Three in a row

A lockdown initiative to simply check on customers has resulted in Wilks Penny Motorcycles Te Awamutu leading the pack.

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, many essential businesses and their staff nationwide had to find ways to adapt – and fast.

This Te Awamutu team did the same – and so effectively that for the past three months – March, April and May – they’ve been New Zealand’s number one Suzuki dealer within their store network.

Making that achievement, which essentially means the store sold the most Suzuki motorbikes nationally in that time period, extra special is that the majority of those sales happened while in lockdown.

Finding out the sales news was also made extra sweet by the fact the team – which all told has nine staff – recently celebrated its fifth birthday since owners Mark Penny and Ilana Wilks took over ownership of the business – a date which also rolled over during lockdown.

The long-standing Te Awamutu firm was previously owned by Ilana’s parents Grant and Shirley Wilks for more than 40 years.

The secret to their lockdown success was relatively simple.

Wilks Penny – which also sells Beta and Kawasaki motorbikes – was an essential business during lockdown and so Mark and Ilana and their staff simply jumped on the phone to make sure their customers – many of them farmers who were also an essential service – knew they were still available for their motorbike requirements.

The fact lockdown was making new motorbikes coming into the country more expensive helped the team ensure customers got good deals on bikes they already had in stock here in New Zealand.

Mark said many of the sales simply came from making contact with customers so they knew the team was still operating.

“This is absolutely our passion,” Ilana said.

“We’ve always told our kids that they have two choices in life. Is the glass half empty, or half full? We choose half full.

“So, when lockdown began we knew we had to embrace the really uncertain times we were facing to act fast.

“Because we are a family business, straight away we knew we had to find ways to look after both our staff and our customers.”

Mark said in the two days prior to lockdown beginning, the team worked hard to ensure the motorbikes they had on the premises for repairs and maintenance were finished and delivered to farmers on farm.

“I think success simply comes from the fact that our approach is to work as hard as we can for every single customer who walks through our doors,” he said.

Mark said the team has also having a good month sales wise so far in June.

Typically by now, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event Fieldays would have been held at Mystery Creek.

This year’s event, which last year attracted 130,000 visitors, was postponed due to Covid-19.

Any other year, the Wilks Penny team would have been there – it’s one of their busiest times of the year.

“This is when our customers would be looking to buy a new bike,” Mark said

“And  we’ve adapted our approach and many of the sales we would normally have through Fieldays are still occurring, just in a different way.”

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