we’ve just launched a new product called the BULLSEYE program designed to give you the highest ROI on your advertising spend with quantifiable results and zero waste. Don’t get lured into copycatting the same ineffective, non-measurable advertising you see from your competitors.  Pick up the phone and give us a call so we can show you how the BULLSEYE can get your 3rd quarter primed so you can finish the year strong without the waste.  877.242.4472
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What Gets Inspected Gets Respected

Rod Stuckey | 06/10/2019

Every Friday morning here at PSM we do a company-wide meeting with our entire team focused on our performance. We review a scorecard for each department and how it compares to last year. We cover our reviews leader board, we recognize team members’ birthdays and work-aversaries, and my favorite part is our show-and-tell. This is where a client’s results are put into a PowerPoint and presented by a member of each department. We also show off new features in our software and new campaigns, graphics, etc. All on display. 

I’ve been out of the office the past few Fridays and perhaps that’s the reason this morning’s meeting felt so compelling to me.  Taylor McCullough, our in-house Firestorm Email guru, shared how one email he built and deployed for a new client was the 3rd highest source of traffic to that dealer’s site; out of 43 total source.

Check out exhibit 1. One single (well done) email sent more traffic to this dealer’s site than Google pay-per-click, Bing organic,, Facebook and 30 plus other referring sites. Hot damn! That’s proof that properly executed email marketing gives you a solid bang for the buck.

Our Campaign Coordinator Manager, Sabrina Deyoe, was up next. She shared the results of an east coast Ducati dealer who we did a grand opening Sharp Shooter campaign for. Check out Exhibit 2. We generated 41 new unit leads, 29 pre-owned leads, 50 interested in clothing, 88 in parts and accessories and 42 service leads. All this from a sourced list with a Euro select criteria. This is remarkable, and I couldn’t believe these results!

After Sabrina shared the results of the Ducati Grand Opening event, Tory opened up a spreadsheet that displayed all of the leads generated this year same month compared to last year same month for all of our Firestorm website clients. Exhibit 3 is real data from a metric store whose PSM Firestorm Website is averaging a 54% increase in leads.  This was just one example, there were dozens of sites that had increases much higher. This is what sets Firestorm Websites apart from our competitors. Our focus is on conversions. We feel strongly that your site is intended to be much more than an online showroom or brochure, we feel its purpose is to generate leads and our sites do that better than any in the industry. And by the way, our sites inventory integrates seamlessly with Firestorm Email so you can send kick ass emails in a hurry.

Exhibit 4 is a screen grab of our review Leaderboard. You can jump over to to check it out. We also cover this in our Friday meetings to create a fun and competitive environment that encourages our team to send invitations to our clients to leave reviews. This consistent focus on reviews has earned us 558 reviews with an average star rating of 4.8 on our review site. It’s also the engine for creating another 150 plus 5-star reviews on Google. Our reviews and rankings app is much more than just a review acquisition system though. It’s marketing automation that boosts your CSI score by automatically sending, “Thanks for your new purchase!” emails and texts with customer photos.

How many website visitors did you have last month versus same month last year? How many website leads did you have last month versus same month last year? Who was the number one referrer of website traffic to your website last month?

How many door swings did you have last month versus same month last year? How many logs in your CRM did you have last month versus same month last year?

How much do you REALLY know about your business? Reality, data, and hard facts trump perception, emotion, and gut feeling. Whether your net is up or down, it’s important to understand the key performance indicators that drive those bottom-line results. 

One thing that makes PSM different than any other marketing company out there is that if we can not provide you with some type of quantitative way to measure the performance of what we’re doing for you, then we won’t do it. From websites to email to direct mail and reputation management, we’d love the opportunity to earn your business and show you what we can do. Give us a try at 877-242-4472.



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Using Clean Data To Improve Marketing To Your Most Viable Audience

Rod Stuckey | 05/13/2019

Running a dealership is damn hard. Parts and Accessories, Service, New Sales, Used Sales, and F&I can each be viewed as a business within the business; and none of them are easy businesses to run. Then you have the Accounting department, another critical department that requires time and attention. And while Marketing may not be a department, it is another very real and important responsibility of the Dealer Principal.

But wait, there’s more… whether you realize it or not, you’re also responsible for managing your Sales Prevention and Loss Prevention departments.

If you’re like most dealers, you spend countless hours trying to figure out ways to boost sales across all departments. But the reality is, there’s a difference in doing deals, and doing clean deals. And, there is a difference in making money, and keeping that money.

Unfortunately, all businesses have a Sales Prevention department. It’s that one person who answers the phone in a rude voice tone. It’s that other employee who doesn’t return a phone call as promised. It’s the sales person who doesn’t follow the process and loses the deal. It’s the Parts Manager who doesn’t replenish stocking items in a timely manner; the examples go on and on.

Then there is your Loss Prevention department. And, I’m not just talking about shop lifting and employee theft.

There are countless different ways a dealer can have holes in the bottom of the bucket.

Warranties not being filed in a timely manner and parts not getting returned, co-op improperly filed or not filed at all, obsolete P&A, and parts returns to vendors missing deadlines and losing eligibility, ancient and over-appraised used inventory, abandoned service units, contracts funding, and on and on. These are all tough best practices to master, but they are at least on the radar of most good operators.

However, the Loss Prevention department has many challenges that even the best operators can overlook. One we often see here at PSM is no capture of customer or prospects name, physical address, and email address. In analyzing over 800 dealer data bases the average dealer has 43% with missing or inaccurate physical mailing address, meaning they only capture this information 57% of the time. Email is only captured at 25% of total records, leaving a 75% shortfall, and on average the phone number is only accurately captured 56% of the time.

When you invest in your website, facility, and other advertising you’re not just paying for the customers who buy from you, you’re paying for every walk in, phone up, and web lead regardless of whether they buy or not. As I’ve said in this newsletter a hundred times, your customer database is your number one asset.
You would think that for this reason, regular database maintenance (hygiene) would be normal and customary. But, it’s not. It’s usually just too far down the list.

And if maintaining your DMS database isn’t enough of a headache, now the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) are cracking down on email marketers in an effort to combat the excessive and never-ending spammers and junk email. I won’t get into all of the details, but it’s safe to say that if you keep sending email blasts to your entire list and don’t start performing proper email list hygiene, your list will get the attention of the ISP’s and your deliverability and opens will be dramatically impacted (for more detail read Brad’s article on page 3).

Several great entrepreneurs have been quoted as saying some variation of, “You can take away all of my money, my wealth and my assets, but leave me my customer list and I will have it all back in short order.”

This is why capturing and maintaining customer data is so important.

Your existing customers who have spent money with you in the past are the most likely to spend money with you in the future. This is the number one target audience you have with regards to your marketing. The 2nd most accurate target audience to market to is those who’ve visited your brick and mortar and/or website but have yet to make a purchase from you. The 3rd group is very far behind because you don’t have any data on them. This is that group of customers who are enthusiasts of the products you sell but have never been to your store or your site. This is the most elusive and expensive group to earn their business. Except for going after nonenthusiasts and trying to convert them, which as we’ve talked about is just plain dumb.

The most effective media to market to your customer base is email, direct mail, and the telephone. Social media is okay, but it doesn’t have the 1-to-1 personal messaging capabilities, and without boosting posts nowadays, very few posts are actually seen by your followers.

Recruiting, hiring, and training, team members to manage Sales, Parts, Service, F&I and Accounting are not easy, but are do-able as there are lots of resources available for these positions.

Hiring a marketing expert who understands the unique intricacies of the motorcycle business is very, very, rare. The goal of your marketing is NOT to just spray and pray a, “Wanna Buy a New Vehicle From Us?” message every month.

Your marketing should be prioritized to build solid relationships with your most viable target audience and generate a steady flow of sales opportunities for every department in the dealership.

And our Local Web Dominator program featuring reputation management and automated email marketing as well as our Sharp Shooter marketing system all include the most viable media, to the most viable market, with the most relevant and compelling message.

To learn more contact us at 877-242-4472.
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April Showers Bring May Horsepower

Rod Stuckey | 04/09/2019

I’m a big fan of persistence and stick-with-it-ness. The U.S. Military Academy conducted a study of what the top characteristics were for the highest performing elite military personnel, and it wasn’t their I.Q. or athletic ability. It was GRIT, which they defined as: Perseverance and Passion for Long Term Goals.

Unfortunately, all persistence isn’t created equal. Many folks believe if they just show up day-in and day-out and keep doing what they’ve been doing things will fall into line and eventually improve. This approach of “more, longer, harder,” and “more of the same” is badly flawed. 

Edison’s light bulb, Ford’s automobile, Watts’ steam engine are all examples of smart persistence. Spending days trying to push a 750-pound iron sled up a mountain until eventually dying of exhaustion is not smart persistence. A different approach of say, working on a conveyor or pulley system is likely the better method. 

Investing grit and stick-with-it-ness in a futile and failing endeavor is not admirable or productive, but it is very expensive. Just look behind the curtains at our government for plenty of examples, they have this down to a science. 

I see a stubborn and ignorant persistence in dealership advertising all the time. It’s being generous to say that 90% of the overall population doesn’t ride motorcycles. It’s likely more like 95%. And every bright-eyed green pea advertising peddler (and unfortunately some naive OEM execs) out there think targeting that 95% of non-riders is the secret sauce for growing our industry. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Futile. Futile. Futile. 

It’s statistically proven that the influence of friends and family is what grows new riders. And, it’s statistically proven that within our 5% of existing riders we have a lot of churn, folks coming and going for a multitude of factors including the inherit risk and expense of our sport. 
Like most in the industry, I too have concerns about our next generation of riders, or lack thereof. And, I don’t completely blame video games and social media (like I often hear). My son plays motocross video games when he’s not riding, and his Instagram feed is nothing but motorcycles. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for our industry. The only time I got to see a motorcycle on TV was when Chips came on. 

But I had something he’ll never experience as a young rider. All my closest neighborhood buddies had motorcycles and ATV’s (influence of friends). Nearly every day we’d meet up at the local vacant lot or construction site and shred it up. I grew up 15 minutes south of the Atlanta airport and we had riding areas everywhere. The 50 acres or so behind the church around the corner was epic, the land that now holds the local Home Depot used to be a favorite track of mine. I could go on and on with all of the “ask forgiveness, not permission” places that I rode back in the 80’s. By the way, I started riding because of my Dad and Uncles.

Fast forward to today and land is scarce in most suburban areas which eliminates possible riding spots. And even if there was land, nobody in their right mind would knowingly allow riders due to the ambulance chasing attorneys who’ve created an environment where liability and exposure are top of mind. 

A large portion of street bikes sold are to Gen X’ers and Boomers who rode dirt bikes as a kid. Those adults have it in their system and have a solid riding foundation. Selling a full-size street bike to someone who has never ridden before happens less than you may think, and when it does it’s always sketchy watching them ride out of the parking lot. 

Getting kids involved in the sport today has a big impact on the health of the industry 20 to 30 years from now. I know we have striders with electric batteries and throttles and that’s cool. And the industry is hoping electric motorcycles will combat some of my previous points, but we all know the purists are going to put up a fight. But, I digress…

My point is being persistent and gritty targeting non-riders, hoping that you’ll convert them into riders, is just plain ineffective. As opposed to (smart) persistence of targeting known riders in your backyard with a one-to-one, compelling, and relevant message inviting them down to the dealership for a shindig to hang out with other known riders. This strategy, when stuck to for an extended period, begins to combat churn and increase retention. It can also help grow new riders because riders invite their friends and family to join them, and many will even bring their kids along. 

No this isn’t a magic bullet or a quick fix, but small smart choices plus time can impact big change over the long haul. And if every dealership in the nation focused on creating a fun and exciting experience for their customers, we’d see interest from kids and new riders and increase the retention of existing riders. It would be a rising tide that raises all ships. So be gritty and be persistent with your advertising decisions this spring selling season and beyond by targeting known riders! 

For more information on how Powersports Marketing can help you sell more units and have more fun, contact us today at 877-242-4472.
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It's Time for a Cabin Fever Reliever

Rod Stuckey | 03/01/2019

March 20th is just around the corner and I’m beyond ready for the first day of Spring. Going on 25 years in the Powersports Industry and I still get grumpy with the cold, dark, wet, days of winter and the inherent seasonality of this business. Powersports customers truly are solar powered, and Cabin Fever is a real thing.

This year, March has five Saturdays in the month and that only happens a few times a year. In my dealership days I loved those months because I knew I had roughly 20% more opportunity to have a record-breaking month and/or smoke the numbers from the same month last year. 

With that in mind… what are your plans to give your past, present, and future customers a compelling reason to shed the winter doldrums and get out of the house and have a little fun this spring? 


What’s more fun than being invited to and attending a party with likeminded people who share similar interests?!

And speaking of fun, have you ever considered - that’s exactly what you’re selling?


Most dealerships start thinking about selling with the product features and benefits at the forefront of their strategy, as opposed to the deeper desires of what the customer is truly looking to accomplish.  

The real secret to selling (with better margins than your competitor’s) is to uncover your prospect’s motivation for shopping.
In other words, why are they buying?

When you dig into a buyer’s motive (in our industry), the majority of sales happen because the customer is looking to escape the day-to-day grind and have some fun. I know you can use an ATV or UTV for work, but that’s still a fun and exciting tool to have on any job site.

The benefits of selling results <i.e. Fun> versus just selling the product can be - higher closing ratios, increased margins, more referrals, etc.

The challenge with focusing on the product - year, make, model, color, etc. – is that when comparing apples to apples there is very little opportunity to illustrate the advantages of doing business with you versus your competitors. This is a commoditized approach, just as pizza is pizza. 


Once the consumer is 100% product focused their natural instinct is to next focus on how good of a price they can get on the chosen product. 

This is what made Domino’s Pizza founder, Tom Monaghan’s, original unique selling proposition (USP) so brilliant. He didn’t sell pizza. He sold a fresh hot meal delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed. 


This is exactly what his target audience was looking for at the time, as meal delivery options were minimal.

When you de-commoditize your products by bundling them with the additional values offered at your place of business, you then begin to distance yourself from your competitors.This is one of the many reasons why I’m such a huge believer in events. 


Events allow you to separate you and your team from your competitors by selling the results of what your customers are really looking for – a good time, and a reason to visit your dealership.

So now is the time, if you don’t already have a Cabin Fever Reliever Event, St. Patrick’s Day, or a Spring has Sprung shindig planned; It’s time to get after it. 

Dealers that don’t believe in, or regularly execute, events usually have one of the following perspectives. 

“They’re too much work.” Well, events do require effort. But, anything worthwhile does. As Thomas Edison famously said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

A simple event planning checklist and a meeting with your team can have you well on your way. And the cool thing about events is that when you begin to have them regularly you develop systems and the team gets trained and your events become more and more scalable.I’ve also had plenty of dealers tell me: “Events are too expensive, and I don’t have the parking and staff anyway.”

When I first started having a BIG annual event at my Dealership I thought it was suppose to be a mini KISS concert with a band and 2,000 people there. I thought I needed to promote it via Radio and TV and have some celebrities on site signing autographs and stunt riders doing tricks in the parking lot. 


No. No. No. I was totally missing the point. Those types of shindigs aren’t practical and do cost too much and are impossible to staff for and have parking. 

Eventually, I learned that having small boutique style monthly events that were marketed with affordable media were not only manageable but gave my monthly marketing a purpose. It was part of a bigger plan to “touch” my buying base 52 to 104 times per year which would keep my existing customers loyal and have them send referrals as well as provide me with a compelling message to say to new blood. 


And lastly, I’ve heard, “I’ve done events before and we didn’t sell anymore units than a regular Saturday”.

While it’s nice to have a record-breaking day, that’s just not always going to happen. There are too many factors including, but not limited to, the weather, timing, inventory, etc. that impact the sales the day of the event. Let’s just say you promote your event via direct mail, email, and social media to 10,000 people of which 2,000 view it. Of the 2,000, you get 100 to swing by over the course of the day. Guess what the other 1,900 think? “I’m missing out, I wish I didn’t have prior obligations, but I appreciate the invite and hope to make it to the next one.”


You’ve not only created a pipeline of future sales from those who’ve responded to your marketing, but you’ve also created future bank from those who haven’t responded. 

Now is the time to make hay because the sun is about to shine.  Don’t make excuses. Instead, make the choice to take action and get that Cabin Fever Reliever prescription to your customers and make this March your best ever!


Contact us today at or at 877-242-4472 for more information on our done for you Sharp Shooter campaigns. 

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Grow New Customers and Increase Retention with FOCUS

Rod Stuckey | 02/01/2019
I once read of a grizzled veteran salesman on a flight home from 2 days of sales training complaining that he’d just been forced to listen to 365 different ways to close a sale, when all he needed was one – that worked. 

With the New Year upon us, as is normal and customary, my wife and I are dabbling with a multitude of diet and exercise choices. Nowadays you can get an app for everything imaginable. Jump Rope, Boxing, Cycling, Running on a Treadmill, just to name a few. Our Comcast cable provider has on demand videos where you can talk into the remote: “Weight Training,” “Pilates,” “Cardio,” “Yoga,” etc. and you immediately have workouts playing right in your living room. 

If you’re looking to diet you can go Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, Vegan, Weight Watchers, Nutri-Systems and more. You can track your calories with Lose It! or a dozen other calorie and nutrition counters. Heck, you wanna be like Tom Brady you can do the TB12 method.

Whether you’re trying to close a deal, or get fit, the choices can be overwhelming. I kinda feel like that old salesmen, if I’m ever going to get back below 200 pounds, I just need one program that’s going to work for me. And an app isn’t going to help me get my ass out of bed at 5:30am. 

So much of success and productivity, personally and in business, is about focus. It’s about narrowing and eliminating choices, not adding more and more bright shiny objects. 

Water, when focused enough can cut through steel. If you put a piece of paper on hot asphalt, nothing will happen. But if you put a magnifying glass in between the sun and that paper it will burn a hole through it. That’s the energy and power of focus.

Unfortunately, in the absence of focus we often become loyal to activity masquerading as accomplishment.

Your dealership’s marketing is very similar. With the never-ending and ever-growing plethora of media choices it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused. And if you listen to your sales people, you should be doing it all. But that’s just flat wrong.

You can dabble in a little bit of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and so on and get zero traction, or you can focus on the fundamentals and have the discipline to stick with your plan, and you’ll get game changing results.

I should know, I made every expensive marketing mistake in the book in my Dealership days. And while I may have grappled with my fitness discipline in recent years, I have not wavered on my commitment to disciplined and focused marketing, which is why here at PSM we’ve experienced growth every year since our founding in 2004. 

The first lesson I learned is that my CPA has no idea what my number one asset is because it doesn’t show up on my balance sheet. It’s our customer list. If we can grow our number of active customers each year, we can experience Predictable Growth. 

And your dealership is no different. That’s why for 112 straight months of producing this newsletter our goal has remained the same. To educate dealers on proven marketing best practices so they can sell more units and make more money. 

Your goal is not only to grow your customer list each year, it’s to increase the frequency of visits from past and present customers. The most likely person to give you money in the future is someone who has given you money in the past. 

This is why capturing accurate customer data is so important. When you get their first name, last name, email, phone number and snail mail address, you have the most reliable way to communicate compelling and relevant messages in a 1-to-1 manner to your most receptive target audience via the most affordable media. Yet so many dealers take their past customers for granted, don’t market to them, and waste all of their budget on the latest greatest digital wizardry going after new blood. Wide and shallow, rather than narrow and deep. Meanwhile, your customers haven’t heard from you in months, or years, and get a feeling of indifference. They think, “Might as well order my next leather jacket online rather than ride over to my local dealer on my lunch break. Those guys don’t really notice my business anyway. Maybe shop around for a few prices on my next new bike rather than go to my favorite trusted dealer.”

Once you’ve allocated the proper resources to your existing customers to increase their annual value, NOW it’s time to develop a plan to go after new customers to grow your list. 

First things first is your online reputation. Do you have a pro-active solution in place to consistently acquire positive reviews so you are boosting your online presence and burying those few negative reviews written by unreasonable customers? 

If not, every penny you spend going after new customers can be undermined because new customers are going to always research you online prior to buying. 

Our Sharp Shooter program includes Direct Mail to your house list for retention, and an optional sourced list for new blood. It also includes email, Facebook, and the telephone. 

Our Local Web Dominator product has produced over 150,000 verified reviews from real customers for Powersports dealers. It also provides you with a kick ass Firestorm email platform to increase the frequency of visits from your regular customers. Want new customers, we can bolt on Google Ads and Facebook Advertising.

Our “Done for You” products have been built with a FOCUS for Predictable Growth for your dealership without all the clutter and without breaking the bank. 

To quote Jim Rohn: “Massive Action on a few initiatives beats diluted action on too many.” 

Contact us today at 877-242-4472.
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Plan to Have a Record Year in 2019!

Rod Stuckey | 12/17/2018

Brian Tracy famously said, “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1000 percent return on energy!”  I tend to agree. A buddy of mine had a similar saying he called the 6-P Rule, “Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!”

With 2019 knocking on the door, this raises the question of how do you and your team plan for the New Year? 

Personally, I still favor an old-fashioned paper calendar and a pen. My wife and I recently sat at the kitchen table, she with her trusty family calendar and me with my Franklin Covey paper planner going month by month January through December documenting my business meetings, the kids school breaks, activities, vacation, birthdays, etc. Upon completion it felt so good to have a plan and know what to expect. 

Here at the office, we have a much more elaborate planning system. With the help from a great book called Traction by Gino Wickman, our leadership team and I have created a big picture vision by setting a 10-year goal based on realistic sales history and previous year-over-year growth. 10 years is a long time and too far out to really be able to impact today. So, using the 10-year math as a projection, we roll it back and paint the picture for where we should be in 3 years. That’s still a long way out so we then roll it back again to a 1year goal. From here, we dial it back one more time to create quarterly goals. Now we live in a 90-day world whereby all of our goals are transparent with one another and reviewed together in a weekly meeting. We’ve also factored in our existing company core values, created a core purpose, and have a very specific marketing strategy. 

And at the foundation, our marketing strategy is tied to… you guessed it, a calendar.  In fact, we believe so much in the power of a calendar to help you plan your marketing we created a 2019 powersports specific one and sent it to you in the mail (If it didn’t make its way to your desk feel free to request one via email or phone and we’ll drop one in the mail for you).

A marketing planning calendar is beneficial for multiple reasons. For starters, to be an effective marketer you must always be living in the future. It takes time to create content, decide how you plan to deliver that content, and execute an effective marketing campaign at the right time to deliver maximum results. 

Each month our calendar provides you with proven choices for creative that is relevant, compelling, and best of all doesn’t just focus on PRICE.

With proper planning you can even merchandise your accessory area and other parts of the dealership to compliment your marketing. In January you can do a “Resolve to Ride” or a “Gear Up for the New Year” campaign. 

In February you can do “Cabin Fever Reliver” or “Valentines Day” as your focus. In March it’s “Time to Ride,” “St. Patrick’s Day,” and “Bike Week”. April can be “Perfect time to Ride” or “Smoking Spring and Burning Rubber.” May has “Memorial Day” and “Cinco de Mayo” - both proven winners. “Celebrating Dad for Father’s Day” in June is always solid. Patriotic campaigns are high performers with “Independence Day” in July. Heck sometimes we “Celebrate our Independence all Month Long” in July or even have “Christmas in July.”  In August we can try to “Beat the Heat” and in September celebrate “Labor Day” or have a “New Model Open House.” October gets spooks with “Halloween” and then we’re off to the races for “Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year’s” all are must-celebrates in the retail world. 

It’s no secret that Amazon has changed the landscape of retail forever. Heck, I just heard my kids talking about other kids peeking into their parents Amazon order history to see what’s under the tree this year.  That’s just crazy, they don’t even have to open the gifts and re-wrap them like we did. Anyway, it’s your job as Dealer Principal, as the marketer of your dealership, to provide your customers and prospects with a compelling reason for why to get out from behind the computer and come down to your dealership. Remember, you’re not selling washing machines or gravesites, you’re selling FUN! 

If you give your customers a reason, they will happily visit a toy store filled with fun where they can see it, feel it, touch it, smell it, and even try it on! You do have an advantage over the online retailers, but you must exploit it. 

If you don’t give them a reason, they might as well order it off the computer. Seems more convenient. You’ve worked too hard and invested too much to blow it by not executing a well-planned marketing calendar that could make 2019 your best year ever! And, we’d love to partner with you to make it happen.

For more information on our “done for you” Sharp Shooter campaigns contact us at 877-242-4472 or visit us at

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What do Nike, Politics, and Wall Street have to do with Your Dealership?!

Rod Stuckey | 10/01/2018

 As I write this the internet is melting over Nike’s new Colin Kaepernick “Just Do It” marketing campaign.  According to the <leaning> left, online sales are up 31% and the campaign has already received $43 million in free advertising. According to the <leaning> right, stock immediately dropped $4 billion, but the real impact of losing the conservatives patronage will take time as shoes and clothing aren’t daily/weekly purchases like the Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, or In-&-Out Burger controversies of past.  


As business owners we’re often taught to look up to the big mega companies, and even copy what they are doing because, after all, they’re big so they must be smart. In fact, I was taught early on that the purpose of my advertising was to get my name out there and build my brand. Well if you’re Nike, Budweiser, Ford or any of the household super companies this strategy makes some sense. But, it’s a huge myth in the small-to-medium sized business (SMB) world. 


We hear about the American economy on the news and social media as if it’s one big category. In reality, the American Economy is made up of 3 very different sectors. There is the ‘Political’ sector funded by us tax payers where Washington operatives, lawyers, lobbyists and lifelong politicians revolve around a fake money machine deciding how our money will be spent. I’m sure there are some good honest politicians out there, but corruption happens all too often in this sector. City officials like former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, who with the help of his friends extorted contractors and used public funds as his own piggy bank, stealing millions of dollars. It’s interesting to look at the homes, cars, and lifestyles of many of our state and federal representatives and cross reference that with their salary and see the obvious lack of congruence. When this sector spends money, it is not their own. When they earn money, its sources can be mysterious.


Then there is the ‘Wall Street’ sector of the economy made up of publicly traded companies and banks where industry insiders seek to capitalize profits in any manner possible, including fraud, collusion, and conflict of interest to maximize personal wealth. Like Madoff did with his 65 billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. There is plenty of upstanding and legal business going on Wall Street, but the lines between systematic corruption and honest business can be very blurry. This is where most of the big business world like Nike lives, and just as in the political sector when Wall Street CEO’s and pundits are spending money, it is investor money, not their money, worked for and earned by them. 


Then you have a huge pipeline of money flowing between those two sectors. This is where Washington Lobbyist come into play. A lobbyist is someone hired by a business (or a cause) to persuade legislators to support that business or cause. Lobbyists get paid to win favor from politicians. For example, oil companies send lobbyists to Washington to try to make life easier for oil companies.


In the 2013-2014 election cycle Wall Street banks, companies, and trade associations spent $1.4 billion to influence policy making in Washington. Lobbying is legal, and bribery is illegal, and separating the two can be a real challenge. Many consider this an ongoing cycle of legalized bribery and systematic insider corruption. 


One thing is for sure, money modifies behavior, and that makes the difference between bribery and lobbying feel like semantics. 


The 3rd sector is Main Street America, where you and I live and work. Where small-to-medium sized businesses drive the economy, do real work, and provide real jobs. In the first two sectors, up is often down, and left is often right. No logic. However, in the Main Street sector honesty, hard work, and smart business best practices reign supreme. 


This is important to understand, because only in the 3rd sector do the laws of money have authority. In the first two, it’s a fantasy land. You and I must understand where we live and work, in the Main Street economy, and not drift over into watching and copy-catting those other two fictitious worlds.  


The only money we have to spend is our money. And nobody spends someone else’s money the way they spend their own money. 


The Main Street sector truly is the backbone of our economy, and since 1995 two out of every three jobs created comes from the SMB sector. And it’s also important to note that small business is what creates big business. Bezos started Amazon in his garage and Zuckerburg started Facebook in his dorm. 


Unlike the Wall Street folks, the purpose of your advertising isn’t to build your brand, it’s to grow new market share and increase retention through lead-generation marketing that builds relationships with your target audience. And when you do this properly you get branding and a positive ROI as a happy by product.  


We’re proud to be part of the Main Street Economy, and that’s why our goal here at PSM is to enrich lives by providing powerful turn-key marketing so people, businesses, and our (main street) economy can thrive!


We realize that you work hard for your money and that when you spend it on advertising you expect quantifiable results.  That’s why every single product we sell we also use ourselves in our day-to-day business. If I wouldn’t spend my money on it, we don’t sell it. 


For more information on lead generation marketing contact us today at 877-242-4472 or shoot us a message at


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Good, Fast, Cheap... Pick Two

Rod Stuckey | 09/03/2018



If there is one thing many Dealers and OEM’s consistently get wrong with their advertising, it’s that your marketing can’t be all about selling things to people. Instead your marketing should be part of a much larger formula designed to create a connection, an experience that separates you from your competitors. 


The products you carry are commodities, and IF your advertising is all about, “Hey you, wanna buy my product?” then you are weakening that connection as opposed to strengthening it, and the experience is similar to shopping for groceries. 


There is no real difference between your metal and your competitor’s, or your helmets versus your competitor’s.  Just as there is no difference in the Mayfield milk from Publix or Kroger. This leads to the slippery slope of discounting. Inevitably, when improperly executed, advertising often becomes about the thing, the product. Then, since my Mayfield milk is the same as your Mayfield milk, the only way I can attract you to buy from me versus my competitor is, “Cheapest Price.” 


Fortunately, you’re not selling milk, washing machines, or grave sites, you’re selling FUN, EXCITEMENT, and ADVENTURE! That’s a huge marketing advantage for us in this industry. 


It’s actually depressing when the most exciting thing you have to say about your dealership is, “Wanna buy something today?”, or worse, “We’re the cheapest in town.” This approach is not only bad for you, it’s bad for the brands you sell, it’s bad for your entire market, and hell, by extension it’s bad for the entire Powersports Industry. Teaching enough consumers that all dealers should sell with a deep discount and all buyers should shop and buy based solely on price is a detriment to us all, even the small percentage of dummies who shop solely based on price.  


I get it, you’re a dealer and you have no control over the products and the commoditization of what you sell. That’s exactly why you should advertise and sell what you do have control over, what separates you from your competitors, your value proposition, what puts you into a category of ONE rather than a category of many - the worst of which is participating in the discounting war on the Inter-Webs, classified sites, etc. 


Here’s what Dan Kennedy has to say about the discounting strategy: “It is fundamentally the selling of confessed inferiority, rather than the selling of asserted superiority. This is a choice you make.”


I was a dealer for many years in both Powersports and Automotive, and I’m a practical person. I certainly understand there are circumstances in which you absolutely must discount to earn the customer’s business. You follow the sales process, you write each customer up at full price, you fight for every dollar and close every single deal humanly possible. I’m not disputing that, what I am disputing is that there are better ways of attracting and retaining the right kinds of customers than lazy low APR finance offers, $1,000 off, $500 over book value for your trade, etc. 


Ever hear the saying, “Good, Fast, Cheap, pick two?”  It’s a real thing. Google it.  It’s true.


My son likes McDonalds after a long day of motos, so against my better judgment I’ve recently been frequenting the establishment more than I care to admit. I’m absolutely astounded at how consistently HORRIBLE the service is. And, at least the food is terrible as well. But, it’s fast and it’s cheap. 


Which position do you want to stand for: “We Suck, But We’re Cheap” Or “Premium products with Premium service by Powersports Professionals”?


Famous ad man, David Ogilvy, said: “Have something interesting to say before you spend money saying things.” Price isn’t interesting, but people are. Look at the boom of social media, it’s so addictive because it’s so interesting, and it’s so interesting because it’s about people.


Here at PSM we’ve developed a mobile app that takes a picture of your customer after they’ve made a purchase. Through marketing automation, we send them a congratulations and thanks for their business email with that picture of them and their new ride. Then we send a text or email request to write a review online. We can automatically publish that review and that picture to social media. 


We all know that reviews are huge, but so is going the extra mile and creating a connection and an exciting experience by congratulating customers on one of the most exciting purchases they have or will ever make. 


Our Sharp Shooter program is one-to-one marketing, from a person to a person, inviting them to an event to have fun first, and creating a whole bunch of leads as a happy by product. Not begging them to buy or peddling a discount. 


When these two products are combined they grow new customers, increase retention and referrals (online and offline).  They are carefully designed to create a better connection and an improved customer experience. We’d love to share our secret recipe with you, for more information contact us today at 877-242-4472 or visit us online to learn more:

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I Have to Discount Because My Dealership is Different!

Rod Stuckey | 08/01/2018

 Back in the late 90’s ATV’s were selling like hot cakes. Two of our family-owned Honda stores were located on the outskirts of Atlanta, just a couple hour drive across the state line to two of the biggest discounters in the nation. And with no sales tax being collected, stacked on top of the low ball price, matching their prices were only do-able if we liked to dip into hold back, or lose money all together. My sales people and sales managers had me convinced that every single customer who came through the doors had a Cycle Trader magazine and price shopped us against the discounters. 


Like so many dealers, I took the bait. Hook, line and sinker. We had to become a discounter to be competitive, because of our location and our products. “Our dealership was different.”


And I’m ashamed to say, we starting advertising low-ball prices.  And even though we weren’t holding any gross profit, we were going to make it up in volume. We wouldn’t ever turn down a deal, and we’d match any price.


Sure, we rolled some units that year, but cash flow was tighter than Dick’s hat band. I hated to see the floor checker show up, and yearned for the hold back check each quarter. It was no way to live. 


I was young, dumb, and inexperienced, and didn’t understand that business is a game of margin, not volume.  I know, this isn’t what the ‘Everyday Joe’ believes, nor is it what your college professor taught you in Econ 101. But, they are wrong! Which is why they aren’t running successful businesses. 


Many people don’t realize that there are roughly 800,000 new businesses started each year in the United States. Half of those will fail in the first year. And of the balance, another half of those will fail in year two.  


But the failures aren’t just small Ma-and-Pa businesses. There are plenty of big, corporate, fancy CEO’s that sincerely believe, albeit ignorantly, that growing market share and increasing volume are the secrets to their success. 

In 2001 there were a record number of big dumb company bankruptcies with over 250 major organizations that filed for bankruptcy alone that year. Between 2000 and 2004, 23 of the 40 biggest bankruptcies of all time occurred. Many, if not most, of these companies like K-Mart and The Flemings company (who owned Piggly Wiggly and IGA grocery stores and were doing 15.6 billion in revenue) focused on being the low price leader. 


Consider this: When was the last time you saw a business having a “Going out of Business” price increase?


The reality is, when most businesses get in trouble, the first thing they do is resort to discounting with the mind set of, “We’ll make it up in volume.” 


An industry that is a great case study in discounting is the Airlines. Back in 78 when President Carter deregulated the industry, which meant the airlines were free to charge whatever they wanted, not one raised its prices. Instead they began a fierce discounting race to the bottom which resulted in dozens of Airline bankruptcy filings. And not just the small airliners, but the big boys like Eastern, Continental (twice), US Airways, Piedmont, Pan Am and even Delta, who’s pilot concessions allowed them to narrowly avoid demise. 


Ever hear the story of the two illustrious entrepreneurs from Texas who sold watermelons? They owned a pick up truck and heard they could drive down to Mexico and buy the melons for a buck a piece. So to sell in volume they decided they would bundle them at wholesale for $10.00 a dozen. They sold out before they even made it all the way back to San Antonio. Sitting on the side of the road and counting their money they realized the were a little short on cash. The one entrepreneurs looks to the other and says, “You thinking what I’m thinking?” “Yep. We’re gonna need a bigger truck!”

Owen Young of GE once said, “It’s not the crook we fear in modern business; rather the honest guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing.” 


Here’s something to consider. If everyone buys soley on price why would anyone buy a Cadillac Escalade for an extra 20 grand over a Chevrolet Tahoe?


Why buy a Ruth’s Chris steak for $50 bucks over a $10 dollar special from Outback. 


The truth is, only about 10% of consumers make their buying decisions soley based on price. I know what your sales manager has convinced you of, “But my dealership is different.”  DON’T BELIEVE IT!


Here’s another stat you’ve likely never heard. No less than 5%, to as high as 20%, of consumers are suspicious of the lowest price and prefer a better or premium option. This is especially true with the more affluent buyer. 


The following year, with the help of a 20 group, reading books, and the negative cash flow experiences of discounting, we totally changed our marketing and sales process. 


We no longer advertised about price, we promoted events at our dealerships, and we put a deal desking system in place where we presented full price every time regardless of circumstance, and trained our staff to build value in more than just the product, but our staff and service, before, during and after the sale. Our volume dropped from 1,000 units to about 850 and our bottom line quadrupled. And those 150 hardcore shoppers that we didn’t do deals with weren’t missed, they got to be someone else’s headache. 


And this is why to this day we do not recommend or promote discount advertising. There is a much better way. Our Sharp Shooter Predictable Growth System is a pro-active and calculated system designed to grow new customers and increase the value of your existing customers without ever mentioning price or a discount. And it works! 


For more information contact us today at 877-242-4472 or shoot us a message at

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What’s the Purpose of Your Website?

Rod Stuckey | 06/11/2018

As the story goes, a mom was making a pot roast for family dinner with the help of her daughter. Before placing it in the oven she cut the ends off of each side of the roast. Her daughter asked why, and mom replied “because that’s how my mother taught me to do it. I think it may sear in the flavor, but I’m not sure.”  Curious the daughter called her grandmother and asked why she cut the ends off the roast. The grandmother said it was just how she was taught by her mother. So the daughter called her great grandmother at the nursing home to ask about the roast. The great grandmother explained that her oven was so small, she had to cut the ends off of the roast so it would fit into her tiny oven.


This story is commonly shared because of all of the habits we as human beings fall into without question, just because it’s how it was done before us.


This also happens all the time with business, and processes. Back in the late 90’s I was one of the first wave of dealers to sign up with Powersports Network for a website. Having previously experimented with a customer building our sites only to find out updating units was just too heavy of a lift, I knew that a ‘done for you’ specialty provider was the way to go. And I was right, PSN made a great product and were regularly listening to clients and adding new features and bells and whistles.


At some point way back then, I think we all began to think that the more navigation buttons we had the better the site. In time the sites became extremely busy even offering games and puzzles, weather widgets, and all kinds of other amusing links designed to entertain site visitors and therefore increase their duration.


Back then, many “experts” were teaching us that the goal of our sites was to keep visitors hanging around longer. Things evolved, and in time we all begin looking harder at how to drive more traffic to sites and generate more leads from that traffic. Many of these “newer” best practices challenged the traditional thinking of the more bells and whistles the better. What was really the goal of a dealer’s website supposed to be?


Here at PSM we sat back and watched as new site providers came in and took market share from Powersports Network who once owned our industry. We even became fans of some of the new providers and would recommend them to our clients. As a marketing company it was our job to figure out how to drive more quality traffic to sites and get that traffic to convert into leads. As time has passed, the new providers began adding more and more “bells and whistles” and we once again began challenging what many of the “experts” were saying was the purpose of a site.


This had a lot to do with our decision to enter the website business. We often have dealers tell us the purpose of their site is “to get our name out there”, “it’s our online store front”, “it’s the new yellow pages”, “to brand our dealership” etc.


None of those answers are necessarily bad, and most are a happy byproduct of a good site, but none are the exact answer we’re looking for. We have a very narrow focus and feel that the purpose of your website is: “To Generate Sales Opportunities aka Quality Leads.”  


That seems pretty straight forward right? You can’t sell a new or pre-owned bike online, so the next best thing is to have site visitors raise their hand and identify themselves as prospective buyers (aka a conversion). The more your site “converts” the more leads you generate, and the more leads you have, the more you should sell.


So why do some dealer sites in similar market areas with similar brands generate 30% to 50% more leads than their competitor? Let’s look at two popular search engines for some perspective.


Here is what Google looks like when you arrive:              And here is what Yahoo looks like:













Both are search engines, but Google owns about 86% of the *market share with Yahoo and Bing fighting for most of the balance. Google has a clear vision as to what the purpose of their site is. They want the visitor to “convert” by typing in a search keyword or phrase. They have had the discipline all these years to fight off the bright shiny objects that could be all over their home page. Do you think Google could generate some revenue by putting corporate advertising on their home page? You bectcha they could, but they remain laser focused on the purpose of their site. Here at PSM we’re really excited about our new Firestorm websites, and we’ve bought a bigger oven and are no longer cutting the ends off the roast.


We’d love to share our secret recipe with you, for more information contact us today at 877-242-4472 or shoot us a message at  


*Research conducted by Statistica

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2 Big Changes at Google Every Dealer Should Understand

Rod Stuckey | 06/01/2018



When we first entered into the Online Reputation Management game back in 2011 it was a pretty leading edge concept. Nowadays a pro-active approach to growing dealership reviews is nearly normal and customary. 


It’s for good reason, as 85% of consumers trust online reveiws as much as personal recommendations.*


Google is well aware of this stat, and due to the power of online reviews to influence buyers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they take the integrity of the reviews they display very seriously. Unfortunately, the rise in popularity of online reviews has also brought along a number of spammy and unethical ways to attempt to game the system. 


A couple of years ago we saw a spike in fake reviews that were blatantly obvious.  Some were downright entertaining. These came from black-hat companies hiring low wage, off shore people to create fake google accounts and write fake reviews. Even customers caught on and called businesses out like this real review.


It didn’t take Google long to catch on. And when you got busted, they often deleted all of your reviews, even the real ones. 


Fast forward to today. 


Since creating the Powersports Industry’s first software-based review acquisition system, we’ve generated well over 130,000 verifed customer reviews (  We’ve always been commited to complying with Google’s terms of service by only soliciting authentic reviews from real customers.


Well, last month Google revised their terms of service to prohibit what they call “Review Gating.” There were two big changes in the announcement.

1. Don’t solicit reviews from customers in bulk. 


2. Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers. 


Regarding Policy #1: The only time our reputation management program solicits reviews in bulk is during what we called our “jump start” process, which typically happens when setting up an account for a new client. Like many other companies, we’d take the dealership’s opted-in email list and send them all a review invitation to launch the program. However, due to Google’s policies, this is no longer allowed. Other providers may wait until the end of each day or week and send 50 to 200 review requests, and this is no longer a viable option either. 


It’s also pretty easy for Google to monitor this because your dealership will go days or weeks with no reviews and then get 5 or 10 or more in one day. 


Now, what Google is deeming appropriate, and has even implemented themselves in some markets (for Android phone users), is what we’ve always prescribed as the ‘best practice’ for review invitations. Dealerships should ask for a review and send review invitations immediately after your customer does business with you. It just makes sense. We originally began executing this strategy via DMS integration, and still do for many dealers. However, it’s not perfect because many dealers aren’t so hot at collecting email adresses at the point of sell in the DMS, and sending a system-generated email doesn’t feel very personal.


That’s one of the many reasons we recently released a new ‘Reviews and Rankings’ mobile app.  This mobile app allows the sales person to take a photo of the customer with their brand new unit from their phone, and then immedialty trigger a couple of emails to the customer. The first email thanks them for their business (and includes the picture of them on their new ride).  The second email is a review invitiation email (and text capability is coming soon). The photo really adds to the overall buying experience, makes it personal and greatly enhances the review invite’s conversion ratio. While it’s less automated than the DMS integration, it creates more ownership from the staff because the review is listed under their name, and creates a fun ‘rankings’ system in your dealership. So there is a “What’s in it for me?” component for the individual sending the review invite.  


Regarding Policy #2: Don’t selectively solicit positive reviews or discourage or prohibit negative reivews. This is really what “Review Gating” is. Our system, and many others out there, used to ask customers if they had an excellent experience or a less than excellent experience. This would act as a simple filtering mechanism, and if their experience was excellent, we would ask for a review. If their experience was less than excellent, we would send them to a private feedback survey. 

I personally don’t view this strategy as black-hat or unethical in any way. From my perspective the only people who used to leave reviews were pissed off customers and happy customers just went away happy. “Review Gating,” as Google calls it, was just a smart way for business owners to level the playing field. But, the Goog doesn’t see it that way.


Their ball, their court, their rules, their referees, and we’re committed to playing the game within the rules, so we immediately killed our filtering system. Remember, there could be serious consequences to not following the rules; like loosing years of real harvested reviews, so it’s not worth testing the Google Algorithms. 


Good news is that initial testing of the Reviews & Rankings mobile app usages is showing more reviews generated, because every single customer is getting an invite, and many potentials reviewers are not being filtered out. Furthermore, customers are more educated and expect to see some negative reviews and if they don’t they will be suspicious. So the best way to fix a bad review or two remains the same as we’ve always taught, bury it with positive reviews. 


For more information on our new Reviews and Rankings mobile app, or how we can help you boost your online reputation contact us today at 877-242-4472 or shoot us a message at

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Nobody Likes to Be Sold, But Everyone Likes to Buy!

Rod Stuckey | 05/04/2018

 There’s no doubt that having a sales process and trained staff in your new and used departments will result in selling more units. However, the best sales techniques on the planet are useless if the buyer doesn’t want to buy. This is why understanding buying motives is equally as important, if not more, than top notch sales skills.


The reality is buying a motorcycle, RV, boat, etc. is an emotional purchase, not a logical one. This is why the intent of all of your dealerships marketing should be to “trigger” the emotions that lead to “wanting to own” rather than the “defensive logic” of not wanting to be sold. 


Month in and month out in this newsletter we talk about our “Predictiable Growth” formula which is to “touch” your Buying Base 52 to 104 times per year. This may sound pretty simple but  it can easily be botched up with the wrong approach. For example, if every time I receive a message from you, regardless of the media, it is always “Hey you, wanna buy a bike, lets do a deal, I wanna sell you….”  then which emotion are you triggering, wanting to own or not wanting to be sold?


Just as a reminder, we define your Buying Base with two groups of customers/prospects. Customers, who are already in your database because they have done business in the past, and prospects who are not in your database, but live in your market area and have an interest in the products you sell, but have not done business with you in the past. You don’t own those customers in your database, they are only rented, and the rent is due every month. BUT…. They are the most likely people to give you money in the future if you continue to “trigger” their emotions of “wanting to own”.  That second group, the prospects who haven’t done business with you are a little more expensive to get into the dealership, but still a solid target audience to allocate budget to, if you do it the right way.


So let’s look at two pretend Dealer Principals with two different approaches to their annual marketing plan. Both are astute dealers and create an annual plan of attack rather than being completley reactive month in and month out. They are both experienced and have wasted hundreds of thousands on mass media like radio and TV and now believe direct marketing clearly provides the best bang for the buck. They also both buy into going after their Buying Base to “touch” them 52 to 104 times per year. 


There is only one main difference in their marketing approach, the message. Dealer one is all about “Moving the Metal”. His direct mail, email, facebook, etc. is all about finance special offers, best trade in value, factory rebates, low price guarantee, and meeting monthly goals, every single month. 


Dealer two on the other hand creates a “Reason to Visit his Dealership (and Website)” every single month by hitching his wagon to the time of year. In January he does a “Resolve to Ride” campaign, in February it’s a “Cabin Fever Reliever” theme, in March it’s “Spring is in the Air” in April it’s “April Showers Bring May Horsepower” and so on. You get the idea. In most of his marketing he’s sending an invitiation to his Buying Base to come into the dealership for a party they are having with Free Food, Drinks, Door Prizes, and more. He also offers a Free widget to customers who will go to a landing page and share what’s on their mind this time of year. AKA... what they would “like to own”.


Dealer 1 is only generating quantifiable leads from those who raise their hands and say they are in the market to buy today (low funnel) and are ready to negotiate. Usually less than 1% of your list. Dealer 2 is generating leads from those who are just sharing what they are interested in owning for any department in the dealership. Sure, many of these leads are higher up in the funnel, but he also picks up all of the same low funnel leads that Dealer 1 is getting, but those leads are not as focused on price. So, Dealer 2 has a much larger list of leads to follow up with, creating a month long sales process. Bolt this to the event he has each month, and he is constantly “triggering” the emotion of wanting to own. Furthermore, everyone loves to be invited to a party, and even those who don’t respond or come to Dealer 2’s event, feel an affinity towards that dealer, and when the time comes they will recipricate. 


Gitomer defines it like this: “The head is attached to the price, and the heart is attached to the wallet. If I pull on the heartstring, the wallet will pop out of the back pocket, and the only thing that can stop it is logic.”


It’s officially riding season, and there is no better time of year than right now to execute the above outlined strategy, so you can sell more units and make more money. Contact us today at  877-242-4472 to learn more or visit us online at

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How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website and Turn Suspects into Prospects

Rod Stuckey | 04/02/2018


“Couple sells all possessions for sailboat, sinks 2 days into trip.” This is the headline in a recent Fox News article about a young Colorado couple who sold all of their possesions to buy a boat and sail around the world. 


The couple, age 24 and 26 said they were, “tired of working,” and dreamed of a life sailing around the world.


“How can we live our lives when we’re working most of the day and you have to pay so much just to live?” 24 Year old Nikki Walsh told the New York Times. 


So, apparently their solution was to sell all their furniture, their SUV and purchase a 49-year-old boat in Alabama to live on and sail the world. 


“We were pretty prepared,” Walsh said, but the boat capsized in a channel of water called John’s Pass. She and her boyfriend, who previously drove for Uber, did later admit they were “new” to sailing. 


But, wait. There’s more. The couple has set up a Go Fund Me account to help them rescue their boat and keep the ‘sailing the world’ dream alive. Tired of working at age 24? You serious, Clark? <Insert hand slapping me in the face emoji here.>


“You only have one life. Why spend it doing what you don’t love. Money isn’t everything!” Walsh told the Post.


Is this pathetic or what? Money is what makes the makes the world go around, it’s what shapes our economy, our country, our security, and our quality of life. And the only people I’ve ever heard spew that money doesn’t matter crap are people who don’t have any. 


If money isn’t so important then why start the Go Fund Me?


And money moves based on principle. You can’t trick it, and this poor couple is going to learn that the hard way. 

Think about your used inventory. The market, supply and demand, are what dictates the true value of what a unit will bring.  And it can’t be deceived, regardless of what some book or website says it’s worth. I know, because I’ve tried it many times. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of thousands of dollars I’ve written off in obsolete inventory, over allowing for trades, over paying at auctions, etc. I’ve made many stupid mistakes trying to trick the movement of money in business. 


That’s the problem with get-rich-quick schemes, 4-hour work weeks, and silver bullet marketing magic jargon. It’s all attempting to out smart money, and money can’t be out smarted. You must devise a plan, execute that plan, and work to earn it, a concept this young couple has yet to grasp. 


Sadly, this world is full of mis-informed, mis-guided, do-gooders who think giving these folks money is a good idea, which is evident by the over $16,000 that has been donated to their Go Fund Me, exceeding their $10,000 goal! You can’t make this stuff up. 


While that may seem to be a solution to this couple’s challenges, it’s going take a lot more than that to buy a boat and sail the world. It will only undermine the ultimate life lessons about work, money, dignity, discipline, and fulfillment that all successful high achievers learn. Similar to how procrastination and indulgence are just creditors who charge you interest. 


Here at PSM we speak with hundreds of dealers a week, which means we run across many who have no clue of the principles of marketing and/or are trying to outsmart or trick them. Many times, dealers hire young in-experienced marketing managers, or appoint office managers to handle tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing decisions, who are no more qualified to do so than are those two Coloradoans are to sail the world. If you’re reading this, you’re likely not one of them, or won’t be for long. Good for you.


Right Message, Right Market, Right Media, Right Time, are the guiding principles that we have focused on in this newsletter for the last 100 plus issues. It’s also, the foundation behind all of the products we’ve created over the years. And if we can’t quantify its performance with real metrics, we don’t touch it. We don’t do it because it “feels good.” We do it because our metrics say that it works, and we should do more of it.


That’s one of the many reasons I’m so excited about our Firestorm email system. Not only is it architected with our guiding principles in mind, it’s the only email software built from the ground up specifically for this industry that allows you to send kick ass emails fast, without needing to be a graphics wizard. The data says it’s consistently one of the top three sources of website traffic for our clients often accounting for more than 1/3 of all total website traffic. That’s huge! But, that’s not the only thing that makes our system unique. We’re able to follow that traffic to your site, and then send them a follow up triggered email, taking an anonymous website visitor and moving them further into the sales funnel. 


This couple’s plan may have sunk, but yours doesn’t have to ; -). To learn more, join one of afternoon webinar training sessions at or give us a call, 877.242.4472.

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How to Attract New Riders and Millennials without Alienating Your Best Customers

Rod Stuckey | 02/21/2018


 There’s been a lot of buzz in the industry about attracting millenials and also new riders. As Tory pointed out last month in his back page article, we’ve seen modest declines in unit sales over the last two years, but what is more concerning is the average age of riders continuing to rise; from 32 in 1990 to 47 in 2016. 


Attracting new riders is a tricky topic, and one that many folks in the industry are weighing in on, but lack the expertise and wisdom to fully understand the complexity of the matter. For starters, many haven’t heard the story often shared in this newsletter about the Two Shoe Salesmen. 


To recap, two shoe salesmen from two different companies are traveling abroad exploring new potential markets to break into. They wind up in a third-world country with a population of three million people. They walk off the plane and discover nobody, not one single person in this country is wearing shoes. Neither salesperson can believe their eyes.


The first salesman, who’s so excited he can barely breathe, scrambles to call his boss at the home office. 


 “Boss! You’re never going to believe this! I just stepped off the plane in this country of three million people and discovered no one, and I mean not a single soul is wearing shoes! People are just walking around barefoot, we’ve struck the lottery. How quickly can you send me 50,000 pairs of shoes? We’re gonna be rich!”


The second salesperson is equally as shocked. He fumbles for his cell phone and he too quickly dials his boss. 


“Boss! You gotta get me out of here. There’s three million people here and not one of them, I mean no one is wearing any shoes! How soon can I get home?”


So, which sales person is right? 


If you guessed the 2nd, you’re absolutely correct. Those 3 million people don’t want shoes and don’t see the need for them.  And, they couldn’t afford them even if you did convince them. 


While New York City may be a very competitive market to sell shoes, it’s far more viable of an option than selling to a third-world country.


There may be over 300 million people in the US, but the statistical** reality is less than 5% have any interest in motorcycles and trying to convince someone who’s not interested, to be interested, is about as productive as trying to sell shoes in a third-world country. 


With that said, I’m not saying we can’t grow, we absolutely can. I’m saying it isn’t going to happen targeting non-riders and trying to convert them into riders. If you have no interest in golf, no amount of advertising is going to turn you into a golfer. Same with motorcycles.


Another consistent statistic from the MIC is that the influence of friends and family is the number one driver of new blood into our industry. Rather than ‘spray-and-pray’ marketing, our industry needs to focus on creating better experiences for existing riders, so they will in turn, be excited to share those experiences through social media and invite friends and family. The fancy term for this is called “Experiential Marketing.”


And, guess who loves “Experiences” more than any previous generation? Millennials. Eventbrite produced a report on Millennials which stated 82% of Millennials participated in a variety of live events ranging from festivals and parties to concerts and sporting events, etc. in the last year. And, they can’t get enough, with 72% saying they’d like to increase their “Experiences” in the next year. 


I must admit, I’d never heard of “FOMO” before reading this report, but apparently 69% of Millennials admit to having FEAR OF MISSING OUT. Nothing new, just a new acronym. Desire for gain and fear of loss have always been the two basic human emotions, and we can all relate to the disappointment of missing a fun event our peers experienced. But social media is taking this to a new level.


Here’s some pie in the sky, but interesting math. If we could sell just 3% of the population a bike that would be 9 million unit sales.  As a point of reference, we did about 500,000 in 2015 and have been sliding since. We have to target riders and their friends and family who have an interest, kinda like going to New York to sell shoes. 


To achieve these kinds of numbers we must retain our best customers (the boomers and Gen X’ers) and give them a compelling reason to keep coming to the dealership, while also getting millennials involved. What’s the answer? Experiential Marketing. 

Inviting all of your existing customers into the dealership for a party, and encouraging them to invite their friends and family by offering them a free gift for coming, is a grass roots approach which could truly impact this industry if all dealers got on board. A rising tide raises all ships.


In 2013, Nielsen ran a poll asking what forms of advertising people trusted. The majority (84 percent) said they trusted a recommendation from a friend. 


So, get on board, call us today at 877.242.4472 to plan an Experiential Marketing campaign like a Spring Has Sprung Event. Let’s share our enthusiasm for this great industry with all generations of customers and make our industry healthy for decades to come!


**motorcycle industry council data

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Resolve to Grow in the New Year. Here’s How.

Rod Stuckey | 01/25/2018

 Last year we begin sharing our proven formula for Predictable Growth. It’s simple to understand, but not necessarily easy-peasy to execute. Here it is:


1. Grow your active customers. We define active customers as those who’ve given you money in the past 12 months. To accomplish this, we have two groups of folks we target. First are your inactive customers, those who’ve given you money in the past and are in your database, but not in the last year. And second are brand spanking new customers, who’ve never done business with you before. New blood. 


2. Increase annual customer value. This is accomplished by increasing the frequency of visits on an annual basis. It can also be impacted by boosting the average amount per transaction of each active customer.


So that’s the formula, and here are the principles we use to execute the formula:


Right Message, Right Market, Right Media, Right Time. Seems simple enough, right? It’s surprisingly easy to fumble. 


We often have dealers tell us, “my market is different” or “my dealership is different.” This is just not so. In fact, these four fundamentals are principle based and hold up for any business, not just powersports dealerships. For any businesses to thrive and prosper it must have a compelling marketing message, a specific target market to receive that message and respond to it, and it must be delivered at a relevant time.  While it seems simple, just like diet and exercise, most dealers don’t have the attention to detail and discipline to follow through, and therefore they waste tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per year with marketing that was set up to fail before it ever even deployed. 


Here’s how easy it is to undermine these principles and render them useless: We call this the single.


1. Right Message – Right Market – Right Media – Wrong Time


2. Right Message – Right Market – Wrong Media – Right Time


3. Right Message – Wrong Market – Right Media – Right Time


4. Wrong Message - Right Market – Right Media – Right Time


Believe it or not, it can get worse as we often see: Here’s the double.


1. Right Message – Wrong Market – Right Media – Wrong Time


2. Wrong Message – Right Market – Wrong Media – Right Time


3. Right Message – Wrong Market – Right Media – Wrong Time


4. Wrong Message - Wrong Market – Right Media – Right Time


And, here’s the triple:


1. Right Message – Wrong Market – Wrong Media – Wrong Time


2. Wrong Message – Right Market – Wrong Media – Wrong Time


3. Wrong Message – Wrong Market – Right Media – Wrong Time


4. Wrong Message - Wrong Market – Wrong Media – Right Time


And the grand slam:


1. Wrong Message - Wrong Market – Wrong Media – Wrong Time


At our Marketing Boot Camps, we refer to these four fundamentals as the four-legged stool. If you remove any one leg, regardless of which one the stool will falter. This is exactly how your marketing works.


There is only one way to get it correct: Right Message - Right Market- Right Media - Right Time. 


All too often these four fundamentals are broken due to dealers waiting to the last minute and reactively choosing how they’ll spend their marketing budget, and/ or taking the easy way out and delegating to a Marketing Manager who hasn’t been properly educated. 


With the New Year upon us, you have plenty of time to create a proactive marketing plan that will create Predictable Growth by utilizing these four fundamentals. You can have a record year in 2018, regardless of what the stock market or fake news is saying about our industry. 


Here at PSM our entire religion is committed to executing based on our Predictable Growth Formula. If we can’t measure its success through quantifiable metrics, we don’t believe in it. 


Our new Firestorm Website platform was built from the ground up with a focus on conversions. And Firestorm Email, is the only email marketing platform designed exclusively for the Powersports industry, so you can send kick ass emails to your customers without knowing photoshop or having it take hours to build.  Our Local Web Dominator program is a complete A-to-Z digital marketing system that you can bolt on to your existing web presence that will make you the obvious choice to do business with in your local market. And our Sharp Shooter multi-channel direct marketing solution is a lead generation machine, and the backbone of our Predictable Growth system.


So, don’t be a procrastinator, resolve to grow in the New Year and contact us today at 877-242-4472 or via, so we can partner with you just as we have with over 800 other dealers in every corner of the country. 


Happy New Year!

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Is E-Commerce a Good Choice for Your Dealership?

Rod Stuckey | 12/21/2017

 As I write this it’s Cyber Monday and I’m getting emails from Troy Lee Designs about a 50% OFF sale going on right now for a helmet I recently purchased. Right before my son broke his arm I ordered one of those trick Lit Pro lap time gadgets for us and I haven’t even taken it out of the box. They just emailed me an offer for $100 off <sigh>. 


This ecommerce thing is a dicey subject, particularly for brick and mortar retailers. There is no doubt that the Amazon effect is real. According to Forbes magazine 64% of all households are Amazon Prime members. $4 out of every $10 spent online are through Amazon and 80% of online growth is coming from Amazon sales. 


I was a slow adopter to Amazon. But, over the last 2 or 3 years, I’ve become addicted (and so has my wife). They’ve just made it too darn convenient. Two nights ago, I was icing my knee with a zip lock freezer bag making a water dripping mess on the couch when I thought about the trick icepacks and straps used by my Physical Therapist. Within about 2 minutes, I’d searched on Amazon and had them on the way. It was so easy to buy, I’d even forgotten I’d ordered them until I get home last night and they’re on the kitchen table. Bam, just like that. That’s why I’ve trained myself to just order it when I need it, because it will arrive before I think about it again and it saves me precious time. But, I’ve trained myself to be a Prime snob because I want free shipping, and most importantly I want it FAST. I’ve noticed that the quick turnaround time usually isn’t there from 3rd party sellers.


And, this is where things get tricky for retailers trying to participate and compete in the online sales game. Amazon has trained the market to expect a seamless, well informed, speedy shopping experience. But, that’s just the beginning of the challenges dealers face when trying to launch an ecommerce division. 


Not to poke a hornet’s nest, but many of the brands dealers carry have their own ecommerce sites and sell direct to the consumer. Then there are the 800-pound gorilla ecommerce specialists, like Rocky Mountain ATV/MC,, Motorcycle Superstore, Dennis Kirk, and others which are very difficult to compete with for the typical brick and mortar dealer. These operations usually have everything you see on their site in stock and run more like a logistics company rather than a retailer. In fact, the rumor has always been that Dennis Kirk is owned by distributor Parts Unlimited and of course Motorcycle Superstore is powered by J&P Cycles and owned by the MAG group* which merged with Tucker Rocky back in 2014. 


These outfits all have the facilities, budgets, infrastructure, software, etc. to create that well informed speedy shopping experience. On the surface, adding on an ecommerce division to the brick and mortar dealer seems simple enough. Bolt on a shopping cart and offer everything that your OEMs and aftermarket suppliers carry. When the order comes in, if you have it in stock, you pull it and ship it, if you don’t have it in stock you simply order it, then when it arrives ship it to the customer. Easy peasy, right? 


Let’s slow down a minute and put on our Parts Manager hat. What percentage of the overall orders that are placed do you think you’d have in stock?


Why would a potential online shopper choose you over the above listed 800-pound gorillas for their mail order needs?


What are the staffing levels, shipping knowledge and supplies needed to handle not only outbound shipping, but also inbound customer returns and exchanges?

How will your DMS integrate with your shopping cart to insure you are showing accurate inventory levels on your web store?

Is your physical inventory dead nuts accurate so you aren’t misleading online shoppers and potential setting yourself up for that awkward, “Sorry, our inventory wasn’t correct” conversation?


These questions and more are some of the pesky details that must be thoroughly thought through before going Ready, Fire, Aim. 


In most cases it’s just not realistic on cash flow or inventory turns for a traditional dealer to stock everything for everyone. And unfortunately, many (if not most) online shoppers are looking for selection first and discount second. Driving traffic to a webstore can be expensive as well. I spoke with a dealer at Aim Expo who told me he was spending about $10,000 per month in Google AdWords for his ecommerce site and was doing about $10,000 in sales so he was breaking even. Huh? Heck even if he was making 30% gross profit he still lost seven grand. 


But, it can get even worse, because a simple back-ordered or cross-shipped part that causes unexpected delays can upset the customer and they’ll never be back.

I’m not saying ecommerce is a bad choice for all dealers. I know that some dealers have niched themselves by product, category, or geography and had some success. I can see where going narrow and deep may be beneficial for the right dealer with the right skills and knowledge, but going wide and shallow is certainly setting yourself up for failure.


Don’t take your eye of the ball of moving metal, selling F&I, adding P&A, and generating good service work for a bright shiny object or you may find yourself stepping over quarters to pick up nickels. 


These are just a few key features of Firestorm.  But, unfortunately, I’m out of room and can’t tell you about Firestorm websites, which are an amazing bolt on to all our marketing automation tools. So, call us today at 877-242-4472 to schedule a free demo so we can walk you through how all of these pieces of the puzzle come together. 


Thanks for reading, and I look forward to another 100 issues in the future!

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Thank you, our loyal readers, for this one hundredth special edition!

Rod Stuckey | 11/07/2017

 Welcome to our 100th edition of this UMM newsletter, the longest standing (and probably only) print newsletter still published that is dedicated specifically to the Powersports Industry. When we started this, the industry landscape was changing rapidly due to the internet and a recession. Our original goal was to document and share industry specific marketing best practices since so much of what dealers were taught by the OEMs, and by feet-on-the-street advertising reps, was either outdated or just plain BS. The more we trained dealers on marketing best practices (for them to implement), the more they asked us to just do it for them. So, we did. 


Fast forward 8 plus years and we’ve evolved… a lot.  When we originally started ‘Done for You’ marketing for our clients we had a small office, small team, and outsourced most of our fulfillment. But, one constant thing around here has been change. We knew we needed to eliminate outsourcing for quicker turnaround time, no middleman markup, and to own complete control over innovation and product development.  Over the years we steadily worked towards being a full-house/in-house shop, and now we have two state-of-the-art, four-color, digital, variable printers in our office. Plus, we have our own mail room, data specialist, digital specialists, programmers, a great sales team and an ever expanding list of innovative and effective marketing products built and tested specifically for Powersports dealers by industry experts. All done right here in beautiful Peachtree City, Ga.


But one thing hasn’t changed around here, and that’s once a month, the newsletter printed on yellow paper and mailed in a clear envelope will go out. It’s a non-negotiable. (Except this month, to celebrate we’re doing this one-off in full color). 


In this issue, we’re proudly focused on our Firestorm™ suite of marketing automation tools built from the ground up to help you save time and sell more. By now I think we all agree that email marketing is a proven winner in terms of ROI. There is plenty of data to back that claim up, and that’s why we built our Firestorm Email System specifically for the Powersports dealer. Now you can create compelling emails that look great and drive loads of traffic to your website in a jiffy without having to have a professional graphic artist or know how to use photoshop. 


But, that’s just the beginning of what Firestorm can do. We’ve developed an iPhone and Android app for your smart phone that allows you to snap a picture of your customer after they’ve purchased a unit and automatically send them a ‘thanks for your business’ email with the photo of them on their new bike. The following day, the system will trigger our review acquisition system which we’ve used to harvest over 120,000 authentic customer reviews (which you can view at Then the app automatically publishes the picture to your dealership’s Facebook page. No big deal. Wanna automate Happy Birthday emails, Happy Anniversary emails, etc.? Firestorm Email can do that, too. 


Now it gets really trick with Firestorm Onboarding. To explain how it works, I’ll make an analogy using your physical showroom. So, let’s say you have 20 showroom guests today and you sell 4 bikes. That’s pretty good, right? But what about the 16 that did not buy? Wouldn’t you agree that you’d like your sales team to follow up with them? Sure, you would. 


So, using that same logic, let’s talk about your website which I like to refer to as your virtual showroom. Did you know that on average 75-80% of your website traffic visits your vehicle inventory pages? But here’s what is disappointing, usually only 1-2% of them actually complete a webform and share their information to be contacted. So, what happens to the remaining majority of web traffic that took the time out of their day to go to your vehicle detail pages (VDP)? Nothing, and it’s a shame. Kinda like showroom guests that leave without buying, having no follow up. 


Well not anymore, our onboarding system synergizes with Firestorm email to identify anonymous website traffic and automatically trigger a friendly email inviting them to the dealership. 


Now I realize that some of you may feel that is a little creepy or stalker-ish, but it’s really not. First of all, you sell fun, you are a welcomed guest, not a nagging pest. It’s not like you’re selling washing machines or gravesites, right? Secondly, the email is carefully crafted and of course doesn’t mention that you know they were on your site. I mean think about it, there are times when a customer visits your website and by coincidence the following day you send your monthly e-newsletter. Do you think that makes the customer feel uncomfortable? Of course not.  


These are just a few key features of Firestorm.  But, there’s even more great information about Firestorm websites in Tory’s article on page 7. Give us a call today at 877-242-4472 to schedule a FREE demo of any of our marketing automation tools so we can show you how all the pieces of the puzzle come together.   


Thanks for reading, and I look forward to another 100 issues in the future!

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What if you don’t train them and they stay?

Rod Stuckey | 10/02/2017

 Ever heard the old saying, “The only thing worse than spending the time and money to train your staff and they leave, is not training them and they stay?” In the last 20 plus years of attending dealer meetings, trade shows, and 20 group meetings, as both a dealer and a seminar presenter, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many great, and many not so great, dealers.  The consistent common denominator for the high performing dealers that I’ve met is that they believe in training and are willing to invest in training for themselves and their entire staff.  


As for many of the other dealers I meet, I’m amazed they invest hundreds of thousands, if not millions in facility and tens of thousands in computer systems, inventory, payroll, advertising, and special tools, but aren’t willing to invest one cent in their own education or the training of their staff. 


But I was reminded of something recently while meeting with a dealer. Most Dealer Principals (myself included) got into the motorcycle business because of a passion for the sport and the products. Not because they were excited about learning selling skills, marketing best practices, inventory control, accounting, finance, etc. 


When I first entered the business, I ignorantly thought that because I was a hardcore rider and enthusiast and an expert on the products (or so I thought) that I was a qualified dealer operator. Now, for me to even write that statement out is laughable. To make matters worse I had zero intellectual curiosity to seek out and learn dealership operating best practices.  Eventually, I was fortunate enough that my dad, the DP at that time, held weekly manager meetings and shared articles and best practices through his resourcefulness of seeking out quality information from seasoned experts. Per his military background he believed in training.  From time to time he recommended a book that I should read like, The E-myth by Gerber or Seven Habits by Covey. Initially I just thought my dad was super-smart and figured everything out by himself. But in time, as I began reading the trade publication articles and books he recommended, I started to connect the dots. What really made my father so smart was his ongoing quest to pro-actively seek out the necessary information to make our dealerships successful. 


As we grew from a single dealership to a four-store dealership group, we made some pretty serious mistakes along the way. If I had to identify the one thing that always allowed us to learn from and overcome those mistakes, it was our ongoing thirst for new information on how we could perform better, and not duplicate those errors of the past. 


At some point, to be successful in this business you must take off your enthusiast hat and make the transition to being just as serious about making money as you likely were/are about the products. To do that you have to become a student of business, and you have to invest in yourself and your team. 


This doesn’t mean you can’t still be an enthusiast on the weekends, I’m happy to report I spent this entire last weekend “camping with a purpose” with my family at a motorcycle event. But this Monday morning it’s back to enjoying the grind. I just read this:


“If you aren’t questioning yourself and others, investigating and detecting, worrying over what you really know, you are substituting arrogance and/or sloth for diligence, and you will be punished.” 


With that said, this is the last call for our Fall Marketing Boot Camp held here in Peachtree City, GA, October 23rd through the 25th, where we’ll be revealing real-world dealership truths backed up by real data, all the while exposing so much of the B.S. that is pedaled out there by outsiders who have zero understanding of the motorcycle business. 


If you’re interested in learning how to predictably grow your dealership regardless of the market, weather or economy using a tested and proven formula, you don’t want to miss this event. We’re going deep into the specifics of how you can grow new market share by targeting those who live in your back yard, ride what you sell, but haven’t done business with you before. But wait, there’s more. All too often dealers are so focused on going after new blood they completely forget about retention marketing. I’m talking about maintaining the customers you already have and even re-activating those lost customers who previously did business with you, but have quietly wondered off. 


But that’s just the beginning of what you’ll learn at this event because much of the magic comes from the other dealers in the room sharing their successes and failures. So, go now to and get enrolled. You have nothing to lose because we offer a money back guarantee. 


See ya soon,


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The Great Cavett Robert Once Said: School is Never Out for the Pro

Rod Stuckey | 09/04/2017


 Here in Georgia the kids went back to school in early August. That’s always a bit of a glad and sad combo platter for me. Glad because it’s good to get back into a routine with structure and working to be better, smarter, more prepared etc. But, sad because I hate to see the fun and freedom of summer winding down. And I really don’t care to see my sweet little 8-year-old special needs daughter get on that yellow banana without her mom and dad or brother and sisters. Anyway, here we are and school is back in session, and none of us are too old or too young to do some learning. So, like I do every year about this time, we’re going to get our learn on.


Back to School Lesson Number One: 


THE PRO’s ALWAYS DO THEIR HOMEWORK. Look at the greatest athletes, celebrities, and business folks of all time and you’ll see one thing in common, they all do their homework. In today’s market one of the most important areas of your studies should be online reputation management. Here’s why. Regardless of what media you choose, most prospects are going to research your dealership and products online prior to calling or visiting your store. If you’re getting hammered online with negative reviews, or if your local competitors just have a boatload more positive reviews than you, then you need to study up, because this is costing you business. Big time. 


Back to School Lesson Number Two:


If you’re marketing isn’t INTERESTING and the ad copy isn’t communicating the BENEFITS, it’s likely a waste of your time and money.


W.I.I.F.M. is a popular acronym for What’s In It For Me.


If your ad messages are consistently ‘Sterile Offers’ only trying to ‘SELL’ with finance offers and, “Hey you! Wanna buy a bike today?” messages then you’re not going to be INTERESTING for very long.  If your ad copy doesn’t clearly state the BENEFITS to your recipients then your customers will feel like you’re wasting their time.  This is why we love parties and events. 


As the Professor of Harsh Reality once told me – Get Over You. Get into THEM.


Speaking of only trying to ‘SELL’ to those currently in the market – This is a great lead into our next BIG lesson.


Back to School Lesson Number Three:


Your Advertising should be designed to not only capitalize on those in the market to buy now, but to also establish the desire for purchase for those NOT currently in the market and/or generate leads for other profit centers in the dealership like parts, accessories and service. 


Most Dealer (and OEM) advertising and marketing has a serious flaw. The ad is built under the assumption that the person is already committed to, or is currently shopping for a new vehicle.  Thus, the advertising assumes the decision to buy and focuses on product, place, and price. Few back up one very important step to first establish the desire, thus your time and money is wasted. It’s the equivalent of trying to sell burgers to an audience with no appetite. 


Our Sharp Shooter Predictable Growth System not only accomplishes the critical objective of backing up one step to establish the desire for new and used units, but does it for P &A and Service, too - all in one integrated ‘done for you’ campaign. If you’re not familiar with our Predictable Growth system then study up, this thing is exactly what we’ve used ourselves to grow double digits year over year for a decade and earn our way onto the Inc.5000 list of fastest growing companies twice. 


Back to School Lesson Number Four:


It pays to work “on it” not just “in it.” If you’re busy doing it day in and day out, month after month, and year after year, without taking the time to meet with like-minded people, learn and study from the pros, and compare notes, then you’re stepping over quarters to pick up nickels.


Here’s the deal.


Getting up early to make the donuts is admirable, but any warm body can make donuts. The difference between Dunkin’ Donuts and the thousands of donut shops that have come and gone is the MARKETING and SELLING of the Donuts. Just like motorcycles, donuts don’t sell themselves! 


The bell has rung and it’s time to get to class. Stop stalling and go now to 

and register or our upcoming Fall Marketing Boot Camp so you can discover proven best practices to help you sell more bikes and make more money. 


See ya in Atlanta, 


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This just in… PSM Now Offers Websites!

Rod Stuckey | 07/28/2017

Well it’s official, we’re now in the website business. It’s something our clients have been asking us to do for many years, but wasn’t previously a fit into our business model. But, recently the stars aligned and it just became a no brainer. 


Let me share the back story. My background is originally as a dealer. My family owned a four-store operation in Atlanta, Georgia. Those stores weren’t really for sale, but we were made an offer too good to refuse. My dad was a retired pilot and Lt. Colonel and my mom was a school teacher. They invested their life savings in the business, and this was a great opportunity for them to cash out and begin enjoying the fruits of their labor. So, we sold the stores, and bound by a non-compete I wasn’t able to open a dealership in the Atlanta market. Because the Powersports Industry is my passion I decided to take our dealership operations manuals, enhance and modify them into a robust database of best practices, and then create online training courses for Dealer Principals and their staff.  We called it and launched at the Indy Trade Show in 2004. We’ve had over 15,000 users go through our online courses and, at some point, worked with nearly every OEM.


But in 2008, the lay of the land was changing drastically, and dealers were going out of business left and right. In addition to the recession the internet was changing everything to do with advertising and marketing.  So, we did what we always do around here and put our heads down and began researching, studying, and testing everything we could get our hands on that had to do with marketing best practices. That’s when I discovered something very interesting about advertising. There seemed to be two camps out there. The first and most commonly heard of camp was the “branding” people who say that the purpose of your advertising is to build your brand and get your name out there. This group of folks is backed by the big money world of ad agencies who are mostly hired by the mega sized Fortune 500 and other really large companies (like the OEM’s). The ad agency world is usually compensated by a percentage of ad spend, meaning the more a business spends, the more they make.  Quantification of this type of advertising is next to impossible and its success or failure is usually based on the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the executive board room. 


The second camp was a harder group to find, but they were sharp, passionate, and much better suited for the small to medium sized business. This group was the direct response marketers and they were marketing purists. They have a much different religion than the ad agency folks, and believe that the purpose of your advertising is to generate leads and everything you do could (and should) be measured. They believed that marketing should be 1-to-1 (meaning from a real person to a real person) and it should create affinity and build relationships. They believe the purpose of your advertising is to generate a positive ROI, not to build your brand or create top of mind awareness.  They are never paid as a % of ad spend, as they view this as a conflict of interest. This group of folks believed that when you do direct response marketing properly (right message, right market, right media, right time), you get branding and create top of mind awareness as a happy byproduct. Really it’s the best of both worlds. 


As we began sharing this knowledge at our live marketing boot camps, many dealers asked if we could just do direct response marketing for them. So, we did. And, it worked. And it worked a helluva lot better than spending a fortune on billboards, radio, and TV (see Exhibit A). Since then we’ve added lots of new features to our Sharp Shooter and Local Web Dominator products and executed thousands of campaigns for dealers (big and small) in every corner of the country, always guiding our decisions with the principles of direct response marketing. Will this generate quantifiable leads? Will this build affinity with customers? Will this provide a positive ROI? If I was the dealer myself, and this was my money would I spend it on this?

Fast forward to the present. We didn’t want to enter into the web site market if our product didn’t align with our longstanding beliefs on marketing best practices and we also didn’t want to enter with a product if we couldn’t answer the question of why choose us over the other options.  I’m proud to say that our new Firestorm websites accomplish both. For a personalized demo to see how we can partner with your dealership to generate more leads and earn a better return on investment for your dollars spent, contact us today at 877.242.4472.

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How to Avoid Attracting the Wrong Kinds of Customers

Rod Stuckey | 07/05/2017

 Have you ever heard of elementary score keeping? In the motorcycle business, that’s when you keep score for your sales department by the number of units you sell rather than the gross profit you make. It happens all the time in this business, in part because the OEM’s have programs, incentives, and rankings based on your retailed units, but the bigger culprit is a solid blend of ego and ignorance. 


Back when I was a dealer the Cycle Trader was a weekly black and white print magazine that was sold for next to nothing at nearly every convenience store here in Atlanta. It appeared that every buyer that came into our stores had a copy and was a ferocious price shopper. They had a solid ‘feet on the streets’ sales team that visited our stores every week and would plop down a copy of last week’s edition on my desk. They didn’t even have to do any selling.Once me (and every other dealer in town) flipped through the magazine and saw that every one of our competitors had a display ad, it was just a matter of what size ad and what content would go in it. Because out-of-state dealers didn’t have to charge sales tax to Georgia buyers, the magazine was littered with dealers just across the state line offering mega discounts that, when stacked with no sales tax, made it nearly impossible to compete.


That’s when I did something really stupid. I adopted the mentality of, “If they can sell them for that cheap than so can we!”  I became so consumed with moving units and competing with the discounters that I fell into the trap of elementary score keeping. I would later learn this marketing incest happens in nearly every industry. Ignorant business owners copy-catting their competitors discounted advertising and unknowingly eroding the price integrity of industries, brands, and businesses (hence the creation of MAP).


That lasted for about a year until it became obvious that we were headed for disaster. We increased our volume which required more staff, more inventory, more facility square footage, etc. but our profits declined, BIG TIME. More overhead, less gross profit is not a good business model. Duh… who’d a thunk it. 


I just read that Sears, K-mart, HH Gregg, JC Penny, Macy’s, Gander Mountain and Payless Shoes are all closing stores this year. Many are quick to blame Amazon and other online retailers like Zappos, but personally I feel that’s the easy excuse. Coincidentally, I’ve seen mega discounted Father’s Day advertisements for nearly every one of these businesses (See Exhibit A). 


In the retail business it’s all about holding margin, how much is Sears really gonna make when they discount tools by 50%? The second some big ego executive decides he’s going to conquer the world by discounting it’s the beginning of the end. Here’s why: Getting customers with discounting and promotional pricing inevitably attracts those who only buy because of price, are high maintenance pain in the asses, and are easily lured away by anyone offering bigger discounts and lower prices. 


Since I’ve made this mistake, and wear the scars to this day because of it, it’s a topic that gets me pretty fired up. I once had a sales person tell me that he felt guilty selling an ATV to our customers for full price when they could drive up the road 2 hours and save a thousand bucks. I should have fired him on the spot. Don’t undervalue, and thus underprice, your services just because your competitor is doing it. He will eventually fade away, they always do. The real disservice to your customers is when you’re not there to do service after the sale because you’ve gone out of business, or worse you can’t afford to employ competent employees so you deliver a unit that was improperly assembled and someone is injured.


Year in and year out surveys show that price is not the number one factor in a customer’s decision to buy.  And, knowingly building your customer list with price sensitive customers and/or unable-to-pay-fair-market-value customers, for the products and services you provide, is destructive. 


In the many 20 group meetings I’ve attended, the top performing dealers have always been those who hold gross profit, not focus on discounting. This leads me full circle back to your advertising. This is the pre-frame for what type of customers you attract, and it’s why our religion here at PSM is to execute quantifiable, lead-generating, marketing without focusing on discounts. We’ve consistently avoided discounted pricing messaging since our inception, by intent, and always will. It’s the easy way out, and we don’t participate.


For more information on how we can help you avoid discounting and attract quality leads for every department in your dealership, contact us at 877-242-4472.

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Ex-Employees or Competitors Leaving you Fake Reviews?

Rod Stuckey | 05/26/2017


It’s very common and if it hasn’t already happened to your dealership, be prepared, it likely will. Unethical competitors trying to make you look bad by leaving a completely fabricated review on Google. A disgruntled ex-employee who was terminated for a just cause seeks revenge by spreading false claims about your dealership on your own Facebook page (the latter of which has happened to us here at PSM). And, good luck appealing these with Google and Facebook and having them removed. 


In the past, I let this stuff really bother me, but nowadays I’ve accepted that it’s just part of the game of business. Ironically, if you are a high transaction and/or fast-paced, leading-edge business, attempting to perform at the highest levels possible, you are probably more vulnerable to this type of nonsense.Those are the two criteria that lead to more haters.  


The good news is, once you learn to play by the rules and install a solid game plan (a system), getting new reviews can actually be pretty fun and your star-rating can be higher than your competitors’ rating, regardless of those cheating players. 


The first step in getting good at this game is to understand and accept that reviews and search engine rankings are very important to your dealership. Wouldn’t you agree that if your dealership ranked #1 on the Google results page and the local 3-pack map results that you would get more site visits, phone calls, and ultimately more appointments and sales?


Google’s goal is to be the best search engine, and to do this they must serve up the most relevant search results to their users. This is great news for local businesses like yours.  If a prospect is searching for the products you sell, or a dealership with the brands you carry, Google really wants to provide your dealership in the search results (of course, I’m over simplifying as Google has over 200 components that go into their proprietary algorithm which they keep confidential so the system isn’t able to be exploited).


Nevertheless, one of those 200 components that is clearly weighted heavily for local businesses is reviews.  If you get more 5-star reviews you will rank higher in the local Google map results. It is that simple. 


But it’s not just about ranking high, it’s also about serving up relevant results for the user. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. When you are searching for a dealership to buy your next new vehicle from, if the map displays a dealership with loads of 5-star reviews, and then one with little or no reviews and a low rating, what is more relevant (and compelling) to you? 


There are two really good reasons to take reviews seriously: 1. Google loves them. 2. Your prospects and customers love them. Now let me give you a 3rd reason. Remember those pesky fake reviews that were left by an ex-employee and a low life competitor? The easiest way to fix those is to bury them with dozens and dozens of positive 4 and 5 star reviews. The late Ed Lemco used to say that 5% of customers are lunatics, and the Google users researching products and reading reviews know this deep down as well. If you have 150 reviews and 3 or 4 are bad, it only adds credibility to the good reviews because it substantiates they are real. Anybody who’s ever worked in retail or customer service knows that you can’t make everyone happy. And whoever came up with “the customer is always right” line needs to go back to fantasy land.


Part of the flaw in Google’s emphasis on reviews is that happy customers tend to go away quiet and happy. Flaming-hot, pissed off customers tend to seek revenge, and reviews are a perfect outlet for them to blow off some steam. This is why it’s so important for dealers to get in the game and understand the rules and play hard (but fair), otherwise you lose.


Many business owners’ system for getting reviews is to simply ask for them. And that’s just fine, but it’s not a very scalable nor reliable system. Here at PSM we’ve developed a technology-based system that not only garners positive reviews, but it filters out unhappy customers by identifying them prior to them leaving a negative review and provides you with the opportunity to save them. 


Our system has generated over 100,000 authentic customer reviews, which are featured on our national consumer site: It’s the largest review platform in the entire industry for a reason, it works.


In fact, it has worked so well for our clients we decided to use it ourselves, even though we’re not a dealer. 


In addition to an automated review acquisition system, our solution includes creating your own personalized review site like this:, 

and an employee ranking page like this: Both of which have too many benefits for dealers, customers, and employees for me to list them all in this article.


Every Friday in our staff meeting, we take a look at our company reviews and employee reviews together, and usually have multiple rounds of applause for team members who’ve gotten reviews that week. It really makes playing the game fun, and eliminates the stress of potentially getting a couple bad reviews that aren’t legit. 


For more information on how we can help you bury negative reviews and rank the highest in your market, contact us at 877-242-4472.

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Are You More Street Smart or Book Smart?

Rod Stuckey | 05/01/2017

I’ve got a funny story for you. The other day Tory and I are waiting in line for a sandwich when he says to me, “Do you think you’re more book smart or street smart?” As someone who’s excelled better in the real world as opposed to the academic classroom, I proudly replied “street smart,” to which Tory said, “Okay, let me see your wallet.” I handed him my wallet and as he was putting it in his pocket with a big smile chuckling he says, “Nah, you’re more book smart.” He got me good on that one, and unfortunately this isn’t the first time I’ve failed the street smart versus book smart test. In fact, there’s a tricky balance between the two, one without the other will most often lead to some level of ignorance.


Back in my dealership days, I was originally taught that the purpose of my advertising and marketing was to build my brand, get my name out there, create T.O.M.A. (top of mind awareness) and community and marketplace awareness. This made perfect sense at the time. In fact, the idea of this dates back to a much older time where small towns (like Mayberry on the Andy Griffith show) usually had one drug store, one barber shop, one hardware store, one dentist, etc. So, when they opened up and did a simple ad in the local paper it created quite a buzz.  But, as time has passed, the lay of the land has changed dramatically. Not just because small isolated towns that were once surrounded by pasture and farm land have been connected by four lane roads and endless options and choices for nearly every category of business, but also because of the internet. Nearly anything and everything imaginable is just a click away. 


Even though it’s been many years since my Dealer Principal days, I can vividly remember my cable TV rep, billboard salesmen, and radio reps all teaching me the “branding my dealership” lesson. Heck, once I even bit off on a “re-branding” campaign where I had a new logo created, new signage on the building, new t-shirts, decals, etc. But, that was just the beginning of the expense.  Then I was sold on the need to advertise and let everyone know about my new logo. This was a painful lesson, and one of the many expensive street smarts learning experiences that have led me to ask two very important questions before doing any advertising:    


1. What is the objective of my advertising?


2. Can I afford that objective?


A lot of the branding that often looks tempting to the small business owner is being done by well-funded mega companies who have lots of patience and loads of cash. Unfortunately, most dealerships aren’t in this position.  But, many DP’s do just as I did, and ignorantly plow forward doing branding with a limited budget only to find out they have nothing quantifiable to show for it, except an empty bank account. The harsh reality is your customers don’t care about your new logo, and spending money advertising it is just plain silly.  


When you go into the branding mindset you begin to think of how you want people to look and think about you, your products, and your business and how you can promote that image. That’s an okay objective, if you can afford it.


When you shift gears and change your mindset into answering the heart of that first question you realize that what you really want from your advertising is not a warm and fuzzy feeling because you heard your commercial on the radio; what you really want to do is generate some business and make some damn money, right?


This shift redirects you to think about who your most viable target audience is, what is a compelling message that could encourage them to come into the dealership, call, or submit an online inquiry, and how you can measure this advertising to see if it’s working or not working.


Simply put, the purpose of your advertising is to produce quantifiable sales opportunities and generate a positive return on your investment.  


“But, what about my brand?” some will say…”It’s important to me.”  I understand, my company’s brand is very important to me as well. However, our branding is a happy byproduct that is created by lead generation marketing, quality client experiences, and excellent products, not from some expensive display ad placed in one of the trade journals or a fancy direct mail piece featuring our logo and slogan.  Thinking that your logo and your advertising are responsible for your brand is a poorly thought out strategy.


This is where that tricky balance of book smarts and street smarts comes into play. You’ve likely fallen for some of the same advertising B.S. that I have in the past, but the fact that you’ve read this article shows you're also open to mixing those lessons learned with some book smarts, too. They say wisdom comes from experience, and the combination of those two ingredients could be the impetus for you having a record breaking spring and summer in 2017.


Gotta run, headed to lunch now to see if I can snag Brad’s wallet. ; - )


To learn more about Powersports Marketing’s lead generation marketing contact us at 877-242-4472. 

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Look Closely, You May Not See These Holes In Your Bucket

Rod Stuckey | 04/04/2017

Picture a bucket, and visualize each one of your department transactions as pouring money into that bucket. If you’re like most dealers, you spend countless hours trying to figure out ways to get more money into the bucket. But the reality is, many dealers are so focused on how many units they’ve sold this month, that they fail to look inside the bucket and see just how many holes there are, and how many dollars are seeping out the bottom of the bucket.


Many moons ago, I had a hole in my bucket that was nearly as big as the whole damn bottom of the bucket. We owned a multi-line metric store and our PWC OEM had a recall on its most popular engine requiring a short block replacement, and a return of the core. There were a lot of these units out in the market and we were replacing engines left and right. Before I knew it, our warranty receivables on this one job had climbed to well over $25,000. Turns out, we weren’t sending back the cores, they were mysteriously disappearing out the back door and we ended up eating a big portion of that 25k. That one left a mark.


Obviously, there are many other places in the dealership that can spring a leak too, like obsolete P&A, and parts returns to vendors missing deadlines and losing eligibility, ancient and over appraised used inventory, abandoned service units, contracts in transit, and on and on. These are all tough best practices to master, but they are at least on the radar of most good operators. 

But there are some other holes in the bucket, that even the best operators can overlook. One of the most common we see here at PSM is not capturing customer or prospect’s name, physical address, and email address. In analyzing over 800 dealer data bases the average dealer has 43% with missing or inaccurate physical mailing address, meaning they only capture this information 57% of the time. Email is only captured 25% of the time, leaving a 75% shortfall, and on average the phone number is only accurately captured 56% of the time. 


When you invest in your facility and advertising you’re not just paying for the customers who buy from you, you’re paying for every walk in, phone up, and web lead regardless of whether they buy or not. As I’ve said in this newsletter a hundred times, your customer data base is your number one asset, and the key to consistent predictable growth is growing your data base month after month. It’s simple math, if you increase the size of your list and keep your conversion ratio and value per customer the same (which you can increase if you keep reading), you’ll achieve annual growth. 


The other often over looked hole in the bucket which builds off of the lack of customer informat


ion captured, is the lack of follow up with both sold and unsold leads. For easy math let’s say your annual monthly expenses are $100,000, and that generates a total of 500 sales opportunities that month (phone, walk-in and web).  This means that you paid $200 dollars for each sales opportunity. Now, let’s say that you made some type of sale in parts, service, or sales to half or 250 of those opportunities.


That leaves 250 leads that you didn’t sell to. If you do zero follow up with those 250 leads multiplied by the $200 you invested in each, you’re wasting $50,000 in opportunities. 


But let’s shift back to the 250 that you did sell to. Do you think that if you sent them a thanks for your business email after purchase, dropped them in an automated nurture email sequence including a Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary message that you could increase retention? What if you invited them monthly down to a fun event at the dealership with free food, drinks, and door prizes, do you think you might increase the annual amount they spend per year? You bet you could.


Now back to the 250 leads that you didn’t sell anything to. Do you think if you captured their contact information and followed up by phone 


providing some new compelling information, that you may be able to get a few more of them to convert into sales? What if you add them to your master data base and also invite them monthly down to a party at the dealership? Do you think you might convert a few more of those $50 prospects into customers? You bet you could. 


When you plug these two hard to see holes in the bucket and capture customer contact information, and follow up with consistent relationship driven marketing to your entire database, you not only increase retention and grow new market share, you also boost referrals as well as re-activate lost customers. 


I’m not saying that plugging all these holes is easy, nothing worth having ever is, but thanks to marketing automation technology it’s much more scalable and less people dependent than ever before. 

To learn more contact us at 877-242-4472. 


Happy Spring!!

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Four Big Breakthroughs Every Dealer Should Embrace

Rod Stuckey | 02/10/2017


Unfortunately, the majority of Dealer Principals and General Managers expect solutions for maximizing profitability and overall dealership health to materialize out of thin air. As a former DP myself, I know because I’ve lived it. Reactive advice coming to you from employees, OEM’s, vendor reps, feet-on-the-street salespeople, attorneys, and heck, even your customers will tell you how to run the business.


In reality, all of these people lack perspective of the entire picture, and usually after a few hundred doses of heeding bad advice and bleeding cash from bad decisions it’s easy to understand how a dealer can gravitate to the land of skepticism, paranoia, and barriers to prevent access. 


Most don’t realize it, but running a dealership can be a lonely place. I can remember describing to my wife that it felt like I was on an island with no one who understood me, and no one to talk to. But, eventually I learned it didn’t have to be that way.


Here are 4 big breakthroughs I’ve discovered through years of trial and error that separate okay dealers from great dealers:


1. RESOURCEFULNESS – not just resources. But RESOURCEFULNESS - this means that you go pro-actively looking for solutions and don’t just expect (or hope) the answers to your business and marketing challenges will appear out of thin air. 




Resourceful is officially defined as – full of initiative and good at problem solving, especially in difficult times. 


Every high performing dealer I’ve ever met over the last 2 plus decades have embraced this important quality. And, best of all, it doesn’t require rocket scientist intellect or super human ability. Any dealer who wants it bad enough can do this.


2. THE POWER OF ASSOCIATION – meeting with and networking with other success-oriented, like-minded people. To achieve success, you must put yourself in an environment conducive to success, as has been continually documented since Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and Thomas Edison’s first ‘Mastermind Alliance’ meeting.  


We all tend to become like those who we hang around with the most. The problem is this is often driven by convenience and circumstance rather than intent. 


When you choose, by design, who you’re going to associate with, you can truly harvest the POWER OF ASSOCIATION. 


3. MODELING – Learning from, borrowing, and duplicating with intent, proven business best practices from both within and outside of the industry. There is no reason to re-invent the wheel. I learned more best practices and financial benchmarks in one 2-day 20 Group meeting than I’d learned in the previous 5 years combined. 


There is no shame in learning from those who have gone before us. In fact, the reason so many of the super successful write books is they want to share their story and have others learn and benefit from their successes and failures.  


4. SYSTEMS vs. RANDOM ACTS – SYSTEM is an acronym for Save Yourself Stress Time Energy and Money. The systems should run your dealership and your people run the systems. 


If you look at business like a game, the systems are the rules of the game. A game without rules is no fun because the players can’t focus on playing the game. They’re too busy trying to figure out how to play.  


A business without systems is chaos. Many business owners don’t own a business, they own a job, because they have no systems. The lack of systems within a business is one of the biggest underlying causes of failure. 

It’s because of these four breakthroughs that we host our Marketing Boot Camps here in Atlanta twice a year. The Powersports Industry landscape continues to change at rapid pace. The customer has changed and continues to change, and thanks to the internet the options to send relevant and compelling marketing messages to those customers have also undergone drastic transformation. 


And, right now, our country is going through extreme change due to the TRUMP effect. Many experts are predicting a huge increase in blue collar jobs and growth in the middle class. Guess what blue collar guys love to do on the weekends? You got it, motorcycles, hunting, camping, etc. Could be good, if you communicate with them. 


In case you’re not familiar… our Powersports Marketing Boot Camps, are THE place where the most successful and progressive dealers come to discover the latest and most lucrative marketing programs and systems to increase the bottom line and improve quality of life. 


It’s THE place for dealers to gather, exchange new ideas, see what’s working, what’s not working, and of course to network with other like-minded Powersports professionals.  


So if you haven’t already signed up, it’s not too late, but you need to do it now. As always we offer money back guarantee so you have nothing to lose.   

Three easy ways to enroll: 


1. Go to


2. Call 877-242-4472 


I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta.

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If It Was Easy, Everybody Would Be Doing It.

Rod Stuckey | 01/09/2017

Amway co-founder, Rich DeVos, is number 88 on the 2016 Forbes 400 list of richest people in America. After several failed business attempts his Amway days started with selling all day, and bottling liquid soap by night in his garage. Now at over 90 years old, he’s worth $5.1 billion.  DeVos was once quoted as saying, “All our secrets are visible,” implying that the success he and his company have achieved are transparent and easily copied.  He went on to say something to the effect of: there is just no one willing to go to the extent required to copy it exactly, to experience the pain, the struggles, the failures, and do the work. Everyone wants the results, but few are willing to do what it takes. Most think they can do it faster and easier so they cut corners, and then fail. 


Years ago I was at a 20 group meeting (as a dealer) and, industry veteran, the late John Wyckoff was there as a guest speaker. He asked the group what the most successful marketing they had done in the last year had been, and then went one by one around the room and had each dealer answer. Going around, dealer after dealer cited some type of Event or Open House as their most effective dollars spent. As he got closer to me, my mind was racing trying to think of what type of advertising we’d done that had actually been effective at all. This was in the internet infancy days, so websites weren’t really in play yet.  


I first thought of the Yellow Pages. While it did work, I wasn’t a fan because most of my direct competitors had huge full color ads, and we only had a wimpy quarter page black and white due to the monthly expense. Then there was the Cycle Trader magazine which was sold in every convenience store in the nation back then. It was outrageously expensive because we paid for display ads weekly rather than monthly, plus classified ads. Like the Yellow Pages, all of our competitors were prominently displayed, especially the big discounters. I had a secret disgust for the Trader because it seemed to only harvest hard core price shoppers and create a discounting war amongst us dealers. We’d tried TV, radio, billboards, supercross sponsorships, etc. but nothing stood out. I mostly got a sinking feeling about how many hundreds of thousands of dollars we’d wasted over the years. But then I thought of our annual open house event that we’d promoted with direct mail, flyers, phone calls, and word of mouth. While it was quite the success, it had conveniently eluded my mind because it was such a heavy lift each year that I nearly dreaded it.  So when it was my turn, I too, said it was our Open House that had been the best return on investment. 


Then Wyckoff said, raise your hand if you’ve done another event since your original one, or if you do events on a regular basis. No hands went up. “Well if it’s what works best, why in the hell aren’t you doing it regularly?” he asked the group. After a brief uncomfortable silence, one dealer finally stated, “Because they’re a big pain in the ass!” Turns out I wasn’t alone, and the group laughed out loud together, but Wyckoff wasn’t amused. He called us out, and for me, a young dealer at the time the point was well taken. 


When I returned to the dealership we committed to an event every 3rd Saturday of the month. Starting out it was a heavy lift because I was disorganized and didn’t have systems in place or any regular repetition. I was trying to do everything myself from picking up coffee and donuts to putting out balloons and grilling burgers.  Eventually, with the help of a simple pre-event manager’s meeting and a checklist which assigned responsibilities by department and employee, we began to systematically execute successful events that weren’t a heavy burden on any one individual.  The repetition led to improved systems, which led to efficiency, which led to less expense and less pain to promote.  In other words, the reason events are so much work for many dealers is they never practice, staff expectations haven’t been clarified and they don’t know how to be efficient. 


Holding events provides a great excuse to market to your existing customers which increases retention and referrals, and is also great for marketing to conquest customers to grow new market share. 


Fast forward nearly 20 years to 2017 and while a lot has changed since then, a lot has stayed the same. The internet is on the scene but this is still a passion-based industry, and events remain one of most effective marketing tools in the box. The secrets of the most successful dealers truly are visible just as DeVos described, but far too many are looking for the shortcuts or have executed half ass in the past and declared events as unsuccessful.  


Don’t take the easy way out and waste money on mass media that doesn’t work. 


If you want a proven turnkey system used by over 800 of the top dealers nationwide that is guaranteed to generate a quantifiable list of leads for every department in your dealership, then call us today at 

877-242-4472.  Spring will be here before we know it, it’s time to start planning now. 

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A Suggested New Year’s Resolution for Dealers (and the OEMs)

Rod Stuckey | 12/12/2016

Last year Walmart announced it was closing 154 stores in the United States. Macy’s is scheduled to be closing 100 stores early this year. And last July, Sports Authority filed bankruptcy and closed 450 stores. Many blame the ‘Amazon Effect’ for thinning of the retailer’s herd. While The Everything Online Store could be a considerable factor, I feel that it is transaction retailing that is really on the ropes. If this causes you concern, it should. 


Dick’s Sporting Goods, on the other hand, has experienced historic growth over the last 10 years. It’s clear to me that CEO Edward Stack, (son of founder ‘Dick’), is a high performer who understands his customers are his most important asset. When Sports Authority folded, Dick’s was standing on the auction steps and smart enough to scoop up 114 million customer files and 25 million email addresses for a cool $15 million. Why? Because the most likely person to buy sporting goods equipment in the future are those who’ve bought it in the past. The most misunderstood metric in business is the true cost to get a customer, and the waste that goes into mass marketing to those with no interest in the products being sold. 


Here at Powersports Marketing we’ve long preached that your customer data is the number one asset you have, and I’d say that Stack agrees. Yes, it’s worth even more than your brick and mortar. This is why one of the world’s richest men at the time, Andrew Carnegie, once said:


“If you take away all my wealth, my products, my equipment, my staff, in fact, virtually all assets and resources but leave me my customer lists, I will have everything else back in short order”. 


In years past I’ve been a customer of both Dicks Sporting Goods and The Sports Authority and there is no question that Dick’s has invested more in our relationship and in return, has earned more of my business and loyalty. 


Transaction businesses focus on one and done selling and spend all of their time and resources promoting discounts, sales, and going after new customers. Relationship marketers on the other hand, focus on selling to existing customers over and over, generating more and more referrals, and utilize relationship messages rather than discount messages.


To steer clear of disaster and avoid the retail carnage, this New Year I’d like to recommend a few important best practices for your Resolutions. 


Number 1. Resolve to be diligent, hard core, even obsessive about accurately collecting customer information. Some retailers require employees have a 97% collection ratio or you’re asked to find your happiness elsewhere, and for good reason. The more records you collect of real riders in your market area, the more effective your marketing will be and the more your business will be worth in the future. It benefits present bank and future bank. 


Number 2. Resolve to spend your limited marketing budget targeting those who are most likely to buy from you. This is called your buying base and is made up of two groups. Those who ride and have done business with you in the past, and those who ride and live in your market area but have not done business with you. Quit marketing to the masses trying to convert non-riders into riders, it’s a waste of your time and money.  


Number 3. Resolve to implement lead generation marketing. Stop it with the branding, get your name out there advertising. You’re not a big dumb company with millions to blow. If you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t be doing it. If someone tells you the purpose of your advertising is to create TOMA, Top Of Mind Awareness, don’t walk…run. They don’t understand the motorcycle business. Branding will be a happy byproduct of proper direct response marketing. 

Number 4.  Resolve to have integrated marketing messages online and offline across multiple media methods that build affinity and create relationships, NOT promote sales and discounts. The OEM’s and their agencies have this wrong and it drives me crazy. Don’t follow their lead here. I’m not being speculative or assumptive, I have the data from thousands of campaigns to prove it. In fact, pass this article along to your OEM rep. OEM reps, pass this along to your Executive leadership teams, you guys have to learn this stuff. 


Our Predictable Growth formula is simple. Grow your number of customers, and consistently grow their annual customer value through consistent, targeted, relationship-building marketing. By creating a personalized experience with each and every rider in your market area you generate more repeat customers who stay longer and don’t haggle over price and also send you more referral business. 

But who and how is the industry supposed to grow and add new riders? For the last 3 decades, the data has proven that new riders come from the influence of friends and family (not radio commercials!). If we want to see our industry grow and create new riders we have to create better relationships and better experiences for the existing riders. That’s not the popular answer, but it is the right one. 


This business model is completely opposite of transaction selling based on lowest price and is immune to the shrinkage many retailers will experience in the New Year. 


For more information on Predictable Growth and how to create relationship marketing for your Dealership contact us at 877-242-4472. 



Happy 2017! 




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The Election is Over, What Does That Mean for You?

Rod Stuckey | 11/28/2016


I don’t believe in leaving my success up to the market, the weather or the economy. If you’re reading this, you likely don’t either. However, I also don’t believe in ignoring tough opponents like the market, weather, or economy. It’s no secret that elections often create uncertainty for all, and for business big and small, concern over future tax rules, government regulations and how they could potentially impact operations. 


As of my writing, President Elect Donald Trump just edged out Hillary in a bizarre and historic election. I say bizarre, because as I watched Fox news Tuesday night nearly every expert including the hosts, polling experts, Washington and political professional guests either outright predicted a Hillary landslide win, or carried a subtle but noticeable anti-Trump tone. Early in the evening, and well into prime time, polling specialists laid out every theoretically conceivable way each candidate could navigate through the tricky electoral vote system for a win. Pretty much all coming to the same conclusion that the Democrats would maintain the Presidency for a 3rd straight term.   


I have a hard time watching blowout games, and was about to check out when they displayed an interesting stat on the jumbo-tron. It was a social media update, just before heading to a commercial that showed Trump had significantly more ‘mentions’ on Facebook than his competitor. The commentators didn’t seem too interested, but as a marketer I took notice. Obviously, a ‘mention’ could be in good or bad context, but it was stimulating enough to keep me engaged. Fast forward another hour or so, with a steady sentiment that Hillary was in control, then it was announced Trump had won the swing state of North Carolina.  While all other ‘experts’ didn’t seem swayed, one commentator looked at his smart phone and shared that the ‘odds’ had just swung to over 70% that Trump would win. This really caught my attention for two reasons. One, it was the first mention in 4 hours that the underdog even had a remote chance.  Two, and more importantly, to me ‘odds’ implied Vegas, betting, and the principle based movement of money. Not necessarily anything to do with politics, Washington, traditional media, and smoke and mirrors. And you know how the story ends.


I’m not one to watch a lot of politics on TV, but there were some big takeaways for me. Traditional media is slanted, social media is very powerful, and I have to stay focused on ‘my economy’ and not get sucked into those ‘other economies’ outside of my control. 


Here’s how it was explained to me. There are 3 economies. One is the ‘Political’ economy where Washington operatives, lawyers, lobbyists, and lifelong politicians revolve around a fake money machine, much paid for by you and I, which is littered with corruption. Then there is the ‘Wall Street’ fake economy where industry insiders and researchers seek to capitalize profits in any manner possible, including fraud and collusion, to maximize personal enrichment. Then, of course, there is a conduit of systemic corruption and legalized bribery flowing between the two. 


The 3rd economy is Main Street America, where you and I live, in your town and mine. Where small-to-medium sized business drive the economy, do real work, and provide real jobs. In the first two economies, up is often down, and left is often right. No logic. However, in the Main Street economy honesty, hard work, and smart business reign supreme. 


This is important to understand, because only in the 3rd economy do the laws of nature have authority. In the first two, it’s a fantasy land. You and I have to understand where we live and work, in the Main Street economy, and not drift over into watching and copycatting those other two worlds which have no relevance to us. 


In 2010 small business made up 99.7% of employment firms. There were 27.9 million small businesses with 500 employees or less, and only 18,500 with 500 or more. Small business accounted for 67% of new jobs between 2009 to 2011. *

However, only about half of all new businesses make it 5 years, and only 1/3 make it 10 years. Some of this failure surely comes from those not understanding which economy they are really in, and instead they end up embracing and emulating the big corrupt world of the first two economies. This is easy to do, because even though the Main Street Economy is the backbone of our economy, it’s not what you see and hear all over the news. 


To tie this into Marketing, be very aware, paranoid, and even skeptical of some of the advice given to you from traditional media reps, and fancy award winning ad agencies backing some of the OEM’s. They’re often operating out of Washington and Wall Street and don’t even know it. 


Here at Powersports Marketing we focus on the principles of marketing first. Right Message, Right Media, Right Audience, and the Right Timing. We specialize in growing new market share and increasing retention for Main Street motorcycle dealers. I’m glad this damn election is over, now lets you and I get out there and sell some bikes and do our part to make Main Street the best street regardless of the market, weather, or economy by staying focused on our world, not theirs.  


*Bureau of Labor statistics



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How to finish 2016 strong!

Rod Stuckey | 10/07/2016


The 6-P Rule: Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I can’t remember if I first heard that one from my dad who is retired Air Force or my late cycling buddy, T.A., who was a Marine. Either way, it stuck to my ribs. I’ve tested this rule in many ways and many times over the last 40 plus years, and the rule always wins. First in school, then in sports, business, and even in family life of being a husband and a father. No matter how many times I show up for a situation in life unprepared, I always lose. 


Nowadays I’m pretty seasoned in the art of, “If you’re gonna be dumb, you’d better be tough,” and it feels good to already have a plan in place for 2017 and beyond. In fact, here at Powersports Marketing we’ve taken our planning well into the future. With the help from a great book called Traction by Gino Wickman, my leadership team and I have created a big picture vision by setting a 10-year goal based on realistic sales history and previous year-over-year growth. Then, using the same math, we rolled it back and painted the picture for where we should be in 3 years. We then rolled it back again to a 1-year goal, and now we live in a 90-day, quarterly, goal world.  We’ve also factored in our existing company core values, created a core purpose, and have very specific marketing strategy. 


What’s exciting is that if we execute our marketing strategy the growth will come. It’s a Predictable Formula.  In fact, it’s the same principle based growth formula we teach our dealer clients in boot camps and online presentations. 


The 90-day world we’re living in right now is focused on three of the biggest holidays and marketing opportunities of the year: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Or Hallow-Thanks-Mas as we like to call it. 


When we execute our 90-day Hallow-Thanks-Mas plan, here is what the Predictable Growth Formula looks like in action. 


Annual increase in customer list size + annual increase in customer value (or the same) = Annual Growth. Simple math. 


The two fundamentals behind the Predictable Growth Formula are:


1. Generating new leads. (Growing New Customers)


2. Increasing the value of existing customers/ reactivating lost customers. (Increasing Retention)


The objective of the Predictable Growth Formula is to experience growth year after year, despite elections, weather, the stock market, etc. 


Too often business owners mistake having an “up year” with growing. There is a HUGE difference. Most businesses are market driven, meaning their results vary based on the ebb and flow of the economy. Businesses who execute the two previous mentioned fundamentals experience Predictable Growth and are marketing driven. They’re not sitting around waiting for the market to come to them. 


But to accomplish Predictable Growth in this very important last quarter of 2016 you must first embrace the 6-P Rule. With no plan, you’re just another reactive dealer sitting around waiting on the door to swing. 


Let’s dive a little deeper into the difference between a Market driven dealer versus a Marketing driven dealer.  

A Market driven dealer is oblivious to its number one asset. It’s customer list. A Market driven dealer doesn’t invest in and train its staff, nor does he have a Q4 and beyond marketing plan to take advantage of the massive holiday spending that is about to go down. A Market driven dealer isn’t aware that Amazon and his competitor down the road are all fighting for a piece of that holiday spending as well. A Market driven dealer will react, and whatever the outcome of his holiday sales are come January 2017, he will blame the good or the bad on the outcome of the election. 


A Marketing driven dealer understands that his customer list is his number one asset (what I often refer to as “The Number One Asset Your Accountant Forgot to Tell You About”). A Marketing driven dealer trains his staff on how and why capturing accurate data on his customers is of the utmost importance. A Marketing driven dealer has a pro-active plan and is doing an integrated, lead generating, marketing plan for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and will finish the year strong come hell or high water.  


Ultimately, continual growth is achieved by executing the 6-P Rule, and now is the time to take action. If you’re reading this right now, then you understand we’re practicing what we preach because this newsletter is part of the plan.  


Pick up the phone right now and call us to get your Hallow-Thanks-Mas campaigns on the books, so you can finish strong regardless of Trump or Hillary and learn more about how the Predictable Growth formula can help you in 2017 and beyond! 877-242-4472. 



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Why Dealers Focus on Discounted Pricing When They’re in Trouble?

Rod Stuckey | 09/13/2016


You ever heard the one about the two entrepreneurs who set out to make their fortune selling watermelons? As the story goes, these two guys from Texas had a little money and a truck, so they decided they would start a watermelon wholesale business. They would head over the border to Mexico and buy watermelons at the super discounted rate of one dollar each. So, off they went across the border, loaded the truck full, left Mexico and headed towards Dallas selling off the melons for $10 per dozen. Business was so good they were sold out before even making it halfway to Dallas. But, while sitting on the side of the road counting their money, they realized they were a little short on cash from the original amount they started with. They wondered what the problem was as business had been so great. Then the one entrepreneur looked at the other and said, “You thinking what I’m thinking?” “Yes,” he replied, “we need to get a bigger truck!”  


I share this joke, because all too often Dealers choose to focus their advertising, and even their entire business model around sales and discounts. This is a very slippery slope, and it’s important that Dealer Principals understand that fundamentally, business is a game of margin, not volume. If a dealership doesn’t maintain adequate sales margins, no matter how much volume they do, they will inevitably go out of business. This was evident during the recent recession where the total OEM dealer network shrunk by nearly half. The majority of those who went bust during this time did so because of a focus on top-line sales, rather than margin.


But, it’s not just the small guys who make this mistake, many large companies hire ignorant CEO’s who mistakenly think volume and market share are the secret to business success. If this is the case, then in the years of 2000 and 2004, 23 of the 40 biggest bankruptcies of all time wouldn’t have taken place, but they did. Even going further back in history, there is more proof. In 1978 President Jimmy Carter deregulated the airline industry. This allowed the airlines to charge whatever they wanted. So guess what they all did. They lowered prices. All copy-catting the other trying to increase sales volume, and ultimately leading to hundreds of bankrupt airlines. In the 27 years before airline deregulation, no airline went bankrupt. Since 1978 over 160 have come and gone.


Often times it’s the little guy, the local Gilly’s Got It hardware store copy-catting the big guys, like Home Depot, who gets himself into big trouble. Gilly, the little guy, putting up a billboard that says, CHEAPEST PRICES IN TOWN, has just set himself on a catastrophic trajectory towards bankruptcy. From there Gilly will be forced into doing less, cutting corners, decreasing payroll, hiring less talent etc. And it’s very difficult to ever recover from the Big Discounter positioning. “We used to be the cheapest, but now we’re a premium brand,” just doesn’t go over well with local customers.


Small business love to observe what the Wal-Marts are doing and attempt to copycat. Few realize that behind closed doors Wal-Mart and other big boxers struggle with margin too. But, they’re playing a different game, and their business scales different than the local guy. If they only make a nickel off of one item, they may be able to sell 2 million of those items worldwide. Gilly’s is headed to extinction when he follows suit.


So, here’s what happens. The small guy sees what the big guy is doing (discounting) which isn’t necessarily right and he models his advertising in a similar way. Then, some moron (there is one in every market) will then go and copy his competitor and lower his prices even more providing a perfect road map to extinction for them both. Seriously folks, I’m not making this stuff up, it happens all the time.


Then, when a business gets in trouble, it has a cash flow problem. This creates an intolerable situation for the owner. If the bills aren’t paid, then the needed products and supplies will be cut off. If payroll isn’t met, there will be no one to take care of customers. So what’s the owner to do? Shift straight from logic to emotion and say, “If they can sell it for that cheap, then so can we!”


No! It’s a trap, and you don’t want to be caught in it. There is a better way, and just because you’re selling the same products as your competitors across town doesn’t mean you can’t outperform them and out market them without promoting sales and discounts. And, this is exactly why you need to join me, and my team of experts here in Atlanta for our Fall Marketing Boot Camp, October 24 through the 26, where I’ll be covering in detail how and why you can grow new market share and increase retention without discounting. Don’t delay!  Go now to and get registered. There’s a no risk money back guarantee so you have nothing to lose. See you there.



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"I'm wasting half of the money I spend on advertising; the only problem is I don't know which half."

Rod Stuckey | 08/16/2016

The above headline is a famous quote from John Wanamaker that always struck a nerve with me. Especially back when I was a Dealer Principal myself.


In 1875, Wanamaker purchased an old abandoned railroad depot and converted it into a large store, called John Wanamaker & Co. “The Grand Depot” is considered one of the first true department store chains beginning in Philadelphia, then New York, and even expanding abroad with locations in London and Paris. He went on to become a pioneer in merchandising and advertising and is credited with the invention of the price tag, the money back guarantee, and was the first retailer to ever place a full page newspaper ad. Worth well over $100 million at the time of his death in 1922, Wanamaker was also known for writing his own ad copy, a tedious and under-valued task most retailers don’t fully recognize.


Part of the cause for ad copy not receiving the attention it deserves is the fact that most media providers claim that their delivery method is the Holy grail, and as long as you choose my radio station, TV, billboard, newspaper, email system, direct mail, social media, etc. you will be making the best decision. The actual message (copy) becomes an afterthought.


The fact is our four-legged stool analogy of right message, right market, right media, right time is a requirement for a successful advertising campaign. Take any one of those 4 components out of the equation, take a four-legged stool, and knock off one leg, and the entire stool is broken. I suspect Wanamaker was a smart enough guy he figured this out, but probably the hard way, just as I did, by wasting tens of thousands of dollars on lame branding type messages that generated no quantifiable results. This would explain why he was reluctant to delegate such a critical step in his advertising, creating the message. And this is why I still review damn near every piece of copy that goes out of this building for both us and clients by seeding myself on campaigns. 


The goal of your message is to attract, not repel; to create affinity, not isolate those not in the market today; to generate leads, not build a brand (with proper messages branding is a happy byproduct). Or, as marketing legend Dan Kennedy says, the goal of your message is “to be a welcomed guest, not a nagging pest.” Here are the three biggies I play close attention to.  



Plain Vanilla – The most common challenge with marketing messages created by big corporate agencies is that they are boring, not interesting, and not personal.  Vanilla ice cream is popular no doubt, a good choice if you’re trying to play it safe and appeal to everyone. However, vanilla can have a competitive disadvantage because it is much less interesting than flavored ice creams. Take pistachio for example, while pistachio may appeal to a narrower crowd, those that do buy it don’t just like it, they love it. They’re raving fans, passionate about their preferred flavor. The goal of pistachio isn’t to appeal to the masses, it’s to engage its pre-defined niche really well.


People are interested in people, not brick and mortar. When you send your message from a person to a person (one to one marketing) you can inject personality, which creates relationships. As Gitomer says, make a sale and earn a commission, make a friend and earn a fortune. When your message is being delivered to proven riders in your back yard versus the masses, your message can be more colorful and build affinity which leads to loyalty, which leads to referrals. 

Relevant – Why send out a stiff corporate direct mail and email campaign promoting a finance offer on a single category of units? If your reach is 10,000 people how many do you think are in the market to buy that category today? Less than 2%, right?  You can take that same media, same target audience and create a clear and simple message that is applicable to all on your list and generates quantifiable sales leads telling you exactly what they are currently interested in whether it is new units, used units, parts, accessories, clothing or service. Doesn’t crafting your message to target all recipients make more sense than making 98% think all you care about is trying to sell them the big ticket item?


One and Done – To build a true and authentic relationship you have to be consistent. How do your customers feel about your communication with them? Excited? Eager? Interested? Or neutral, take it or leave it? Bored or Disinterested? I don’t know about you, but when my local car dealer sends me a new car sale mailer once a quarter I’m usually pretty disinterested. Do your messages feel authentic, genuine and trusted or do they feel artificial, self-serving, and contrived? When you commit to touching your buying base with interesting and relevant messages 52 to 104 times per year you will improve retention and grow new market share through repeat and referral business. Guaranteed. 


If you’re tired of wasting half the money you spend on marketing, we’d love for you to join us at our Fall Marketing Boot Camp Oct. 24th through the 26th or call us today at 877-242-4472 and we’ll happily walk you through our secret formula for crafting effective messages.



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This Ain’t Vegas… You Can Play the Odds and Win.

Rod Stuckey | 07/12/2016

When I was a teenager I had a job at the local golf course, picking up the driving range, maintaining the carts, etc. I played a little golf here and there, but once I had enough money to buy myself a truck and a dirt bike I never touched a club again for 20+ years. In fact, I eventually even put a decal on my ol’ Mustang that read: Throttle Jockey - Because Golf Courses Should be Motocross Tracks.



My father and uncles all rode hare scrambles and enduros when I was a kid. I had a few mini bikes early on, but when my dad hung up his leathers, my riding days were put on hold and replaced with stick and ball sports. As a kid, I always knew when I got old enough I wanted to race like my dad and uncles did. And, racing I did. Clearly, it was in my blood. I was “eat, sleep, drink, and breath” motorcycle racing from the time I was 19 years old until my early-to-mid 30’s. Racing motorcycles led me to friends who raced mountain bikes and road bikes, which led me to friends who raced triathlons. All of which I eventually participated in after retiring from motorcycle racing. 


Fast forward to a few years ago and the guys here at the office started a little golf outing tradition once a year. On a whim, I decided to go out and enjoy the scenery with my friends and colleagues and ride around, hit a few balls and drink a few beers. I had a good time, but I didn’t give it much thought until the next year. I decided to go again, but this time I hit a couple of decent shots and it piqued my curiosity.  It’s borderline discomforting for me to share this with my 2-wheel friends, but now I try to play golf once a week. 


There’s a big marketing lesson here. Every hobby I’ve been involved with over the past 25 years has come as a result of the influence from friends and family. Not as a result of advertisements. My self-image was so anti-golf that the manufacturers couldn’t have converted me to golfing if they gifted me a set of 14kt gold clubs. 


This is why targeting your marketing directly to existing riders and improving their ownership experience is hands down the best way to invest your limited budget. Notice I said ownership experience. When you create happy customers, they become raving fans, their enthusiasm is contagious and they begin to influence their friends and family members to ride (They also stay longer, pay more, and refer you more business). 


When I play golf with the guys, we’ll often put a small wager on the game. I’m not really a big gambler, but I’ve noticed gambling and marketing have two things in common that interest me. Mathematical odds and behavioral psychology. When you go to Vegas, payback percentages and frequency are greatest on the $.25 and $.50 slots, somewhere in the 10% range. When you move up to the $1 slots you drop to 8%-ish, then $5 you’re down to 6% payout. In Vegas you’re eventually likely to lose, but you can buy more entertainment by playing better odds. 


Fortunately, with your dealership’s marketing you can play the odds and psychology game and win. 


If you spend $5,000 to advertise on the radio around your entire metro city take these odds into consideration. With satellite radio, mp3, audiobooks, etc. not everyone listens to the radio anymore. Even if they do listen to the radio, you’re not guaranteed to be on the rock or country station that riders choose. And even if you do, most people don’t pay attention to commercials. If you’re not the closest dealer to riders the radio ad could potentially just send a prospect to their local dealer. From an odds perspective how would you rate your radio ad in improving the riders in your back yards’ ownership experience so they will frequent your dealership more often and influence more new riders to join the sport?


Now consider throwing a Summer Sizzler party at your dealership. You send a personal invitation to your existing customers via email, telephone, direct mail and social media. You also invite a few conquest customers (those who live in your backyard, ride what you sell, but haven’t done business with you). You offer a fun (non-salesy) incentive for your guests to share what’s on their mind on a custom landing page. As a result, you have hundreds of customers who have raised their hands and told you exactly what they want (sales opportunities), and you haven’t even had your party yet. How would you compare these odds of improving rider’s ownership experience compared to your radio campaign?


Now, what if you committed to improving the ownership experience of riders in your backyard 12 months out of the year with a SYSTEM that has very high odds of producing Predictable Growth? With smart marketing, and the latest technology you can play the odds to win in your favor.


To discover more, join us at our Fall Marketing Boot Camp Oct. 24th through the 26th or call us today at 877-242-4472.

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The Secret Formula to Predictable Growth

Rod Stuckey | 06/25/2016

Believe it or not, there are dealers who experience growth year after year, despite elections, the weather, the stock


market, etc. While there are other operators who misdiagnose having an up year because of a growing market. There is a BIG difference. Some dealers are market driven, and their results vary based on the ebbs and flows of the economy, while other dealers are marketing driven and they control their own destiny. 


A market driven dealer is oblivious to its number one asset. A market driven dealer doesn’t invest in and train its staff. A market driven dealer makes reactive advertising decisions and sloppily pays for one-and-done random billboard, radio, TV, and newspaper campaigns coming and going because he knows he should be advertising. A market driven dealer doesn’t understand what his buying base is, much less have a clue about how to dominate it. A market driven dealer is vulnerable. I should know, I used to be one. I learned the hard way, the expensive way. If you’re reading this, you don’t have to. 


A marketing driven dealer understands that his customer list is his number one asset (what I often refer to as “The Number One Asset Your Accountant Forgot to Tell You About”). A marketing driven dealer trains his staff on how and why capturing accurate data on his customers is of the utmost importance. A marketing driven dealer has a pro-active, integrated, direct marketing plan designed to touch his buying base 52 to 104 times per year and is quantifiable. Barring natural disaster, a marketing driven dealer experiences predictable growth. A marketing driven dealer understands this simple formula. 


Annual increase in list size + annual increase in customer value (or the same) = Annual Growth. 


While a multitude of factors are involved in a dealer’s ability to grow their list, it’s important to understand the two most fundamental contributors. 


1. Generating new leads. (Growing new market share)


2. Increasing the frequency of visits from existing customers and reactivating lost customers. (Increasing Retention)


Basically, there are two groups of riders that you should be marketing to in order to grow new market share: Your existing customers to increase retention, and conquest customers, those who live in your backyard, ride what you sell, but haven’t done business with you before. These two groups make up what we call your buying base. And, when you focus on touching these two groups 52 to 104 times per year, with relationship driven messages (as opposed to salesy, hypey, messages) something magical happens. 


If your focus each and every day, month, and year is just reacting to walk-in floor traffic, handling phone-ups and internet leads with no attention to capturing that customer data and marketing to them in the future, then you can’t grow every single year.  




First - You will be confined to the conditions of the market and economy, as this is the primary driver of walk-in floor traffic.  


Second - Those who’ve given you money in the past will always be most likely to give you money again in the future, because they already know you. BUT, if you’re not reaching out to them with compelling reasons to visit your store they can easily be lured away by your competitors or lose interest all together.


When you develop and execute a solid marketing plan to build and retain your existing customers, and conquest your competitors’ and orphan customers in your market area YOU begin to control the floor ups, phone ups, and internet sales leads NOT the market. 


Ultimately, continual growth is achieved by touching your ENTIRE customer buying base 52 to 104 times per year. 

So if you’re ready to stop the up and down roller coaster ride of being a market driven dealership and you’re ready to generate predictable growth by becoming a Marketing driven dealership, pick up the phone and give us a call at 877-242-4472. 

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The Ad Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

Rod Stuckey | 05/19/2016



Customers move away, some are stolen by competitors, and some die. These are just a few of the reasons for lost customers. Most dealers just accept these losses as inevitable and beyond their control. Heck some even blame those damn disloyal customers. The nerve of those ungrateful SOB’s. Few lost customers actually leave kicking and screaming, most gradually depart due to a lack of interest or affinity. They silently wander off with a feeling of apathy; we call these quiet migrators. 


The common reaction to solve the lost customer challenge is to invest in more new customers. This seems logical, and after all, is recommended by all the traditional advertising experts. But, let’s investigate a little further. First off, there is something you should know about 80+% of the advertising industry. They tell you the purpose of your advertising is to build your brand and create top of mind awareness so you can spend your entire budget in the vaguest and least measurable way possible; to try to attract new customers. Much of this B.S. is pushed out there by ad agencies who get paid a percentage of their customer’s ad spend. Talk about an inherit conflict of interest.



When I first got a whiff of how this game was played, I knew it didn’t smell right. I felt there had to be a better way.  And there is; although the ad industry tries to keep it hush hush. But before we chase that rabbit, let’s look at some quick math on the cost of losing these quiet migrators and replacing them with new blood.


Here are some real numbers pulled from an old 20 group composite book combined with research on their customer data file. This store had $9,892,781 in annual sales with 3,462 active customers who did business with them in a year. Backing into the math that reveals each customer was worth $2,857.53 in total sales annually. So, each time you lose a quiet migrator you’re losing thousands of dollars in sales PER LOST CUSTOMER, ANNUALLY. Now consider most customers have a potential customer life of greater than 10 years and you’re looking at a loss of over more than $20,000 over the lifetime of a lost customer. But, wait.  It gets worse.


What does it cost to replace that customer? Let’s say this roughly $10 million dealership spends 1.5% or $150,000 per year in advertising. Now add an allocated percentage of the remaining dealership overhead (rent, payroll, utilities, taxes, etc.) to that number - the same percentage that new customers contribute to total sales, then divide that number by the number of new customers generated per year. For the sake of time, let’s say conservatively that number comes out to $500 per new customer created. But, it really cost you $1,000 because you invested $500 to get him, then another $500 to replace him. 


Understanding this math is very important. Even if you feel these numbers aren’t consistent with your store, that’s fine, cut it in half, then cut it in half again, and it still makes the case.


Now, back to that dirty little secret that the ad guys and gals selling radio, TV, billboards, yellow pages, etc. don’t want you to know. The primary purpose of your advertising isn’t to build your brand, create top of mind awareness, and generate new customers. That’s the crazy expensive way that big dumb companies choose to do advertising. The first dollar you spend on marketing should be Direct Marketing to your existing customers. This is called Retention marketing and it’s how you develop and nurture quality relationships with your existing data base of customers. This prevents lost customers so you don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars going after new business while ignoring those quiet migrators. 


When you commit to “touching” your buying base 52 to 104 times per year, with one-to-one relationship style marketing you’ll begin to see that losing customers isn’t inevitable and nearly 100% of the non-deceased category can be eliminated.  


Our Sharp Shooter marketing system is purpose-built to accomplish this mission and is 100% measurable, unlike traditional mass media (BTW, it will also conquest new customers).


And, our Local Web Dominator program has a built-in alarm system for customers that are about to be lost so you can safely rescue them prior to their departure. 


For more information on how we can help you increase retention and carve off new market share without the waste, contact us at 877.242.4472 or visit

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The Strength of the Foundation Determines How High the Skyscraper Can Rise

Rod Stuckey | 04/21/2016

We just completed our Spring Break Out marketing boot camp, and it was another great turnout with a lot of very smart dealers in the room. As always, the magic doesn’t just come from those presenting, but it happens between sessions, during the breaks, at the bar in the evening, etc. I want to give a special thanks to all those who attended.


Inevitably, at some point during these twice a year live events I hear two remarks. The first is, “I was skeptical about attending because I thought this was going to be a pitch fest for your products. But, now I know that couldn’t be further from the truth”.  


What many don’t realize is that I started in this industry as a rider and enthusiast turned dealer. Well, in reality, right after opening our first single line Honda open point it was more like chief parts guy, service writer, toilet washer, and customer complaint punching bag.


Eventually, as I began to take over the sales and marketing for our quickly growing four store operation in Atlanta, Ga. I wasted more money on lame advertising that didn’t work than I care to admit. And often times, I was throwing away tens of thousands of dollars, and then sweating when the floor checker showed up asking for a hefty check. Those are the experiences that make you truly disgusted with any wasted cash outflow, and left searching for answers.


In reality, I was completely underqualified to be making the advertising decisions for our stores. Deep down, I knew that all I was basically doing was copycatting what my competitors were doing, which I was beginning to speculate was all wrong.  I began to realize I was an advertising victim created by my own ignorance.  It was at this point that I realized something had to change and I began to immerse myself in the study of all things marketing.



Here at Powersports Marketing™ I’m not the only member of the team who has been involved with wasting tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands on useless marketing for dealers that doesn’t work.  My entire leadership team bears that scar as well. Tory and Brad were both G.M.’s for our Atlanta based stores and have on multiple occasions felt the pain of misused marketing budgets. My current CFO, Kathy Peacock, was my controller in the dealership days and has written many checks for fruitless advertising.  And interestingly enough, Tia Robinson, our Digital Marketing Manager who I met many years ago when she was working for a certain OEM ex-client who we were doing kick ass campaigns for that were generating amazing quantifiable results. Ultimately, that client hired a new CEO and he changed from our proven direct response campaigns to a “branding” campaign and Tia was able to see and feel the painful difference between “branding” and “direct response”.    


And this brings me to the 2nd common remark that has very little to do with advertising or the actual content of the Boot Camp. “Your team is very impressive, what is your secret to recruiting such good people?”  This is obviously a loaded question, and the answer is so complex it would require a book rather than a paragraph. 


First, I’m extremely grateful for the amazing members of this team, and I do my best to let them know it every Friday in our company meeting. And second, is our company core values (, particularly number five: Dedication to continual improvement in business and in life.


Our core values aren’t just a poster on the wall, they are something we review, reinforce, and hold one another accountable for constantly.  I’m not the only one around here who has taken past failures of dealership marketing personally. All of the previously mentioned have also consumed mountains of information on marketing best practices.


As a team, each month we’re studying a new book together with the direct intent to learn and improve our performance. We also reward learning with incentives for certifications and other training, which is why we have more Google certified employees than all of our competitors combined. We regularly attend seminars and trade shows, and for the most part all share an insatiable desire to learn more, improve more, so we can deliver more. And we don’t just study, we practice what we preach in our own marketing.


The reason I share this is twofold. We only do these live events twice a year, and it’s not a money maker for us. We have such a strong belief that our stance on dealer marketing is in the best interest of the overall health of this industry. And, we know that there is so much clutter in the market that we’re passionate about sharing our proven system with dealers. We’re motorcycle people first, marketers second. We’re always learning, measuring, and striving for improvement, all with the thought of you the motorcycle dealer in mind. The purpose of our boot camps aren’t to pitch our products, but to share the successes and failures we’ve had as dealers, working with OEM’s, and as a marketing company who has executed thousands of motorcycle dealer specific marketing for over 700 dealers nationwide. 


And this is exactly why you should go ahead and mark your calendar for Oct. 24 to the 26th and plan to attend our next boot camp. Heck, for that matter go head and jump over to and get signed up now. 

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Evaluate Your Competition & Do the Opposite

Rod Stuckey | 03/11/2016

According to the late Peter Drucker, your store has a 1:14 chance of doing business with someone whom you have never done business with, a 1:4 chance of doing business with someone whom you have had a previous business relationship with, and a 1:2 chance of doing business with your existing customers. 


This emphatically demonstrates the importance of communicating to your customer base consistently with relevant and compelling messages.  Your customer database is your biggest and most often overlooked asset.


Speaking of relevant and compelling communication, let me ask you this: If you take every person on your customer list from young to old, male to female, touring rider to cruiser rider, off-road to PWC, in the market right now for a new bike, used bike, parts, accessories, service, or not really in the market for anything at all; is it easy to make your outbound marketing messages applicable to all?


Not really, right?


How about these common ad lingo phrases, are they relevant to all?  0% APR - Bad Credit, No Problem - No payments until July of 2016 - Top Dollar for Your Trade - First Time Buyers Program - We Will Beat any Deal - Zero Down Delivers - This Inventory Will Not Last - Managers Special - We’re Overstocked - Don’t Walk, Run - No Reasonable Offer Refused - All Credit Applications Accepted - 25 Lenders to Choose From - 20% off purple XXXL half helmets etc. 


No way, right? 



The odds of one of the previous mentioned marketing one-liners being relevant to its recipient is less than 5%. Then why are they so common?


Because most dealers are looking at what their competition is doing, which is all wrong, and copying it. 

One of legendary author Napoleon Hill’s great discoveries in his bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, was to look at what your competition is doing and do the opposite.  


Consider these facts next time you hear your competitors’ radio commercial or see them on TV. 


• 95% of the people hearing or seeing those commercials have zero interest in motorcycles (that’s according to MIC statistics). That’s a lot of waste.


• Of the 5% that do ride and hear the ad, there are big odds against a cold prospect actually converting. 

Rather than waste tens of thousands of dollars trying to attract all new customers at crazy high odds through mass media with gimmicky catch phrases; doesn’t it make more sense to target your previous and existing customers with authentic, relationship building messages and invite them to an event or party at your dealership? 


Most dealers will not do regular monthly events, and this is exactly why you should. 

I was once at a 20 group meeting where all dealers in the room where asked about their most effective marketing. Over half of the room shared the success they had experienced holding some type of event at their dealership. When the moderator asked how many had executed again due to its success, none raised their hand. He asked why and was told, “because it was hard work.”


Back in my dealership days when I first tried events I attempted to do everything myself. From lining up door prizes, picking up the morning donuts and coffee, to remembering the tablecloths, putting up balloons and EZ-ups, etc. It was exhausting.  But eventually, we developed an open house checklist that assigned different tasks to different individuals and departments. We would have a quick manager meeting prior to the event to review the checklist and VOILA. I went from exhausted to standing around eating donuts and drinking coffee, proudly acknowledging how much better this event was than when I tried to do it all myself. 


There is one more secret reason dealers are hesitant to promote events regularly. It’s a little less talked about, and this one has nothing to do with the work load.  Most dealers don’t know the formula for marketing their event in a cost effective manner, and therefore have fear that the party will have a poor turn out if they don’t spend a small fortune. Not even us adults like to throw a party and have no one show up. 


However, there is a proven formula. It’s cost effective and it generates many more benefits than what just happens on the day of the event. This formula eliminates the previous mentioned frustration of sending marketing messages to your list that are not relevant.  It eliminates the waste of mass media.  And, it generates a quality list of authentic leads for every department in the dealership, month-in and month-out. And best of all, it isn’t a one and done, it’s part of a bigger strategy to nurture your biggest asset by touching them 52 to 104 times per year. 


We call this secret formula the ‘Sharp Shooter’ and I’ve only scratched the surface of how we can help you sell more bikes and make more money this spring. You’ve already proven you’re a better operator than your competition, because he didn’t even read this article, now do what he won’t do and pick up the phone and call us now at 877-242-4472 and speak with one of our event marketing experts. 

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Sending Kick A$$ Emails Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Rod Stuckey | 02/10/2016

 It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of direct mail. It’s tangible, it’s personal, and it just plain works (when properly executed). However, I’m a bigger fan of “fishing with multiple poles in the water.” One of the biggest mistakes made with dealership marketing is using one type of media as a stand-alone advertisement.


You’ve heard the story of how synergy works, right? Steven Covey gives an example of synergy by explaining that if one horse can pull 1,500 pounds and another horse can pull another 1,500 pounds, when you hook them together they can pull over 5,000 pounds. This is exactly how your media works. 


The official phrase used by stuffy ad agencies is ‘integrated media.’ This simply means to deploy multiple different media methods that work together to promote the same message and desired outcome creating a synergistic effect with the results of your campaign. The opposite of this is to deploy one-and-done advertisements or to use multiple media with each one promoting its own message and desired outcome. Neither are effective. 


The right way to start a professional marketing program for your dealership begins with a marketing calendar that lays out the foundation for the dates and themes of your marketing. Once you’ve decided on your overall strategy you can then create a marketing checklist that gets everyone in your dealership involved in the execution. This creates buy-in from your team and reduces the stress of the D.P. or G.M. trying to do everything himself (which, by the way, is the reason most plans aren’t consistently followed through with).


And there is one media that your dealership should be using every single week to execute your plan that bolts on complimentary to any other media you are using (especially direct mail). 




Email is here to stay, and without a doubt the most powerful marketing tool available today for dealers. I realize that’s a bold claim, but check this out: 


A four-year study of over 72 million customers across 14 different industries revealed 40 times as many purchases came from email links compared to Facebook and Twitter (Source: Custora).


This seems pretty logical to me. People use social media as entertainment, and as a way to follow their friends and family or even celebrities. But when it’s time to take care of business, most of us login to our email.


According to the Direct Marketing Association, email leads the way on media return on investment by nearly double any other media with a 41 to 1 ROI.

The fact is, everyone with a real job, real income, and decent credit uses email. According to McKinsey, those in the workforce spend about 2.5 hours a day using email. And with the technology of smart phones improving the email experience, it isn’t limited to just time at the office. Members of the workforce are looking at emails during breakfast, lunch and dinner, too. 

So while there are plenty of workers who don’t use Facebook or Twitter (like me and many others) the same can’t be said for email. 


Email is the preferred method of communication across all age groups according to Merkle. 


But unfortunately, very few dealers are truly leveraging the power of email due to the clumsy nature of creating a quality looking email, and providing quality content. 


Have you ever sat in front of your computer and pulled up your email system to craft a quality marketing email and ended up staring at a blank screen not knowing which direction to go? 


Part of the challenge for the dealer is that most commercial grade email systems have been designed for the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker, and the themes and templates provided are useless. 


So, what a lot of dealers now do is copy and paste a plethora of different images and banners into an email. And while this can provide okay content, it is still under utilizing this powerful media. For the same reason your accessory department should be merchandised with matching fixtures and gondolas, your email should be tied together with an overall theme and graphics so it doesn’t look like you’re having a yard sale.


The other challenge is, going back to the previously mentioned marketing calendar, you have to have a plan that integrates email into your overall marketing strategy. 


To solve this challenge, we’ve created Firestorm™, the industry’s first motorcycle dealer specific email marketing solution built from the ground up by our team of programmers to integrate and compliment your overall marketing plan. Essentially, we’ve built the marketing calendar for your dealership right into the system, and you can now create and deploy professionally crafted emails that integrate with your store merchandising, direct mail, social media, etc. and are proven to get quality results in just minutes. 


For more information on our new Firestorm™ email system, contact us at 877-242-4472 or schedule a free demo of the program at 

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A Dangerous Trend Emerging in the New Year

Rod Stuckey | 01/26/2016

Welcome to 2016 and issue 79 of the Ultra Marketing Machine newsletter, a.k.a. the Yellow Paper. Happy New Year!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been mailing this for over 6 years straight, and I’m proud to say we have no plans of using the trendy reason of going green as an excuse to cut costs, and turn this into a digital publication. Right here, right now, if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, I resolve to keep this newsletter in real print, on real paper, bringing you the best real world dealership marketing best practices in real ink for another 6 years and beyond. 


I do realize that 10 or 20 years from now, the decision makers in dealerships may prefer digital consumption of this content. But today, the Dealer Principals, GM’s, and readers I speak with appreciate the tangible product. And these are the primary folks we aim to please. I bring this up because I see a dangerous marketing trend emerging with dealer marketing. 

It seems that many of the OEM’s are so busy trying to attract the next generation of customers who currently have low income, no credit, and a limited desire for the product, that they’re ignorantly unaware they are beginning to repel their existing customers, who by the way, have solid income, great credit, and high desire for the product. 


If 90% of my client base is made up of baby boomers and Generation X’ers who appreciate this newsletter in print, and 10% are millennials who feel we should deliver this via Snap Chat, I’d be pretty unwise to focus a disproportionate amount of resources on the 10% rather than on the 90%, wouldn’t I?



Here at Powersports Marketing we’ve long championed the proven data that clearly states the number one way we grow this industry and create new riders is through the influence of friends and family. Somewhere along the way, the big dumb ad agencies hired by the OEM’s have convinced their clients that spending millions of dollars marketing to Non-Riders, Minorities, and Millennials is going to grow this industry and set them up for success 20 years from now. Then in a trickledown effect, the OEM’s push programs on you, the dealer, persuading you to advertise to these segments. I say hogwash. 


Motorcycle riders are passion based enthusiasts. My wife and daughters love horses, my father loves airplanes, my good friend Chris loves deep sea fishing, many of my colleagues here at the office love golfing, and Tory and Brad love Muscle Cars. All of the previous mentioned have two things in common. One, they are passionate about their hobbies, and two, their involvement in their chosen hobby is a result of the influence of friends and family, not the result of an advertisement. 


If you want consistent growth for the New Year and beyond, I strongly urge you to market with laser precision to your buying base. Your buying base is made up of two groups. One, your existing customer list. Those who have given you money in the past are the most likely to give you money again in the future. Did you know 68% of lost customers discontinue shopping with a business because of indifference. We call these lost customers “quiet migrators,” they just drift off, because they really aren’t given a compelling reason to hang around. Over time they develop a feeling of apathy, as if the business doesn’t really care about them. 


When you send one-to-one, relationship driven, compelling marketing messages to your customers and ‘touch’ them 52 to 104 times per year, and then back that up with a consistent and positive in-dealership experience (greeting customers by name, etc.), you begin to create raving fans who share their experience online with reviews and offline with friends and family. 


The second group, or part of your buying base, are customers who ride what you sell, or a competitor’s product, live in your backyard, but have never done business with you. We call these conquest customers. 

These are the two ways you increase your customer retention and grow new market share.


Unfortunately, ad agencies, and many OEM’s don’t understand that dealerships have a limited budget to spend on marketing, and that limited budget must be spent in the most impactful and effective ways possible. Spending a significant portion of your limited budget going after minorities and non-riders is futile.  


My motive for creating awareness over this dangerous trend is not all self-serving. As a former Dealer Principal, I speak from experience. I wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on mass media trying to convert non-riders into riders. It was an expensive lesson and one that I’ll never forget. I’m in no way opposed to looking into the future and strategizing over the best methods for keeping our industry strong for decades to come, but not at the expense of what is best for feeding my family today. Enjoy the rest of this issue!


For more information on how Powersports Marketing can help you grow your buying base in 2016 contact us at 877-242-4472 or visit us online at




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Don’t let Your Dealership be “Amazoned” this Holiday Season

Rod Stuckey | 12/01/2015


‘Tis the season to be thankful. So, I’d like to extend my gratitude to the Dealer Principals and Marketing Managers who attended our recently completed Fall Harvest Boot Camp. I’d also like to say thanks to my valued teammates for all of the hard work behind the scenes that goes into making these events successful. 


We covered real world dealership case studies, Annual Customer Value, online and off-line media, and as always, how and why all dealership marketing must include all four legs of the stool or it will falter. Those four legs being:


1.    Right Message
2.    Right Media
3.    Right Market
4.    Right Time


This may sound pretty basic, but in reality, to execute properly, it’s quite advanced. For example: I grew up with a friend whose family owns a local clothing store. I was a regular customer there for 20+ years.

But in the last few years, I’ve begun to gravitate away from buying at their store. They didn’t do anything to upset me, but I’ve just been slowly lured away by their competitors (without any real conscious awareness of it). Thinking back, it started when I was in a pinch for a suit prior to a travel engagement and received a mail piece from the local Jos. A. Bank promoting a compelling special offer. It was the right message, at the right time and with no regular communication from my local guys I was feeling indifferent about where I shopped. Then, the last couple of years since studying the massive rise in popularity from Amazon and Zappos I decided to give ordering a pair of shoes online a try (against my natural skepticism) and was pleasantly surprised by my experience. 


Eventually, I downloaded the Amazon app on my phone, and got in the habit of quickly ordering things as I needed them without my normal procrastination involved in visiting a retailer. Two weeks ago, while dumping the holding tanks in my RV, I sprung a pinhole leak in a drain hose (yuck). I clicked on my smartphone app and had a new one on the way within two minutes, and it was at my house by the time I’d returned from my road trip. 


So anyway, a couple of days ago I get a “Happy Holidays” postcard in the mail from my friend’s local clothing store. First of all it seemed kinda weird to receive because I hadn’t heard from them in so long. But, somewhat flattered that they’d reached out, I picked it up to see what my old friends had been up to. I immediately noticed it was addressed to ‘Current Resident.’ That felt a little impersonal seeing how I know that I’m in their database and they should at least know who I am. Oh well, they’ve forgotten who I am. No big deal. I was still curious to see if they had the same team in place. Since the son, Tim, was about my age and should be in charge by now, I thought he may be up for saying a few words about what was going on. Also, Brad has a guy there named Stan he always asks for that had worked there forever. I wonder if he’s still there…I dunno, the copy didn’t reveal. So, uncompelled by the holiday graphic and a pictures of clothes with very little additional content, I tossed it in the trash with little thought. 


But later, I was thinking about the four legs of the stool, and why there were multiple flaws in the execution of my old buddy’s holiday mailer. Primarily revolving around number one, message, and number three, market. Regarding the message, the lack of personalization, i.e. Dear Rod, or Happy Holidays Rod and Ashley (my lovely wife), illustrated they weren’t up to speed on the capabilities of today’s digital printers (or were too cheap). But more importantly, the message was weaker than circus lemonade, because it was selling things rather than the experience. This is a family-owned company who has been in this community for decades and they have a great story to share. They have many advantages that the big box giants and mega e-tailers can’t compete with. Like calling me by my name, providing service from a staff who cares, asking about my family and friends, etc. They are capable of providing an EXPERIENCE not just selling widgets.


The next big flaw was the market they mailed to. I know this was an every door direct mailer because it was addressed to “current resident.” Why would you send a generic message to everyone, when you could send a compelling message to your existing customer base who’ve given you money in the past? They are the ones most likely to give you money again in the future. 


This is one of the great divides in business, especially Powersports: Selling ‘things’ versus selling ‘the experience of’ and selling to anybody versus selling to the right somebody. 


Don’t let your dealership make this mistake during the holiday season. Too many small businesses are “Getting Amazoned” because their marketing is not nurturing relationships and selling the unique experiences they have to offer.


If you’d like more information on one-to-one direct marketing contact us today at 877-242-4472.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Rod Stuckey


P.S. – be on the lookout for our Spring Break Out Boot Camp dates coming soon.

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Entitlement and Laziness Have No Place in Advertising

Rod Stuckey | 11/01/2015

Have you ever heard the old anecdote about a father trying to read the Sunday newspaper, but is constantly being distracted and pestered by his young son?  The dad tears a map into small pieces and offers the son an ice cream if he can piece the map back together. He figures he’s bought himself a good 2 hours or so.  The kid’s back in 10 minutes. “How’d you do that?” the puzzled dad asks. “There’s a big photo of a man on the other side,” his son replies.  “I used it, and it was easy. When I got the man right, the whole world was right, too.”  That’s pretty wise, and in a way, your dealership is like that. When you get yourself right, it can make your entire dealership a more enjoyable and profitable operation. 

Of course, that’s easier said than done. To be an effective D.P. or G.M. you must be an expert in Sales, F&I, P&A, and Service as well as Human Resources and Accounting. It’s almost as if you’re running 4 separate businesses under one roof, and it takes years of experience, quality work habits, and a high level of ability to become a proficient and successful operator. But wait, that’s not all… the nation’s highest performing operators have mastered another super important skill, and that is the ability to make it rain customers. Yes, I’m talking about marketing. 

If you don’t have an effective marketing plan in place, then your customer list is likely getting colder and colder and smaller and smaller without you even realizing its happening. 

Here’s why you lose customers:

•    1% Die
•    3% Move Away
•    5% Influenced by Friends or Family
•    9% Lured by Competitors
•    14% Bad Experience
•    68% Indifference


All too often dealers forget they aren’t entitled to customers just because they’re either located within their OEM assigned territory, or because they are past and present customers. It is your responsibility to stay in touch with your customers, not the other way around.  You can’t control who dies or moves away, but you can heavily influence the other 96% of your potential lost customers before it’s too late. If you’re not regularly marketing to the riders in your buying base, they will eventually get a feeling of apathy, as if you don’t care about them and ultimately drift off. 


Personally, I put great effort into advertising for this company, as well as for our dealer clients. It’s not easy, it’s not always fun and new, and it often turns into a grind. In fact, I have a quick 30 minute meeting two days a week with my leadership team where we cover our non-negotiables. Most of this meeting is dominated by deadline driven deliverables related to our outbound marketing efforts. I put this system in place years ago, because I had identified that when the swirl hit (and it always does) marketing was the area that would be conveniently set aside. 


There was even a time when I was young and naïve that I briefly thought advertising was a wildly creative exercise done by the lazy who weren’t willing to do real work. I found out the hard way (and the expensive way) that creating a one-off fancy branding campaign was about as effective at generating business as trying to change a tire with a set of nunchucks.


Eventually, I learned from my mistakes and became a true student of the advertising and marketing world. I discovered that there seemed to be 2 very different religions in advertising. Direct Response marketers and Branding marketers. The direct response camp is all about creating a compelling offer with a call to action and a deadline, and having the ability to measure results and ROI. The branding folks will tell you the purpose of your advertising is to get your name out there and create top of mind awareness.


That’s when I stumbled onto a book called ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’ by legendary marketer, the late David Ogilvy, who was widely hailed as, “The Father of Advertising.”  Quite the character, Ogilvy created one of the biggest ad agencies of all time. Here’s what he had to say about the two different camps:


“There is a yawning chasm between you Generalists and we Directs. We Directs belong to a different world. Your gods are not our gods. You pride yourselves on being creative - whatever that awful word means. You cultivate the mystique of “creativity.” Some of you are pretentious poseurs. We humble people who work in direct do not regard advertising as an art form. Our clients don’t give a damn whether we win awards at Cannes. They pay us to sell their products. Nothing else. We sell -- or else.”


That resonated well with me, and the more I studied and tested direct marketing compared to branded marketing, the bigger believer I became. When executing direct marketing the proper way, branding is always a happy byproduct anyway. 


As mentioned, getting the man right is not easy, but pnce you do, the rest of the world falls into place. So, choose your religion carefully.   

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Why They Buy?!

Rod Stuckey | 10/01/2015


Most advertising is set up for failure from the beginning. This is due to the mindset of the advertiser which is, “How do I sell?” I’ve seen this critical mistake made from amateurs to so-called experts for as long as I can remember. The profound question that must be asked isn’t, “How do I sell?” but instead, “Why do people buy?”


The fact is that your customers absolutely LOVE to buy, but don’t want to be sold. The psychology behind this is that we BUY for desire of gain, which is a positive emotion. But when we’re sold the perception is that it could be something we don’t really want or need. Therefore, we have a fear of loss, because we bought something we didn’t need and have now made a ‘losing’ investment (side note: this is also why salespeople often have unwarranted negative images).

Big dumb companies will actually spend millions of dollars investing in teaching sales people “how to sell” and launching “salesy” ad campaigns without ever even asking the “why do they buy” question, which is all that really matters. 


Additionally, many dealers have been taught that the purpose of advertising is branding: to get your name out there, build your brand, and create top of mind awareness. While this may be effective if you’re a mega consumer brand like Nike, Bud Light, or Ford with millions of dollars to throw at mass media, it’s simply not the most effective way for small to medium size businesses to invest. Branding, as in your logo front and center as the primary message of your marketing, definitely doesn’t answer the “why they buy” question.


However, it does take consistency to create a responsive list. Most dealers don’t understand that a list that hasn’t been marketed to will usually be a very cold list, meaning it will not generate a good response. Consider this, if you receive a communication from a business that you’ve done business with in the past, but they’ve never marketed to you before you can be caught off guard. Especially if the message is, “Hey! Wanna buy a new bike?” (even though you’re likely not in the market). 

Compare that with the feelings you have when you receive marketing from a business that you’ve had a relationship with and they reach out to you with friendly, beneficial messages on a regular basis. In this case, the list goes from cold, to warm, to warmer, to even hot. 


We recently had a dealer who had been in business for 50 years but didn’t even have a customer list. No emails, no physical addresses, no phone numbers. This was a huge red flag and a clear indicator that his customers never heard from him. As I’ve said in this newsletter for the last 5 years, and I will continue to do so until I’m blue in the face, your customer list is the biggest asset you have. 


Why do your customers buy from you? As you’ve likely heard, people buy from people that they know, like, and trust. In fact, years ago the University of Wisconsin did a study and found that 50% of sales are due to feelings of friendship. 


As Jeffery Gitomer says, “If you make a sale, you can earn a commission. If you make a friend, you can earn a fortune.” 



For these reasons, here at Powersports Marketing we believe strongly in one-to-one, relationship-building, direct marketing from a real human being, to a real human being, with a relevant and compelling message inviting your customers to your dealership.


The way we construct our Sharp Shooter marketing campaigns are so that even if your customers can’t take you up on your offer at this time, they feel a sense of gratitude that you’ve reached out to them. They appreciate hearing from you, and therefore as time passes and consistency happens, your list gets warmer and warmer, with responses increasing consistently over time. 


So with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas quickly approaching (three great excuses to reach out to your customers), don’t ignore your customers, they want to hear from you. They LOVE to buy from you, but don’t want to be sold. So, contact us today for a FREE market analysis and we’ll show you exactly how to execute a 3-step “Hallow-Thanks-Mas” marketing campaign that will warm your list right up without the hard sell! 877.242.4472 


The true purpose of your advertising shouldn’t be branding or to get your name out there, but rather direct response marketing to get your customers to visit your store, your website, or pick up the phone and call you. When you do this the right way, branding is a happy byproduct. And when you do this the right way, you create affinity with your list; they begin to like you and trust you even if they haven’t actually met you in person. This affinity is also a happy byproduct of a proper direct response campaign. 


However, it does take consistency to create a responsive list. Most dealers don’t understand that a list that hasn’t been marketed to will usually be a very cold list, meaning it will not generate a good response. Consider this, if you receive a communication from a business that you’ve done business with in the past, but they’ve never marketed to you before you can be caught off guard. Especially if the message is, “Hey! Wanna buy a new bike?” (even though you’re likely not in the market). 


Compare that with the feelings you have when you receive marketing from a business that you’ve had a relationship with and they reach out to you with friendly, beneficial messages on a regular basis. In this case, the list goes from cold, to warm, to warmer, to even hot. 


We recently had a dealer who had been in business for 50 years but didn’t even have a customer list. No emails, no physical addresses, no phone numbers. This was a huge red flag and a clear indicator that his customers never heard from him. As I’ve said in this newsletter for the last 5 years, and I will continue to do so until I’m blue in the face, your customer list is the biggest asset you have. 


Why do your customers buy from you? As you’ve likely heard, people buy from people that they know, like, and trust. In fact, years ago the University of Wisconsin did a study and found that 50% of sales are due to feelings of friendship. 


As Jeffery Gitomer says, “If you make a sale, you can earn a commission. If you make a friend, you can earn a fortune.” 


For these reasons, here at Powersports Marketing we believe strongly in one-to-one, relationship-building, direct marketing from a real human being, to a real human being, with a relevant and compelling message inviting your customers to your dealership.


The way we construct our Sharp Shooter marketing campaigns are so that even if your customers can’t take you up on your offer at this time, they feel a sense of gratitude that you’ve reached out to them. They appreciate hearing from you, and therefore as time passes and consistency happens, your list gets warmer and warmer, with responses increasing consistently over time. 


So with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas quickly approaching (three great excuses to reach out to your customers), don’t ignore your customers, they want to hear from you. They LOVE to buy from you, but don’t want to be sold. So, contact us today for a FREE market analysis and we’ll show you exactly how to execute a 3-step “Hallow-Thanks-Mas” marketing campaign that will warm your list right up without the hard sell! 877.242.4472 

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What do Selling Awnings and Motorcycles Have in Common?

Rod Stuckey | 09/01/2015

I recently studied a compelling case study on an advanced Direct Marketing company called SunSetter who sells and installs awnings nationwide through its dealer network. To generate leads for the dealers, SunSetter airs national TV commercials and offers a free awning idea kit which includes a DVD. This free premium can be claimed by calling the 800# or mailing in a physical reply card.


In this day and age of electronic communication, websites, social media, and email, it raises the question of why SunSetter would rely on such a seemingly antiquated marketing process.  Are these guys dinosaurs, plain crazy, or are they just another big dumb company wasting money on marketing that doesn’t work?


Actually, these guys ain’t no dummies. They’re a professional direct response marketing outfit who carefully measures cost-per-lead (CPL) and cost-per-sale (CPS). They quantify the percentage of response and the quality of leads generated by media and by the campaign. They work with a MEGA budget and are constantly tweaking and testing their campaigns for maximum results. If they could eliminate the cost of the DVD, tangible idea kit which includes real paper, has a significant postage cost, and requires a costly staff to stuff it, stamp it, and send it, and instead drive traffic to a website to watch a video and download the brochure, then you better believe they’d jump all over it. Cheap and easy.


However, their target audience ranges in age from 38 to 62 and most of those folks aren’t Tweeting or playing on Instagram. They’re too busy working and making money to be full time device fiddlers. The test data clearly indicates that it is way too soon to abandon toll free numbers and printed sales materials. 

Does their target audience’s age range by chance remind you of yours? It should. As the Dealer Principal or Marketing Manager of your dealership you must be very careful about heeding the advice of young whipper snapper employees or your own personal likings. Failing to offer multiple methods of communication, both online and offline, to satisfy the preferences of your prospects and customers (not your personal biases, opinions, and beliefs) is a big mistake.


To be candid, we see this ignorant behavior cost dealers thousands of dollars, month in and month out. Using emotion to determine marketing decisions rather than logic is a costly mistake.


Using one-and-done media methods to deliver a single standalone message is a recipe for disappointment. Relying completely on digital is just as unwise and putting all of your eggs in the offline basket. As we often say, “Diversity Equals Stability,” and, “You have to go fishing with multiple poles in the water.”


It’s not uncommon for us to have a dealer tell us that Direct Mail is dead, despite a preponderance of proof that it is one of the most reliable and effective forms of marketing for motorcycle dealers without question (when executed properly). Heck, we even have some social media happy do-gooders claim that email is old and outdated. Customers don’t want to be called, etc. Silly.


So what media methods (still) work, what is a waste of time and money?  I’ll admit, to successfully implement a multi-channel integrated marketing campaign that is 100% quantifiable is complex. You can ruin your entire investment by marketing to the wrong list. You can butcher your message by not having a compelling offer, premiums, and call to action with a deadline, or you can simply mis-time your deployment and sabotage your results.
You can have a seemingly high performing Google Adwords (pay per click) campaign or even a compelling radio commercial, but if your online reputation is littered with negative reviews, your investment can be sabotaged when customers see or hear your ad and go online and search your dealership. 


So what works, and what doesn’t work? How can you quit wasting half of your advertising dollars, but not knowing which half? How can you discover what really works for your dealership? 


Clearly the pros and SunSetter are students of marketing that have mastered their craft, and if you want to sell more bikes, make more money, and have more fun then you should be one, too. 


So go right now to and sign up for our fast approaching live Fall Harvest Marketing Boot Camp in Atlanta Ga. from Oct. 26th through the 28th.  We’ll help you sift through the data (not just the emotion) of the many marketing options you have to spend your hard-earned money on.


And, you’ll leave with a plan that WORKS (and is quantifiable and profitable). You will not be disappointed. I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta.  

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It’s Hard to Read the Label When You’re Inside the Bottle

Rod Stuckey | 08/01/2015

In the early 1900’s Schlitz beer was in serious trouble. The brewery had dropped outside of the top 5 in sales and the momentum of their fierce competitors was continuing to gain speed. All of the major brands had a similar product, so it wasn’t Schlitz beer recipe that was the problem. The name of the game had become advertising, and the more sales gained by Schlitz competitors, the greater the frequency and reach of their campaigns, resulting in more sales and increased market share. Over at Schlitz, sales were plummeting and the makers knew something had to give or they were going under. 


Out of sheer desperation, Schlitz brought in an outside advertising expert named Claude Hopkins who evaluated their current marketing. The first thing the expert did was request a tour of the brewery. What he saw stunned him. 


Plate glass rooms full of filtered air designed to cool the beer without contaminating it. Four-thousand-foot deep artesian wells drilled to provide the cleanest and purest water available. The original mother yeast cell – developed by the brewery after 1200 experiments to bring out the robust flavor. 


“My God,” Hopkins said, “Why don’t you tell people in your advertising about all these steps you are taking to brew your beer?” 


But, the Schlitz people told him, “All companies brew their beer about the same way.” 


At the time, all of the big breweries were copying one another in their ads and claiming to have the “Purest Beer.”


“Yes,” countered Hopkins, “but the first one to tell the public about this process will gain a big advantage.” 


Hopkins went on to create an advertising campaign based on what he’d learned from the tour. Essentially, he told the story that every brewery could have, but didn’t.


Within six months, Schlitz became the number one selling beer in America. Rather than telling people the same thing every other brewery was saying, Hopkins crafted a compelling story that explained what “purest” really meant and why consumers should care. 


This story is a powerful illustration of just how critical marketing can be to any business success. Especially if you’re selling commodities like beer…or motorcycles. 


And this is where most business owners get it all wrong. They blame their success on the market, the weather, the economy, and the product. A typical business owner has the, “if you build it, they will come” mentality. So, most folks believe if their beer isn’t selling, they need to change the recipe and create a better beer.


The pizza shop thinks that a better pizza will increase sales; the hair salon thinks better stylists; and the motorcycle dealer thinks it’s better bikes. Yes, product is important, but once you get to a place where you have quality products and a defined target audience, it’s your marketing that sets you apart, and can make the difference between 1st place in your defined market area and 5th.  


Too often business owners look at what their competitors are doing and copy them. In Schlitz’s case it was “purest beer.” We call this marketing incest because usually the person being copied is doing it all wrong. Then with each copy of the copy, the ads just get worse and worse, dumber and dumber. 


In fact, this is how discounting gets started. Monkey see, monkey do. Dealers copying other dealers, and beat their price with a, “if they can do it, we can do it, because we all buy for the same cost,” attitude. 


But there is a better way. Hopkins had no mention of price in the Schlitz campaigns that catapulted the brewer from last place to first. Studies on top of studies show that consumers are looking for more than just price. 


Similarly, our Sharp Shooter Marketing system that has proven success in over 600 dealers and thousands of campaigns is a secret recipe that does not include discounting. 


Unfortunately, from time to time we have dealers that try to change our recipe.  Against our will, they replace our sugar with their salt and include discount offers and it ALWAYS reduces response rates. 


To find out the ‘behind the curtain’ reasons why discounting in your marketing will sabotage your results and lead to reduced sales and lower market share, join us in Atlanta on October 26th through the 28th for our Fall Harvest Marketing Boot Camp. 


We’ll be revealing real-world dealership case studies and evaluating what’s working online and offline. This is not a fluffy frou-frou event hosted by a big dumb company that doesn’t understand what you do. We live, eat, sleep, drink and breath powersports marketing best practices, and guarantee you’ll leave this event locked and loaded with the ammo you need to catapult your store to increased sales and profits. Call us today at 877-242-4472 or enroll online at 

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The Workhorses of Direct Marketing

Rod Stuckey | 07/01/2015

Some readers may not be aware that my background includes being a Dealer Principal for a 4-store powersports group and later a Chevrolet Buick dealership. I’m a Dealer Advocate, I can’t help but see things from a dealer’s perspective first.  It’s how I’m wired; it’s in my DNA. 


That’s why the very first question that I ask before we recommend a product or service to any of our clients is, “If this were my dealership, and my limited budget, is this how I’d choose to spend my hard earned money?” If the this answer is yes, then I’ll follow with this subsequent question, “Well, if you believe in this product so much, are you using it here at Powersports Marketing, and how is it working?”


Since starting Dealership University™ back in 2004, we’ve experienced consistent double-digit growth every year straight through the recession, and ultimately landing on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing, Privately Held Companies list by leveraging three main workhorses. Those do not include, Instagram, Snapchat, or Vine, not even LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter. 


Based on a vast amount of experience in testing, spending, failing, and finally succeeding, I hold a strong conviction that Direct Mail, Email, and the Telephone are the best bang for the buck in niche businesses. I know these three aren’t as bright and shiny as the latest popular Silicon Valley startup, but they just plain work.


Both your business and mine are ‘niched’, by the way. Only 3% of the population ride motorcycles, so you marketing to the masses is about as efficient as me sending this newsletter to dry cleaners. 


As a dealer, I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into yellow pages, TV, and radio only to wonder if it was working. Then, when call tracking numbers came out, my suspicions were confirmed with hard data. It flat didn’t work regardless of what message I used. With data in hand, I was told by the media reps that the purpose of my ads wasn’t to drive traffic, it was to build our brand. It wasn’t until I became a student and implementer of real direct marketing that I learned this was total B.S. 



The truth is, the purpose of your marketing shouldn’t be to build your brand and get your name out there, it should be to drive traffic to your showroom, telephone, and website. And, when done properly you get branding as a happy byproduct. Oh yeah, and it should be measurable. 


I’m not saying that if you are Tide detergent or Crest toothpaste that there isn’t something to this whole branding thing. But trying to compare Nike’s advertising budget and agenda with yours is beyond apples and oranges. It is the manufacture’s job to create the brand, the demand, and top of mind awareness.


It is your job to drive those who already have an interest in what you sell to your dealership so you can increase market share and improve customer retention. 



When sent to the right target audience, with the right message, at the right time, direct mail is a proven winner.  Here are a few interesting stats about Direct Mail:


• 56% of consumers think printed marketing is the most trustworthy of all communication channels. 


• Direct mail has the highest rate of success in new customer acquisition at 34% compared with other marketing channels.


• 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving direct mail.


• 70% have renewed relationships with businesses that they had previously ceased using because of direct mail.  

(Journal of Marketing, January 2013 | Source Direct Marketing Association survey, November 2013)


Direct Mail is a proven winner. But, it’s not meant to act as a standalone marketing channel. It performs even better when bolted onto an integrated email campaign. Here are some powerful stats on email. 



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4 Pillars to a Year Round Sales Process

Rod Stuckey | 06/01/2015

I recently read about a fellow with a master’s degree, shown on the news because he spends his days in the New York City subways wearing a “Job Wanted” sign and handing out resumes. That’s strategy is about as effective for getting hired as a construction worker howling at good looking women and getting a date. Apparently, none of his studies were in the field of sales and marketing. It’s a bit unsettling just how important sales and marketing are in the real world, yet how little respect and attention they receive from our formal education system. Conduct a little research on almost any ultrasuccessful Entrepreneur, Executive, CEO, Author, Doctor, Politician, etc. compared to ‘The Average Joe’ or the complete failure, and you’ll likely find there was a secret differentiator, but it wasn’t a master’s degree. The super successful are highly skilled at selling. That’s the difference.


Thomas Edison may have been a great inventor, but arguably he was an even better marketer. Otherwise, you may be reading this over candle light. Henry Ford may have created the Model T, but it was his creation of the dealer network (sales and marketing) that made him the dominant force in the automotive industry. Donald Trump is certainly a real estate mogul, but it’s sales and marketing skills that have made him RICH. He devised the brilliant sponsorship opportunities on his hit show, The Apprentice, which have made him a small fortune on top of his real estate empire. Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs were both masterful at sales and marketing, in a very competitive landscape. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has taken suggestive selling to a new level with his ‘featured recommendations,’ inspired by your previous purchases.

In the real world of a high-performing, growing business, everything revolves around HOW to get stuff sold. It’s what the leaders of these great companies think about 365 days a year. 

It’s also what great dealers do. In fact, many of the best dealers in the country execute a year-round sales and marketing process using our Sharp Shooter system. It’s not a random one-and-done strategy; it’s a well thought out, well calculated, pro-active system designed to touch their buying base 52 to 104 touches per year. And if you ‘touch’ your buying base with the right kind of message this many times, you will eventually own your buying base.

There are four pillars to the Sharp Shooter program. Pillar 1 - we determine the right target audience for your dealership by focusing on people that ride what you sell and live in your backyard. Pillar 2 – we use the right media mix to reach that target audience. Pillar 3 - we utilize the right message including a compelling call to action that creates urgency to respond. And, Pillar 4 – we do it at just the right time. These components are like the four legs of a chair, take one away and you’ve got a faulty chair. 

But, Pillar 3 is where everybody gets it wrong, and ultimately breaks the chair, and then tries to blame the other 3 legs. Especially the OEM’s and their ad agencies. The magic behind our strategy of having the Right Message is to promote a monthly event. Holding an event at the dealership each month is a great excuse to market to your buying base. 

We’ve proven that focusing your message on the party, and not the sale, is the fastest way to create affinity with your buying base, turn prospects into customers, and achieve your best ROI. By focusing on the party, you’ll create many more opportunities by not alienating the 99% of folks who didn’t have “buy a bike” on their current list of things-to-do. You’ll still get those customers, but you’ll also get many additional opportunities, plant seeds for future sales, and hold higher margin since you won't be using a discount-focused message.



With this style of marketing, it’s not all about the results on the day of the event. The event doesn’t mark the end of your campaign, but the beginning of a month-long sales process working the leads that were generated through your custom landing page and promoting your upcoming event. The actual results of the event are a happy bi-product of following a system to touch your buying base 52 to 104 times per year so that you can increase customer retention and carve off new market share.



Sending out marketing messages over and over to your buying base asking them to buy a bike when they aren’t in the market is about as wise as trying to get a job on the subway wearing a sign. To learn more about how our Sharp Shooter

marketing system can help you generate hundreds of quantifiable sales leads month-in and month-out, contact us today at 877.242.4472

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