Starting on Tuesday, Nov. 3, many thousands of people working in the
automotive industry will join together in Las Vegas as participants in
the AAPEX, SEMA, NACE and CARS shows, (and Big R Show Nov. 1-2).
Combined, these five shows are the largest celebration of
everything automotive, from hard parts, accessories and paint, to tools
and equipment and anything else you can imagine that is related to a
motor vehicle, plus educational seminars and networking opportunities.
And, while many people think of these shows as just an opportunity to
buy or sell something, it’s really much more.
Our columnist (in Engine Builder sister publications) Mitch Schneider wrote last December
upon his return from the AAPEX show that, “the show isn’t just about
all the cool, cute, physical stuff you can cram in a bag and then drag
home. It’s about ideas, information and relationships. More than
anything else, it’s about education and communication.”
While show exhibitors invest a lot of money to set up fancy booths
to display their new product offerings, they also make a huge
investment in personnel. They bring the product managers and sales
representatives who can answer your important questions. So I asked
some of these people, “Instead of just being asked, ‘What’s new?’ what
questions would you like to answer?” Here’s what they said:
Why should I use your brand rather than the cheaper competitor?
Who can I contact for technical support? Do you have a tech hotline?
What can you do to help my shop be more profitable?
What are the real differences in the lines of products you offer?
Who carries your product in my area?
How can I get access to your catalog and how often is it updated?
What is your warranty policy?
What training do you offer?
Is your product made to “OE” specs?
How does your product line reduce comebacks?
Imagine the value of looking the product manufacturer in the eye and
getting to ask those questions. I know you can think of many more
questions even ones that “they” don’t want to be asked. Imagine the
value of having those answers when you get back to the shop and start
contacting your suppliers.
I hope to see you in Las Vegas.
Jeff Stankard is Publisher of Babcox Tech Group Publications.