Custom Sounds & Tint is a leading car audio specialty chain and also one of the fastest-growing. It is opening its 19th store, with 3 more planned by the end of next year.
Eventually, said Custom Sounds’ CEO Mike Cofield, “We could be a 50 store chain, and certainly a 30 store chain.”
The new Oklahoma City location is the chain’s first in the Oklahoma market, joining the four other Custom Sounds markets of Austin, San Antonio, St. Louis and El Paso.
The chain is also “actively looking for another market to expand into. We prefer to grow through acquisition,” Cofield said. “We’re one of the few larger car audio retailers still growing.”
The new location is 6,400 square feet, formerly occupied by Audio Plus on Northwest Expressway, the busiest street in the state of Oklahoma, he said. The building will include the chain’s latest sound room design, which is able to produce far better bass than the typical demo room, Cofield claims..
The new location also includes more interactive displays for customers to demo products for themselves, especially in the area of sound damping and lighting.
“Sound damping sales are unbelievable since we went to this new format of enabling the customer to hear the difference in a speaker with and without it. It’s unbelievable. The number one reaction we get is the customer actually says ‘wow.’” Sound damping sales are up about 35 percent this year. The company carries the MESA Mat brand. (Cofield is President of the MESA group).
This year, the chain’s overall sales are up 12 percent for the first half compared to the same period in 2018. The chain was down in sales for the first time last year since 2007. Other recent years have seen single or double digit growth.
Cofield credits the return to growth to improving the ability of salesmen to convert customer phone inquiries to sales. Now, when a customer calls to inquire about a price, they are encouraged to schedule an installation, not just to visit the store. “People are busy. They just want to come in and get it done. So now we just schedule the appointment…instead of getting them to [come in and] look around.” Salesmen were given new scripts to follow in February.
Cofield also credits new incentive bonuses for salespeople as well as managers “made possible by the Trump tax cuts.” When employees reach a certain level of sales volume they get tiered bonuses.