Unsavory Business Solutions

Measure Integrity, Quality and ROI to Steer Clear of Bad Consultants

As underemployed auto industry consultants flood into the motorcycle business with “new” ideas and approaches to sales, my head starts to spin as I watch unsuspecting dealers get hype jammed down their throats.

Let me say it here once and for all — there is no new sales system! The sales process we teach dealers isn’t new. It has constantly evolved over the 30-plus years since I took notes in my first ever sales meeting. Every successful sales process has a few basic things in common, but most of what is currently being hawked as “new” is merely repackaged.

There are some really good, really solid solutions providers out there who are honest and forthright and operate with integrity. One test is to look at how long they’ve been doing what they do. I personally don’t believe any business can stand the test of time offering garbage.

As you ponder what tools to use to improve your business, consider three factors: integrity, quality and return on investment.


I’ve always taught that whatever system you’re bringing as a solution must be built on the foundation of your company’s mission, vision and values. The solution must be congruent with what you want to accomplish. I always find it helpful to ask if I’d want to my expose mother to being a customer at the business I’m building.


I know we all love duct tape, and we all know how it’ll fix anything; but really, would you want your bike assembled with this sticky stuff? Many dealers are being asked to throw a Band-Aid on the problems they face or to buy a few magic beans that will make all their problems go away. It may not make me popular, but let me tell you that these “three easy payments” solutions will only make things worse in the long run.

Return on Investment

If one of your techs buys a wrench for $1 at the local dollar store, he knows that he will get very limited use before it breaks or he strips the head of a bolt. However, when he steps up and invests in a high-quality wrench, he knows that it’ll last longer, work better and be safer to work with.

Stop and think about that. If it’s an expense, then you might be looking at the wrong solution. Expenses are what we business people try to minimize. Why would you want to minimize the quantity or quality of the solution/process/system that you’re providing for your team? An investment, on the other hand, is an expenditure that is designed to yield a return that will more than pay for the initial expenditure. Band-Aids and magic beans do not qualify as investments — they are always expenses.

There is no easy way to do this. I’ve told every single dealer I’ve ever worked with that I had no plans of showing them an easier way of doing things. In fact, I always suggest that if it’s getting easier, you might be doing it wrong. Improvement is always hard work. I also don’t want to suggest that the solution to a problem is to throw money at it — absolutely not. The solution to a problem is to wisely invest in training, tools and talent. A good employee always brings the company more return than the company invests in him or her. Make sure that whatever you’re looking into for solutions does the same.

So, as these carpetbaggers descend upon our beloved industry, ask these questions. Is the solution they’re proposing consistent with my integrity? Is it duct tape or is it something that can really add to the integrity and strength of my business? Most importantly, is the solution I’m considering an expense or an investment?

I have worked really hard over the last decade not to use the platform of my column as an advertisement. I truly believe in the concept of “giving it away.” Please, if you don’t have a sales process, get one. Use ours or use someone else’s. If you already have a system, evaluate it. Is it a complete system? Is it the best system for you; for what you want to accomplish and who you want to be? Finally, if you need help evaluating your system or the one you’re considering, phone calls are free.

Otis Hackett is the founder of Otis Hackett Group. OHG provides general management services for powersports dealers across the U.S. The OHG team brings real-world experience, having all been motorcycle dealership employees working on the front lines of the industry every day. Click on www.otishackett.com, call  (219) 363-5567 or email [email protected]. Join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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