Bear With Me …

If we properly project a fun atmosphere when our customers are shopping, they are more likely to have a positive experience and keep coming back for more.

The bear has a history. In fact, I’d venture to say that the bear’s life has been more exciting over the past thirty years — since the time of his taxidermy.

He began his post-mortem career as a practical joker, turning up in dark closets, immediately behind closed bedroom doors and more than once inside an outhouse at a nearby park. Each time he showed up some unsuspecting family member would run away screaming, sometimes after wetting themselves. Needless to say, when the bear was passed down to me, I was more than a little thrilled.

I try to run a tight ship in my business. The three Ps of paperwork, policies and procedures are big with me, and I don’t like dumb mistakes, (though I’ve been known to make my share). When it comes to the daily grind, however, I also like to let loose and keep things light hearted — especially at the dealership. After all, we sell fun there, and the people working in that environment need to enjoy the atmosphere at least as much as the customers.

Several years ago, a tightly wound sales manager looked as though he needed a break. We had recently completed an outdoorsy addition to the facility and added quite a number of mounted animals to the mix. An evil thought crossed my mind and that particular evening I lobbied for the assistance of several employees and a tight customer.

We took my stuffed bear around the back of the building to a small dumpster located at one end of our loading dock. Our customer climbed inside with the bear and closed the plastic lids above him. There he waited for the signal. One of my salesmen, (he was happy to be involved in the scam on his boss), ran inside and told the sales manager that we thought we had a big raccoon trapped in the dumpster out back. The enticement of a wild animal was enough to pique his interest, and he quickly joined the rest of us on the dock.

As our group stood silently before the dumpster, I said to the sales manager, “I’m not sure what it is … one of the guys said he heard a thumping in there.” This was the customer’s cue. With a deep, bellowing voice he emitted a barely audible, rumbling growl from the hollows of the dumpster that sounded like a very convincing bear growl. We all stepped back.

“What the hell?” the sales manager asked.

The entire group in unison did a great wide-eyed look of fear, and he was hooked. As if to answer his question, the customer banged the side of the dumpster loudly, echoing a sound like an ancient Chinese gong calling villagers to worship. The sales manager looked at me in surprise.

“I’m not getting near it!” I said with the skill of a great thespian. We looked to the others who were all shaking their heads.

The sales manager, playing the perfect “salesman” role of overconfident, macho stud, decided that he was going to be the man of the group. He began shaking his head in disgust and walked toward the red dumpster. He didn’t say a word, but walked to the edge and reached for the lid. My evil plan was coming together.

Just as his hand reached the plastic cover, he paused with perhaps a shred of common sense stepping in front of his macho fa

You May Also Like

The Future of Buying: Navigating Powersport Consumer Trends

Insights into a study on the future of powersport shopping.

Future of Buying Study

In late summer/early fall of 2023, Rollick conducted a "Future of Buying" study to understand consumer shopping behaviors in the outdoor recreation space, receiving feedback from nearly 27,000 participants. 

The study, which had an impressive response rate of up to 30% in some cases, was enabled through collaboration with 27 Rollick clients across the powersports, RV and marine industries. The findings aim to communicate how consumers interact with brands and dealers and the technologies utilized during their shopping experience.

Racer and Dealer Sponsorship Must Be a Two-Way Street

You’re better to have no racers than the wrong racers.

How to Respond to Digital Leads

Timing, presence and tools are all critical.

Digital leads
How to Attract, Retain and Develop Talent

This recorded AIMExpo education track features a panel of dealers discussing their hiring and retention practices.

MPN talent panel, AIMExpo 2024
How to Grow and Excel in Digital Retailing

This recorded AIMExpo education track discusses the world of digital retailing and why you need to be there.

MPN Digital retailing panel, AIMExpo 2024

Other Posts

NPA Pre-Owned Market Update: February 2024

Average wholesale prices continue to improve, reflecting dealer sentiment and demand for pre-owned.

National Powersport Auctions, NPA, Market Report
Establishing the Right Pay Plan for Your Dealership’s F&I Team

In an industry where skilled F&I professionals are in high demand, an attractive, fair and equitable pay plan becomes a key tool.

Motorcycle dealership F&I
Maximize Every Sale With F&I and PG&A

This recorded AIMExpo education track discusses how the bike is just the start of the sale.

MPN F&I panel, AIMExpo 2024
Elevating Your Sales Game Through Parts Packaging

Breaking down the art and science of a well-designed, customer-focused, profit-friendly parts package.