Mobile Electronics Magazine August 2021

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August 2021

Henry and Justin Hosek continue the dream that began in 1987—creating memorable experiences for three generations of Victoria, Texas residents

Cranking the Volume at KnowledgeFest Orlando The debut event welcomed attendees back to a live and in-person KnowledgeFest, the first in over a year.

PLUS: On the Floor: Educators talk strategy and class line-up, while technician Ethan Deer discusses his first-ever Knowledge Fest experience.

Center Stage: Joey Knapp shows off Pinnacle Autosound’s demo car: See it in person this month at Knowledge Fest Dallas!

Volume 53 Issue 8


EDITORIAL Rosa Sophia Managing Editor 978.645.6466 • Chris Cook Editor-at-Large Creative Layout and Design: Ana Ramirez Contributing Editors: Jamie Sorcher and Laura Kemmerer

Published by TM


mobile electronics association



12// What’s Happening: The Starting Line

18 Retail News

Richard Basler, Dir. Technology Solutions 978.645.6449 •

Fulfilling educational sessions and new beginnings marked the return to in-person KnowledgeFest events, while the industry anticipates a transformative year ahead.

58 Installs

Tony Frangiosa, Chairman of the Board, MEA

62 From the President

Ad Index

32// Real World Retail: Inheriting the Dream


One man’s vision led to the creation of Hi-Pro Audio in 1987. Today, the family continues to provide lasting memories and quality service to three generations of customers in and around Victoria, Texas.

4 Editor’s Forum 6 Feedback ON THE COVER:

44// Learning From Leaders: A Sound Investment

KnowledgeFest-Indianapolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 MEA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 MECP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

48// Strategy & Tactics: How to Close a Sale

54// Tech Today: Buckle Up and Drive It’s almost impossible to have worked in the 12-volt industry without learning the name VOXX Electronics. This month, VOXX discusses its latest ADAS solutions and why retailers need to get involved—if they haven’t already.

2 Mobile Electronics August 2021

JVC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Kenwood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Kicker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 KnowledgeFest -Dallas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Rick Kojan’s three-decades-strong Sony career began with an act of kindness and a show of faith—and he hasn’t forgotten that.

Sales trainers Kevin Hallinan and Vincent DeStefano shared their insights on closing sales during their KnowledgeFest presentations.

Alpine Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 AudioControl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Car Keys Express . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Escort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Firstech - Compustar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Harman - JBL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 InstallerNet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

Metra Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Orca - Gladen Mosconi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Cover Design: Ana Ramirez After hurricane damage, a separately-run hobby shop was brought into Hi-Pro Audio. In the midst of the pandemic, the team shifted the showroom into the parking lot so customers could still browse products. No matter the challenge, Hi-Pro rose to meet it—a key ingredient to remaining relevant after 34 years in business.

Sirius XM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Sony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 SounDigital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 &37 Vais Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Vision Zero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57





At every training event, you’ll find opportunities to bring knowledge back to the shop—tips and strategies you can start utilizing right away, both on the sales floor and in the install bay.

JOIN US AT KNOWLEDGEFEST IN DALLAS every training opportunity is a chance to bring a strategy or a tech tip back to the shop. what’ll it be for you and your team? So many of us have missed what’s become an industry favorite: KnowledgeFest Dallas. This month we’ll have lots of exhibitors and, of course, over 100 hours of high-quality education workshops and vendor training sessions. It’s our oldest event,with the highest record of attendance. In June we finally returned to in-person KnowledgeFest events with our first Orlando show. Here’s what you can expect from KnowledgeFest Dallas, held this month, August 27-29. What strategies or tech tips will you bring back to the shop? Many who’ve attended say that if you’re able to learn at least one strategy at KnowledgeFest and apply it back at work, it can change everything for the better. Don’t miss the chance to chat with manufacturers on the show floor, or attend educational workshops. Learn how to become the most elite version of yourself in the owner/manager track with Tomas Keenan of Break Free Academy. Other classes include “Relationships and Business: The Four Steps of the Sale” and “Play the Course You’re On: Tuning in Modern Cars” with Ken Ward of Educar Training; “ROI: How Strong is Your Foundation” with Salim Kassouf of Boston Federal Financial; and “Breaking Into the Harley-Davidson Aftermarket Audio Market” with Carlos Ramirez of NVS Audio. At every training event, you’ll find opportunities to bring knowledge back to the shop—tips and strategies you can start utilizing right away, both on the sales floor and in the install bay. So, what’ll it be for you and your team? The Industry Awards is entering a new and exciting era In the mid-90s, the Industry Awards began. In 2010 the awards were moved to Dallas, where KnowledgeFest was relaunched under

4  Mobile Electronics August 2021

the new ownership of Mobile Electronics Association. Ever since, Dallas has been known for this exhilarating yearly celebration. But now, it’s time for a transformation. Throughout your career, you’ve faced many changes and hopefully many positive transformations. KnowledgeFest is no exception. To keep bringing the industry some of the best opportunities available, we must continually assess our own performance and see where we can improve. We’ve decided to shift the Industry Awards to our new Las Vegas event, February 18-20, 2022, to better align with a full year of the industry’s accomplishments, rather than a split year. Additionally, it will allow 12-volt professionals across the industry even more time to prepare and participate. This will open a new chapter in the continued growth of KnowledgeFest—and we want you with us to celebrate these new opportunities. Start preparing today, and get ready to get involved We look forward to seeing you in Dallas. Take this additional time to work on your awards submission. Consider what you feel you’re doing differently. Show the entire industry your best, but always start early so you’ll be as prepared as possible when the application period rolls around. And remember, winning—or not winning— doesn’t mean you stop transforming. Think of the process itself as a challenge to look within, to discover not only what makes you good at what you do, but to take a closer look at where you can improve. Come to Dallas to learn from some of the industry’s top educators, and keep working on yourself. Bring that knowledge home, apply it, and who knows: Maybe next year you’ll be joining us on the stage in Las Vegas.

 feedback

Seeking Solutions When faced with difficulties in-store and in the bay, retailers seek creative solutions as a team to prevent any future issues and increase productivity.

“[We were] trying to save time in the install bay due to the high volume of appointments on schedule and a shortage of installers. The installer had to stop the current installation to bench test equipment or service a breathalyzer for another customer, which caused install time to increase. Our solution was to create a bench testing and calibration station in another area, and salespeople were trained to test equipment. This method is more efficient. There was no loss of time with employees repeating information to a tech, and then the tech having to repeat findings to the customer. It also [meant nothing would be] lost in translation. Plus, it saved time and mistakes in the install bay by avoiding the interruption altogether.” Kimberly Trainer, Car-Tunes, Inc., Greenville, Miss. “When we have issues, myself and my team look for the root cause, and go from there. We have been having continual supply issues. We’ve had to loosen our previously strict guidelines of who we

6  Mobile Electronics August 2021

order product from. We now live in the ‘Wild West’ of ordering, and we take what we can from where ever we can.” Joey Knapp, Pinnacle Autosound, Lake City, Fla. “Not everything needs to be part of a full staff meeting, but looking for the cause of an issue rather than the reaction works better. We have weekly operations meetings during which these things are covered routinely, but we also handle them on a case-by-case basis if it’s productive. Recently, a project ran overtime. We met and discussed the consequences, how it affected individual team members and whether they considered it a minor problem or a serious one. As a result, we have segmented our short-term jobs and long-term projects. The shop manager handles everyday jobs and I, as the business owner, have taken on project management for large jobs. It clarified who is responsible for jobs and helped to mitigate problems before they happen.” Callum Martin, AV-DC, Adelaide, South Australia

 stats

Mobile Electronics Industry Retail Sales Report

The Mobile Electronics Association reports specialty retailer performance for the second quarter of 2021 as compared to 2020. Here are the findings.

First Quarter (Q1) 2021 v/s 2020 (Revised)

Second Quarter (Q2) 2021 v/s 2020*

Second Quarter 2021 v/s 2020 by Month

First Half of 2021 v/s 2020: Up 28%* Key Observations

•The second quarter of 2021 is beginning to show a slow down in

year over increases in June and July as compared to a very strong second quarter for 2020 that had a 12% increase over 2019. •The average dollars per transaction have increased 6% from 1st to 2nd Quarter. •The first half of the year saw double-digit percentage increases over 2020.

8  Mobile Electronics August 2021

•The first half of the year saw decreases in inventory availability with head units continuing to lead the shortages. •After all this, despite inventory shortages, the industry is still experiencing record growth through the first half of 2021. *Data projection based on current data and trends Data owned and provided by the Mobile Electronics Association. © 2021 Mobile Electronics Association


mobile electronics association






Supporting the Industry to Deliver an Exceptional Customer Experience The Mobile Electronics® Association believes a strong, growing specialist channel is critical to the future of the automotive aftermarket industry. We are committed to providing channel support that includes education, access to information, technology, and media. We believe industry growth depends on our members investing in their businesses in order to make them better and stronger, while delivering an exceptional customer experience. Contact us today to become a Mobile Electronics Association member.  9

Mobile Electronics® • • 800-949-6372

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 What’s Happening

The Starting Line

Fulfilling educational sessions and new beginnings in Orlando marked the return to in-person KnowledgeFest events, while the industry anticipates a transformative year ahead. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA


ver half of all attendees at KnowledgeFest Orlando, June 25-27, reported that it was their very first time attending, according to a survey by Mobile Electronics Association. Orlando—known as “the City Beautiful”—hosted the debut KnowledgeFest, and those hailing from Florida were excited to have the show in their own “backyard.” Dave Elkin of DOW Technologies said it was a short drive from the company’s corporate headquarters in Tampa. “We decided to tell our ‘local’ story [to attendees],” he said, adding, “It was so exciting to look around the booth and see all the vehicles owned by DOW employees.” After all, he added, the company’s motto “‘We are Technology’ is something we live by every day.”

12  Mobile Electronics August 2021

The Starting Line MMats Pro Audio, which manufactures most of its audio equipment in Jupiter, Fla., made the drive to Orlando for KnowledgeFest. For regional sales manager Mike Hall, Friday’s show floor experience was most memorable, with plenty of interaction with knowledgeable dealers. Hall said the past year has been a very busy one for the company, adding that MMats sold in the first three months of the year what would’ve normally taken nine months to sell. “This was our third national event of the year,” he added. “While some might say attendance was low, we felt like those who did attend were very important to our success.” KnowledgeFest as a Return to In-Person Networking Professionals from across the industry agreed that getting to see everyone in person again was a highlight of the show. Elkin said DOW Technologies had very positive interactions with key dealers and core vendors, adding, “Everyone has been through a lot over the past 16 months. To be able to finally get back together with so many familiar faces was fantastic.” He gave a nod to his company’s sales team, underscoring the importance of building value and deepening relationships, and said he feels the industry will begin to see higher levels of attendance at industry events in the coming year. “I think some folks were just too busy, so they couldn’t get out yet, but I also think there were dealers who wanted to see how this show went before committing or planning to attend themselves,” he said, agreeing with Hall that although attendance seemed light, they were able to visit with a lot of dealers. One of the challenges, though, is encouraging people to revisit the booth over the three-day period. “I saw several dealers on Friday evening and then didn’t see them again. As an exhibitor, I’d like to identify a way to encourage them to visit the DOW Technologies booth all three days,


 What’s Happening “The Spanish trainings were too far to the end of the hall,” he said. “Mainly, it’s a matter of advertising those classes a bit more. The Hispanic community isn’t as informed. I think they are behind. I try to let people know about what’s going on and who’s teaching. If there’s a way we can inform the community a bit more, I think we’ll be [better off ].” Vega encouraged Hispanic 12-volt professionals to join his Facebook group, called Latin Fab. “We’re trying to keep the Latin community together and bring more information to the people who don’t necessarily know what’s out there,” he explained. “I share a lot of information on the group when it comes to trainings or even the work I do. I share it on Instagram, but I also post it there.” His goal, he said, is to encourage people to feel more confident about their work, and urge them to share their knowledge with others. “The group is all about helping each other.”

maybe by offering something fun to participate in—who knows? We’ll have to see what the team comes up with for Dallas.” Overall, Hall added that feels that any trepidation within the industry in relation to COVID-19 has passed, and he thinks events will only continue to grow through 2021 as more and more people attend. “Our industry has been extremely fortunate with the amount of sales throughout this pandemic,” he said, adding, “I personally think most of the forward-thinking businesses will continue to ‘ride the wave.’” Miguel Vega, technician and fabricator at Titan Motoring, said things at work have continued to be very

14  Mobile Electronics August 2021

busy for him and his team. “We are blessed,” he said, adding, “I still have a job.” Education Sessions in Spanish Continue in Orlando Vega said the return to in-person KnowledgeFest classes was a great experience for him, adding that some people might not have attended simply because it’s a busy season. “All the trainings and seminars were really informative,” he added, although Vega did notice some attendees seemed confused about where to find certain classes. He hopes that more of an emphasis will be placed on the Spanish classes in the future.

Training and Personal Development Lead the Way Forward In his class entitled, “We All Have a Choice,” Tomas Keenan of Break Free Academy discussed how COVID-19 impacted his business, stating, “It’s in these moments that we all have a choice in how we react and respond.” He described how his team at Top Class Installations was apprehensive about going to work because of the pandemic. “In the GPS field, we get called in for a job and our technicians go to the customers’ location to work on the vehicles. I had techs who didn’t want to do that,” he said, adding that while none of this was right or wrong, it was time to make changes. “The best use of my time was managing my team and bringing on others, so I could do the higher-level stuff. I found myself back in the field as a technician. My partner and I worked hard to get out of that side of the business, but the switch flipped, and all of a sudden, there we were.” Then people began asking for





 What’s Happening

Sony Announces the Return of Mobile ES

Keenan’s guidance on PPP loans, so he learned all he could about it in order to provide the best information. Still, he said, it’s important to acknowledge that one person never knows everything, and then to leverage the knowledge of others who know more. Keenan said it’s important to be on the lookout for what he called “the force of average,” because it comes when it’s least expected. “For example, you’re doing pretty good and then all of a sudden someone wrecks a car and it costs you a lot of money. That’s the force of average. For every action, there’s a reaction,” he explained. During COVID-19, he said he spent a lot of time on the couch. “I got tired of that.” Seeing that others were experiencing success despite the pandemic, he decided it was time for a reset and took on the 75 Hard Challenge. For 75 days, participants workout twice per day for 45 minutes each, drink a gallon of water a day, take a progress photo each day and read 10 pages of a self-improvement book. If a participant fails or forgets to do something, it’s back to the beginning. “This is about you not lying to yourself,” Keenan explained, adding that he likens the changes to an iceberg. “The physical changes are the top of the iceberg. The bottom half is the mental change. You get stronger. That’s the biggest outcome. You can’t make excuses. I had a choice: I could settle for average, which goes against my core value. Or I could make massive changes.” To become the best version of yourself, he added, you also have to surround yourself with the right people. Networking at

16  Mobile Electronics August 2021

industry events is a good start. “You’re Better Because You’re Here” Vega said there’s always new information to absorb in trainings, and he’s especially interested in business management courses. One of his favorites in Orlando was “Switching Gears From Spinning Wheels,” presented by Salim Kassouf of Boston Federal Financial. For his part, Vega is trying to stay positive. He also recently attended the MSC training in Arizona, and said he learned a lot that he’ll be implementing at work. In the class, he said, the boiling point of water was used as an example: “It will get to 211 degrees, but it isn’t boiling until 212 degrees. [What this means is] a little extra of whatever you do will make a difference, even if you don’t see it right away,” he explained. “Making that extra effort will make me more confident in whatever I do.” At the end of one of his education sessions in Orlando, sales trainer Vincent DeStefano said, “You are better because you’re here.” He went on to say that he studied philosophy in college. “The more I studied, the more I saw how little I know.” Attending trainings and pursuing education, he said, is about recognizing your own deficiencies. DeStefano remembered the beginnings of KnowledgeFest over 25 years ago, adding that retailers got together to share problems and possible solutions. “They solved those problems collectively, and it’s developed into this event,” he said, going on to encourage attendees to support the Mobile Electronics Association—and especially the vendors exhibiting on the show floor.

On Friday at the show, Sony Car Audio hosted a lunch and press announcement to unveil the next Mobile ES product. Chris Cook, president of MEA, introduced the Sony team, and Rick Kojan provided the historical backdrop of the iconic line. [Read this month’s Learning From Leaders, which features his career with Sony.] Kojan noted that isn’t easy to reinvent a legendary brand, but with Mobile ES— which stands for Elevated Standard—the goal is to make it better than ever, according to the team. This past May fifth, Sony announced five new Mobile ES speaker SKUs. Kojan then introduced Kris Bulla, Sony’s national product trainer, who showed off the newest product in the Mobile ES line: The XAV-9500ES. The head unit boasts wireless capability for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, iDatalink Maestro and two customizable backgrounds. The Sony team invited attendees to visit the booth on the show floor and enjoy a product demonstration in the Lexus NX. “This has legacy in the industry. Even people who haven’t been in the industry long enough to have sold it, have heard about it,” Bulla said. “That’s why it’s back, and we have indeed elevated the standard.” Anthony Tozzi of Sony Car Audio stated the head unit should be coming out in November, with more products on the way from Mobile ES.



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 on the show floor

Shop Owners Teach Industry Essentials at KnowledgeFest Orlando WORDS BY LAURA KEMMERER

18  Mobile Electronics August 2021


nown for hosting some of the highest quality education in the mobile electronics industry, KnowledgeFest recently marked a return to in-person classes and networking opportunities. At the event, Adam Devine of Devine Concepts in Naples, Fla., and Brandon Green of The Car Audio Shop in High Ridge, Mo., both drew on their own expertise and taught “Marine Fabrication Best Practices” and “The 12-Volt Insight.” Devine said he felt the turnout at the debut Orlando show was excellent, “especially being post pandemic. People are still worrying about going to events. The turnout has been great, the interactions have been great and the classes are phenomenal. I’ve seen more interaction during the classes instead of just downloading the content and information and not participating,” he added. Online education options, though helpful due to pandemic restrictions, had lower rates of engagement from students. According to Devine, in-person learning facilitates more participation and gets attendees to ask more questions. In contrast with few questions asked in virtual trainings, Devine and Green had over 30 inquiries after their first presentation. The two also closed out the weekend co-teaching “The 12-Volt Insight,” an owner-manager class. Devine noted that his store in Naples focuses on high-end luxury vehicles, and his perspective might not be relevant to everyone. “Understanding those differences and what you should have in terms of product selection could be different from Naples to Minnesota to everywhere else,” Devine said. What should remain the same, however, is how you interact with your clients. Emphasis on customer service, excellent solutions and gaining an understanding of your customer’s lifestyle in order to better understand their needs, should all be part of the same core practice. With an additional emphasis on selling benefits rather than features, customers are sure to have a positive experience. “You’re not going to sell a mom who has two kids and makes long trips on the features of rear-seat entertainment, you’re going to sell them on the fact that it’s the experience—the kids in the backseat are going to be quiet and you’re going to have a nice relaxing ride,” he added.

Kingpin University Returns to Hosting In-Person Classes Jason Kranitz said Kingpin University recently returned to teaching in-person classes. The Advanced Laser class took place back in April. Then, Kingpin taught its Street Rod class. “We followed CDC guidelines. Classes were a little smaller, but attendees got a lot out of it,” he added. “Now, we’re full-fledged. In Nevada, it’s wide open. We have four more courses in the next three months, and we’ll finish up the year with a couple more.” Those interested in classes can learn more at At KnowledgeFest, Kranitz taught “CNC Laser Focused.” He also taught “Getting Jig-gy With It” in the Technician – Fabricator track. And if you missed that one, Kranitz will be back at KnowledgeFest Dallas to present on the secrets to creating perfect-fit fabrication pieces for every job.   19

 on the show floor

Technician Ethan Deer Attends His First KnowledgeFest Ethan Deer of A.C.T. Audio in Vernon, Conn. attended the Orlando event—and this was his first-ever KnowledgeFest. He said his favorite class was the two-part “Digital Audio: Basics and Not-So Basics” with Andy Wehmeyer of Audiofrog. Deer went on to note that Wehmeyer covered many troubleshooting techniques that he found helpful, adding that he’d be taking that information back with him to the install bay. He also expressed enthusiasm for the mobile electronics industry overall. “I’m excited to be here and get inspiration from all the other installers, and to take that and apply it to our shop. It’s nice to be able to take that home. I’ve been in the industry about a year and a half, installing for about a year,” he said, adding, “It’s technically my first job.”

20  Mobile Electronics August 2021

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 hot sellers

Sun and Sound At the debut KnowledgeFest Orlando, manufacturers launched new and revamped product lines while offering support for retailers still coping with inventory shortages.

22  Mobile Electronics August 2021

ZZ-2 Wireless Integrated CarPlay / Android Auto Interfaces ZZ-2, a Florida-based company, offers a line of integrated plug-and-play CarPlay / Android Auto interfaces with front and rear camera inputs, as well as phone mirroring. The company supports primarily higher-end European vehicles, such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, 2009 model years and up on most vehicle applications. Universal products are also offered which convert wired CarPlay / Android Auto to wireless on vehicles that already have this feature. MSRP is $850 and up.

Wet Sounds SHIVR Coolers Outdoor enthusiasts are the focus of Wet Sounds’ product lines. The Wet Sounds SHIVR coolers integrate keeping your drinks cold with over eight hours of precision sound. Instead of investing in a separate audio system, you can take this cooler anywhere with you, whether it’s a fishing outing or a camping trip. This 58-quart ice chest has a built-in lithium-ion battery and a 200-watt internal DSP amplifier. The retail cost is $899.99.

Massive Audio PRIMO PX6 Series 6-Channel Amplifier This new amplifier from Massive Audio delivers up to 180 watts RMS to six channels at two ohms, and 130 watts at four ohms. The built-in OEM Line Converter allows for installation in any system. The end caps feature a 2-, 4- and 6-channel input selector and individual adjustments for level and crossover frequency. This amplifier offers extremely high power in a small footprint.

 hot sellers

DOW Technologies: Promoting Brands that Help Dealers Increase Profits At its booth on the show floor, DOW Technologies used demo cars and signage to show retailers the protected brands they carry, and the profit margin retailers can anticipate. Signs showed visitors all the equipment that had been installed in the vehicles to give dealers an idea of how much profit they can get from this type of installation. Despite inventory shortages, DOW Technologies continues to bring quality products to retailers to help them make clients happy.

Diamond Audio Harley-Davidson Plug-and-Play Lid Kits Diamond Audio has introduced three separate models of its plug-and-play Harley-Davidson lid kit. One model works with the company’s HXM speakers, and one works with the MP694 Horn Speakers. There is also a coax subwoofer that works with the kit. This is brand new for 2021-2022, and available this month.

Term-PRO Sound Measurement Equipment Term-PRO offers the Term-LAB Magnum System—an SPL meter—and Term-PRO enclosure design software, which is used to assist in designing subwoofer enclosures. The SPL meter is often used by sound-off organizations to judge car stereo contests. Additional accessories can be added to Term-LAB, depending on how the operator wants to utilize it. For more information about the product and the company, visit

VOXX Power Systems There’s no need to worry about jumper cables: VOXX Power Systems can be installed easily under a seat or in the trunk. If the car won’t start due to a battery-related issue, simply open the app to find out if the battery is dead. Right from the driver’s seat, activate the device and start the car. If the phone battery is dead, go to the device itself and press the button, which will engage it for 30 seconds and boost the battery. This device is also useful for fleet vehicles such as police cars and ambulances. It charges from the alternator when the vehicle is running, and feeds power back into the car when it’s needed. Built-in diagnostics prevent over-charging or overheating. Available this summer at a cost of $299.99.

24  Mobile Electronics August 2021   25

 hot sellers Lucas Lighting L4 Series Released earlier this year, the L4 Lucas Series was designed as an alternative to lightbars. Some clients may want lightbar performance, but they don’t necessarily want to drill holes or have a special mounting in the roof. For these clients, Lucas Lighting recommends this product, which will give you the same output of a lightbar. The pair is rated for 20,000 lumens. The retail price point is $299.

Sony Mobile ES XAV-9500 ES Head Unit Eventually, Sony Car Audio’s reintroduction of Mobile ES will be an entire line of products. The new XAV-9500 ES was launched and announced at KnowledgeFest Orlando. It boasts a 10.1-inch screen with time alignment, a built-in DSP, parametric and graphic EQs. This product handles the kind of sound processing found in a normal, small processor, making it possible to skip that step in the audio system. The head unit will be shipping in November, and retailers can expect to see more in the future from Sony’s Mobile ES.

Audiomobile Elite 3210 Subwoofer The Elite 3210 is able to handle more power due to the proprietary “ICAR” Aluminum Intercooler which reduces power-compression. The subwoofer has a multi-layer 3-ohm Copper Clad Aluminum voice coil, rated to 750 watts RMS, and a compact, stacked motor, among other features. It matches the performance of drivers that are significantly more expensive and deeper, at only 5.4 inches deep. This product is ideal for customers who want to upgrade without losing any utility of their vehicle. This is in production and will ship this fall, with an MSRP of $600.

26  Mobile Electronics August 2021   27

 hot sellers

Precision Power PowerClass Vertical Amplifiers A variety of models are offered in this line of amplifiers, including four-channel, five channel and mono-blocks. The amplifiers are built to mount vertically, to accommodate vehicles where there may not be a lot of space, such as in pickup trucks or trunk installs. The product comes with a mounting bracket. The retail price range of these amplifiers is $350 to $450.

DS18 JP6 Replacement Speaker Pods for Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators Sold in pairs, these replacement speakers offer plug-and-play installation that takes about 45 minutes from start to finish. The JP6 pods pop easily into place with no cutting required. This upgrades the factory Jeep 4-inch speakers with 6.5-inch. The set of left and right speakers is sold at a retail cost of $199.

28  Mobile Electronics August 2021

Kenwood STZ-RF200WD Front and Rear Camera System for Marine and Off-Road Perfect for off-road and outdoor applications, the cameras, GPS, antenna and switch in this line all have an IP rating of 67. The DVR has an IP rating of 55, allowing the user to record regardless of environment, accessible via smartphone app. This product has been tested and will withstand environments from -4 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

VAIS Technology SEER (Smart Entry and Exit Recognition) Based on proximity, SEER has a variety of functions, including locking the car when the driver leaves, turning off the lights and unlocking the doors as the driver approaches. SEER can also be customized to trigger up to 10 other features. It is available through distributors or direct through VAIS Technology, with an MSRP of $499.   29

 hot sellers Audiopipe Dealer-Only Line of Amplifiers This dealer-only line gives retailers leverage over what’s being sold on the Internet, with more wattage and a two-year warranty. There are five models in total, with 2- and 4-channel and Class D. Dealers who buy into the program receive a free display, which shows the inside of an amplifier so salespeople can explain to customers what makes this product better than what they can purchase online. This helps dealers sell to a customer who has come into their store with a price already in mind. Audiopipe is currently working on a line of subwoofers, as well.

AudioControl Epicenter Concert Series Digital Bass Restoration Processor This summer marks the manufacture of the millionth Epicenter. A limited edition will be released, and a new model is coming in the fall. The Epicenter restores bass to music where there is very little, or none at all. The product will look at the incoming signal, find the lowest bass note present and then adjust it to one octave below. The effect is controlled from the driver’s seat with the knob that comes with the product.

Arc Audio A-Series Subwoofers The new A-Series subwoofers are a complement to the SW-Series shallow-mount subwoofers. The 10- and 12-inch subs are available in dual-2 and dual-4 ohm configurations, and they’re designed for small sealed enclosures and moderately sized ported enclosures. While they aren’t necessarily designed to be sound quality subwoofers, Arc Audio showed off a demo car at KnowledgeFest Orlando which recently took first place in a contest in College Station, Texas. These subwoofers are designed to perform, and they’re designed mainly for a street audience. The 10-inch has an MSRP of $279, while the 12-inch is $299.

PAC LOC PRO Advanced Series Line Output Converters Due to head unit shortages, dealers need to be able to integrate into modern vehicles more reliably, which is the main focus of the LOC PRO Advanced Series of line output converters from PAC. These converters are able to handle higher voltage in newer vehicles, and they also have built-in variable load resistance, which reduces installation time. There are three different levels, including an entry-level. The LPA - E4A—pictured here—is the most powerful and features a 2-channel or 4-channel input selection. The line ranges from $59 to $129.

30  Mobile Electronics August 2021

RAD Subwoofer Line In collaboration with Alan Dante, the world record holder of Db Drag Racing (Extreme SPL), RAD is launching the new RAD handmade line of high-efficiency subwoofers made in Brazil. The line made its first appearance at KnowledgeFest Orlando. There are four models: two at 1.000 RMS, A 12- and 15-inch, and two at 2,500 RMS, a 12- and 15-inch. They will be available by the end of August.

Gladen BXMWKTESBMM – BOXMORE Wiring Kit for Tesla Model S This is a plug-and-play wiring harness which plugs right into the back of the factory radio, with no cutting involved. Then, the installer can easily connect to an amplifier, making Tesla sound system upgrades much easier.

Race Sport Lighting V2 DRIVE Series H11 Headlight Kit This plug-and-play headlight kit comes with a three-year warranty and an optional CAN-Bus decoder. The size of the bulb bases are specifically designed to eliminate fitment issues from oversized aftermarket bulbs. With high light output and performance at 2,500 LUX, this kit is great for nighttime safety driving.

DB Drive WDXG2 Series Subwoofer This is one of the most popular subwoofers in the WDX line, offering a carbon fiber dome and double-stitch surround.

MMats Pro Audio Dreadnaut Subwoofers The newly revamped Dreadnaut line of subwoofers from MMats Pro Audio is available in 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 15-inch, and in dual-2 and dual-4 ohms. Manufactured in Jupiter, Florida, the line ranges in price from $139 to $499.


real world RETAIL

32  Mobile Electronics August 2021


One man’s vision led to the creation of Hi-Pro Audio in 1987. Today, the family continues to provide lasting memories and quality service, while connecting with the community through car clubs, car shows and events. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA  33

real world RETAIL

FAST FACTS Main Location:



Owners: Erwin and Martha Rother

Number of Locations: Square Footage:

Assistant Store Manager: Justin Hosek


Install Manager: Matt Caldwell

ONE Type:

Traditional Retail Number of Employees:


Hi-Pro Audio has made a name for itself by creating a positive store culture and fostering continued community engagement. From left to right: Marcus Munoz, Jaylen Jones, Justin Hosek, Megan Hosek, Janet Hosek, Henry Hosek, Logan Sauer and Matt Caldwell.


he original owner of Hi-Pro Audio—David Rother—is remembered by his friends for his iconic, colorful van, which boasted a big build with 24 15-inch subwoofers. His dream was to open a car audio shop, according to his nephew and current store manager, Justin Hosek. In 1987, David’s father, Erwin Rother, loaned him money to start his business, which began in a small retail location. The business grew, and David sold his van for funds to pour a concrete slab to build a new location. “But before the building was complete,” Hosek said, “he passed away unexpectedly in 1991. We had three walls up. My grandpa wanted to finish it. They kept the business going in his memory. Today, we’re continuing David’s dream.”

34  Mobile Electronics August 2021

This year marks 34 years in business at the same location, and Henry Hosek, Justin’s father, has been managing it since 1991, while Erwin and Martha Rother remain the owners. The father-and-son team act as the main sales staff, but most of the installers are also cross-trained in product and pricing knowledge. While much of the work focuses on car audio, the business also works with vehicle safety, marine audio, powersports and motorcycles. Located at “the crossroads” near highways 59 and 77, the shop draws clients from numerous surrounding towns such as Austin, San Antonio and Houston. Being only 30 miles from the coast means the shop services a lot of saltwater boats, as well as freshwater craft used on a nearby lake.

Store Manager: Henry Hosek


Assistant Install Manager: Logan Sauer Installers: Marcus Munoz and Jaylen Jones Bookkeeper: Janet Hosek Hi-Pro RC Hobby Shop: Janet Hosek and Megan Hosek

Justin Hosek grew up not only in the car audio side of the business, but also in the family’s hobby shop. “I jumped back and forth from remote control cars to real cars,” he said. “I started out helping my grandpa fix broken remote control cars after school, and I started working here officially when I was 14 or 15. It’s been about 19 years.” Henry Hosek noted that the hobby shop—which mainly focuses on the sale of remote control cars—was renamed and rebranded Hi-Pro RC after Hurricane Harvey. “We operate it in conjunction with Hi-Pro Audio,” he added. Separate Showroom and Sound Room Draw in Customers Clients often drive up to two hours’ distance to get to the shop. The client might

INHERITING THE DREAM not have someone reputable in their immediate area, or maybe the family is already familiar with the business. “We’re helping third-generation customers,” said Justin Hosek. “Maybe my dad sold a grandfather a system when he was younger, and then his son came in, and then his son’s son….” Hi-Pro Audio has also kept its Wintech sound room from 1997, which is very popular with customers. Other than providing an experience for new and long-time clients alike, the sound room is a nod to the shop’s longevity. The business chose to keep it, Hosek said, in part because “a lot of people don’t have them these days.” He added that the sound room was modernized during the last remodel. “We took out the neon and put in LED, giving it a cool look,” he said. “Everyone

who comes in is impressed.” Still, he said he could understand why some businesses decide against sound rooms: “It can overwhelm them, and I get that. We carry so many brands, and each brand has good, better and best categories, so where do you stop?” Most of the time, though, the staff is accustomed to selling out of the sound room, and he added that it’s a lot of fun. “I don’t think you need to get rid of them. We’re lucky to have a big store where we can use it without it intruding on the displays in our showroom area.” The showroom boasts Rockford Fosgate, Wet Sounds, Alpine and Ground Zero displays, along with glass cabinets to display product. The shop’s main focus, Hosek said, is OEM integration in mostly newer vehicles. “People are often happy with their factory sound system, but they

want more bass,” he added. The team qualifies the customer by finding out what they’re looking for and getting a sense of their previous experience with car audio. “We find out how well-versed they are, and whether or not they’re looking for a beginner setup. People come to us because of our reputation, not necessarily the product. They aren’t as focused on brand. Just about everything we sell, we install.” If a customer is looking for a specific brand, the salesperson will show them good, better and best. The strategy tends to be top-down selling. Being a good salesperson, he said, comes down to being there for someone when they need help. “You don’t get that on the Internet.” Hosek added that younger people are now coming away from the Internet and stepping into the brick-and-mortar

Clients often come in for car audio, then add a remote control car to their purchase. After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the accompanying hobby shop was rebranded Hi-Pro RC and moved into the same location. It’s been boosting revenue ever since.  35

real world RETAIL

1200.4 7.1 in



P OWE R @ 4Ω: 4 X 13 0 WR M S

P OWE R @ 4Ω: 4 X 19 8 WR M S

P OWE R @ 2Ω: 4 X 19 8 WR M S

P OWE R @ 2Ω: 4 X 3 00 WR M S

P OWE R @ 1Ω: 4 X 3 00 WR M S

P OWE R @ 1Ω: N /A

5.4 in

B R I D G E P OWE R @ 4Ω: 2 X 3 9 6 WR M S

B R I D G E P OWE R @ 4Ω: 2 X 6 00 WR M S

B R I D G E P OWE R @ 2Ω: 2 X 6 00 WR M S

B R I D G E P OWE R @ 2Ω: N /A



C U R R E NT D R AW (M U S I C): 49A

C U R R E NT D R AW (M U S I C): 50 A

C U R R E NT D R AW (MA X): 9 9A

C U R R E NT D R AW (MA X): 101A

R E C O M M E N D E D F U S E (M U S I C): 6 0A

R E C O M M E N D E D F U S E (M U S I C): 6 0A





F R E Q U E N CY R E S P O N S E (-3D B): 5H Z – 22K H Z

F R E Q U E N CY R E S P O N S E (-3D B): 5H Z – 22K H Z

S N R: 8 8D B

S N R: 8 8D B

C R O S S OVE R H P F: 45H Z – 850H Z

C R O S S OVE R H P F: 45H Z – 850H Z

C R O S S OVE R LP F: 45H Z – 850H Z

C R O S S OVE R LP F: 45H Z – 850H Z

TH D + N (10% R ATE D P OWE R): 0.1%

TH D + N (10% R ATE D P OWE R): 0.1%


36  Mobile Electronics August 2021 SOUNDIGITALUSA




8 00.1


8 00.4


Water Resist ant



Corrosion Protection


Vibration Protection   37

store. “High school kids come here and they just want to talk,” he explained. “They think it’s cool, and they say, one day they’ll spend money with us. I think that’s neat.” Grand Reopening Helps Raise Awareness In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm, and Hi-Pro Audio sustained roof and other exterior damage. Justin Hosek noted that the storm gave them an opportunity to not only fix the damage, but complete a full remodel of the front of the store and the sound room. The shop closed for the remodel, which included installing new flooring and moving the sound room away from the showroom and into its own space. The redesign allowed the business to offer a new retail experience for customers. “We still have people who come in and say, ‘Woah, this looks completely different!’” Hosek said. In March 2020—just before everything shut down due to COVID-19—the Victoria Chamber of Commerce came to the shop to do a ribbon cutting as part of a grand reopening event. Besides making the Top 50 lists in 2020, Hi-Pro Audio also earned a Small Business Award with the local Chamber of Commerce. “We were finally done with the up-front construction,” said Justin Hosek. “Our doors were already open, but getting everything back up and going, the remodel after the hurricane took us a long time to complete with insurance and everything else.” The Hoseks said it was just a fun day. “We invited people in and showed them around. We showed them the new sound room.” Some of the attendees might not have had any interest in car audio, he added, “But they might have a grandkid who is. It was all about community connection.” There were also a few giveaways: Rockford Fosgate offered a set of speakers, and the Victoria Generals gave away two season tickets to every game. “We got everything done, and then COVID happened and we had to shut down the showroom,” Hosek said. “We’re thankful

we did the ribbon cutting when we did. If we had waited, we couldn’t have done it at all.” Hobby Shop Side Business Boosts Revenue Through Pandemic Justin Hosek said his business-minded family once owned a garden center which also housed a hobby shop—but after the hurricane hit, the building required a new roof and three new sides. “My grandparents felt it was a good time to retire and rent out the building,” he said. “My mom didn’t want to lose the hobby shop account. She’s had that business for 30 years.” Moving the hobby shop to Hi-Pro Audio was the next natural step, and it turned out to be a great move. Since then, Justin Hosek and his father said the sale of remote control cars has gone hand-inhand with car audio. “We get customers looking for a radio and speakers, and they’ll also leave the store with an RC car,” they said. And it’s not just cars, it’s also boats, airplanes, rock crawlers and more. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people were spending more money on hobbies, and as a result, Hi-Pro RC saw a sizable increase in revenue. “The RC side of the business carried us through COVID,” said Justin Hosek, adding that his mother, Janet, has an online store that ships nationwide. “The whole hobby industry blew up during COVID. They were selling out of RC cars. They have stacks of backorders.” It’s probably because less people were going on vacations, he added, instead focusing on family time. Some of the business’s staff are also cross-trained to handle the hobby side of things. One of the employees, Hosek said, came from the hobby industry. While he works on broken RC cars, he’ll also help out with installs. During the past year, Hi-Pro Audio incorporated curbside service and used the opportunity of a closed showroom to do a “spring cleaning.” Hosek said the team set up tables outside so people could drive up and look at what was available. For much of 2020, the indoor showroom was closed to the public, but

Facing Difficulties With COVID-Inspired Online Storefront After Hi-Pro Audio hired someone to assist with Facebook and Google AdWords early in the pandemic, the business decided to reach out to people who were quarantined by offering online sales to local residents only. The project was meant to connect Hi-Pro specifically with this audience, but an unexpected problem meant people from states away were placing orders, which had never been the intended purpose. “I had people from Michigan and California trying to buy something from us,” said Justin Hosek. “I had to tell them it’s not that kind of site. Then you’re refunding people, and it was a mess.” Timing also turned out to be a problem. “We didn’t know how long COVID would last. People were sitting on the couch, going on Crutchfield, and we thought if they could get it from us instead, they definitely would,” he said, adding that the website failed in some respects. “It has brought us business. But I think we just hit it too late.” By the time they launched the site, customers were coming back into the store, he said. “If we could do it again, I might focus on key products, maybe more on the marine side.” He added he also would’ve ensured customers understood it was just for local sales. The main benefits turned out to be Google AdWords. If a customer searches on Google for something the store carries, the Hi-Pro website will appear higher on the list. While the delivery option is no longer available due to the confusion, Hosek said clients can still purchase a product on the website and pick it up in-store.  38


Long-Standing Vendor and Dealer Partnerships Provide Continued Support The shop sells a variety of brands including Rockford Fosgate, Alpine Electronics, JL Audio, Kenwood, Sony, Ground Zero, SounDigital, Wet Sounds and Stinger. According to Hosek, they’ve been selling most of these brands for over 20 years. Their longest-standing rep is Brian Tolley with TEAM Sales. Justin Hosek said Tolley knew his Uncle David. Henry Hosek noted the company has been with JL Audio since January 1993, and in fact, Hi-Pro Audio is one of the “founding 50” JL Audio dealers. “If we don’t have something in stock, I know I can call my rep. We have a good dealer network, too,” said Justin Hosek, adding that another dealer might say, “‘I have three of these in stock and I’m willing to sell one.’ Brian will locate it for us. It’s been hard to get some equipment in the marine category.” The shop has built solid relationships with stores in a two-hour radius. Houston Car Stereo is one, Hosek said. “We’re able to lean on each other. There was something he needed the other day, and I was able to help him out and repay a favor.”

During the past year, the staff closed the showroom due to COVID-19 and took the opportunity to do some deep cleaning. With the inside of the shop closed to the public, business continued with outdoor tent sales.  39

INHERITING THE DREAM there was a tent sale every day. “No one could come inside, so we basically put the showroom in the parking lot.” According to Justin Hosek, he and his father, Henry, and the shop’s install manager, Matt Caldwell, worked tirelessly as business boomed. “We hired three people. We were still booking almost a month out by the end of the year.” While the sales of RC cars increased, the shop also saw a few RVs. “We did about four or five last year,” Hosek said. “A lot were bigger builds, and one was a very large one. We installed a full Alpine system with a three-way front stage.” While Hi-Pro Audio services all types of vehicles, Justin Hosek has a passion for Japanese import cars. He attends local car shows that have a high percentage

of muscle, classic cars and trucks. “I just take my car and hang out with people,” he said, adding that he’ll probably join one of the car clubs that sponsors local shows, or Cars and Coffee events. Going to these events has brought in some clientele, and adds a face to a local business. “We also donate to raffles. One of my good friends here in town got caught in a house fire, and he was in a coma for a couple of months. They had a benefit for him and we donated an RC car for the raffle.” Hosek said the $400 car brought in $1,400 for the cause. Outings Provide Leisure Time and Networking Opportunities During the summer, the team attends Victoria Generals baseball games,

sometimes setting up a booth. Other local businesses also take part. The Hoseks look at it as a much-deserved night out for the staff, and they all have a beer and enjoy some downtime together. Justin Hosek said he and Matt Caldwell go to almost every game. “A local church does a free ticket night. Interstate Batteries is located right across the street from us, and they go, too,” Hosek said. “Their employees have bought from us, and we network with them while we’re there. The RC stuff really kicks it over there.” During other games, he added, they’d play “Name That Tune,” and the winner would get a prize. “In the last couple of years, since the remote control car side is [even more popular], we do the ‘Race to  40











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real world RETAIL

Home,’ which involves two people racing around the bases, and whoever makes one lap and completes the finish line wins,” he said. “It’s attention-getting.” Henry Hosek added that having the same name for both sides of the business helps with brand recognition. “It’s a lot of fun,” he noted, “and they remember us that way.” Along with continued monthly sales on various products, the shop also hired someone to help them increase efforts online with Google AdWords and Facebook. “We’re trying to reach out more. We have small monthly sales, not big blowouts,” he said, adding that it helps the shop try to beat Internet sales. “People want to come to that local

42  Mobile Electronics August 2021

While business boomed as stimulus checks were dispersed, install manager Matt Caldwell, store manager Henry Hosek and assistant store manager Justin Hosek (pictured from left to right) worked tirelessly to keep everything moving and to hire additional employees to help handle the workload.

business, but they also want to save money. If they can go online and get it cheaper, most of the time they will, but if you’re the same price, they’ll probably come to you,” he explained, adding that these incentives don’t include the labor. Since the shop increased focus on Internet awareness, it’s seen a huge influx of new customers. The staff will ask how the customer heard about them, and they’ll hear “Facebook, or a Generals game,” according to Hosek. Justin Hosek dreams of one day designing and manufacturing his own brand of enclosures, but his plans of expanding and gathering more knowledge have definitely been slowed by material shortages.

“Since it’s so fast-paced right now, I have to rely on pre-fab boxes. I’m ordering them every month. If I could get to the point where I could design something like that, get it into CAD and cut it out, I could do it. I plan on doing that in the future,” he said, adding, “I’d like to have something like that associated with us.”


 Learning From Leaders

A Sound Investment Rick Kojan’s threedecades-strong Sony career began with an act of kindness and a show of faith—and he hasn’t forgotten that. WORDS BY JAMIE SORCHER

44  Mobile Electronics August 2021

From the very beginning, Rick Kojan set goals and went after them. A number of early positions included a newspaper route and a grocery store job that helped make one his first major achievements possible: buying a car. “I coveted a black and gold Trans Am from the 1977 movie ‘Smokey and the Bandit,’” he said, adding that he saw it when he was 10 years old. “I bought my Trans Am as a senior in high school. Unlike a lot of other people my age, who wish they would’ve kept this or wish they’d bought that, I still have this car.”

Kojan was into cars, but also car stereo and home hi-fi equipment. The stepping stone into 12-volt came with a job at a traditional retailer, what’s known today as a specialty independent retailer. “They had four stores in Northeast Ohio which is where I lived up in Cleveland. It was called Ohio Sound Stereo.” He took the job as he was heading to college at Kent State. “I had some aspirations of playing college football and soon found out I wasn’t good enough,” he added. “I chose Kent—some folks called it a suitcase

In a League of his Own

college—because it facilitated the balance between being able to go to college and being able to support full-time work hours at Ohio Sound Stereo.” Recalling An Act of Kindness With a tenure of 32 years and counting at Sony, Kojan, who now serves as head of sales—North America Mobile Electronics—has enjoyed the kind of career that dates back to another generation. “My dad was a long-time Fisher Body worker, so I associate this kind of career with my parents’ era. But for me, it didn’t start out that way.” He added that he was “super enthusiastic” about the consumer electronics business, and his job at Ohio Sound Stereo. He ingratiated himself with every factory rep and manufacturer’s rep who came into the Cleveland store to do demonstrations or trainings. “I told them that when I graduated from Kent, I was going to work in the

industry just like them, and could I please get their business card,” he said. “Well, time passed and I graduated, but then I got slapped in the face with reality.” Kojan was crushed after rejections from both Pioneer Home Audio and JVC Home Audio. “I had this four-year degree and no outside sales experience,” he said. “It’s the chicken and the egg. How can I get any outside sales experience if I can’t get a chance? I swallowed my pride, left Ohio Sound Stereo, and took this absolutely miserable outside sales job where I was selling industrial gauges and valves to factories and machine shops.” One day, he said, he got a phone call from one of the reps who’d given him his business card. It was a Sony guy named Zack Blocker. “I stay in touch with him today, and because of this interview for Mobile Electronics magazine, I purposely reached out to him on LinkedIn to just say, ‘Thank you.’ Zack Blocker told me what to say, what color suit to wear and what color tie to put on. He scripted the interview for me.” Because of that kindness, Kojan said he aced his interview with Sony and that’s how it all began. “I will never forget him for that. The quick lesson here is always stay connected and always say thanks to those who guide or help you along the way. Sony happening had nothing to do with me or my degree. It was all because someone was kind enough to reach out to me.” Master Something, Then Move Up Once at Sony, Kojan became a regional sales assistant. “I didn’t have a quota,” he said. “I wasn’t selling. I was a glorified store detailer and trainer for the larger regional accounts back then which have long since been put out of business by Best Buy and Circuit City. But I loved it. I loved being on the road. Loved doing my call reports.” The company culture at Sony, according to Kojan, was super corporate. The dress code was suit and tie. “You weren’t going into accounts wearing shorts,

Dockers or polo shirts,” he said. “You were dressed to make your sales calls, especially when you went to the Sony office. For me, though, it was Sony, and I was going to do everything and anything to work my way out of being a regional sales assistant and do everything asked of me so I could get my own sales territory.” This happened, he said, about eight months after he joined. Kojan was assigned to northeast Ohio, western Pennsylvania and upstate New York. That territory position lasted about a decade for him. “Sales has always been my thing, so I enjoyed it,” he said. What he learned about the company, though, was that a person could either keep doing the same thing and stay in the same position, or they could show a willingness to go outside their comfort zone—something which led to promotion. “My last year, I was inducted into our very prestigious Samurai Sales Society—a huge goal and huge honor. But at that point in Sony Land, it’s kind of like, we’ve given you this, we’ve recognized you, so what else have you got for us?” In 2002, Kojan was promoted to the car audio headquarters team in Park Ridge, N.J. He said it was the first time he’d been away from his home base of northeast Ohio. “It was tough. We made some trips to Japan and there were long, long hours at headquarters,” he said. “Those three years were quite a learning experience. I was now on the other side of what we call church and state—in marketing. I learned a ton from my boss, Bill Lee, and the other marketing guys. It was a departure from sales, so there were some hard lessons learned.” A key lesson, according to Kojan, is applicable to anyone trying to make sure they’re moving their career forward. “You cannot be a one-trick pony,” he said. “Everything I had worked for, with the culmination of being a Sony Samurai Sales Award winner, can pigeon-hole you.” He admitted he wasn’t strong with some skills on the other side of the business. “In marketing, I learned the importance of the P&L sheet, marginal profit and consolidated profit. Those things didn’t mean much to me while I was on the sales side.   45

 Learning From Leaders

At KnowledgeFest Orlando, Sony hosted a lunch event to announce the growing line of Mobile ES products.

It was just sales, sales, sales—gung ho and make your quota.” To anyone coming up within a company, Kojan said it’s best to be wellrounded and try to figure out the other side of things, too. For example, he added, “If you’re visiting car stereo accounts, you need to get into the owner’s head— because whether he’s buying more Sony or Pioneer or Alpine, that isn’t the end of it. You need to know his side of the business.” In other words, how much money is the business making? What lines are most profitable? Which lines are easier to get along with, so it makes the person’s life as a business owner’s a bit better? “I didn’t have any of that knowledge until I worked at headquarters,” he said. It’s Never Too Late For A Comeback Kojan is working on a huge project with his sales team: the relaunch of the Mobile ES brand. ES stands for Elevated Standard. According to Kojan, it was a part of Sony when he first started with the company, on both the home audio and the car audio sides. “It’s a well-known and highly respected brand of upper-echelon products,” he said. Back in May, Sony made the announcement that the products would be returning to the market. “We are back to the roots of what Mobile ES meant to

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all these specialty independent retailers, and that’s a true elevated standard and true sound quality and performance.” The line will round out with more products in the coming year and in the year after that. Kojan credits his team of seven people who are ensuring all goes as planned. “They’re the ones on the front line doing the dealer calls, the training and the social media. Without them and their efforts, it wouldn’t be possible,” he said. In addition to the brand relaunch, Kojan is also looking forward to more upcoming in-person events. To start, Sony attended the debut KnowledgeFest Orlando, which got everyone back together again. “That’s what I love about my role as head of sales, working at shows like SEMA—we’ll be there—CES— we’ll be there—and distributor and dealer events—yes, and yes,” he said. “No Matter What You’re Selling, It’s All About People” When he’s not at work, Kojan enjoys taking to the open road in his other “daily fun drivers,” a Cadillac CTS-V Series and a Corvette Z06. There’s also a Sony company car which serves as a demo vehicle. And then there’s the NASCAR thing. It’s one of Kojan’s hobbies. “Kris Bulla is our national trainer, and he lives in

Nashville,” he said. [Editor’s Note: Read July’s Learning From Leaders profile on Kris Bulla in Mobile Electronics magazine.] “NASCAR returned to Nashville for the first time in a long time, and Kris hooked us up with some tickets.” Kojan loves following the sport and attending races. Beyond that, he enjoys hot rods, car shows and car collecting. Finally, Kojan doesn’t believe in hesitation. At the end of the day, “No matter what you’re selling, it’s all about the people.” He’s been in his current position for about a decade now, and Sony was a much different brand in 2011 relative to car stereo, he said. “We kind of lost our way,” he admitted, adding that the company’s rebirth and refreshed focus is all people of the people involved. “It’s my tech team headed up by Anthony Tozzi, and my national account manager, Andrew Wright, and our commitment to these dealers who have brought Sony back to the forefront on the specialty independent side.” Kojan sees the brand relaunch as a “love letter” to all the dealers who’ve stuck with Sony, and “watched us prove our worth as we have made our comeback as a solid Tier 1 brand,” he said, noting, “For me, it’s about the people— and that’s what makes it so enjoyable to still be in this business.”

The Elevated Standard ©2021 Sony Electronics, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony and the Sony logos are trademarks of Sony Corporation. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice.   47

 strategy & tactics

How to Close a Sale

How can salespeople increase close rates, and understand the factors that get in the way? Sales trainers Kevin Hallinan and Vincent DeStefano shared their insights during their KnowledgeFest presentations. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA


ales trainers at KnowledgeFest Orlando tackled all the aspects of closing a sale, including assessing a client’s level of commitment, understanding the “why” behind a purchase and learning how a salesperson can look inward to discover how their own personal barriers might be getting in the way. Kevin Hallinan of Winning, Inc. said the salesperson needs to begin by finding out why the client is looking for something new. This will lead to discovering whether or not there’s a “pain” or displeasure involved. “Pain is a compelling emotional reason to do business,” Hallinan said. “Pain is emotional. What’s emotional about displeasure in a stock system? They might hear someone else’s new system, and they want that. If we focus on the gain, that’s okay—but if we focus on the absence of pleasure, that’s more compelling.” #1: Steer Clear of “Headtrash” Our own “headtrash” gets in the way,

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according to Hallinan, who taught a workshop called “Headtrash Removal Surgery” at KnowledgeFest, which focused on eliminating these blockages. Mindsets will either move us forward, or slow us down. Hallinan said how a person acts will determine the results. “Your attitude determines how you feel. Everything works in conjunction. Our beliefs determine our actions.” Life experiences and how we grow up will shape our beliefs and attitudes. “All these things create outlook. We choose our thoughts at the end of the day,” he said. “You choose to dwell on things, or you choose to move away from all that stuff.” He added that we can either choose an abundance mindset, or a scarcity mindset. “Abundance says, ‘If I don’t close this customer, there will be 10 more coming in.’ Our empowering beliefs help us succeed and make money. Our negative beliefs—headtrash—interrupts and costs us money,” Hallinan explained, adding that sometimes salespeople sell from their own pockets, thinking the customer will turned off by a high dollar amount.

“Let them decide, instead. People sell things every day that they can’t personally afford. It’s not up to me to decide if something is worth it. It’s up to the customer.” Hallinan encouraged attendees to consider their attitudes, confidence level, personal presence and their belief systems. An example of a “belief” would be when someone says they don’t have enough time to commit to networking. This, he added, is an example of “headtrash.” #2: Understand Your Client’s Motivation Salespeople should work on building a skill that will help them understand whether or not a client’s motivation is based on something real, according to Hallinan. “If there’s no pain, there’s no sale. Let’s figure out why people need our stuff. It’s about their reasons, not ours,” he said. When Hallinan meets with someone about sales or management training, he explained that he doesn’t begin by saying how good the training is. “Instead, I say, ‘I’ve talked to companies that struggle with inconsistent or ineffective selling results.’ I’m not describing what we do. I’m talking about the scenario that exists.” Clients, he added, may be disappointed in a factory sound system, or maybe they’re concerned about the safety of their families, depending on the solution offered. “Speaking in terms of the problem that will be solved will give you more business,” he explained. “It changes the conversation from the item, to the problem the item solves.” One of the most important aspects of the successful sale is listening, and Hallinan urged attendees to follow the 70/30 rule. “When you’re selling, talk only 30 percent of the time, and the way you accomplish that is by asking questions,” he said. “The more you talk instead of listening, the less likely you are to close the sale.” While a salesperson may feel passionate about the solution they’re describing, they might be talking so much that they don’t realize the client isn’t interested. “Really listen to them,” said Vincent


Kevin Hallinan recommended that salespeople uncover the client’s displeasure in their current vehicle because it changes the conversation from the product to the problem the product solves.

DeStefano, who presented on “The Fine Art of Selling Accessories.” “Listen to what they’re telling you. If you’re looking to close a sale, your customer will give you all the bread crumbs to get there if you just listen.” DeStefano added the salesperson should ask lots of probing questions. “At this point, don’t worry about their budget because they may not know what they need.”

fifteen minutes gabbing about it until the customer finally said, ‘Hey, Vinnie, I gotta get out of here, can you sell me what I need?’” Engaging with a customer—getting to know them—means they remember the salesperson as “the guy who likes my shirt, or the guy who dug the rims of my car,” not just as someone who sold them a product, according to DeStefano.

#3: Get to Know the Customer Listening involves getting to know the customer, according to DeStefano, who said, “Time spent getting to know your customer is time well-spent.” He added that walking up to a customer and simply asking them what they need isn’t enough. “I stumbled into a sales technique. I didn’t know what I was doing,” DeStefano said, adding that his boss at the time came to him and made an observation: “‘You spend a lot of time talking to people about nothing that has anything to do with what we sell in here.’ I said, ‘Oh, I’m really sorry.’” His boss told him, “Don’t ever change, adding, “The last five customers who came in here, you talked about their tattoos, their car, their haircut, the shirt they’re wearing, and you spent ten or

#4: Keep Your Presentation Simple Grocery stores are “marvels of modern marketing,” he added. When a customer goes to a store looking for milk, it requires a walk all the way to the back wall. “What’s between you and the milk? Everything else they want to sell,” DeStefano said. Invariably, a customer leaves the grocery store with more then they initially planned to purchase. The grocery items, he said, are accessories meant “to encourage customers to buy something other than the milk they came in for.” He encouraged retailers to think like grocers, adding that accessories are items the customer doesn’t come in to buy. The retailer changes that, he said, by strategically placing accessories “on the way to the milk.” The easiest way to sell accessories is to offer packages. When a retailer

crafts pre-arranged packages, “it’s almost impossible to shop around. The package has one price including taxes, and all the accessories they need. When you get to that last accessory, close on it. If they say yes to it, they said yes to everything else.” Most of all, DeStefano said, “Keep it simple. Simple is always best. We’ve known guys who could build an amplifier, but when someone asks them what time it is, they teach them how to build a watch.” Don’t overcomplicate it, he noted: “Learn about the things you sell, but keep the presentation simple. Put it in their hands. They’re 70 percent more likely to buy if you do.” #5: Honesty is Always the Best Policy DeStefano recalled a friend of his who had roughly an 85 percent close rate. “I thought I’d find out what his secret was.” The “secret” was that he didn’t wait until the end of the sale to try to add-on an extended warranty, for example. He made sure the customer knew from the beginning that although the product was high-quality, it could be expensive to fix if something went wrong. “He told the truth up front instead of waiting. Slowly but surely, you introduce the concept for the need for something   49

 strategy & tactics

Understanding Accessories and How to Sell Them In his class on “The Fine Art of Selling Accessories,” Vincent DeStefano said the word “no” is the biggest barrier to selling add-on products. He added that while working in retail, he would give the customer literature and a business card and advise them to call. “My boss stopped me from doing that,” he said. “If you don’t ask a customer to buy, what are you doing for the customer? You’re saying no for them. They know how to do that on their own. If you want to sell accessories, you have to ask for the sale.” DeStefano also said it’s important to understand the differences between types of accessories, which he called “need to, ought to and nice to have.” Don’t wait until the end of the sale to sell the accessory, such as in the case of an extended warranty. Bring up its importance early on in the conversation, and always ask for the sale, he said, adding, “There’s nothing wrong with the answer ‘no.’” Make the acceptance of accessories easier by presenting them consistently throughout the process, DeStefano said. “Preparing them early means more successful sales.” This gives the salesperson more opportunities to meet any objections.

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 strategy & tactics early on in the process, so it becomes nothing more than a tap on the shoulder at the end,” he explained. “You’ve laid the proper foundation for a successful sale. Don’t wait until the end of the sale to start selling again.” The salesperson should be willing to point out the issues. “This is where knowing your customers will pay off. Tell them everything. ‘It’ll do this, but it won’t do that. It’s a great product, but it’ll require something else. Prepare them.” He added that salespeople and technicians should work in tandem for a higher success rate. Good communication between the front of the store and the back will increase close rates. “Installation and sales should work together,” he said. “Installers are the experts.” It’s up to the salesperson to find the compelling reason why a person wants to buy, according to Hallinan. “Why is the problem happening? What’s the impact of not fixing it? What’s the impact of leaving that system the way it is? If it’s not a big deal to them, they won’t spend much money,” he said, adding, “but if it’s a big deal, they will.” The salesperson should sell the product or solution to themselves, before selling it to the customer. “It’s easy to sell the things you truly believe in,” DeStefano said. “Honesty is always the best policy, even if it means you lose the business. Ultimately the truth will out. As Martin Luther King said, ‘The arch of history is long, but it bends towards justice.’ People will know when you are honest.”

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CHECK YOUR CERTIFICATION STATUS AT MECP.COM/VERIFICATION CONTACT US AT MECP@MECP.COM The Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) program is the only internationally recognized program of its kind.   53

 tech today

Buckle Up and Drive It’s almost impossible to have worked in the 12-volt industry without learning the name VOXX Electronics. This month, VOXX discusses its latest ADAS solutions and why retailers need to get involved—if they haven’t already. BY DAVE MACKINNON


t’s nearly impossible to have worked in the mobile electronics industry for any length of time and not known the name VOXX Electronics. Started initially as Audiovox in 1965, this instantly recognizable brand is known for its mobile electronics upgrades, vehicle security brands, and the leader in the rear seat entertainment market, as well as the innovator of ADAS products. In this issue of Tech Today, we’ll talk with Joe Dentamaro, Vice President of Vehicle Security for VOXX Electronics Corporation, about

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their ADAS solutions. Finding the Vehicle Security Client Joe and I started our conversation with an overview of the ADAS market. He pointed out that “new vehicle manufacturers do an amazing job of explaining how technologies like backup cameras and blind-spot monitoring systems make driving safer. What consumers don’t understand is that they don’t need to buy a new car to access these safety systems.” Joe went on to add, “the market

for safety upgrades opens up an entirely new client base for mobile electronics retailers. Retailers known for remote starters and audio upgrades can translate those same skills and talents directly into safety system installations. Clients passing down a vehicle to a son or daughter can upgrade those cars and SUVs easily. Marketing towards this category with the help of the Vision Zero Automotive Network brings new people through their doors and opportunities for an entirely new revenue stream. If a shop can install a radar detection system, then integrating collision avoidance solutions will be easy.” Joe believes that retailers are comfortable with the benefits of adding a backup camera or parking sensors. With that said, the next push will be towards integrated blind-spot monitoring systems in cars and SUVs. VOXX’s Advent brand which is specifically targeted to Automotive dealers as well as recently acquired Rostra offers several aftermarket blind-spot monitoring solutions. These radar-based vehicle and object detection systems alert the driver to someone in an adjacent lane. The systems mimic factory-installed solutions by activating automatically when the car or SUV reaches 20 miles per hour thanks to the integrated GPS antenna. Joe pointed out that solutions like their ADVBSD30 include overtaking alerts. When the vehicle equipped with the system passes a car

Buckle Up and Drive

The Gentex GENFDM3LN mirror features a full-width LCD screen that allows drivers to see what’s behind the vehicle, even when line-of-sight viewing is blocked. The system can be upgraded with a dedicated parking camera to make maneuvering safer and more efficient.

The ACA501D is a high-performance lip-mount backup camera that serves as a perfect addition to an aftermarket multimedia receiver or a replacement for a failed factory-installed camera.

The Advent PSD100D parking sensor system is designed to make installation easy while offering a custom-tailored solution for unique applications.

The Advent ADVBSD30 is an aftermarket blind-spot monitoring system designed for cars and SUVs with plastic rear bumper covers.

The ACABSDLP from Advent is a blind spot monitoring system that’s integrated into a license plate frame. The system is ideal for vehicles with metal bumpers such as a pickup truck, camper or recreational vehicle.

or truck in an adjacent lane, the system will illuminate the pillar-mounted LED warning sensors until that car is about 30 feet behind. It’s important to know that not all aftermarket systems include this feature. Most consumers think about traveling on the freeway or interstate when considering the benefits of blind spot detection solutions. With that said, their advantage is of equal or perhaps greater value when blacking out of a parking spot in a busy shopping plaza or even your driveway. When in reverse, the Advent system switches to a cross-traffic alert mode that monitors 25 feet on either side of the vehicle and 15 feet behind to let them know if someone is approaching before the driver can see down the road or laneway. Advent offers their ACABSDLP and

ACABSDLP2 blind-spot monitoring solutions that can mount easily on a pickup truck, motorhome or recreational vehicle for vehicles with metal rear bumpers.

CCD image sensor. Joe mentioned that “their team works hard to consider how our products will be used in the field. Often, what makes us unique are the features we include for those outside-the-box applications. For example, the PSD100D parking sensor system includes a mute option that silences the system when the vehicle is towing a trailer. Likewise, it includes a learning capability that ignores parts of the vehicle that might otherwise cause false alarms. Finally, we made the sensitivity and detection range adjustable to ensure every installation works the way the client expects.” The Gentex line of rearview mirrors presents an opportunity for mobile electronics retailers to improve the safety of delivery vans, SUVs loaded with cargo, customized work trucks, tow trucks, as well as other municipal vehicles. Gentex

Traditional Vehicle Safety Solutions Joe pointed out that “VOXX continues to offer retailers a full suite of traditional backup camera and parking sensor solutions. These products have been the bread and butter of our retailers and expeditors for many years.” Camera solutions like the flush-mount ACA101D check all the quality and performance benchmarks with an IP68 water and dust intrusion rating, 0.1 Lux low-light performance, normal and reverse image selection and dynamic parking lines. The ACA501D is an ideal upgrade for new high-definition multimedia receivers thanks to its high performance 1089-line   55

 tech today

The new VOXX Power System is an installed back-up battery solution that’s installed directly into a client vehicle. If the car battery is dead, activating the Voxx system using the smartphone app will have the doors open, and the engine started in just a few minutes. mirrors like the GENFDM3LN function as a traditional rearview mirror with automatic dimming or can switch to a display mirror mode that shows the image of a rear-mounted camera. If the driver can’t physically see the rear window, the Gentex mirror and a rearmounted camera restore that crucial vision path. Retailers can add a dedicated wide-angle rear vision camera for parking and maneuvering purposes when upgraded with an optional harness. Many of the Gentex mirrors include Homelink integration so that drivers can program the system to work with a motorized garage door, parking lot garage doors, gates and some home lighting systems. VOXX Power Systems Gives You The Power You Need, When You Need It Most Looking at vehicle operator safety from a slightly different perspective, Joe said, “There’s nothing worse than coming out of your home or leaving work to find that the battery in your vehicle is dead. VOXX recently introduced a unique safety product designed for vehicle operators and their passengers – the VOXX Power System.” This installed battery back-up system installs directly to the vehicle’s battery and provides the boost that’s needed when the vehicle’s battery

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Telematics solutions like CarLink and Directed® SmartStart will let you check the location of your vehicle right from your Smartphone

is dead. If the driver has left a light on and drained the battery, or cold weather and old age have reduced the efficacy of the electrical system, activating the Power System from an Android or iOS smartphone app will have the vehicle up and running in seconds. Unlike portable solutions that are often charged then tossed in the back and forgotten till they are needed, and by then are dead as well, the VPS is always charged, so it’s always ready to go. Along the same lines, VOXX products like CarLink and Directed’s (now owned by VOXX) SmartStart telematics solutions allow vehicle owners to lock, unlock, and remote start their vehicle from virtually anywhere in the world, right from their Smartphone. For parents of children borrowing the family vehicle or owners of fleet vehicles, these systems can track the vehicle location as well as gave the ability to set Geo-fences, smart areas that will alert once the vehicle enters or exits that specific area and display that information on a map. Joe commented that “for parents, they will know when the child is on the way home, and business owners can reduce overhead by tracking vehicle use.” VOXX Looks Toward the Future I asked Joe if there was anything new on the horizon from VOXX. He replied,

“We are working on new digital video recording products. What will make these dash camera systems unique is their ability to integrate with SmartStart. You’ll be able to see what the camera sees from your smartphone app. Look for this in 2022.” This is a technology that consumers have been asking about for more than a decade. For mobile electronics retailers, offering vehicle safety and convenience solutions from VOXX and its brands is a great way to bring new clients and revenue into your store. Of course, registering your store on the Vision Zero Automotive Network website (https:// to be a preferred retailer. You can keep up with the newest products and innovations from VOXX by visiting the VOXX Electronics website (https:// Of course, be sure to follow their Facebook page ( and subscribe to their YouTube channel ( user/AudiovoxPR/videos). On behalf of Mobile Electronics Magazine, Vision Zero and myself, I’d like to thank Joe for taking time to talk to us about the future of vehicle safety and how VOXX is contributing to making driving safer and less stressful.

It's all about saving lives

Sign up for our Dealer Locator today at   57

 installs

Live Concert


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The immersive experience in this 2018 Honda Civic Si HFP helps demonstrate Pinnacle Autosound’s capabilities— and soon it’ll be on the show floor at KnowledgeFest Dallas for anyone who wants a listen. SUBMITTED BY: JOEY KNAPP, PINNACLE AUTOSOUND, LAKE CITY, FLA.

The goal with this 2018 Honda Civic Si HFP was to turn it into a demo vehicle showcasing all the best that Pinnacle Autosound has to offer, according to business owner Joey Knapp. “I wanted this to be a demo car we could sit clients in and blow them away with realism and clarity, at live concert volume levels. I started on this build shortly after I got my laser, and then COVID hit,” Knapp said. The shop was so busy that progress on the car slowed down, so he began working late hours to finish the project. Ninety percent of the fabricated parts were designed and cut with a laser, he said, whether templates were used or actual substrate. “The details such as the red accents around the carbon fiber inserts on the back of the enclosure would not have been possible with any other device,” he explained. “The amplifiers were chosen for their A/B sections to power the speakers. To obtain the volume levels I wanted, all of the multi-channel amps were bridged to pairs of speakers.” Knapp installed the following in the Civic: • Morel Piccolo Tweeters • Morel Elate Carbon Pro 3-Inch   59

 installs • Morel Elate Carbon Pro 6-Inch • (2) Morel Ultimo Ti SC 12-Inch Subwoofers • (2) Morel MPS 5.950 Amplifiers • Morel MPS 4.400 Amplifier • Mosconi Aerospace 6to8 DSP • Kenwood DMX907S • Metra 99-7821B Dash Kit Knapp chose the new Morel Elate Carbon Pro three-way speakers for the front stage. Low end reinforcement was provided via a pair of Morel Ultimo Ti SC 12-inch subwoofers. “The subwoofers were fired forward, to reduce the need to apply additional sound deadening to the trunk. The rear deck was modified to delete the factory grilles, since there was no longer a subwoofer or speakers firing through the openings,” he said. “Lighting for the various parts of the audio system is all via addressable LEDs. Eight different controllers allow for hundreds of different lighting configurations for the equipment behind the seat as well as the trunk.” Lots of sound deadener was used, along with MLV on the floor to combat any road noise. Want to hear the system in person? Head to KnowledgeFest Dallas, August 27-29. The car will be available for demonstrations at the Morel booth on the show floor.

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Installation Everything.


















TE • 800-444-1644   61

From The President

Chicken Counting Hatching new ideas without considering possible outcomes can create unwanted challenges. As a leader, it’s up to you to dream up the next great thing for your business. Ideas can come from anywhere—your team members, or your family and friends. Ideas can also arise during times of deep contemplation. When an idea comes to mind, taking the time to carefully think it through will make all the difference. It’s a good practice to consider every possible twist and turn in the journey. Try to envision the outcomes in varying scenarios to avoid any pitfalls.

Examine your idea from every angle and ask yourself, ‘What could go wrong?’ This is important because it will assist you in understanding points of failure, and it will help weed out any weak points.

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From a Burst of Inspiration Both good and bad ideas might seem to come from nowhere. Regardless of your creative inspiration, it makes good sense to write them down when you think of them. You don’t have to act, just make a note on your phone with a reminder. This will keep it on your radar. I like to write down the idea and anything else that comes to mind at the time. Capture the thought and save it until it’s time to review for possible action. Consider the Necessary Resources Before you turn an idea into action, think about what it will take to implement. What resources will you need? Think human resources, financial considerations and any possible distractions from your core mission and goals. Just because it may disrupt your current focus doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. It could become a new business venture. It’s important not to put limits on your idea based on what you’re capable of at a certain point in time. Let the idea come to fruition on paper without restrictions. Then review what you can do—what’s possible now—and what will require new resources or skillsets to accomplish. Be Honest With Yourself About What Could Go Wrong Examine your idea from every angle and ask yourself, “What could go wrong?” This is important because it will assist you in understanding points of failure, and it will

help to weed out the weak points. Be honest with yourself: You’ll need to be very critical and really put your idea to the test. It’s easy to get excited about great new opportunities, but you need to consider every possible outcome. In other words, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. What factors could cause you to fail? Follow your instinct. What aspects of your idea give you pause? Later in the exercise, you can review each point and then look for solutions. Put your idea under the microscope and apply pressure. Understand How YOU Define Success No idea will be complete without understanding what success looks like for you. “Success” can mean many different things to many different people, so be sure to consider what it means to you personally. New ideas can produce awesome results. They can be game-changing at times. Make sure you take the time to define success, then review it and understand whether or not your initial idea will make a positive impact on your business. Decide When It’s Time to Act Without action, your idea is just an idea. It can be filed away and easily forgotten. Don’t let that happen. Make sure you set aside time to review each brainstorm. It only takes one good idea to make a difference in your business or your personal life. No idea, big or small, should be cast aside. Your creativity is what led you to where you are today. Make the effort to turn what you learned into action, a move which will help you stand apart from the rest—always learning, always dreaming, always striving for triumph.