March '17

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36 • RV PRO • March 2017 rv-pro.com for the past three years in collaboration with a local television program called At Your Leisure. The weekly TV show takes viewers to destinations in an RV or by motorcycle, along the way describing various campgrounds, local tourist sites and adventure opportunities like fishing or hiking. Ray Citte RV regularly sends a marketing representative along with the show's producers to show what activities a viewer might experience. Once a year, Ray Citte RV invites the public to attend a Ride Away with Ray gathering, participating in sponsored 50- to 70-mile guided ATV rides, catered lunches and dinners as well as discounted camping. "It's a great way to build camaraderie among campers who may or may not be customers," says Citte. "And it's an opportu- nity to build deeper relationships and friendships with current and potential future customers." Generating an ROI on Relationships Despite the difficulty in calculating ROI on programs like Ride Away with Ray, which generally draws between 25 to 50 campers per year, it's clear that, when taken in aggregate, the dealership's efforts to cultivate these close relationships is working. After topping out around $20 million in annual sales before the recession of 2008, the dealership has now recovered and is nearing in on that historic high. Today, the dealership sits on 8 prime acres off Interstate 15, about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City. The facility – which was built in 2000 in the city's "automobile row," a collection of primarily auto dealerships – includes a 30,000-square-foot structure with 8,000 square feet of showroom space and a 9,000-square-foot parts and accessories department. The dealership's location is among its biggest competitive advantages, according to Citte, who notes visibility from the freeway and some clever advertising to attract highway traffic has been critical to the company's growth since 2000. "We still do a lot of television advertising, but the 'wow' factor from the highway is powerful. We have a billboard with an old trailer dangling from a cable and the words, 'Let it go. Time to buy a new one,'" Citte says with a chuckle. "That's been very effective." Today, the dealership specializes in retailing Class A gas motorhomes, Class C gas (plus some diesel) motorhomes, and it's become a go-to source for fifth wheels. "We have the Carriage line of fifth wheels, which has helped us become a destination for connoisseurs of fifth wheels in our region," says Citte. "That has been a top-notch line to have and it rounds out a heck of an inventory here." Similarly, he notes that another top-of-the-line brand, Cyclone by Heartland in the toy hauler segment, is also drawing a lot of new customers through the doors at Ray Citte RV. "Cyclone is one we've been very successful with and we're particularly impressed with how innovative they are," he says. "They sell themselves, in a way. Their external colors and designs D E A L E R S The Ray Citte RV sales team poses for a portrait on the 8,000-square-foot showroom floor. Dealership employees average 15 years with the business, which helps them build and maintain customer loyalty for the long term.

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