If you’re feeling the winter blues, you’re not alone. Winter is traditionally the slow season for powersports dealers, but events like the Progressive International Motorcycle Show are aimed at getting the general public to think about getting back on the road, dirt, mud, sand or water.
“For over 35 years, the IMS tour provides consumers the opportunity to interact with OEMs and brands in the industry, learn about and see the newest motorcycles in the market and explore new interests, such as adventure, touring, racing and more,” said Lauren Lloyd, public relations manager at UBM Americas. “It is a family show. There is something for everyone to enjoy. The show caters to everyone, the veteran riders, those interested in custom building, the Kid’s Zone presented by Allstate allows kids to ride in power assist bicycles and learn how to balance, even new riders can hop on an electric Zero Motorcycle and learn how to ride on an enclosed track with the support of professional motorcycle trainers.”
Lloyd explained that the outcome of the IMS tour is to expand the reach of motorcycling.
“The primary goal is to get more people on motorcycles, whether experienced riders looking for new models or new riders interested in learning,” Lloyd added. “Whatever they’re looking for, the tour provides a resource.”
The great thing about shows like the IMS tour is that customers get a hands-on experience of the vehicles, parts, gear and accessories that they’re interested in, opening the door for local dealers to land a sale in the coming months. Attendees can try on new helmets and jackets, sit on new models and learn from experts about happenings in the industry.
A highlight for many dealers and consumers are the new launches from major OEMs. Several dealers were seeing these new models for the first time on the IMS tour, and were able to identify the customer’s interest in the new models before they hit their showroom floor.
This year, OEMs explored unique ways of showcasing what’s new without offering test-drives in the middle of winter. You may have seen the large, light blocking goggles that the kids these days were begging for on their Christmas list, otherwise known as virtual reality goggles. OEMs have optimized that virtual reality experience with vibrating chairs that move with the motion of what you can see behind the goggles to give guests a lifelike experience as if they were behind the wheel of a new side-by-side, motorcycle or ATV.
Virtual reality has optimized the customer experience at shows, but it also helps dealerships understand these vehicles during regional sales training sessions. Depending on where you’re located, the weather in February might not be tolerable enough to take a new 2019 model out on snowy streets. After experiencing the vehicle via virtual reality, dealers are better able to describe the ride to customers.
For those who can’t make it to training sessions, the expansive capabilities of the internet have advanced training for dealerships as well. Several OEMs mentioned that they offer online courses for dealers to get the scoop on what’s new and what’s coming in for the next season, with important tips on how to optimize sales.
Another great aspect of the IMS tour is that several insurance agencies are on hand to answer questions and help consumers navigate the sometimes-complicated world of powersports insurance.
“When I talk with motorcycle enthusiasts, I always emphasize that you need insurance. You want to protect your investments and yourself if anything were to happen,” said Joe Walker, Progressive Insurance sales supervisor, based in Cleveland, OH. “The great part about the show is that I get to talk to prospective buyers about what they are looking to purchase and how I can help them get coverage catered to their new vehicle. It really gets the ball rolling for dealerships.”
Once the snow thaws and the weather begins to look a little more optimistic, so will your sales, thanks to events like the Progressive International Motorcycle Show.