We are late on this story, but we wanted to bring you some of the tips for car audio dealers mentioned at KnowledgeFest this summer for those who didn’t make it to Dallas.
At the Town Hall, Harman’s Jeff Fay said about 65 percent of the cars on the road don’t support Bluetooth audio streaming, only handsfree calling, so there’s still a big opportunity for the aftermarket.
He suggests posting a sign on your shop that says “Free Bluetooth Lessons” or “Free Bluetooth Pairing With Your Radio,” even if it’s a factory radio. Then you can show the customer what other products you offer.
A panel on driver safety made the points that:
- Driver safety products are improving so don’t be deterred by problems with earlier models
- Like any category, there’s a learning curve, but the long term rewards for driver safety should be well worth the investment.
- Remember that by May 2018, all new cars with come with a backup camera, so it will pay to diversify into other products like multi- and 360 degree camera systems and crash warning systems.
- “When you got into this business you had a learning curve. Think of the first sub box you ever built. How long did it take you and how did it sound?” asked Steve Witt of American Road Products. The same learning curve is true of driver safety systems.
Many shops don’t have the latest essential tool in car audio—a laptop. They cost as little as $200. The advice is to get one.
Learn about upholstery for your next custom door panel. Invest in an industrial sewing machine and get your girlfriend, sister, mother to show you how to use it. Upholstery work is profitable business, says Bryan Schmitt of Mobile Solutions.
The aim is to factory match all the materials in the car for a higher level of professionalism. “Using a french seam on a door panel makes its look so much more high end and you match the factory look…People will pay for that 100 percent,” said Schmitt.
Plus some of the upholstery gurus are starting to crossover into car audio to rebuild seats. So you are going to want protect your turf.
He suggests putting out in the shop the “Detroit Book” that shows all the material in each car and truck for that year, so customers can browse and see what’s possible.
Put special order catalogs in the shop waiting room or at the checkout counter where consumers can browse through them. Truck accessory distributors create catalogs specific to popular models like the F150. They cost $1 a book but can help generate bolt-on sales.
We heard this one a lot at KnowledgeFest, this summer—“Have you updated your sign since the 90s?” Most stores haven’t. Hire a real graphic artist to do it.
Photo credit: Shannon Gilroy
John Schwartz of Perfectionist Autosound, AK co-leading a seminar