Industry Links

RVIA Economic Impact Study

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.

Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .

Opinions: The Power of Your Players' Stats

The Power of Your Players' Stats

By Jered Sobel

During the football season, I consistently hear player, team and game statistics thrown around. The best way to really sound like you know your stuff, when it comes to football is to spout off a couple official stats - just ask the game announcers, radio pundits and tailgating BBQ grill analysts/aka hard-core fans.

His QB rating was 136.5, completion percentage was 65.2 percent and scoring at an 85 percent rate in the Red Zone.

Why do we feel so compelled to know these minuscule little facts and numbers? For that matter, why does every college and professional sports team track every possible statistic?

As fans, we like to compare and measure to see where our favorite teams and players stack up to the competition. We want to know if this quarterback is better or worse than the last and more importantly, how to respond and defend our favorite player/team with hardcore facts on their strengths and accomplishments, when someone points out their flaws. It's how we cope and justify both how and who we like.

When it comes to the sports team's management looking at statistics, they want to know the numbers as well, but they have a very different rationale on why they want to know. The team's management wants to identify where the team and/or players' weaknesses are, so at the very next practice, before the player sees the field again, they are able to correct the behavior.

How mere fans look at statistics is dramatically different than how professionals look at statistics. The team's management needs far more comprehensive data than what we do as mere spectators.

Just like in football, or any other sport for that matter, statistics can be extremely helpful when analyzing an RV dealership and its performance. The problem we run into in our dealerships is trying to recognize and identify what needs to be fixed, changed or improved upon. Would better statistics and knowing how to read them help?

Completion percentage is a great comprehensive benchmark for assessing an NFL quarterback.What if on top of that 73-pass completion percentage, the quarterback is passing at an 80-percent rate when throwing from 10 to 15 yards? Additionally,he has a mere 50-percent completion when throwing five to 10 yards? The added stats give a clearer picture. It is comprehensive statistics like these that allow the coach to know exactly where the quarterback needs to focus his training.

So when we look at statistics for the dealership and sales force, does your business track "fan-type statistics" or "professional management-type statistics?" It's something to consider because much like a losing or winning season coach, your job could depend on it.

Do you have the statistics and are you tracking the right numbers to be able to determine where there is room for growth?

Numbers to Look At

Let's look at how tracking in three different aspects of the selling process can have an immediate impact on our salespeople's completion percentage and their closing ratio.

First, what percentage of your customers are receiving an introduction to management before they leave the dealership? Do you believe that you are the best dealership in your market - the one with the best store, best trained salespeople, best service after the sale, with a staff that truly cares about taking care of customers for repeat and referral business? I hope your answer is a quick yes! If not, you will probably have a hard time with this statistic.

More importantly, what percentage of your customers and potential customers believe these things? If you don't get to ask each and every one of them, because they were never introduced to you, this statistic becomes impossible to quantify.

Make no mistake, your customers require the absolute best service. They expect Super Bowl Champ, Stanley Cup, Orange Bowl, World Cup performance from your team.While they may be willing to overlook a few flaws, you won't be their favorite team for long if they believe you haven't given it the best you have. One of the ways to ensure your dealership is giving its all is implementing a 100-percent introduction to management before consumers leave the dealership rule.

A manager introduction helps customers by:

  • Offering additional information on product that may have been forgotten or overlooked
  • Discussing market conditions and how they can help the customer
  • Making sure the customers are aware of current inventory options
  • Checking to make sure the consumer is aware of available payment structures
  • Gives the option for the customer to be introduced to other product experts to make sure their needs are being matched with the right product.

Aside from all the additional reasons, this introduction gives customers the opportunity to make a purchasing decision now. Many dealers spend upwards of$750 per unit sold just on advertising; This means the customer belongs to the business. You don't want to lose a single customer without giving them every opportunity to get what they need and help them to feel comfortable with their purchasing decision.

The second statistic to track is, "How many customers are 'Source One' opportunities?" Source One means the customer is a fresh walk-in client that has never worked with you in the past. Most successful dealerships have a fairly low number when it comes to this statistic. The reason is top sales people do not rely on the front door for their business.

By tracking and setting goals on what this percentage should be, you will set up a follow-up culture in your dealership. If a salesperson only speaks to fresh walk-in customers, they have a 100 percent "Source One" ratio. This means they either do not follow-up or they are horrible at customer service. I mean, how poorly must someone be received by their customers to never have a single person come back! That is not a salesperson who helps our industry or our dealerships. The goal is to consistently lower this ratio as a staff. It's an indication of improving customer service.

The third statistic to look at is how many customers make contact and are spoken to in a week. This is commonly referred to as "the necessary percentage of sales opportunities." So many of the dealers I talk to on a routine basis ask about how many people to staff and how that staff should be managing its time. The answer to both of these is the same: You want enough staff so that they are talking to two to three customers per day.

The salesperson must have time to not only give high quality presentations to each of those customers, but they must also have time to do follow-up for both current and past customers. They also need time to train on both sales techniques and product. If a salesperson is talking to four to six people a day, he could not possibly be giving the service your customers deserve. So at two to three customers per day, which is about 12 customers each week, this would result in a 100 percent "necessary percentage of sales opportunities" statistic. I recommend striving for this ratio.

It is worth noting that statistically top salespeople take the fewest "new" customers. With their advanced skills, not only do they have more "bring backs" and less "Source One" opportunities, but they are able to spend more time with each customer. It isn't uncommon for a top salesperson to have 50 percent in "necessary percentage of sales opportunities." This would mean they are talking to just six new customers in a week. As a good coach, you need to get them in the game more often as they are the ones that do a better job helping your customers go camping.

If a salesperson is on the other side of the scale, with a 200 percent "necessary percentage of sales opportunities" rating (equating to 24 customers per week),then as a good coach, you need to make some tweaks:

  • Limit their customer count with a rotation
  • Require them to spend more time on follow-up
  • Get sales training for them immediately to improve the quality of presentation delivered
  • And very possibly, hire more salespeople to get this percentage back to 100 percent

When the coach looks at his quarterback's statistics after the game, he's looking at completion percentage to see how well he did and looking at the breakdown of what went into that statistic. So, at the end of the sales week, when a manager looks down at the tracking sheet and sees a salesperson's closing ratio for the week was low, what should the manager do? Congratulate the salesperson!

That statistic means the salesperson not only was tracking honestly and correctly, which is extremely helpful for a good coach, but it also gives us the information we need to help him. If we are tracking all the parts of our sales process, then we can look at that closing ratio and know what it is we need to do.

Knowing the stats is not the ultimate goal. After all, tracking for the sake of tracking is a waste of time. All the dealerships I train with consistently remind me that the goal of tracking and goal setting is to isolate problem areas for remediation, so we can improve the quality of our staff and dealerships. All we really want to do is give our customers the best service possible before, during and after the sale.