Ask Tory: Our dealership only holds one or two events per year, is this enough?

Tory Hornsby | 05/08/2017


As most know, we got our start on the dealer’s side of the fence. Rod, CEO of Powersports Marketing, owned a 4-store dealer group in the Atlanta metro area, and most of our leadership team (myself included) was involved in the operations of those stores. 


I’ll never forget a valuable lesson I learned from Rod around the year 2000 after Dealer Expo in Indy. Rod required all of our dealership staff who attended any dealer meetings to attend the seminars that were being offered, and he practiced what he preached. This particular year, the late John Wyckoff, author of Mind Your Own Business, was one of the instructors and Rod attended his seminar. 


John Wyckoff had asked a room full of dealers to raise their hand if they had held an event at their dealership during the spring or summer of the previous year. Most dealers raised their hand. Then, he asked how many of those events were successful, leading to an increase of traffic and sales. Again, most dealers raised their hand. He then asked the room who had held more than one event in that calendar year. Only a few dealers raised their hand. 


John Wyckoff was on to something. Most dealers in our industry know that events are one of the best ways (if not the very best way) to drive floor traffic, but most will only do 1 or 2 each year.  In the before-mentioned seminar, John Wyckoff asked why the dealers didn’t do more than one event. The reason?  Because having an event at the dealership is a lot work, and it’s especially tough on the Dealer Principal and/or GM.


This is a bit of a ‘Catch 22’ though. When a dealer only holds 1 - 2 events per year there’s no routine. No routine means a lack of systems and processes. When there’s no system in place, chaos ensues. That chaos equals a bunch of hard work and headaches for the Dealer Principal who then decides he doesn’t want to sign up for his own butt-whooping again. 


Dealers who decide to conduct monthly events, however, develop the appropriate systems, which make their events much easier to conduct. SYSTEM is an acronym for Save Yourself Stress Time Energy & Money. And, while systems are never perfect to begin with, the headaches decrease rapidly as a routine is developed.


Shortly after Rod attended this seminar, our 4 stores started holding an event every single month. One system we developed was an Event Planning Checklist. Yes, a checklist is a system! The GM of each store was responsible for using this checklist to assign tasks to their staff and ensure no details were overlooked. If you’d like a PDF of this Event Planning checklist, call 1-877-242-4472 and ask for me, or tell the PSM team member who answers that you’d like us to email a copy to you.


Events are also a paramount piece of the Predictable Growth System. For those who don’t remember what the Predictable Growth System is, there are 2 parts to it:


1. We Grow Your Active Customers – An active customer is defined as someone who has spent money with your dealership within the last 12 months. 


We grow active customers in two ways. First, we focus on reactivating inactive/lost customers who haven’t spent money with you in the last 12 months. Second, we get new customers through the door by focusing on the people who live in your market area, ride what you sell, buy what you sell, but have never purchased something from you.


Increasing the number of active customers who do business with you each year grows your business.


2. We Increase Your Average Customer Value – This is the amount of money your average customer spends with you each year.  


When enthusiasts visit your dealership, they’re like kids in a candy store. Many of them can’t help themselves but to make a purchase. So, when you increase the amount of times a person visits your dealership each year, they end up buying more parts, more accessories, more gear, they service their unit more often, and they shorten their trade cycle. 


I’ll explain the Predictable Growth System for a dealership that had 2,500 active customers in 2016 and did $5,000,000 in total sales, meaning their average customer is worth $2,000 each. 


1. Grow Active Customers by 10% or 2,500 grows to 2,750.


2. Increase Avg. Customer Value by 10% or $2,000 increases to $2,200.


3. 2,750 customers multiplied by $2,200 avg. value = $6,050,000 in total sales. That’s over $1,000,000 in growth (over 20%).


We CAN grow your dealership predictably through marketing an event each month. We’ll give the enthusiasts in your area (both customers and new prospects) a reason to visit your store every month and grow your active customers. When enthusiasts visit your dealership frequently it increases the amount of money they spend with you each year. 


Sound too good to be true?  It’s not. Call me and I’ll give you all the details: 



- Tory