Victory Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I guess this is more of a rant since I would LOVE to have a Vic rep respond to it or would LOVE even more to sit down face to face with someone in their marketing department. (I'll ride up on my dime)

I have many, many years riding a Harley as well as a whole bunch of other bikes. I had no interest at all in Victory motorcyles until I wrote a research paper for a college class on police motorcycles and dunced upon Victory Police Motorcycles. Although I felt that some of the site's comparisons were a bit in your face, overall, it did a great job of getting me interested in Victory motorcycles.

Fast forward a month and I'm at my first Victory demo where I am explaining benefits of the bike to the salesman. He tells me that he just doesn't know a lot about the bikes but they ride great and don't seem to ever come in for mechanical problems.

One month later, demo two, a Fuel it demo. A slightly better staff at this dealership and the Fuel It guys running the truck were active as well. All I hear is "we will never get the Harley guy riding these, so we are trying to attract the metric rider." OK.

Demo three was a great dealership. Knew the bikes fairly well but like everyone else, really didn't know what Victory offered in the way of accessories and / or the cost. I pointed out how to use the button on the front of the controls to scroll through the speedo functions. Once again, the overall feel was that Harley guys are out of reach and Victory will pick up the scraps. I brought two guys with me. Both bought a bike. One traded in his Harley. Different Fuel It truck with fewer bikes, all of which were marginally clean. My wife almost ran out of gas on one run.

Demo four, my last one because I bought a bike. Same Fuel It truck, same condition of the bikes. The staff was running around trying to get people on bikes, the demo truck guys were relaxing. Again though, very little knowledge of what is available for the bikes, and the "fear" of Harley.

In contrasts to the dealer avoiding the "H" word, pick up Victory's brochure and it appears to be a picture book of old roads and buildings that Harley would use in their advertising. I'm not sure if there is a single good picture of a rider on the road on a Victory. The reference to Harley in the brochure is overwhelming. "we have 33% more torque than Harley" is all over the place. "More luggage room then Harley." Not a single dealer felt that they could or would compete with Harley but Victorys marketing won't shut up about them. Instead of placing a nice American flag reminder on the bottom of every page and pushing the Made in the U.S.A. button, Victory says little about that fact. All of the great points that Mike Schultz from Victory Police Motorcycles brings up in regards to being benefits of the bikes is lost on the corporate advertising team. They prefer to talk about the split tail gas tank. First off, split tail is a deragatory name for a female. Second, can we sound anymore like Harley? If you want to be Harley, at least come up with something cool. What's next, Chubby Robert gas tanks? Broad Sashay forks?

Other then the store copy, there was not a single accessories catalog available at the five different dealerships I have visited. Every single dealer spoke of the lack of corporate support given to them from Victory in regards to even having a rep stop buy with updates or sales training.

How is it that a successful company (Polaris) can be so scattered in their marketing direction and dealer support with Victory?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,988 Posts
I hear you, but Victory has a very strong strategy in its pocket. Hire the dumbest, least knowledgeable, lazy and unprofessional salesmen, to ensure 100% of the credit for sales goes to the product, not the nifty salesmen or their gimmicks. :ltr:

I apologize for the offensive nature of this post to all salesmen out there. Keep up the good work! thumb up
 

·
The Diamond
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
I worked at a Vic dealership a few years ago and went to a tech class when the Vision was coming out.

This is what the Vic rep said at the time. When Victory first came out with the V92 they were going after a piece of the HD pie. That was a piece that was very crowded with the other brands eating at it to.

Vic decided to bite into a different piece of the pie which brought out the Vegas platform bikes. This was a piece of the pie that no one really was eating at. Which was a major manufacturer semi custom bike.

All that being said, Victory has been doing their homework. When you go to major motorcycle shows like Easyriders etc.. they are dominated by baggers and bobbers. Baggers ARE HD's market. Anyone that builds a bagger is going after the HD pie whether they intend to or not.

So, their marketing strategy has changed again but I think some of the dealers aren't up to speed yet. This is pretty common with Victory dealers not only in marketing but parts and service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,699 Posts
Victory I listening and chances are that they frequent this and other Victory forums. The problem is that listening but you can't expect them to be able to do anything about a Victory dealership that hires the owners high school dropout kids as salesmen because they can't hold down jobs at fast food joints.

Sorry - long sentence. What I'm getting at is Victory contracts the dealerships. The dealerships hire their own employees. If any training is lacking Victory can't be blamed for problems at dealerships; the same thing goes for cleanliness. If the demo truck guys don't have a clue then the Victory is to blaim.
 

·
The Diamond
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
Victory offers tech training for the dealers and their mechanics. Most dealers don't want to pony up the funds to send their techs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I hear you guys on the dealership part of the equation. Harley has broken the code in that regards and reaps the benefits.

When I walk in, the staff will all be dressed in Harley gear and although they might not be able to talk on super technical subjects with me, they will no doubt be able to point me in the right direction, show me the newest and latest Harley whatever it is and more than likely offer me something to drink. (While visiting a Vic, Yam, Honda dealer on my bike with the temp at 102, the response to "Do you have a drinking fountain?" was "No" followed by a walk into the back room) I can't even buy a Victory t-shirt at most dealers.

The Vic dealers, just like most metric dealers, still take Sunday and Mondays off. When 90% of the riding public does so on Saturdays and Sundays, why would you close on Sunday and Monday? Break something and Tuesday from 10-6 is when you can get a replacement.

I guess with such a great product, I expect Victory to demand a bit more out of their dealerships. I don't give a rats [email protected] that the Victory motor has X amount of torque more then Harley on every single page of the brochure. Did Honda, Kaw, BMW and Suzuki go out of business? Those are the buyers that pick up a brochure and want numbers, not the typical Harley guy so why waste the print on every single page?

My point is with motorcycles people generally fall into them gradually. They see one on the street and it catches their eye. They then check out the web or a magazine and in the case of Victory, get a positive response. Next is a trip to the dealership where they are met with blank stares and a brochure which shows empty roads, abandoned buildings and alot of talk about Harley.

Having been self employed for a great deal of my adult life, I know that every word counts and costs in advertising. Why is it wasted on comparisons and cheap Harley rip off nomenclature instead of benefits? Why are your greatest advertisers, the dealership employees not given every opportunity to succeed? All of the dealerships I visited said they rarely see a rep.

I apologize in advance for being so fired up about this, but I just don't get it and it obviously frustrates me.

One more thing....why is our demo tour called Fuel It during a gas crisis?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
Totally the opposite here in Utah. The dealer I purchased my XC from is very professional, knowledgeable, and stocks a good supply of parts and accessories. Excellent service department. I had a much better experience at the Victory dealer than when I went in and talked to the harley dealer. (they were almost as arrogant as emperor obama). I also went to the Arlen Ness Victory dealer in Las Vegas. They are a great dealership. I would not judge the entire Vic dealer network by the few you have been to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Wesdalton you are right. When it comes to arrogance, it is difficult to beat a Harley dealer. I've dealt with them since the mid 80's when they couldn't give bikes away. At that time, I was a young guy and didn't get respect because of my lack of beard. When I got older, I didn't get it because I wanted to change my oil instead of buy a new bike.

I would expect an Arlen Ness flagship store to be above and beyond.

I'll still stick by my orignal comments though. Victory is nowhere near where they could or should be in regards to dealer / customer relations or marketing. While there might be some shining stars out there, those guys also have to deal with the reputation of the other Vic dealers. I haven't been to all of the dealerships but I've been to a dozen or so in four different states and I'm not really seeing anything to brag about. That shows me a lack of cohesiveness within the system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,858 Posts
Here's my .02...

Victory has changed their marketing approach based on what works or does not work. Taking market share from the metrics WAS a strategy. Taking market share from H-D has ALWAYS been a strategy. What you are noticing is not confused marketing but rather IS multi-threaded targeted marketing (specific marketing to specific segments in order to get their interest AND their next order).

Not all dealerships get this and that is why you have seen differing approaches from differing dealers. My recommendation is that you "vote with your checkbook" by buying only from the most knowledgeable who deserve your discretionary dollar. Those weaker dealers will eventually catch on or will go out of business.

As others have stated, the product is what is superior here, not the sales staff. This approach has worked well for companies like Microsoft and Pepsi Cola. Why wouldn't Polaris leverage it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
While in NH for bike week in June I went to the HD test ride tent and was amazed at how well organized and presented the bikes and staff were. Every model they offer was there for a test ride and several models had multiple bikes just in different colors. Check in and sign up was all done at computer kiosks under shady tents where your license was scanned into your kiosk. Lots of HD personnel and all were very knowledgable about their products. This was all in stark contrast to the Victory demo ride we visited the next day. Not all the models were present, bikes were dirty, Staff was sitting around and not a lot of people available to answer questions. Also you couldn't tell who was Victory staff as they just blended in with the test riders. The Harley personnel all had matching HD shirts and very easy to pick out for help. My HD test leader and I took our vrods up to 110 mph and we all had a very spirited test ride as out rep. set a very fast pace through the back roads riding course. I don't think we got above 45mph on our Victory test ride loop and I was left wondering when is this going to end. Having just purchased a XC, I brought several friends to the Vic demo ride and I think we all left disappointed. A large rally like this should have been attended and presented by the factory showing more effort in trying to capture market share as most riders that I saw came on HD's. including my friends.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,699 Posts
I hope this doesn't come across as brand slamming but look at just the Cross bikes, the Road King and the Street Glide and made it will make sense.

Victory has been building the Cross Bikes for about 2 years. While they were still selling 2010 models the 2011's were released. There were major changes to the transmission for the 2011's but nothing else changed. Very few Victory dealerships are standalone - the vast majority carry other brands and/or Polaris ORV's.

HD has been building Road Kings since 1994 and Street Glides since 2006. There were a few changes over the years but they are both basically the same bikes. Very few HD dealerships carry other brands - if they do they are either customs or used bikes.

HD dealers should know more than Victory dealers because not much has changed and they can focus on HD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,430 Posts
I know years ago when Victory was first getting fired up our dealership also sold Polaris work quads and UTV's. The rep for Polaris came in to our dealership so I figured I'd talk to him about the Victorys. I asked what he thought about them,he said nice bikes. I figured since our dealership was a Polaris dealer possibly we our employes might possibly get a descent deal on them. Basically I was told no way with a laugh. You think they would have said yes here is a person to call and talk to for a good connection. Never seen the service rep again at our dealer.Also we do not sell them anymore. Polaris does NOT like to pay very well on warranty we found out back then:(. Hopefully it is different now for their dealers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
While I do not work in the consumer retail business, I am a product manager for a B2B company. Everything that is being said here regarding the quality of the dealer network is the fault of Polaris. If they do not make sure the sales and service staff comprehends the message, there is no message. The dealer experience is critical to the success of attracting and retaining customers. With a poor dealer network, you miss business. The mother ship needs to define what they want and make sure they get it. The dealer rep should evaluate the dealer, and fire the ones that lack the vision. What makes any brand successful is a focus, and it appears that Victory is still in a fog.
The product is great, and I think the best advertising for the brand is from owners like us. The need to have dealers that seem to know more about offroad machines speaks to the steroetype that Vics are a souped up snowmobile.
When I was trying to decide if I liked the Kingpin, I went to a demo day. I thought it was a good experience. The bikes were clean, the people from the truck were engaging, and the ride sold me on the bike. The only problem is, after the truck leaves town, the dealer gets back to focusing on ATV's. That's his bread and butter. There are lots of good dealers out there, but there are a lot that are not good. Victory either needs to give them the tools to succeed, or not be associated with them anymore.
Sorry for the long response, but this is a very complicated marketing issue. It will be interesting to see if Victory chimes in.
Thanks,
Rob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
I bought my Vegas back in May shortly after one of the HD/Victory comparison demo rides. I mentioned that HD gives a law enforcement discount...the guy said, "do does Victory". I was also told about the promotional $1000 accessory voucher if you buy within two weeks. Well...it was about 3 days after the two week mark when I decided to pull the trigger on one. I was told by the owner that I would still get the voucher, since it was close enough. A few days later I'm told that I can't get that, but they PROMISED me that I would get the discount. Well....ok, maybe Victory doesn't do a law enforcement discount afterall.....make up your mind.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,988 Posts
I mentioned that HD gives a law enforcement discount...the guy said, "do does Victory".
Well, since your salesman couldn't put three words together, I'm going on a limb and guessing he wasn't the reason you chose Victory! :ltr:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
my bad, lol. It's been a long day. I meant, "so does Victory". I'm glad I chose a Victory, I love my Vegas. Even though the purchase was kind of a run-a-round...I got a pleasant surprise in the mail the other day. Two-year extended warranty that I didn't know was included.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
salesman ??

Decided to trade my H-D Superglide for a Victory.

1st AZ dealer (with no one in the showroom) showed little interest and was bothered that I wanted a test ride. I finally got the ride and there were issues with the transmission. Very poor throttle response. Salesman and tech said it was normal.

2nd Dealer happy to take me on a test ride. Seemed knowledgable. Bought a Jackpot and very happy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
I agree the product is superior, but Vic has got to reach out to the consumer and improve their almost non existend customer service. My bike is 6 weeks old and been down for three weeks waiting on a fuel pump. No one at the Vic it working overly hard to fix the problem.
Here's my .02...

Victory has changed their marketing approach based on what works or does not work. Taking market share from the metrics WAS a strategy. Taking market share from H-D has ALWAYS been a strategy. What you are noticing is not confused marketing but rather IS multi-threaded targeted marketing (specific marketing to specific segments in order to get their interest AND their next order).

Not all dealerships get this and that is why you have seen differing approaches from differing dealers. My recommendation is that you "vote with your checkbook" by buying only from the most knowledgeable who deserve your discretionary dollar. Those weaker dealers will eventually catch on or will go out of business.

As others have stated, the product is what is superior here, not the sales staff. This approach has worked well for companies like Microsoft and Pepsi Cola. Why wouldn't Polaris leverage it?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
91 Posts
The dealers that survive are the ones who go out of the way to not only learn about the products but its competitors as well. In order to thrive as a dealer, especially the dealer of reliable bikes your customers and potential customers have to want to come there, because they enjoy the experience.

When the motor company figured this out and laid out its demands to the dealers. Many of them went away and were replaced by people with a bankroll willing to take the risk. When Polaris finally gets it and lays out its requirements to become or maintain a dealership the same will happen.

Unfortunately your choices are limited, ride your Victory, trade it for a Harley, or pony up and buy a dealership and make it one of the few dealers that Polaris uses as it model when they figure it out.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top