New Zealand Harley-Davidson dealership, Road and Sport, has won the coveted Harley-Davidson Australia & New Zealand Dealer of the Year award for the second time beating out 55 other dealerships across the region for the 2020 title.
For the second time since 2017, Harley-Davidson Australia & New Zealand announced Hamilton dealership Road and Sport Harley-Davidson as the region's Dealer of the Year for 2020. The award was presented during a virtual award ceremony to Road and Sport's owner-operators Barry and Shelley Sproule was awarded the prestigious award earlier this month.
In addition to the prestige of being recognised as the best dealer in Australasia, the ANZ Dealer of the Year receives a $20,000 cash prize to put towards their business.
So with the award freshly in hand, we rolled into Road and Sport and sat down with dealer principal Barry Sproule to find out what makes the best Harley dealership in Australasia tick.
We’re sitting with Barry Sproule dealer principal of Road and Sport Harley-Davidson who have just received a rather prestigious award (and not for the first time either) they're officially the best Harley-Davidson dealership in Australasia.
Barry: Yes, we were very fortunate to be named in 2017 as the best dealer overall, as well. And then, last week we were announced, again, is the 2020 Dealer of the Year overall, as well as a small dealer category. A tremendous effort from the team here at Road and Sport so both Shelley and I are very proud of our team here and we thank them very much for putting their best efforts in every day that they come to work. So, yeah, very fortunate.
So just how does Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand judge who the best dealer each year, do you give any insight into that?
Barry: Well, we do have metrics to meet as a Harley dealer at the dealership to deliver the best to customers and to give the customer the best experience. So we are measured very heavily on how that works.
So customers play a big part in this and obviously if we're not engaging very well or not looking after our customers very well, we wouldn't be doing this interview today. So the bottom line is it's not just one thing but it's several things that are involved, you know from your customer service to your product availability to your promotional activities to your dealership presentation to your staff qualifications, you know. Every staff member here is trained by Harley-Davidson and part of their training is Harley-Davidson University units. It's really important that they are up to speed with the latest product, and particularly when it comes to technicians and the technical ability that people have these days they need the training, and so we're very heavy on training and I think that's probably what got us across the line is because we just train and train and train.
And all we're doing that, of course, we enjoy what we do so, you know when you're doing the right job, it's a little bit easier to get across the line I guess but go full, I'm really proud of our team here, if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be talking to Mat today and it's a real honour to actually be chosen as the dealer of the year again.
The Dealer of the Year award also comes with a substantial cash prize. Does that go back into the dealership towards staff training or a bit of a party to celebrate, or do you invest it back into the dealership as I understand you invest quite heavily here?
Barry: Well obviously the prize will be used very wisely, and yes, a lot of it'll be turned back into the business. And, you know like we like to reinvest in the business because Harley-Davidson is a company that invests in the customer, they invest in the product. And we found that over the 30 years we have been a Harley-Davidson dealership. If you're not competing to reinvest, you just won't make it, so it's a very heavy investing business. And yet, the prize money will obviously go towards a big thank you get together and treat for the staff accordingly. The rest we’ll for a rainy day, or reinvested in other activities for Harley-Davidson.
What do you think the secret is that makes a great dealer experience as a dealer who's been recognised as being one of the best in the business?
Barry: Well, a great dealership experience I think at the end of the day is judged by the customer. What I like to do is put myself in the shoes of the customer and this is what all our staff do as well. It's all about, “what can we do for you today, how can we help, how can we give you a better experience?” And that's our mantra really, it's like, look after your customers, look after your staff, and let's just do the right thing.
I really do think that if a dealership really wants to excel, they have to put the effort in. And, you know, you hear stories about people not being so well-loved or looked after by the dealership or for whatever reason. Often that's because of the lack of training, often it's because the people don't have the skills that are doing the serving of the customer, and so they're not delivering to the customer what the customer is expecting.
So it's really important to manage your customer expectations and to be able to deliver. And it's simple, really. It’s like, you turn up for work, and you do your best job you can every day, and you repeat it day after day after day. And that's the way I've done it for 42 years in the industry. I like to see the customer engaged and smile. I like to see them leave happy. And that's what I do, and that's what we do is, at a staff level here so everyone is on the same page.
There are currently a lot of changes coming through Harley-Davidson at the moment. What are you looking forward to most for 2021?
Barry: Well, I must say I must give a big plug for the Pan America, we've been very spoiled with two fantastic products in the last 12 months, one is the LiveWire, of course, which we're still buzzing about. The Pan American will open up further doors as well, and that's going to be a game-changer for Harley-Davidson because we're really just returning to the roots of Harley-Davidson. Harley’s used to ride on dirt quite a lot when they first started making Harley-Davidson motorcycles so it's just a return to what used to happen, and the product and the engineering of this new bike is just phenomenal. If you look at the specs, you'll be blown away by them and the way the engineers have put this bike together.