People, Places & Racing News

Council & Network News: Social Media Professional Development Program a Success

Strengthen Your Company Through Community

No matter what niche you're in—rods, restoration, racing, restyling, reps, trucks or wheels and tires—there's a SEMA council or professional network that's right for your company. SEMA councils and networks offer members a variety of market-specific programs and activities designed to provide educational and networking opportunities while promoting their particular industry segment.


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Ten ETTN members attended the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas.
  

Member Reflection: ETTN Professional Development Program Success

By Amanda Gubbins

Ten network members joined the Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) in February for the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas. This event was the first in a series of professional-development programs that ETTN curated for its members in 2015.

SEMA staff attended the event with the participants, who received a special rate. Brant Combs, director of marketing at ATC Truck Covers, believes the community building with other ETTN members was an important aspect of the program.

“I enjoyed the summit, and besides taking home useful information to help us with social media, got to network with a great group of people in SEMA who are working on similar things,” he said.

Kathryn Reinhardt, marketing manager at MagnaFlow, appreciated the ability to customize her experience at the summit. The flexibility ensured all participants would take ideas back to the office with them.

“With social media still being a new avenue for companies to use to communicate with customers, I wanted to see what tips and lessons I could learn to incorporate into the MagnaFlow strategy, and also to see if our current strategy was up to par,” she explained. “Once checked in, you could review the tracks available for specific seminars that spoke to case studies, tool integration and content creation. They also provided keys for B2C, B2B and small to medium business agendas.”

Other participants related to the strategic applications discussed. Tim Torrecarion, sales and marketing manager at Air Flow Research, noted that although the channels have changed over time, basic marketing and communications principles have remained consistent.

“To be successful in digital, you need to get back to the basics of marketing and communications. Put the customer first and understand the need. Where are they and how do they like to communicate? Word of mouth is still the best advertising,” he said.

“My high-level takeaway is that social media is still evolving,” said Sean Crawford of JE Pistons. “The platforms themselves are changing, but also the way brands utilize each platform to accomplish business objectives. One speaker explained it best, stating that we have moved from chasing ‘likes’ to focusing on increasing engagement, to accomplishing business objectives. Social media and the available tools have evolved to allow brands to listen to their consumers and react in a way that benefits the bottom line. Having spent much of my time in a data-driven environment, being able to show business results will make social media a growing part of our marketing strategy.”

A second event will take place in June, and ETTN will also take members to the Disney Quality Service training on September 23 in Anaheim, California. Applications are now being accepted for this one-day course, which will take a close look at the small details that make a big difference in the environment for both customers and staff.

Learn more about ETTN’s Professional Development program and apply now.

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ARMO's Hot Products Showcase will take place April 23–25, 2015, at Spring Carlisle in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
  

Register Your Restoration Parts for the Hot Products Showcase

Registration is now open for the Automotive Restoration Market Organization’s (ARMO) Hot Products Showcase, which will take place April 23–25, 2015, at Spring Carlisle in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

This event is an opportunity for council members to display one or more products in front of one of the single-largest gatherings of automotive restoration enthusiasts in the world.

In addition to having products on display in the Hot Products tent, a professional photographer will shoot each one. The photos will be available to manufacturers and will also be used in a slideshow at the ARMO booth and reception at the 2015 SEMA Show. A gallery on the ARMO webpage also houses each of the photos, along with a product description for those unable to attend the event. This publicity is available to ARMO members for only the cost of shipping the product entries to the Carlisle Fairgrounds.

Product entries must meet the following criteria:
  • Be the product of an ARMO-member company.
  • Be available for sale (market-ready) by the opening of the Showcase, April 23.
  • Demonstrate unique/innovative technology and/or be a benefit to the restoration industry.
Members can register products by filling out the online application. All applications must be received by April 17, 2015.

Restoration Professionals Gather for Networking at the Hot Product Showcase

ARMO will also host a networking mixer in the Hot Products Tent at the Showcase, Thursday, April 24, from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. The mixer will be a chance for members to grab a drink and spend some time interacting one-on-one with council leadership and fellow ARMO members. The council leadership believes this event holds enormous potential for new ideas and partnerships as members network with new and old industry friends. RSVP today.

Not an ARMO member? Join today to gain access to this event and other council benefits.

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Council Members Invited for an Exclusive Look at International Trucks

By Amanda Gubbins

Manufacturer members of the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) are invited to attend one of SEMA’s stops during the 2015 International Measuring Session Tour. New on the tour will be the ’14 UAZ Hunter and ’14 Mitsubishi L200. This will also be members’ final opportunity to gain access to the ’12 Toyota HiLux (through June) and ’13 Ford Ranger T6 (through November).

These vehicles are popular throughout key international markets, including Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia, and represent an opportunity for product-line expansion for many truck accessory manufacturers. With multiple stops around the country, this tour is a convenient way for members to collect the vehicle data needed for their product development.

The next measuring session will take place April 7–8 at Roush Performance in Plymouth, Michigan. Other sessions will follow April 21–22 at Hypertech in Bartlett, Tennessee, and May 18–22 at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, California.

Visit the International Measuring Session website for more information about the tour, the vehicles and to register.

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The PRO Sales Training Manual contains a chapter-by-chapter outline of what it takes to affect a more professional approach to selling cars dealer direct.
  

Revised “PRO Sales Training Manual” Gives Restylers a Competitive Edge

The Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) recently released the second edition of the PRO Sales Training Manual—a resource designed to help restylers, trimmers and accessory retailers build a more successful dealer-direct sales strategy.

The original idea for the resource came about at a Long-Range Planning meeting a decade ago.

“We wanted to put together a very comprehensive sales manual that would be used by the PRO-member sales representatives that went to new car dealers, in particular to really professionalize their approach to the general sales manager and other sales managers within the dealership to promote aftermarket accessories,” said Chair-elect Scott Wolin.

Many of the guidelines and techniques included in the original manual are as pertinent today as when it was first released, but the market has evolved, with vehicle technology becoming more complex and the Internet playing a more prominent role in the way companies do business. With more accessory specialists looking for ways to expand their reach into the dealership arena, a few important adjustments were needed. Many of the images in the manual got a refresh, and specific addendums include forms for dealership visits and structuring weekly sales calls. This edition also provided opportunity for a new perspective contributed by SEMA’s Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA).

Beginning with an overview of the key elements of a sales-marketing strategy, the manual contains a chapter-by-chapter outline of what it takes to affect a more professional approach to selling cars dealer direct. From understanding how to make an effective sales presentation to the importance of product knowledge and how to structure your company for success, the manual offers hints for the daily operations of the restyling business.

Seeing from the dealer’s point of view is key to building trust and gaining respect, but profit is a great motivator. The fact is that many dealers make more money on the accessories installed on a vehicle than on the sale of the base vehicle, and the manual helps salespeople effectively communicate that value. When used by sales teams as a training and reference tool, the manual can help drive sales. Wolin believes the resource contains valuable information regardless of a restyler’s experience level.

“If you’re brand new to the industry, this is an invaluable resource for you to just understand the process and procedures as well as the makeup of a dealership.” He added, “It really helps the salesperson structure their day and bring more value for them and for their company as well as for the dealerships. When you come in, you’ve got a plan of attack and you understand the inventory that’s sitting on the dealer’s lot, you understand how your products can bring them more gross profits and really bring the product their customers are looking for.”

The PRO Sales Training Manual is available as a hard copy, bound in a three-ring binder, or for the first time in electronic format for easy use on a tablet. While it can be purchased by anyone for $149.95, PRO (and TORA) members receive the special discounted price of $24.95 for the printed copy. It can be ordered online at www.sema.org/pro. For more information, contact Clayton Drescher at claytond@sema.org.

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During last year's competition, Roger Peterson, founder and CEO of MG Research LLC, introduced a mobile app that engages enthusiasts and collects useful market information for specialty-equipment manufacturers.
  

Let SEMA Help Launch Your Business

By Amanda Gubbins

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 SEMA Launch Pad, Presented by YEN. The competition, now entering its third year, gives automotive innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 an industry platform for their budding businesses.

Roger Peterson, founder and CEO of MG Research LLC, was a contestant in the 2014 competition. He and his concept—a mobile app that engages enthusiasts and collects useful market information for specialty-equipment manufacturers—made it all the way to the final stage of the competition, where he gave a live presentation to a panel of respected industry leaders during the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

“As I look at the experience overall, I have to say that as a very, very young company, it did a tremendous amount of good for us in the sense that we went from being a concept, an untested idea, and we were forced to mature to our best capacity,” Peterson reflected. “We were forced to ripen as best that we could. It taught us about ourselves, our will, our desire to see this through and it brought out the best in our team. It definitely brought out the best in me.”

Launch Pad applicants are evaluated based on their video submissions by a task force, which will select the top 10. The top five candidates are narrowed down via a Facebook voting campaign. These finalists will each pitch their business plan at the 2015 SEMA Show, where the judging panel will select the winner, who will receive a prize package designed to fuel the next steps of his or her business.

Peterson explained that each of the finalists gained a certain amount of validation, which made the experience valuable. For MG Research, the feedback and exposure was a catalyst for much of the growth the company has experienced over the past months.

“We no longer have to strain ourselves trying to make this vision visible to other people. It’s now plastered all over the SEMA website, and it’s represented well. It has taken us from being one of a million young companies trying to come out of the woodwork, to one of a few that actually has accomplished something. As we are moving along now to our funding activities, we are going to find out exactly what the strength of the SEMA Launch Pad experience is.”

The bottom line, according the Peterson?

“We were all winners in the sense that we all walked away with what we needed to go to the next stage [of business],” he said.

Find out what Launch Pad can do for your business. For more information, and to fill out the application, visit www.sema.org/launch-pad. If you have questions, contact Bryan Harrison.

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YEN will send 10 network members on the Hot Rod Power Tour again this summer to share their industry experience.
  

Apply for YEN’s Highest Rated Member Benefit

SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN) will send 10 network members on the Hot Rod Power Tour again this summer to share their industry experience. Not only will participants enjoy tour access, but they will also each receive an impressive prize package.

YEN Power Tour participants will receive a grant from SEMA to help cover tour expenses. Five individuals will drive their own vehicles and receive $1,750, while the five other passengers will receive $500. Each participant will also receive:

  • Hotel accommodations
  • Free VIP entry into the Power Tour
  • Ticket to the opening night hospitality party
  • Premier parking location in the YEN corral
  • Long hauler gifts
  • SEMA swag items

(Please note that all benefits received are considered taxable income.)

The participating network members will represent different niches in the specialty-equipment market. They will interact with tour attendees and visit schools along the seven-city, seven-day journey to share about their careers and engage the next generation of industry executives. The participants will also take the tour online through the YEN Facebook page, Twitter and other social media outlets.

Learn more and apply today to join the YEN Power Tour. Applications will be accepted through April 10. All members of YEN are eligible to apply. Not yet a member? Join today.

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