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Council & Network News: Networking Mistake Number One

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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Jared Chavez

YEN Member Insight—Networking: Mistake Number One

By Jared Chavez

Being part of SEMA is truly amazing because the organization provides its members with a number of opportunities to network. This comes in the form of traditional networking mixers, the SEMA Show itself and many of the membership programs aimed to connect us all together. I highly recommend that everyone put themselves out there and meet their fellow SEMA members because it will truly help them engage within the community.

With all of the opportunity to connect, I have seen one common mistake repeatedly made by those new to networking. It probably will surprise you—you may even disagree with me—but from my experience, I can tell you that if you can accept this one philosophy, your ability to network will grow exponentially.

Networking is not about what people can do for you.

Let’s think about this for a moment and really try to gain a deeper understanding, as I am sure the basic motivation for many people in networking is to meet others who can help them with their business. Hopefully during your networking experience you will meet other professionals who are great potential customers or suppliers, but how many times have you met someone and the first time they reached out to you they wanted a favor? No doubt, we have all had to deal with that person in our lives who only called when they wanted something. They become the people whose calls you stop returning.

Networking is about helping grow your community together.

Instead of the aforementioned approach, think about adopting the mindset that networking is your opportunity to connect not just yourself, but other people in your network together, and make your entire network stronger. Every time I meet someone new, I think about how I can best help them—either by introducing them to someone who can help their business or giving them a customer referral. This approach is far more powerful and fosters a relationship in which those people want to help you in the same fashion.

With that in mind, here are some great things you should do when networking:

  • Ask about their business and experience.
  • Learn about how the people you are meeting strengthen your network.
  • Ask for referrals and offer referrals.
  • Introduce them to other people in your network.
  • Look for ways to collaborate that are mutually beneficial.
  • Buy them a drink.
Happy networking!

Jared Chavez is an account manager at MagnaFlow. He is a newly elected YEN select committee member, who will take his seat on July 1, and is the chair of YEN’s networking task force.

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 by a task force based on their video submissions to select the top 10 finalists. Next, a Facebook voting campaign narrows them down to a top five. These five 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 to 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.

Applications are due July 3, 2015. Find out what Launch Pad can do for your business. For more information, and to fill out the application, visit If you have questions, contact Bryan Harrison.

Visit HRIA's website

Connect with Hot Rodders at HRIA’s General Membership Meetings

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) will hold two open general membership meetings in July. These events give HRIA members the chance to connect with each other, meet the council leadership and learn more about industry developments. Included on the agenda for both meetings is the presentation of the HRIA Annual Report and a discussion about the state and direction of the hot-rod industry. Attendees will share and hear from other members about strategies for the future.

Council members and those interested in exploring group membership are invited to attend one of the following:

Thursday, July 9, 2015
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
18th Annual Goodguys PPG Nationals
Ohio Expo Center, Celeste Building
Columbus, Ohio
Visit for more information.
Register now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
NSRA National Street Rod Nationals
Louisville, Kentucky Fairgrounds
Visit for more information.
Register now.

For more information, contact Council Director Jim Skelly.

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Visit MRN's website.  

Earn Up to $600 in Two Easy Steps

Manufacturers’ reps have a new opportunity to partner with the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) for a special incentive. Between now and September 2, 2015, reps who refer new suppliers to the SDC can earn a cash reward of anywhere between $150–$600.

The first step for reps is to start a conversation with their manufacturer clients about the benefits of selling more parts with data and the solutions that the SDC offers to help them manage and distribute great product data. Next, visit the SDC incentive page and complete the form by September 2. An SDC employee will follow up with each supplier to begin the on-boarding process.

As long as the supplier is referred during the incentive period and on-boarded by November 27, 2015, the referring rep will receive a check in the amount of that supplier’s first month’s dues. These checks are issued to individual reps, not SEMA-member companies.

For reps who need a little preparation for these discussions, training is available through the MRN Certification Program. The web-based educational series helps manufacturers’ representatives learn more about what the SDC offers through courses designed to build confidence in discussing the data-management system with customers. Contact SDC Director of Membership Jim Graven at to sign up.

Visit to learn more about the MRN SDC Incentive program and start earning rewards today.

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Steps to Maximizing Every Sales Opportunity

By Amanda Gubbins

Generally speaking, people don’t like to be “sold.” However, they do like to buy, provided, of course, they perceive value and understand the benefits. That’s where skills and know-how come into play. If restylers can give a good reason why their products and services are a perfect fit for the dealership, they are far more likely to gain attention and ultimately earn business. Facts like this can go a long way—the average gross profit on dealer-installed accessories that restylers provide is 50%–75%, versus 10%–20% from the factory.

But that’s not all; products won’t fly off the shelves by themselves. Simply “selling” the dealer doesn’t necessarily make for success. It’s important to build a relationship with the dealership, earn management’s commitment to supporting an accessory program and convince the salespeople on the floor to follow through and sell the products.

Whether working with existing accounts or making cold calls to prospect for new business, there are a few steps restylers can take to maximize every sales opportunity. The “PRO Sales Training Manual” walks restylers and installers through these techniques—from what to wear and how to set goals, to how to structure a sales call and start building relationships with key dealership players.

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. The digital edition is free for PRO members. Contact Clayton Drescher to place your order today.

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