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Identifying and Overcoming Negative Habits and Behaviors
In the face of these difficult times, what actions can we take today to work toward a brighter future?
Words by Jon Kowanetz
In a time not so long ago, many in our industry would leave their shops for a few days every few months to fly across the country to attend KnowledgeFest—spending a weekend in packed training seminars, shaking hands with strangers on a buzzing show floor and sharing drinks with friends at the hotel bar. Although it feels like much longer, it’s been under two months since the last time this semi-annual networking event took place, since I was last able to speak to my colleagues about a topic so near and dear to my heart.  
In February at KnowledgeFest Long Beach, I presented a class on...Read the rest of the story HERE.
Limitless Pursuit

Having built a solid foundation, LIS Audio is working toward eventually expanding into a second facility and adding additional categories to an already growing list of services.
Words by Rosa Sophia
In Spring Hill, Kan., LIS Audio—Limitless Innovative Solutions—continues to do business during the spread of COVID-19. The store is owned by business partners Justice Berry and Cameron Powell, who stated the shop is able to remain open because they provide essential services in the form of GPS trackers and ignition interlocks. Open since December 2016, the shop works on everything from custom audio builds to safety, and has extensive plans in place for expansion.
“We’ve had about a 30 percent increase in both clientele and profits, each year,” Powell said. “We’ve both been consistently growing our...Read the rest of the story HERE.

During an unprecedented global emergency, the 12-volt industry is coming together in mutual support to help keep employees and clients safe and healthy.

Words by Rosa Sophia

By mid-March, schools began closing in response to the spread of COVID-19, social distancing became the norm and restaurants that hadn’t closed offered takeout and delivery only. All major sporting events were suspended. Travel restrictions were put into place all over the world, and stay-at-home orders were soon to follow in various cities around the country. Mobile electronics businesses have responded by...Read the rest of the story HERE.

Strategy & Tactics for March 2020 - Rules of the Game
Learn why, when and how to set ground rules when selling.
Words by Kevin Hallinan
Salespeople often ask me to help them avoid the dreaded “think it over,” knowing it’s bad for business. They also tell me they don’t want to be pushy since they don’t appreciate being pushed by salespeople. However, they still need to be skilled at handling objection. So, what’s my advice?...Read the rest of the story HERE.
What's Happening for March 2020 - Deep in the Heartland
10 Ways to Make Yourself a Better Salesperson
How can salespeople up their game? Top Sales Pros Jayson Cook, Amari Schwartz and Elias Ventura discuss strategies for self-improvement on the sales floor.
Words by Rosa Sophia
Amari Schwartz, who works in sales at Distinctive Ride in Wasilla, Alaska, said she first thinks of knowledge and qualifying the client when she considers improving sales. “I believe to be successful and efficient, a salesperson needs to have product knowledge, install knowledge and knowledge on consumers’ buying habits,” she explained. “I have seen a lot of sales lost because of lack of product knowledge. I have also seen an equal amount of money lost because of misquoted labor charges.” In 2018, Schwartz was named Sales Pro of the Year by Mobile Electronics magazine.
Elias Ventura of Safe and Sound Mobile Electronics in Manassas, Va.—who was named Sales Pro of the Year in 2016—stated that he always self-reflects on things he could be doing better. “There are times on the sales floor when I forget the most basic, key, ‘sales 101’ things I should be doing,” he said. “It happens to the best of us.”
#1. Qualify the Client - Schwartz said a salesperson can’t...Read the rest of the story HERE.
Difference Makers for February March 2020
Deep in the Heartland
River City Sales goes the extra mile for its mom-and-pop businesses, while encouraging retailers to embrace integration as technology continues to transform.
Words by Jamie Sorcher
In North America, the largest river system is primarily composed of Missouri’s two big rivers. The Mississippi and the Missouri rivers together form the fourth-longest river in the world, stretching more than 3,800 miles from Montana to the Gulf of Mexico.
Knowing that, there couldn’t be a more fitting name for St. Louis, Mo.-based rep/distribution firm River City Sales. Founded by Brett Phelps and Gary Cooley in 2014, the company covers the territory known as the MINK states—Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
“If you look at the territory, it’s anchored by Kansas City and St. Louis on each side of the Missouri,” Phelps said. “So we have an office in Kansas City and our main office in St. Louis. It’s where Gary and I are stationed and where we have our inside sales support, Lori Beyer.”
Beyer, he said, deals with incoming calls and managing accounts—whether it’s taking orders or handling shipping or credit issues, overseeing return authorizations, or anything that...Read the rest of the story HERE.











Real World Retail for February March 2020

Slow and Steady

Ocala Car Audio has built a name for itself by hosting and attending local events and weekend Bike Nights. The shop has entered the new year aiming to increase revenue in the motorcycle audio category through grassroots marketing.

Words by Rosa Sophia

Prior to opening Ocala Car Audio in Ocala, Fla., Parish Tanner worked in installation, sales, distribution and as a rep. Then, in 2008, he started installing at his home garage before moving to a retail location and joining with a business partner. “We were growing 15 to 18 percent per year,” Tanner said. In 2014, he and his business partner separated, and revenue dropped significantly. “I moved to a smaller shop with a smaller staff, but since 2015, we’ve had about 15 to 20 percent growth each year.”

Tanner attributes this growth to...Read the rest of the story HERE.


Real World Retail for December 2019
High Volume
When it comes to turning up the tunes, Lawson’s Car Audio stocks up to meet customers’ needs in any situation.
Words by Rosa Sophia

When the business first opened in 1994 in Augusta, Georgia, Lawson’s didn’t sell car audio—instead, the store focused on anything else electronic. Current owner Morgan Lawson said his parents opened the business, but car audio came into the picture by accident. Morgan’s mother, Su Lawson, went to an auction and purchased a pallet of car audio without knowing what it was. “We sold it all within a week,” said Morgan Lawson. “Ever since the early 2000s, we’ve been nothing but an audio shop.”

The store went from being called Lawson’s to Lawson’s Car Audio, and today Morgan runs the shop. The business had three locations in 2008, he added, but when his father passed away, they downsized. If everything goes according to plan, a second location in Evans, Ga. will open in mid-April with hopes of continuing to expand into the future.

Despite going away to earn degrees in criminal justice and psychology, and later becoming a real estate agent—which he still does on the side today—Lawson said he was always drawn back to the family business. “Music brings people together,” he said. “That’s what I enjoy. I did a whole bunch of other stuff, even got my pilot’s license, but I always came back here.”

Since the beginning, the focus of the business has been...Read the rest of the story HERE.

The Changing Role of Distribution
DOW Electronics, Velocity Distributing and Davis Distribution share how they view the role of distribution in 12-volt, where it’s been and where it will go from here.
Words by Rosa Sophia
Over the last few years, the line between retail and distribution has grown fuzzy, according to Dave Elkin of DOW Electronics. “Eight or nine years ago, it was still very much rules-driven—restocking fees and that sort of thing. We were just a wholesale step between the manufacturer and the dealer.”
But what changed? Elkin added that dealers wanted more of a retail experience for themselves. “If we want a high level of customer satisfaction, we have to adapt in that area for sure.” Elkin began his career with DOW in 1995, and the company itself has been in business since 1959. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that DOW began growing and expanding the 12-volt side of the business. “It’s not just moving boxes anymore,” he said, adding it’s about “the education of...Read the rest of the story HERE.

Real World Retail for October 2019
Diversified in the Desert
AZ Motor Trendz’s product mix meets the needs of a unique work and play clientele.
Words by Rosa Sophia
In Peoria, Ariz. in 2007, Randy Flora decided it was time to open his own shop after starting a business in his home garage. “I got tired of working out of my house, so I decided it was time to try to open a car audio shop. We did it and here we are 12 years later,” he said, adding that he started with a business partner but became full owner in 2010.
Currently, the bay can hold about four cars. The shop has a lift, a small woodworking area and a tire machine area. All employees are cross-trained to work with customers and answer phones, as well. “Both of my main guys can do audio, video and suspension work,” Flora added. “I have one guy who does tires, mostly. In Arizona, the big market is trucks. If I expanded, I would add another lift and probably go after dealership work, which is tough, but that way we could ensure we always have vehicles.” Continued training for team members and increased staff tenure has helped contribute to recent accomplishments, too. “The longer they’re here, the more they...Read the rest of the story HERE.









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