It’s difficult to be a snowmobiler and not have to rely on a snowmobile dealership at least a few times every winter. Whether for sales, parts and specifications, or to just go there and hang out and talk about sleds, snowmobile dealerships are an integral part of the snowmobile lifestyle. For this week’s Friday Fast Five, here are five qualities of a great snowmobile dealership. What do you think makes for a great snowmobile dealership? Leave a note in the ‘comments’ section below.
1. People Who WANT To Help — When I walk into a snowmobile dealership, I don’t want to feel like I’m a burden to the guy behind the counter. I want to feel welcome in the store and I want people to help me out if I need it. Say hi to me — with eye contact — and offer to help. If I say I don’t need help, check in with me later. If I do need help, the person needs to be engaged in the conversation and treat me like he or she has a vested interest in meeting my needs so that I’ll look forward to doing business there the next time.
2. Have Stuff in Stock — This is easy for me to say because I don’t have to pay for the overhead, but a store that’s well-stocked makes for a great snowmobile dealership. At the very least, the parts department should have basics like fasteners, belts and other common maintenance items in stock so sledders won’t have to suddenly bail out of a trip for something simple like worn out hyfax. Clothing and new snowmobiles should be on display in a manner that makes me wander through the store to kick bogies and look at jackets and boots, which gets my mind going about my next snowmobiling purchase.
3. Promote Snowmobiling — In order to be classified as a great snowmobile dealership, it needs to celebrate and promote snowmobiling. Dealerships can do this with events like hosting an annual fall open house, buying an ad on a trail map, having a day where customers can ride demo sleds on local trails or membership in a local snowmobile club. Promos like high-miler contests are a good way to reward customers who ride a lot, and special discount days based on snowstorm totals are a good way for snowmobile dealerships to celebrate winter and prove that it’s excited to be in the snowmobile business.
4. Service Department Offers Guidance — There’s nothing more frustrating than walking into a business where you need its help, but the people who work there make you feel like a moron for asking for help. Snowmobile dealership personnel, especially those in the service department, need to understand that not all snowmobilers know the answer to the questions shop employees ask in order to diagnose a problem or write up a work order. Instead of being short with customers who don’t know how long their sled’s track lugs are or what kind of injection oil they’ve been using, for example, dealership personnel should offer guidance to help the customer understand more about their snowmobile and make it a positive experience to do business at the shop.
5. Have A Shop Dog — I bet you weren’t expecting this one! OK, I know it isn’t practical for every snowmobile dealership to have a shop dog, but I love tromping into shops that have a big, dopey canine with droopy eyes hanging out and doing dog stuff. Science has shown that playing with dogs elevates levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which are known to have pleasurable and calming effects. What business owner wouldn’t want his or her customers to be happy and calm every time they walk in the door? Dogs (and snowmobiles) are the key to happiness and success, my friends.