Case Study: Zylstra Harley-Davidson®

Eric Pedretti | 06/07/2018




I normally don’t feature the same dealership twice in one year (February 2018), but I had to circle up with the guys in Ames, IA, just 30 minutes North of my office in Des Moines, to check-in on the progress they’ve been able to make so far this year with the Sharp Shooter Program.



Why? Because they’ve executed five Sharp Shooters so far this year. The biggest difference in our clients ‘getting a shot in the arm’ and absolutely blowing up their business, is marketing with the Sharp Shooter Program consistently. Consistency is king. Whether you’re talking about working out or marketing your dealership, consistency is the key to your success. 


According to a recent study in the Powersports Industry, it takes up to 28 touches to gain a new customer. A touch can be a mail piece, a phone call, visit to the dealership, email, social media update, etc. What this means is, if you’re serious about increasing customer retention or carving off new market share, you have to be consistent. You have to be dedicated. You can’t send one mail piece to a group of customers who’ve never done business with you before, one time, and expect they all come running into the dealership waiving the mail piece begging to buy something.


If you’ve ever worked with us or read this article before, you know the Sharp Shooter program starts by targeting people who ride what you sell and live in your backyard. This is made up to two groups of people: 1) Past Customers - active & inactive and 2) Conquest Prospects - folks who ride but haven’t bought from you. 

Once we identify the 3% of riders in any given market, we give them up to 12 direct opportunities to respond to the marketing. Every customer has a preferred method of contact and by utilizing as many as possible, we drastically increase response rates.


Our message focuses on, ‘what’s in it for the customer.’ I know for a lot of dealers, this is a difficult thing to wrap their heads around because as a dealer, you obviously want to sell units, service, parts & apparel. But ask yourself, “Do customer care about what you want?” The answer is, “No.” They care about themselves. We’ve proven through literally thousands of campaigns with over 1,000 dealerships nationwide, that focusing the message on what the customer wants (food, drinks, door prizes, demo rides, etc.), you’ll get much more of what you want (bike sales, service sales, parts sales, accessory sales, apparel sales, traffic and tons more leads)!


Plus, and this is a big plus, customers are so overwhelmed by marketing messages asking them to come buy something, they automatically tune them out. If you consistently ask them to buy something from you, they will tune you out! If you ask them into the dealership once per month for a party, not only will they never get tired of you asking, but they will increase the amount of times they visit the dealership and how much they spend with you.




Jon and his crew at Zylstra Harley-Davidson have totally bought into this strategy and it’s paying off, big time. They’ve done five Sharp Shooter events in 2018 so far (which took some serious faith with this year’s unbelievably bad weather), and the results they are getting continue to grow! Check this out:


January 20th Campaign – New Management, New Attitude Party: Over $10,000 in counter sales and 2 bike sales. 573 Leads.


February 10th Campaign – BRRRRRunch Party: Over $5,000 in counter sales in a snow storm. 262 Leads.


March 10th Campaign – Cabin Fever Reliever: $12,777 in counter sales (excluding service) with an estimated 400+ people in attendance! 339 Leads.


April 7th Campaign – 115 Years of Freedom: Over $15,000 in counter sales. 369 Leads.


April 28th Campaign – Hog Roast: $21,067 in counter sales! They also took 14 credit applications and have rolled at least 3 bikes from the event. 277 Leads.


When we asked him about his customers’ response to the events, Jon said, “Our customers are loving our events. I can really see this by the attendance, but also by the response to our call blasts. The first two parties (Sharp Shooter Events) our customers were surprised by the call blast. Not in a bad way. For the third party (Sharp Shooter Event) they were calling back letting us know if they were coming or not and asking what the games would be, etc. Great response for sure!”


The consistency of having monthly events not only has tremendous benefits for customers and the bottom line, but the staff too. “When I took over this store in January, our staff and customers were beat and tattered from the previous management. These events are huge wins for our staff. [It’s great]…to see marketing that is quantifiable. Success breeds success and these events definitely help that mid-month momentum slow down. I really have to give it up to them (the staff) more than anything. They are what makes these events successful.”


Jon’s looking forward to his ‘First Responders Appreciation Event’ coming up right around the corner! 


What’s Next:


June means Father’s Day, the unofficial biggest holiday in the Powersports Industry! This is one of the most popular events all year because of the ridiculous results our clients see. If you’re not feeling Father’s Day, anything Summer is a proven winner. After a harsh winter, don’t hope the weather provides you with what you need in June; drive sales through your doors with the Sharp Shooter Program. Then plan out the rest of the year so you can increase the number of customers spending money with you in 2018 and how much they spend! You have a narrow window of time to achieve your goals this year. Don’t wait! Check out the website ( for some killer campaign options and for more information on how the Sharp Shooter Program can help you have your best year yet, call me on my direct line 877-242-4472 ext: 112. Happy selling.