2009 Dealership Superstar

Motorcycle Product News Magazine and Mark Rodgers from Peak Dealership Performance present the second annual Dealership Superstar competition. Dealership Superstar is designed to honor those of you who engage in extraordinary acts of every day sales heroics and customer service.

Motorcycle Product News Magazine and Mark Rodgers from Peak Dealership Performance present the second annual Dealership Superstar competition. Dealership Superstar is designed to honor those of you who engage in extraordinary acts of every day sales heroics and customer service.

We were overwhelmed with both the number of entries and the enthusiasm you showed for this contest. And just wait until you hear the stories!

Grand Prize Winner: Motorcycle Sales

Jerry Borstelman
Sales Manager
Harley-Davidson Sales & Service
Napoleon, Ohio

My name is Jerry Borstelman, sales manager at Harley-Davidson Sales & Service in Napoleon, Ohio. My story is one that will stick with me forever. I have been selling Harley-Davidson Motorcycles here for 12 years and have seen a lot of dreams come true but this one I will never forget.

A gentleman by the name of Mike came into the store and was looking for a new Harley-Davidson — not just any Harley but one that would fit his needs. You see, Mike is not your ordinary customer; he is a paraplegic. When Mike came into the store he didn’t know if his dream of riding could become a reality. When I met Mike, he was very outgoing and confident.

We had just taken in an XL Trike on trade. I showed Mike the trike, and it was on from there. I told Mike we would be able to make it happen. I went over our ideas of how we could make this work. Later that week, Mike dropped off his spare wheelchair, and we were on our way to giving him that freedom he hasn’t had for sometime.

Marv Yagel, the dealer principal at the time, and I fabricated hand controls for shifting and braking. We also fabricated a bracket so Mike could easily fold his chair and secure it to his trike, so wherever he ended up he would be able to get around. I remember the day Mike came in to pick up his trike and take it for his first test ride. I’m not sure who was more nervous — Mike, his wife or me! Since then, Mike has logged more than 3,000 miles.

Lesson Learned: Giving someone an ability they didn’t have previously is an awesome responsibility.

Grand Prize Winner: Apparel Sales

Barb Colborn
MotorClothes Associate
Kegel Harley-Davidson
Rockford, Illinois

In 2006, Karin and Klaus from Amsterdam visited our dealership. They were interested in purchasing Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary items.

Karin and Klaus wanted an out-of-stock dealer pin. We exchanged e-mail and home addresses, and I promised to send one to them. They entrusted me with their credit card number and this started a long relationship.

They would frequently contact me for merchandise purchases. In order to ship overseas, I would take the merchandise to the post office to see how much it would cost to ship. Then I would bring it back to the dealership, charge it to their credit card, box it up and then go back to the post office to ship it.

They expressed an interest in coming to the U.S. for the Harley-Davidson 105th Party. Since I live just 90 miles from Milwaukee, I invited them to rent a motorcycle from our dealership and stay at my condo.

They came and had a great time. Some people thought it was not smart to invite them to my home for 10 days, but Harley riders are like family. I have two new friends and Kegel’s Harley-Davidson has two new customers. Everyone wins! They even invited me to Amsterdam to stay with them, and someday I might just do that!

(The MPN attorneys want you to know, even with the success above, they do not suggest people invite strangers into their homes!)

Lesson Learned: Be willing to take a chance!

Grand Prize Winner: Finance & Insurance Sales

Jimmy Velez
Business Manager
NewRoc Harley-Davidson / Buell
New Rochelle, New York

My name is Jimmy Velez, and I’m the business manager at NewRoc Harley-Davidson/Buell in New Rochelle, New York.

I truly do have an absolute fascination with what makes customers say yes! I’m always thinking about how we could make things better, faster, more efficient, or how we can repeat prior successful deals.

I have set up two web sites, one for Spanish-speaking customers and one for English-speaking customers. www.jimmyvelez.com allows customers to log on and send me a message through a push email service that gets the message to my phone as if it were a text message. I have noticed that customers want to have accessibility to you — however, not to a point where they feel that they are intruding in your personal life.

This works well for me and shows that in these electronic times, we need to be doing the most that we possibly can, to not only think out of the box , but to do out of the box. The Spanish website www.quierounamotico.com which translates to “I want a bike” is a site intended as a general information site that gives an overall introduction into what the Harley lifestyle offers you. This all leads to my most important point. An environment where racial integration is promoted creates a sense of belonging for customers that might be away from their homeland and consider themselves to be in a transition stage of their lives. If you can tap into markets like these, I guarantee the most loyal customers.

Think of when you were a teenager and certain groups made you feel comfortable. Those groups had the most influence over you and you wanted to spend most of your time with them (no matter what mom and dad said). In this case, mom and dad being neighbors and family with negative concepts about motorcycling. Learn a bit of a new language, learn about a new culture, go eat at new restaurant, find a way to have something in common with everyone around you.

Lesson Learned:
Technology can leverage inclusion and not exclusion.

Grand Prize Winner: Parts & Accessories Sales

Todd Shafer
Internet Sales and Operations Director
A&S BMW/Ducati Motorcycles
Roseville, California

Throughout the world there are enthusiastic BMW motorcycle riders that are hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from a BMW Motorcycle dealership. Even if they have easy access to a BMW retailer, those retailers often have a limited stock of the cool parts, accessories, gear and riding apparel that BMW riders crave. I needed to help them out.

Shortly after joining A&S BMW Motorcycles in 2004 I began work on redeveloping and expanding their website, with the goal of creating the single best example of what a dealership could do in the realm of selling on the web.

For the dealership, it’s been nothing short of a phenomenal financial success. I’ve taken the business from a respectable, yet minor, presence in 2004 to well into the seven figures for 2008 (a several hundred percent increase in 4 years).

None of this would be possible if I had not been cognizant that the most important element was to supply an experience for the customer that was unparalleled. From the ability to find us in a search engine, to the depth, breadth and presentation of our product selection, and finally culminating in outstanding customer service after the transaction is complete.

One example: I spent hundreds of hours developing a microfiche system so that owners of BMWs (especially some of the older airhead/oilhead BMWs could reference exploded diagrams and order the parts and tools they needed to get their baby back on the road. I’ve received hundreds of emails from BMW enthusiasts all over the world thanking me profusely for that ability.

A second example: As we grew from dealing with tens of customers a week to hundreds of customers, I recognized the need to develop a comprehensive customer service infrastructure that manifested itself in a robust CRM system so that our folks on the phones and on e-mail could provide service beyond reproach.

I never forget that on the other end of our site there is a fellow BMW fanatic that deserves the same level of regard that they would receive if I was dealing with them face-to-face.

Lesson Learned:
Tenacity can do big things.

Grand Prize Winner: Service

Kelli & Bill Moeller
Bore Tech
Cincinnati, Ohio

My name is Kelli and I am writing about my dad, Bill Moeller, owner of Bore Tech in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ever since he was born, he was always on something with wheels. The love of fast vehicles stayed with him growing up until he fulfilled his dream of opening up his own motorcycle shop.

Starting it in his very early 20s, he has kept it running successfully and growing rapidly almost all on his own. In May of 2008 there was a halt in his business. He went into the hospital for an emergency open-heart surgery. He had seven blockages, which were repaired by a quadruple bypass surgery. The doctors told him he was very lucky to be alive.

With him being the main mechanic in his shop, my brother helping out after college and myself working the office, he was very worried how he was going to get the jobs done and keep the customers happy. With the help of my mom, brother, me and great close friends, especially Jon White, he was able to rest easy as the shop was taken care of.

Each day I would drive downtown to the hospital with the job list in hand. From his hospital bed he would give me a list of orders to be carried out the next day. A week after surgery he was able to come home and was supposed to be in bed for a few weeks, but not Bill Moeller.

That man was out in the shop the day he got out of the hospital, showing my brother and me what needed to be done to get jobs finished and out the door. A couple times when no one was watching he would sneak and work a little bit. He wasn’t even supposed to be in the shop, let alone turning a wrench! He just kept saying, “These people are depending on me to get the job done, so I have to do it.”

No matter how much strength he had lost and how weak he was, the work was done and it was done right. Now, eight months later, his health is almost 100 percent, and he couldn’t be happier to be alive and doing what he loves best. I felt the need to send this because with each tough time, he has never given up and has always put the customer’s needs before his.

Lesson Learned: Dreams can overcome just about anything.

Honorable Mention

Steve Bray
P&A Manager
Gengras Harley-Davidson
East Hartford, Connecticut

It was Memorial Day. I was coming back from visiting my father’s grave at the veteran’s cemetery in West Hartford. Going down I-84 in Hartford, I saw two bikes on the side of the road with a problem. Traffic was heavy, and I was in the fast lane so I didn’t stop. It was a holiday so the shop was closed; everybody was closed. Why should I stop, I thought. I have been working six days a week and half the time you stop they don’t need help anyway!

I started to feel guilty. They were wearing POW/MIA patches with Massachusetts license plates. Obviously they were on their way home from the wall in D.C. I headed back. They were two grey beards out of the Boston area; one had his 14-year-old daughter with him. The guy with the Shovelhead was down with an electrical problem, it figures!

His battery ground connection was loose and had melted the post. I told them I was the parts department manager at Gengras Harley-Davidson about two miles away and I could get them a battery.

“That would be great but we only have about $50 bucks between us and that’s for gas.”

“How about a credit card?” I asked.

“No, but I promise I’ll send you a check. I give you my word,” he replied.

“One vet to another, I’ll trust you,” I replied.

So I got them all fixed up and running again, and sent them on their merry way. The Shovelhead rider was very thankful and said he’d be in touch. Sure enough 10 days later I received a check in the mail for $100 from Mr. Shovelhead with a thank you note saying keep the change. I cleared the tab for the battery and treated the guys at the counter to pizza for lunch. What a rewarding experience.

Honorable Mention

Johnny Gee
Sales Manager
Strokers Dallas
Dallas, Texas

In order to gain more business, I post all of our bikes for sale on our web site. I take several pictures of each bike from every angle, both wide and close-up, so that people can get a true feel for the bike and its many features before they call or make a trip to see us. Recently I had a man call me from Boston, Mass., interested in a used bike we had online. He wanted very specific details about the bike — exact current mileage, any dings, dents, or wear from a wallet chain, etc. I took the time to look over the bike as if I were purchasing it myself and called him back with the only flaw I found, a scratch on the bottom of the frame. I made the extra effort to explain all the features of the particular model, email additional pictures, and make him feel like he was doing business with the store down the street instead of across the country.

The sale was not easy. My customer was a pushy and demanding man. When he decided to purchase the bike, I did not let my responsibility end with the conclusion of the sale. He was extremely worried about damages occurring to the bike during transit to Boston so I followed the sale through the financing and titling process, made sure it received the best service and detailing, and prepared everything necessary for the bike to make it safely to Boston. I even helped him purchase additional insurance on the bike for the long trip ahead. I remained in contact with him through numerous phone calls until the bike arrived at his door. Through these calls I learned more about him and his riding buddies, and was even invited to stay with them the next time I’m in Boston! He ended up extremely pleased with his purchase and called again days later to thank me for the excellent service. He even requested to speak with the owner of the company to thank him as well for such a smooth transaction.

After the sale he filled out our survey and indicated that he felt comfortable with the entire sale because I was available, honest and cared about him as a customer. He took a chance on us from across the country and because of my dedication to great customer service, we were able to make the sale and gain a new long-distance customer.

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