Andy Wehmeyer, founder of Audiofrog and long time Harman senior manager, started out as the “worst installer,” he says. Fortunately, he improved and then moved on to work at Harman for about 19 years. He told an audience at KnowledgeFest West Live a few months back that one of the lessons he’s learned, which many retailers find confusing, is the difference between marketing and selling; and that’s important because the difference can mean profits won or lost.
A sales opportunity is something you can sell once and a marketing opportunity is something you can sell again and again.
Sales guys show up in engineering meetings and recommend something that if developed today would not sell well. “I have never in 30 years, developed a product by someone who worked in hard core sales that was successful,” said Wehmeyer. But marketing is identifying something that lots of people will discover and buy, possibly many times over. “There’s a lot of work that goes into determining what is a marketing opportunity versus a sales opportunity.”
A market is simply defined as people who buy your stuff, he said. The job of a marketing guy is to figure out what people want to buy. The worst way to do that is asking them, Wehmeyer said. The next job is finding people to buy your stuff. Companies pay a lot of money on market research and focus groups and market data. They come up with plans such as, “If one percent buy this car stereo…” Marketing plans like this usually fail.
Here’s some basic car audio retailing marketing.
If you are going to open a shop in Los Angeles, the metro area is 20 million people. But in Corsican, TX the population is 24,000 people and one percent of that is only 240. So if that one percent buy your stuff, then the next year, people buying new systems would include only on those moving into town or who get an upgrade. If I am planning to open a shop in Corsican, TX, “maybe I need to rethink what I’m going to do,” said Wehmeyer.
The next step in marketing is making sure that your audience is able to find you. Your base isn’t just the number of people in a market, but the number of people that know of you. “I think an Aston Martin is cool, but I am never going to buy one,” so the next indicator of your marketing circle are likely purchasers. “The idea in marketing is to identify likely purchasers and where to find them. That way we don’t crawl out from under a dashboard to talk to someone who only wants some new tires [when you don’t sell tires],” he said.
If you track your sales, you can figure out your audience. This is how it works:
What cars do you work on most often?
60 percent pickup trucks?
60 percent great sounding audio in late model cars?
70 percent remote start?
65 percent bass heads?
60 percent long custom fabrication jobs?
90 percent IASCA/MECA competitors?
Here’s Wehmeyer’s tips:
Step 1: “So first figure out what, in fact, you do.” And what you are to the people in your market. “Then you optimize it, unless you hate it, and in that case, change it, or make it run on autopilot so you can focus on what you like.”
Step 2: Make sure your market position is clear in your messaging. Your store name might be Ben’s Everything Electronics for Every Car, but now you find out you are really a high end custom fab shop or a truck audio specialist. If you don’t want to change your name, consider adding a tag line, say “Ben’s Electronics; Houston’s Truck Specialist.”
Step 3: “My mailbox is full of things from grocery stores–a bunch of stuff and prices. They might show a party platter, but that market is not really concerned with price.” Presenting prices without being able to explain them, minimizes your message. What you should advertise is what you can do for your customers.
Crossover and all pass filters? Most customers want our expertise because they don’t want to learn all that. Saying you’ve been here for 30 years is a lot simpler.
Step 4: “Maybe you see that 40 percent of your business is Ford F150s. Have that stuff in stock, then say we have these packages for Ford F150s–package 1, 2 and 3. We want to sell package 2; it’s easiest for customers. That’s the one you make profitable. And you should have these packages in stock for your top 3 trucks, so customers can come in, and you can say, ‘Give us your keys and come back on Friday,’ instead of having to make an appointment a week from now and they go on line and shop you in the meantime.
Pre-make your adapters, etc. but leave room for customers to choose minor details such as carpet or vinyl. But make sure their choice doesn’t undermine your ability do this profitably.”
Name the packages:
High Fidelity Package
High Output Package
It can be anything, so long as it’s easy to understand.
“Then you can say, ‘Based on this and this, I think what you need is the High Output package,’ and then shut up.”
The customer may ask you to make the price lower. Do not offer to delete anything unless the customer asks because it complicates the sale. If you need to hit a price, remove something but don’t remove your tools for making this profitable. Don’t remove the pre-amp interface or DSP. Those are your tools. You can remove less expensive speakers and use the factory speakers in the back or one subwoofer instead of two.
Step 5: Take pictures and get testimonials and permission to use them. When your customers are really happy, ask them to write a reviews and then ask them if you can use it in promotions.
Find a place to push these packages…say to auto dealerships.
Step 6: When you get killer packages down for the Ford F150, put together a presentation on an iPad or poster and make an appointment with the accessory manager and finance manager at a dealership. Let people know you will be short and to the point and that you have a monetary benefit for the dealer.
Use testimonials from customers who have bought it already; include the prices and figure out what you are going to offer the dealerships. 10 percent? Eventually, you can raise the price, so it doesn’t cost you anything.
Whatever you are going to guarantee, make sure it’s clearly stated. You will most likely have to guarantee that the dealership will never have to fix your work. Say you’ll show up at the dealer within 10 minutes to get it fixed.
You can also go to vehicle forums online, and put together a DIY kit you can ship to a DIYer.
If you are only selling what your customers are asking for then you are not marketing. Drive your business using packages.