Part 3: Ongoing basis
Tip #5: Promote the hell out of it
Be your own best asset.
Odds are you have a friend or two and some relatives. You have neighbors. You have strangers waiting on their motorcycles next to you at the red light, or on their motorcycles at the weekly bike meet in town. Take advantage of these opportunities to promote the hell out of your business. This is it, man, make it happen. If you won’t spread word of mouth, who else will? Be your own best asset.
Tip #6: Give them a reason to come back
Invite Mark back over, and make it worth his while. Perceived value is everything. Offering savings to a customer doesn’t need to cost you anything.
- $10 Off your next oil change
- Free bike wash on your next service over $50
- Free tire installation with purchase
- Frequency card
- MC/RC Club Discount
- Other VIP benefits
You may also want to target these bounceback offers to traditionally slow periods:
- 15% Off winter storage when you book in September
- 15% Off spring tune ups when you pay before March
Don’t believe it? You might be thinking, “This is male-dominated business. Are coupons and offers really going to work?” Believe it or not, Real Men Use Coupons, and PR Newswire and MarketingCharts have some data to prove it:
Tip #7: Be an expert in your niche
When Mark asks you about tires, say more than just “These ones are round, and black.”
Read those distributor catalogues inside and out. Read the new product info sheets. If there’s a niche that your business focuses on, familiarize yourself with it. Know what’s happening in it locally as well on the online scene. Keep an eye on California, moto trends and fashions all seem to start out of there and spread. You can soak up a lot about a niche in very little time by browsing through online forums from ADVRider to ZXForums. Be sure to keep an eye on local riders and businesses on Instagram.
Tip #8: Build goodwill by helping others
Speaking of forums, meet John and Jane.
Helping a present or prospective customer doesn’t need to be time consuming. Right now John is posting a question on your local area’s motorcycle forum asking for advice on why his motorcycle won’t start. You might want to share a few suggestions for John to look into. Not only will he be more likely to come and visit your store, but so will Jane. She’s another reader on the forum, happy to see you out there and helping the community.
Tip #9: Keep on giving
Tickets to Nitro Circus, anyone?
Find ways of adding value to the lives of your customers, without selling them a thing. Studio Cycle Group‘s emails include motorcycle maintenance tips. You can also provide perks to your customers like free tickets to the local motorcycle shows, special events, movie passes, gifts, or simply an invitation to meet you at this weekend’s bike meet. You want your business to last, so build long term relationships with your customers.
Tip #10: Build the right team for the job
Even the strongest business plan can fail.
When the wrong people become involved, no business is safe. Choose wisely who you want to have representing your business. Choose even more carefully if you decide to partner with someone. Be a leader. Be present. Don’t be lazy. Hire people who others will like as much as like you, or even more than they like you. Don’t settle for hiring a friend, or a friend of friend, simply because he or she needs a job. Invest carefully in your business and watch it come to life.
The motorcycle industry can be cut throat. In more seasonal climates such as the northern USA and Canada, the biz is feast or famine. You’ll meet all kinds of characters and you’ll find that the camaraderie and brotherhood among riders on the road can fade away quickly when money is involved. Learn how the motorcycle industry works, value and build relationships with your customers, and watch your business slowly begin to thrive.
You can do it.
For further reading: How the Motorcycle Industry Works.