Mobile Electronics Magazine September 2022

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September 2022

me-mag.com

TIME TO REFINE

INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS OF WILBRAHAM, MASS. ENTERS A NEW PHASE WHILE EXPANDING AND GROWING ITS HIGH-END CLIENT BASE TRANSFORMING CHALLENGE INTO OPPORTUNITY What’s next for 12-volt? With every change, there’s always been a constant: Those who excel face challenges by reverse-engineering business plans and seeking creative solutions.

FORGING CONNECTIONS Kevin Hallinan of Winning, Inc. discusses how salespeople can build trust with their clients. INSTALLS A fully modified fantasy motorcycle caught the attention of attendees at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas.


Volume 54 Issue 9 ADVERTISING SALES

sales@mobile-electronics.com

EDITORIAL Rosa Sophia MANAGING EDITOR

978.645.6466 rosas@mobile-electronics.com Chris Cook E D I T O R - AT - L A R G E

CREATIVE LAYOUT AND DESIGN

12 FEATURES

ARTICLES

12// What’s Happening: Where Are We Now?

20 Retail News

As business slows for some, retailers continue to seek creative solutions and diversify in order to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry.

48 Installs

30// Real World Retail: Facing the Flux

4

Editor’s Forum

By expanding its footprint and working toward a high-end dealership feel, iNNovative Concepts aims to grow its high-resolution audio category.

6

Feedback

40// On the Money: Staying Ahead

ON THE COVER:

DEPARTMENTS

TM

mobile electronics association

Chris Cook PRESIDENT

978.645.6434 chrisc@mobile-electronics.com Richard Basler 978.645.6449 richb@mobile-electronics.com Tony Frangiosa CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, MEA

AD INDEX

44// Strategy and Tactics: Creating Comfort, Nurturing Trust

iNNovative Concepts in Wilbraham, Mass. moved into a new location and hired a new employee just as COVID-19 hit. While rolling with fluctuations in life and business, owner Nick Frazier maintained a growth mindset. Today, the business is expanding its highresolution audio category and continuing to increase its revenue. facebook.com/me-mag

2 Mobile Electronics September 2022

Published by

DIR. TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS

Rich DeSclafani—founder of brand-new company RDV Automotive Technology—talks growth, education and strategies for moving forward in an ever-changing industry.

What’s the common element in every sale? Kevin Hallinan of Winning, Inc. discusses communication and relationship in sales, and how salespeople can build strong connections with their clients.

Contributing Editors Jamie Sorcher and Laura Kemmerer

Alpine Electronics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 AudioControl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Firstech - Momento . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 HKI USA - Ground Zero. . . . . . . . . . . . . 36, 37 Kenwood. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Kicker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 ME Industry Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 KnowledgeFest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 MECP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 ME-TV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Pixel Technologies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 SiriusXM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Snap Finance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Sony. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17


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E D I T O R ’ S

F O R U M

ROSA SOPHIA • MANAGING EDITOR

SEEKING SIMPLICITY

When we work so hard we forget our “why,” it’s time to return to the basics: How can we learn to become more intentional and balanced with our time? We all want to use our time more wisely—improve quality of life, be with our loved ones or tinker with our hobbies. I’m always concerned with productivity, efficiency and work-life balance. Am I doing enough? Working hard enough? How much time am I wasting? As I work on becoming more productive and efficient, though, I may find I’m out of balance: Maybe I’m working so hard on growing my professional skillsets that my personal life is suffering. How can each of us find more balance in life? There are probably many answers to this question, and we all have to work to find those answers within ourselves. However, there are some tools we can use to get started. Here are a few things I picked up in Dallas last month.

LET’S LEARN TO BECOME MORE INTENTIONAL

IMPLEMENT SIMPLE STRATEGIES FOR BALANCING WORK AND LIFE

If processes and procedures in the workplace aren’t efficient, it will lead to longer days—which means less time spent nurturing one’s personal life. Dan Bowman and Philip Lindsley of Titan Motoring in Nashville, Tenn. discussed the work and life balance with attendees at KnowledgeFest Dallas, pointing out simple yet effective strategies for creating a solid foundation at work. “The more you control the stresses of money, the more you can focus on what matters,” they said, adding, “your people, your family and their families.” Lindsley cited labor rates, employee pay and frequent meetings as keys to ensuring everyone is well cared-for and that projects are well-planned. Bowman stressed the importance of under-promising and over-delivering. When more intentional choices are made within the workplace, and more effective processes and procedures are put into place, it creates a foundation upon which business owners and team members can nurture a healthier balance between their personal and professional lives. I’ve noticed anxiety creeping up around my own drive to become more productive, to get more done. To catch up. It’s important to remember we only have so much time to work with, and we all need balance in our lives. We have to remember what’s most important, and why we do what we do. We don’t want to take what we have for granted. Does this resonate with you? What strategies or changes can you implement in your own life to become more intentional?

The more you control the stresses of money, the more you can focus on what matters.

At KnowledgeFest, I listened in on Drewbie Wilson, author of Crushing the Day: A Simple Guide to Success in Business and Life Through Service to Others. Wilson challenged his audience to consider how they spend their time and what impact this has on other aspects of their lives, especially relationships with loved ones. We need to be more intentional, he said, adding, “We are all wasting time. Why aren’t we valuing our time more? If you can get control of that and have respect for your time, more people will have respect for you.” Wilson recommended carrying out a personal time study: Every hour, write down everything you did in the previous hour, down to the smallest, simplest personal tasks. After three days, he said, you might notice you aren’t spending your time as wisely as you might’ve thought. I know I waste a lot of time; I think we can all point to areas of our day where we might not have been as efficient or productive. However, a sense of balance should accompany all endeavors. During his presentation, Wilson said that when he first began his journey of self-improvement, he focused on it so much that he wasn’t giving enough attention to his personal time with his family. This is where balance comes in.

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Thinking of my own life, I can see where anxiety drives me to get as much done as I can—to stay caught up. But what am I leaving behind in the process? Meditating on what’s most important, and why I do what I do, is essential to becoming more intentional throughout my daily activities.



 feedback

FINDING THE KEY

How can a business grow? There are many ways, but these retailers highlight diversification, understanding the demographic and making the shop’s brand a priority. “There are tons of guys in the industry [all over the country] I talk to all the time. I like to hear how someone in their demographic attacks their business or approaches certain things versus how we do it here. We share insights back and forth. What works here may not work elsewhere.” - Adam Devine, Devine Concepts, Naples, Fla.

“You have to promote your business. You want people to come to you because you’re promoting your shop, not because you’re promoting a brand. Some people have a mentality where they want to have banners of different brands [to show what’s available]. You don’t need to do that. Guess what happens when you lose that brand? [The customer says] ‘You don’t have that anymore? I have to go to another shop.’ You just lost that customer because you weren’t promoting your shop—you were promoting another brand.” - Jon Lackey, Blvd. Customs of Lakeland, Lakeland, Fla.

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“Business diversification is 100 percent the answer to staying in business during a crisis. When you’re hyper focused on 12-volt, you have to find way to stay busy. Even though car dealers might not have new cars to sell, they need to find ways to make money, so they do more used cars. We can be there to help. If they have a client looking for a car, and they have something that’s close enough, how can we help? We do front-to-back rewires. We have a leather department, retail and wholesale. They might want heated seats, cruise control—we can do that. Upgraded wheels and tires, wrap and vinyl. I think that’s key. If you’re getting slow, start telling people you’ll do Jeep lighting, because 12-volt does lighting better than anyone else. Try to get into fleet work. Electrical, plumbing and civil engineers will need new vehicles. Why not be the shop putting in their lighting and radios? Anything to keep you busy.” - Dan Bowman, Titan Motoring, Nashville, Tenn.



 stats TM

2022

The Mobile Electronics Association shares the results the 2022 KnowledgeFest season

Attendee information for 2022

4,000

Retail Locations and Types Represented

2,400

TOTAL EVENT ATTENDEES

Attendee Profile for 2022

400

CAME FROM SINGLE-STORE LOCATIONS

CAME FROM MULTI-STORE LOCATIONS

The first KnowledgeFest event I ever attended was in 2022 I have attend two (2) to five (5) events I have attended more than five (5) events

46% Very Helpful

Extremely Helpful 0%

Not So Helpful

0%

Somewhat Helpful

Excellent Very Good

Good

Fair

18%

2%

0%

Excellent

Very Good

Good

Fair

Poor

1% Poor

I Spent Time on the Exhibit Floor all three days I Spent Time on the Exhibit Floor just two days

19%

I Spend Time on the Exhibit Floor just one day

3%

I Did not visit the Exhibit floor

1%

Other

For Classification Purposes, survey respondents are:

77%

3%

32%

Not At All Helpful

16%

LA NV GA

47%

26%

How would you rate the value for the money of KnowledgeFest?

34%

OH OK IL

51%

13%

45%

FL CA IN

Thinking about your time on the KnowledgeFest Exhibit Floor:

How helpful was the content presented at KnowledgeFest?

41%

TX

Overall, how would you rate KnowledgeFest 2022?

Was this your first KnowledgeFest?

34% 56% 10%

Top 10 States Represented

LOCATIONS 1,200 UNIQUE FROM CITIES 940 UNIQUE FROM 50 STATES REPRESENTING 20 UNIQUE COUNTRIES.

WERE RETAILER ATTENDEES

2,000

mobile electronics association

For Classification Purposes, survey respondents age groups are:

Business Owner or Manager

10%

Technician or Fabricator

9%

Sales or Marketing Professional

3%

Other

14%

32%

38% 9%

3% 18 to 24

25 to 34

35 to 44

45 to 54

55 to 64

3% 65+

What was the single most valuable thing you learned at KnowledgeFest 2022? “I got a lot of new ideas to better my business”

“Blowing my mind over learning how to market myself as well as my brand. It was awesome to get a refresher in sales and re-ignite my passion for car audio and accessories.”

8 Mobile Electronics September 2022

“One on one time with some of the biggest names in the industry is what I found the most valuable”

“Like the old days of CES, putting names to faces. Establishing relationships. It was also very informative. Really enjoyed it. We have an amazing industry!”



 helpful stuff BOOK

Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century BY TIM HIGGINS Tesla grabbed the spotlight in the 2000s. Launched at the start of the millennium, it was the first car company to be valued at $1 trillion. Since then, CEO Elon Musk has become both a celebrity and one of the richest men in the world. However, Tesla’s success, built on a chancy vision, was far from guaranteed. Musk and a small band of Silicon Valley engineers set out to make a car that was quicker, sexier, smoother and cleaner than any gas-guzzler. Tesla would undergo a hellish 15 years, with rivalries, investor pressures and more. This book offers a front-row seat for all the drama—a story of impossible wagers and unlikely triumphs. This is a look at how a team of innovators beat the odds and changed the future.

BOOK

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making BY TONY FADELL Tony Fadell was part of the team at General Magic, a software and electronics company based in Mountain View, Calif. that built the ’90s precursor to the smartphone. He led the group who created the iPod, iPhone and Nest Learning Thermostat, and he learned enough in 30-plus years about leadership, design, startups and more to fill an encyclopedia. This book contains many lessons learned, imparted through real-life stories of being in the room when some of tech’s most important products were created. Written for anyone who wants to grow at work—from those in their first jobs, to CEOs deciding whether or not to sell their company—Build is full of personal stories, practical advice and fascinating insights into some of the most impactful products and people of the 20th century.

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SITE TO SEE

www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis Some might consider the ultimate transportation vehicle as one designed for space travel. Artemis 1, a mega-rocket, takes the first step in the next era of human exploration. Together with commercial and international partners, NASA plans to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars. The first launch attempt for the Artemis mission is scheduled for approximately August 29. This test flight will be uncrewed, but there will be a data-gathering mannequin. Information gathered from this mission will help NASA prepare astronauts who will fly around the moon on the Artemis 2 mission in 2024, and Artemis 3 astronauts who will eventually land on the moon.

SERVICE

Clover WWW.CLOVER.COM Let’s say your retail shop sets up a booth at a local car show or cruise night and you’ve got some products to display and possibly sell. How can you ring up a up a sale when you’re not in your physical store? These days, you need to be able to take your business to your customers. Point-of-Sale (POS) systems, like this one from Clover, process credit and debit card payments, as well as record cash and check payments. These systems also track sales and can generate reports to help you better understand trends and peak sales periods. In addition, nearly every POS uses your transaction data to help manage your inventory, letting you know when you’re running low.

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 what’s happening

WHERE ARE WE

NOW?

12 Mobile Electronics September 2022


As business slows for some, retailers continue to seek creative solutions in order to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA

J

ust a year ago, retailers were expressing concern about a potential recession— including Jason Kranitz of Kingpin Car and Marine Audio and Kingpin University in Las Vegas, Nev. Now, Kranitz feels the recession has arrived. “If you follow the history, every time there’s a big boom, there’s a recession,” he said, adding that the plethora of stimulus checks has led to the beginning of an economic slump. “Business in my whole store and my area has slowed way down. The boom of COVID is over. We have to prepare.” Kranitz noted that many retailers were so busy, they may have lost touch with the basics. “I think it’s good to go back to our roots, which was easy to forget because things were so good,” he explained, noting that he has confidence in the future of 12-volt: “We can survive a recession if we have structures in place, treat clients right and charge what we’re supposed to charge and not play the ‘race to zero.’” In business for 17 years, Kranitz said he’s seen a few downturns, but “as long as you’re doing high-quality work, the money is always there.”

BUSINESS OWNERS AIM TO ADAPT AND THRIVE Though everything changes, there’s always a constant: As vehicle technology continues to evolve, so must mobile electronics professionals and businesses. In the past few years, businesses have found ways stay relevant by embracing new categories, seeking product through new sources during shortages and finding other ways to protect their business interests.

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 what’s happening

In the March 2021 What’s Happening column, “Guardians of 12-Volt,” retailers agreed that despite concerns of a potential recession, being able to adapt to changes is always paramount. Brandon Green of The Car Audio Shop in High Ridge, Mo. noted that well-prepared businesses will likely continue to manage as they always have. “Even things like vehicle and technology changes already separate businesses that really go out and market themselves and educate themselves, from those that don’t want to learn or put in effort to improve themselves,” he said. James P. Smith, owner of Vernon, Conn.based A.C.T. Audio, stated at the time that pinpointing a business’s core values helps maintain straightforward trajectory. “Every day we come in and walk past things that need to be addressed, but we don’t necessarily see or notice them. We

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 what’s happening

“I think [it’s important] to have funds set aside for bad times, and then invest in areas that have always thrived during tough times.”

16 Mobile Electronics September 2022

might be blinded to issues with employees because of our relationships, or we’re putting things on the back burner.” Smith said identifying core values is essential to a well-managed business, advising other business owners to write them down and “hold yourself and your employees accountable.” He added that he reviews the business’s core values with employees during a monthly store meeting. Joey Knapp of Pinnacle Autosound in Lake City, Fla. said he diversified by picking up unusual jobs: The team built tech displays for local banks, and created tablet holder stands for another company. There’s lots of opportunity for diversification, Knapp said, especially when a shop has plenty of fabrication tools on hand. Tomas Keenan of Break Free Academy in Dallas, Texas, said he’s always been a proponent of diversification as a way to protect one’s business interests and to expand. He recommended shops get involved with GPS tracking or other fleet

work. Both he and Smith agreed that fleet work is a great way to supplement a business’s income. “Fleet work isn’t going away,” Smith said, noting that it could be an important way for a business to continue through a recession. “We still need freight transportation across the country, school buses and emergency vehicles.” Recently, Green was asked whether he felt businesses should still be concerned with a potential recession. He said he feels owners should always be prepared, regardless: “If you aren’t prepared, you’d better get on it immediately,” he said. “I think [it’s important] to have funds set aside for bad times, and then invest in areas that have always thrived during tough times.”

RETAILERS ALTER COURSE, RETHINK PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES In June of 2021, What’s Happening focused on the “Altered Course” and how businesses pivoted to meet


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The Elevated Standard

electronics.sony.com/mobile-es ©2022 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. facebook.com/MobileElectronics

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 what’s happening

demands and deal with product shortages. Car-Tunes, Inc. in Greenville, Miss. shifted the way it handled subwoofer enclosures: While the shop once sold empty enclosures, owner Kimberly Trainer said it pivoted to only sell enclosures with accompanying subwoofers. “Housing subwoofers and enclosures together saves space, promotes the proper enclosure for the designated subwoofers and allows us to wire the subwoofers correctly with heavy gauge wire soldered to the terminal so

18 Mobile Electronics September 2022

chances of a subwoofer failure goes way down,” she explained. Trainer said this move brought their entire sales strategy full-circle. Now, the team is able to ensure the right enclosure is sold with the right subwoofer, so the customer gets the best sound “for that particular setting or vehicle.” Most Car-Tunes customers purchase an entire package from the shop, including the enclosure, electronics and installation. Trainer said this is always the best scenario.

“The customer will be satisfied because you’re selling them the right things,” she explained, adding that, often, when items are purchased on the Internet the customer may not have the expertise to choose what goes together properly. “They might not have the appropriate amplifier to go with the subwoofers, the right interface for the head unit they want, so the end result is a system that doesn’t perform properly anyway. If they’ve gotten all this online, but they just want an enclosure to make


Kingpin University—pictured at KnowledgeFest Dallas this past month—hasn’t seen a slowdown in business. However, Jason Kranitz said his shop, Kingpin Car and Marine Audio in Las Vegas, Nev. has experienced a downturn in retail business in the past two to three months.

their subs work, they won’t be a loyal customer anyway.” Adam Devine of Devine Concepts in Naples, Fla. agreed that a lot more time goes into proposals or estimates than before, simply because retailers have to spend more time ensuring certain solutions are available. “You don’t want to put together a proposal for a client, leave them with this expectation they’re going to receive something great, and then reach out to your distributor and find out the

product isn’t available for six months,” he said. “How you overcome that is how you move your brand and your business forward.” Trainer said she loves being a part of the business. “Plan everything. Your plans will change. I don’t come in the back door. I come through the front door like a customer, so I can see exactly what other people see. How does it look? What’s the environment? People purchase a lot more on emotion—the music you’re playing, the environment you’re

providing.” She said it doesn’t always come down to the sale: “You have to provide the experience so they want to come back.” In July 2021, James P. Smith of A.C.T. Audio told Mobile Electronics magazine he was working on implementing other business ideas to stay prepared in case of an economic recession. “If the aftermarket automotive accessories dwindle, hopefully the fleet division stays strong,” he said. Additionally, Smith’s business stocked up on head units early on, to keep ahead of inventory concerns. How should retailers handle a slowdown in business? Budget well, said Kranitz, and ensure team members all understand their respective roles. “This is also a great time to work on displays, work on the store, invest a little bit of money and use that downtime,” he said. “Be prepared for the bounce back up.” Kingpin Car and Marine Audio, as well as other mobile electronics businesses local to Kranitz, have seen a decline in the last two-and-a-half to three months. “We have to buckle down, start marketing again and reaching out to clients.” If shops aren’t utilizing social media to its fullest extent, he noted that now is a good time to start. “Update your store, clean it up, work on procedures, train internally—figure out how you want things done,” he said, adding, “There’s still business out there. It’s just not as easy.”

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 retail news

Devine Concepts Changes Branding, Space to Draw In

NEW BUSINESS WORDS BY LAURA KEMMERER

20 Mobile Electronics September 2022

Devine Concepts in Naples, Fla. recently pivoted to draw in new business with rebranding, while renovating and expanding its space. Adam Devine, owner and operator, knows the importance of driving business and how embracing new visuals and new space can drive opportunity. “We decided to ditch the speaker on the logo and go with a new one, adding subtext of automotive design,” he said. “A lot of our clients don’t live in our world and they don’t understand a car stereo shop does more than speakers. We thought outside the box and looked at peers in the industry who do more than audio, and how they’ve rebranded in that mindset.”


“We want to mimic the look and feel of the high-end Naples that clients are already accustomed to. That way, when they come in, they feel like they’re at the Porsche or Ferrari dealership. They’re in the atmosphere they’re comfortable in.” Devine went on to explain that it’s important to communicate with customers on multiple levels just how much the business does. It’s much more than audio. This miscommunication can hurt businesses’ bottom line. “From a client’s perspective, if any of those services—like safety and security or collision avoidance or radar and laser protection—were something they were looking for, they wouldn’t necessarily look to an audio shop first,” Devine added. “I wanted to offer a one-stop shop for all solutions. It made sense to come up with a more universal brand logo for that before we go any deeper. With the change, we have to change everything. I kept the color and our main brand name.”

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 retail news

WHO’S WHO?

John Larson Shop: Sound Connection, Inc. Location: Waite Park and Brainerd, Minn. Years of Industry Experience: 27 Hobbies: “Racing ATV Motocross / Supercross since 1994.” Along with the logo redesign in the business’s appearance overhaul, Devine also expanded into the space next door. “We went from 1,600 to 3,200 square feet. We went from a one-car bay to being able to service four at a time,” he noted. On top of the expansion, Devine has dedicated time to redoing Devine Concepts’ showroom. “There will be two sections: One will house our Porsche demo car. We are also doing an engineering studio display that MSC came up with, with their studio monitor and DSP to immerse the client in that concert-like experience in front of a TV. We can simulate that engineering solution. It’s a way to hear time alignment and imaging.” In terms of aesthetics, Devine wants the showroom to have the sleek look of an Apple store or a high-end dealership—minimalistic and clean, no clutter. He’s planning on hanging leather, and having custom fabrication samples. “We want to mimic the look and feel of the high-end Naples that clients are already accustomed to. That way, when they come in, they feel like they’re at the Porsche or Ferrari dealership. They’re in the atmosphere they’re comfortable in.” Devine is also looking forward to being able to hire three new employees, and had a new apprentice start at the end of July. However, he added, it can be difficult to recruit employees from other areas of the country, due to the fact that the cost of living is higher in the Naples area. The expansion into the new space is almost complete. “I’m waiting on the epoxy floor materials, and then we’ll start installing counters, work benches and tool chests to mimic the design layout we have on side one.” As Devine has demonstrated, sometimes a business needs to create new opportunities and freshen up the space to draw in the desired clientele. The photos accompanying this article show the expanding showroom, and the shop’s new logo. The changes will only continue to help the business, which is booming: At press time, Devine reported the shop is very busy. If someone wants to come on board, he said, and if they’re passionate about learning, “I can teach them.”

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What You’re Really Good At: “Diffusing difficult situations.”

Sam Flynn Shop: Flynn Audio Location: Middleton, Wis. Years of Industry Experience: 17-plus Hobbies: “This was my hobby, and I turned it into work. I’m also in a two-seater sports car club during the summer. I’ve also been heavily involved with choirs all of my life. I was in the Wisconsin Chamber Choir for years.” What You’re Really Good At: “I enjoy being the face of the company and working with clients. The social aspect of the sale is my favorite part, and I think that’s what I excel at.”


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CALL: 720-583-3835 // EMAIL: mototv@mototvnetwork.com

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 Hot Sellers

WHAT’S POPULAR

AT THE SHOP?

Here are a few pieces that business owners and retailers from all over the country are recommending for both quality and price point.

KENWOOD DMX1057XR 10-INCH FLOATING MEDIA PLAYER SUBMITTED BY:

Danny Camacho, Amplified Autosports, St. Petersburg, Fla. MAIN SELLING FEATURES:

“Clients love the large high-resolution screen, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto and high-resolution audio capabilities.” PRIMARY OBJECTION:

“The large screen may block some areas of the dash.” HOW TO OVERCOME:

“We let the client know the screen is adjustable and can typically be moved enough to clear any areas they are worried about.”

24 Mobile Electronics September 2022


STINGER HEIGH10 UN1810 DIGITAL MULTIMEDIA RECEIVER AND BACKUP CAMERA MAIN SELLING FEATURES:

“Our customers really love when we bring up the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features associated with this product. We also show them our display and allow our customers to try it out in our showroom.”

WĀVTECH LINK2 2-CHANNEL LoC MAIN SELLING FEATURES:

“Give your new amplifier the signal and bandwidth it needs to be the best version of itself. Let the Wāvtech do all the work so your amplifier can do what it does best.” PRIMARY OBJECTION:

“People want to know when this product is better than a traditional LOC. They’ll ask, ‘How is this different from AudioControl’s AccuBASS LoC? How come I’ve never heard of them?’ HOW TO OVERCOME:

“Proof. It’s not hard to sway the customer when you know it really does make a difference. If you are already willing to spend money on new equipment, don’t you want that equipment to have the right environment so it can work at its maximum potential? It will give you the most for your dollar, and it will last longer.”

INFINITY KAPPA PERFECT 900X PREMIUM SPEAKERS FOR HARLEY-DAVIDSON SUBMITTED BY:

Randy Leibenson, Car Audio Depot, Modesto, Calif. MAIN SELLING FEATURES:

“The sound quality for these speakers is quite amazing, especially for the price and line. They are clear and loud, making it the perfect setup.” PRIMARY OBJECTION:

Price. HOW TO OVERCOME:

“Once customers hear competing speakers compared to these, they are able to justify the price.”

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 Hot Sellers HERTZ AUDIO UNO SPEAKERS AND CENTO SUBWOOFERS Pictured: Hertz CS300 Ss4 Cento Subwoofer. MAIN SELLING FEATURES:

“These lines are loud, easy to present and sell. They are reliable products with a great reputation and warranty.” PRIMARY OBJECTION:

“Some say they’ve never heard of the brand before.” HOW TO OVERCOME:

“We offer the client a product demonstration.”

MOREL TEMPO COMPONENT SERIES Pictured: Morel Tempo Ultra 572 Component Speaker System. MAIN SELLING FEATURES:

“They offer excellent tonality and exceptional service. Our 44 years in business and unconditional guarantee of total satisfaction helps sell products.”

SONY XAV-9500ES MOBILE ES SERIES DIGITAL MULTIMEDIA RECEIVER SUBMITTED BY:

Bobby McCune, Wizard Car Audio Plus, Anniston, Ala. MAIN SELLING FEATURES:

“The knowledge of our staff and our service [always hits home with customers].” PRIMARY OBJECTION:

Additional parts required, labor cost to install.

26 Mobile Electronics September 2022

PRIMARY OBJECTION:

“Our clients seldom question speakers. [If they do object to something, it’s] price.” HOW TO OVERCOME:

“We demonstrate a speaker that’s priced slightly lower. The difference is clear.”


AUDISON ANNOUNCES NEW FAMILY OF AMPLIFIERS AT KNOWLEDGEFEST ORLANDO At KnowledgeFest Orlando in June, Audison announced a new line of amplifiers and a new software—the bit Drive—used to control them. The AF Forza amplifiers are the company’s next generation of powerful DSP amplifiers, providing highly advanced tuning tools and enabling OEM signal correction. Pictured here is the initial amplifier for the US market: The AF M5.11 bit, a 5-channel amplifier with 11 channels of DSP tuning and six independent processed preamp outputs. It is 100x4 RMS at 4Ω, 150x4 @2Ω, and has 600W RMS for a 2Ω subwoofer. Also introduced—the AF C 8.14 bit, with 65W x 8 channels, and the AF M12.14, with 60x12 channels. The bit Drive software has internal electrical RTA and acoustical RTA capability, eliminating the need for any additional hardware or software.

TURY USA LINE-UP OF PLUG-AND-PLAY POWER WINDOW AUTOMATION KITS TURY is also developing a complete line-up of plug-and-play power window automation kits. The latest kit for Jeep Wrangler JL, including Gladiator allow the driver to roll the windows up and down by the factory remote. It also adds 1 touch functionality with our patented antipinch technology. For more information about TURY USA and how you can become a dealer, contact us at www.tury.com.br

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 Hot Sellers

AUDIOCONTROL ACX-BT3 ALL-WEATHER BLUETOOTH CONTROLLER The ACX-BT3 is an all-weather Bluetooth® receiver and three-zone controller designed for the rigors of marine and powersports applications. It features three stereo RCA outputs and is a zone controller, providing quick access to volume control over three separate zones at the touch of a button. With the added flexibility of an auxiliary input, the ACX-BT3 is the perfect solution as a primary or secondary source for any audio system. Integrated mounting holes allow for easy custom installation to a dashboard, or other flat panel in a car, sideby-side, boat or other vehicle. The all-weather ACX-BT3 is also IPX6 rated against splashes, wind and spray.

TURY ANNOUNCES WATERPROOF IP68-RATED FAST LINE-UP TURY USA now offers a waterproof IP68rated FAST line-up for Harley Davidson, Polaris Slingshot, Polaris Razor, Vanderhall, CanAm and all Jeep Wranglers from 2007. FAST gives the driver the feeling of added horsepower with a plug-and-play device—no costly engine modifications needed. FAST is a throttle response remapping interface with 36 different levels of adjustment. It also offers throttle lockout, preventing unwanted drivers and car theft. In addition, it has the ability to reduce output for student drivers or valet parking attendants.

28 Mobile Electronics September 2022


A LEGACY O F

T U N I N G

E X C E L L E N C E

PXE-0850X

PXE-X09

“Alpine’s processors have the power to create a fully active system on a budget, providing a high level of performance at unheard price points.” - Zach A. from Palm City, FL

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real world RETAIL

30 Mobile Electronics September 2022


a highd r a w king to s to grow r o w d n print a Concepts aim A SOPHIA t o o f s t OS S BY R vative nding i o WORD a N p N x i e , By ip feel gory. e h t s r a e c l o a i end de ion aud t u l o s -re its high

I

n the last few years, many retailers have had to adapt, diversify and deal with product shortages or a lack of help. iNNovative Concepts in Wilbraham, Mass.—no exception to the rule—moved into its new location just before COVID-19 hit, according to owner Nick Frazier, who added that it was a “nerve-wracking” experience. For Frazier and his business, while COVID-19 contributed some anxiety, it also allowed the shop to enforce its appointment-only policy and shorten the work week to Monday through Friday to prioritize a better work and life balance. The current location was something of an accidental discovery: “I happened to be driving by it in the town where I live,” he said. “I used to drive 30 minutes each way to work. This location is five minutes from my house.” Situated on a main road,

iNNovative Concepts is in the back half of a building that used to house a dealership. Despite early concerns regarding the impact of COVID and how it might affect the business’s expansion, things have been going very well. “We’re in a more affluent area now,” Frazier noted, adding that many of his clients aren’t local, anyway. After the first couple of weeks of COVID, business picked back up. Since then, he said, it hasn’t slowed. “We’re booked out anywhere from a month to two months, and have been since early 2020.” Also at the start of the pandemic, Frazier hired technician Tim Langevin, who handles electrical and remote starts. “We definitely needed more help,” he noted, adding that his wife, Tiffany, is currently pursuing the MECP Product Technology Specialist certification, so she can adopt a larger role in sales.

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31


real world RETAIL

LAW DEGREE AND PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE INFORM QUALITY CONTROL PRACTICES After his interest in car audio was sparked as a teenager, Frazier had a sound system installed at a big box store. Workmanship issues quickly presented themselves. Later, after purchasing his second car, he had a custom shop do the work. Again, he experienced issues, noting that the system would sometimes shut itself off.

32 Mobile Electronics September 2022

After taking out the radio, Frazier discovered the shop had “tagged a random wire behind the radio,” which happened to be one of the feeds for the heated seat switch. When the heated seat was on high, it would cause the radio to shut off. “From that point forward, I decided no one else would touch my car anymore,” he said. “I spent the time and effort trying to learn. It wasn’t always the right thing, but that came with time.”

His first job in the industry was at a big box store where Frazier continued to observe a general lack of knowledge in the field. “I was the first person in that store’s history to ever be MECP certified,” he said. “I kept trying to learn. I went on web forums. I read whatever I could and learned more every day.” In the industry for almost sixteen years, he continues to be a proponent for education. The shop’s technician,


FACING THE FLUX

FAST FACTS MAIN LOCATION: Wilbraham, Mass. NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1 SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,000

MAIN FOCUS 32% Car Audio 18% Remote Start 6% Safety 44% Labor

KEY STAFF

OWNERS: Nick Frazier DESIGN, FABRICATION AND SALES: NICK FRAZIER TECHNICIAN: TIM LANGEVIN MARKETING: TIFFANY FRAZIER

neatness and cleanliness. “If anyone else were to take the car apart, they wouldn’t be concerned with the quality of work,” he explained. “They would think whomever did this work cared about the car and knew what they were doing.”

REINVENTING THE SHOWROOM TO HIGHLIGHT HIGH-RESOLUTION AUDIO

Langevin, is also MECP certified and the shop fronts the cost. Frazier’s perspective goes beyond 12-volt: After attending law school and becoming an attorney, he said he tends to look at things from a safety and liability perspective. While he no longer practices law, this frames how he approaches quality control and installation standards. A good example, he said, is how he views remote start installations. A hood pin

prevents the vehicle from remote starting when the hood is open. When Frazier first started doing remote start installations, “I was told not to run a hood pin, and just to [put on] a sticker. For me, that’s a liability issue. Every remote start we install will have a hood pin. This protects someone who is working on the vehicle.” Harkening back to his early experience in the industry, iNNovative Concepts has developed procedures that prioritize

With an aim to increase awareness of high-resolution audio, iNNovative Concepts has renovated its showroom and installed new displays from 5 Axis. Frazier’s focus is to emulate the clean and organized look of a high-end car dealership. “This helps drive customer comfort and value in what you do,” he said. Recalling his own negative experiences as a customer before he entered the industry, Frazier said he understands why people might be hesitant to trust a 12-volt shop. As a result, iNNovative Concepts prioritizes the customer experience, and collects as much information as they can over the phone, since many clients aren’t local. “Then we schedule an appointment to have them come in, do a demo, and

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real world RETAIL

an r e f f o o t We want e of what experienc tion music lu high-reso e before we k sounds li the car. go to

we show them what we do and how we work,” Frazier explained, adding that the consultation is carried out in a meeting area within the main showroom. “We go over the build, what they’re looking for, potential design ideas and we show them the work we’ve done in the past. We try to make things as one-on-one as possible.”

34 Mobile Electronics September 2022

If needed, the shop will arrange pick-up and drop-off of the vehicle. “In rare situations, we’ll go get the car,” he said. During COVID, the shop had a client who was concerned about exposure, so the car was picked up and then returned after the work was completed. “We aim to be as customer-centric as possible.”

The showroom houses speaker displays so customers can get a feel for what acoustically sounds good to them, he explained, adding, “Then we have demo vehicles with processors. We demonstrate imaging and staging and show them what a processed vehicle will sound like. We also demo it with no time alignment—no


FACING THE FLUX

FEW BACKORDER ISSUES MAKE FOR

INCREASED PROFIT

imaging and staging—as if you just popped in a radio and speakers. We show them the difference. We want them to understand we’re trying to recreate the performance in the car.” Clients have come from as far as Toronto and Michigan. Most local clients, Frazier said, come in for remote start

installs. “Most of our business focuses around larger builds and full vehicle integration, and those are primarily out of state,” he said. During COVID, Frazier redesigned the showroom, which is made up of two spaces: “My goal was to have a split between the two rooms, one for lower- to

iNNovative Concepts focuses on high-end audio, carrying Orca products such as Focal, Mosconi and Illusion Audio. The shop also carries Audiofrog. In the past couple of years, while many companies have dealt with shortages and backorders, Frazier said he had very few backorder issues with Orca and Audiofrog. “They did a great job having product available for us even during shortages,” he said. Additionally, Frazier was grateful for the available online trainings for various features and products. Mosconi all-in-one DSP amplifiers are one of the shop’s most popular products. “It’s small, flexible and has powerful processing,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to the new Mosconi PRO 8-channel amplifier DSP. Many amplifier DSP combinations have trade-offs, according to Frazier, who feels the available features and high-resolution capability make it an attractive option.

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GZCF 165NEO-PRO → → → → → → → → → → → → →

High-power full range loudspeaker for active use 4 + 4 Ohms 300 / 100 Watts (Midwoofer/Tweeter) Klippel® optimized High efficiency (SPL) Coated paper cone High-efficient neodymium motor 38 mm / 1.5” CCA voice coil Aluminum cast basket Wave shaped textile surround Push terminals 25 mm / 1”PEI compression tweeter Incl. protection capacitor for the tweeter


GroundZeroAudioUsa GroundZeroUsa GroundZeroUsa.com

GZHW 10SPL-D2 FLAT

→ High-power SPL subwoofer with shallow installation depth → Klippel® optimized → Efficient ferrite magnet → Durable U-shape rubber surround → Massive aluminum cast basket → Paper sandwich cone → 4-layer copper voice coil → High-roll U-surround → Chrome-plated push terminal → 2 x 2 Ω - 600 / 1000 Watts (RMS/SPL)


real world RETAIL

The meetings might be anywhere from one to two times a week, to every other week, depending on the situation.

WHEN GROWING A BUSINESS, SET GOALS: KNOW THE DESIRED OUTCOME

mid-tier speakers, and then another section dedicated to high-end sound quality. We want to offer an experience of what high-resolution music sounds like before we go to the car.” Frazier said the intention is to sell and install more high-resolution ready systems, and integrate more high-resolution players into vehicles, “taking things up a notch” from the work they already do with

38 Mobile Electronics September 2022

DSPs. “We’re also reorganizing the shop,” he said. “We finished the showroom, and now we’re organizing it to flow better in our day-to-day.” Most mornings begin with informal conversations about what’s going on during the day, according to Frazier. Staff meetings depend on how involved a project becomes. “We’ll go over it, decide who is handling what and what our timeline is.”

This past year, iNNovative Concepts was awarded Top 12 Retailer, and Frazier himself was named a Top 12 Installer and Trusted Tech. “Seeing the business grow— starting small and becoming nationally recognized—has been a rewarding feeling,” he said. As the business continues to evolve, Frazier hopes that one day iNNovative Concepts will have a standalone location with a larger footprint to better organize the fabrication department. “When you move into a space that’s pre-built,” he said, “there’s only so much you can change before you’re cutting down on usable space.”


FACING THE FLUX

TRIAL AND ERROR:

FROM LOCAL ADVERTISING TO ORGANIC GROWTH

When it comes to making big changes in a business, Frazier advised careful consideration of the desired outcome. For example, it was a difficult decision to change his shop’s hours at first: “I didn’t want to close on weekends because other shops weren’t open, or some people might need it because they work during the week,” he said. “There’s been very little to no pushback, though. We have a car for

a week or two, anyway, so we can focus.” The change, he added, led to a better overall feeling in day-to-day operations. The shop might hire another person eventually, he noted, but finding the time to train someone would be difficult. “We’re getting to the point where having a third technician would be useful,” he said, adding, “It’s just a matter of finding the right fit.”

Most clients come to iNNovative Concepts via referral, though in the past, Frazier has made traditional marketing attempts. One such attempt involved advertising on grocery cart signs, while another was a local radio ad. “The grocery cart sign was in the beginning, and I learned those places aren’t where our key demographic would be,” he said, adding that the shop’s main audience are those seeking high-end audio. “It might have worked if we were just looking for a remote start or a radio here and there.” Boosted Facebook ads got people clicking on the page, he added, but he didn’t notice much of a return on investment. “For the most part, people end up searching for someone to do work, and they find our website which leads to our Facebook or Instagram.” Frazier posts the finished product as well as behind-the-scenes photos, to show potential clients the integrity of the installation behind the panels. He said this has often led to a new client: “They appreciated our attention to detail, and the thought and process we put into it.” Frazier himself has put a lot of work into raising the visibility of the shop’s website by taking advantage of Wix’s SEO options, which he said is built into the platform’s service.

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 On the Money

STAYING AHEAD

Rich DeSclafani—founder of brand-new company RDV Automotive Technology—talks growth, education and strategies for moving forward in an ever-changing industry. WORDS BY JAMIE SORCHER

40 Mobile Electronics September 2022

I

t didn’t take long for Rich DeSclafani to realize he didn’t want to be an automotive technician. “I had a passion for cars when I was younger,” he said. “I thought I wanted to be a mechanic because I wanted to make cars better. As I got older, I saw what mechanics did and realized it wasn’t for me, but I still wanted to do something with cars.” When a friend who was dabbling in 12-volt helped him update his vehicle, that’s when he saw his path. “It wasn’t about fixing broken cars,” he said. “It was an epiphany for me. I wanted to make cars better than what they were from the factory.” Not surprisingly, it set him on his way to becoming an installer, which he did for 10 years. He particularly enjoyed working on a wide variety of cars and specialized in wiring and circuitry. “I was fortunate


Staying Ahead

to work on a lot of high-end vehicles. It was exciting to be in that kind of automotive environment,” he said. “The high-end cars, high-end clients, European sports cars, luxury cars—that was my way in, and I didn’t look back.” At a certain point, he recalled, the company he worked for transitioned into an expediter business. DeSclafani managed the business, handled installations and learned a lot: “Especially how to navigate the dealership world and the expediterand dealership-specific products. From there, I went into manufacturing.”

Varied Experience Leads to New Business

Since first getting started, DeSclafani has held almost every position in 12-volt automotive electronics. He worked and managed both retail stores and dealer expeditor companies. He gained experience on both the wholesale and manufacturing sides with positions in

sales and technical support, and he also spent time as a test engineer, sales manager, technical support manager, product trainer and vice president for top companies in the OEM Integration category. All of this, combined with the right timing, led him to ultimately launch his own business a few short months ago— Pompano, Fla.-based RDV Automotive Technology. Its mission is to provide service and support for a variety of niche 12-volt products, sold only through authorized dealers. RDV’s initial plan is to focus on fully-integrated, vehicle-specific wireless CarPlay and wireless Android Auto interfaces that work through factory controls, backup camera interfaces, OEM-fit handle cameras, video streaming interfaces and interfaces that convert wired CarPlay and Android Auto to wireless. “I don’t like to sit still,” DeSclafani admitted. “I always want to keep moving forward—to better myself, improve, to

never settle. How can I grow? It was my dream for a long time to own my own company. That was the ultimate goal.” It wouldn’t have been possible, he said, without the support of so many he met along the way. “It’s a big industry, but at the same time, it’s very small,” he added. “A core group of people makes it run. They’re turning the gears. I have grown to know a lot of these people. I’ve made lots of friendships and relationships over the years. I am extremely grateful to those who’ve helped me get to this point.”

Overcome Fear and Hesitation to Move Ahead

Fear, DeSclafani said, is the number one thing that holds people back. “People get scared of the consequences of failing, of not being successful, of not doing it right, and there’s a long list of ways you can fail when you’re trying to launch a business. That’s the biggest challenge— getting over your own mental hurdle.”

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 On the Money

“Don’t get caught up in what I call ‘short money’—what you’ll make now. Don’t focus on money that’s right in front of you. Look at what the situation will be a year or two down the road. What’s the potential for you to move ahead?” Trying to make changes? Don’t fear it, he urged, adding, if there’s no risk, you can’t expect a reward. During his time in various positions in the 12-volt industry, he gained the confidence to move ahead. “I knew I had to learn all aspects of everything industry-wise to get where I wanted to go,” he said. “That’s how you become a successful businessperson. Learn every aspect of what you’re doing so you understand everything from the point of view of the installer, salesperson, manager, owner, shipping department, engineers, tech support, research and development—all of it.”

DeSclafani works with his two daughters, Karina (22) and Angelina (17). Karina works full-time, running the shipping department and managing inventory. Angelina works during the summer, helping with office work and graphics.

42 Mobile Electronics September 2022


Staying Ahead

Understanding many different components, he noted, helped him understand what he needed to do in order to get where he wanted to be in his career. He also said he made choices that weren’t motivated by money. Instead, they were focused on something else he holds in high regard: “Having passion for what you do is extremely important,” he said. “It’s important to recognize the difference between making money at something you don’t really enjoy doing, or making a little bit less money, but being happier day-to-day. That puts you in the position to grow, to become more successful, or to expand into something else because you’re doing what’s right for you.” While some might focus on the dollar, he added, “For me, it’s more of a focus on what makes me happy. Where are the opportunities? Growth is a very important consideration with any job or company.” For those who might feel uncertain about their career path, DeSclafani advised identifying what they enjoy most and then evaluating their opportunities. Most of all, he said, “Don’t get caught up in what I call ‘short

money’—what you’ll make now. Don’t focus on money that’s right in front of you. Look at what the situation will be a year or two down the road. What’s the potential for you to move ahead?”

Never Lose Sight of Education

Installers may bounce from shop to shop, he said, because they’re trying to find the perfect place. DeSclafani noted it’s important to be passionate not only about your work, but about your environment, too. “Then, you’ll do well. For installers who plan to stay with it for their entire career, they need to focus on their craft,” he said. Often, installers enter the industry hoping to focus mainly on fabrication, he added, “but what really turns the industry is the wiring side.” This is often the “bread and butter” where many opportunities can be found. DeSclafani pointed to retail shops in northern areas where much of the profit comes from remote starts. “You can do custom fabrication all you want, but at the end of the day, you still need to learn wiring. You have to be diverse,” he said, recalling his start in the

industry, when there were few—if any— wiring diagrams available. Certainly, there were no plug-and-play harnesses. “We had to figure it out on our own. We had to use relays. We had to troubleshoot noise. A lot went into wiring, and it was challenging,” he said, adding, “This part of the industry needs attention.” Installers who are just coming into the business, he said, should continue working on their wiring skills and working on their craft as a whole. There have been many changes over the years, DeSclafani noted: “When I first started in manufacturing in 2008, it was iPod, satellite radio and Bluetooth.” This evolved into backup camera interfaces, and now CarPlay and Android Auto is trending. The next great thing, he added, will always be on the way. “There will always be opportunities. Be fast on your feet and get things to market quickly. There have been a lot of transitions during my career. What’s always proven true is that we have to react quickly” because of shifting technology. At one time, a vehicle had a longer shelf life, but now things are changing faster. Furthermore, he added, the market is being flooded with cheaper products, which “dilutes the market, since a lot of consumers don’t know what they’re looking for or what to buy.” They might think if a product looks the same as another, it will perform the same way. Here’s how DeSclafani sees it: “You’re driving a Mercedes instead of a Kia. They’re both cars, but the Mercedes is a superior product. It’s the same with our products,” he explained, adding that even though two products might accomplish the same goal, how they do it can be completely different. “It’s part of the industry’s challenge today,” he said, stressing the importance of education, learning and understanding customers’ needs: “That’s where we always need to improve. Those who can identify trends, shift focus and update their strategy will be successful.”

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 strategy & tactics

CREATING COMFORT, NURTURING TRUST Kevin Hallinan of Winning, Inc. discusses communication and relationship in sales, and how salespeople can work to lower the guard that exists between buyers and sellers. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA

Asking questions, building trust and fostering strong connections are tools in closing the sale. In his three-part sales conversation class, Kevin Hallinan of Winning, Inc. introduces attendees to a methodology rather than a process, demonstrating how to “lower the natural guard that exists between buyers

44 Mobile Electronics September 2022

and sellers.” This methodology, he said, includes the “how” of interaction with a potential client. The Sandler Selling System, he explained, is designed to overcome the prospect system of traditional sales: “It’s a systematic approach to help people make buying decisions and overcome the traditional responses people have to sales—in other words, [the urge] to run and hide.” The method, he said, allows the salesperson to be honest and pressure-free. “Ask good questions that get to the truth. Be yourself.” How it’s applied will be different with each person because everyone has their own style, he noted, but the foundational concepts remain the same. Traditional selling has taught prospects how to be behave.

“We as salespeople were taught to find someone with interest in what we sell, and then tell them about stuff. Traditional sellers are taught to close, and prospects have learned it’s safer not to make the decision in front of the salesperson.” Conversely, salespeople are taught to chase—in other words, to follow up with a potential client, to try to get them to buy. While Hallinan said he was a traditional salesperson for years, he added, “This is not a healthy way to sell.”

HOW TO USE COMMUNICATION STYLES TO YOUR ADVANTAGEE

Closing the sale is always a concern, but Hallinan said, “Closing is overrated. If you’re worried about closing, you’re not doing everything right.” Doing it right, he stressed, involves listening. “Understand


Creating Comfort, Nurturing Trust

“In a face to face conversation, 55 percent of the conversation is due to visual or body language, yours and theirs. Zoom is a reasonable facsimile for face-to-face. Thirty-eight percent of the conversation is tonality. Words are only seven percent.” During trainings at KnowledgeFest Dallas, August 26-28, attendees role-played sales conversations and discussed their experiences afterward.

what your customer is saying or not saying. Are there numbers in selling? Absolutely.” However, he added, selling isn’t just a numbers game. “Yes, there are numbers involved, but you have to talk to people well. First, you have to see how people behave.” A prospective customer doesn’t know they can trust the salesperson, he said, adding, “All they can do is equate you with a used car salesman stereotype.” Understanding the client’s psychology involves understanding communication styles. “In a face to face conversation, 55 percent of the conversation is due to visual or body language, yours and theirs. Zoom is a reasonable facsimile for face-to-face. Thirty-eight percent of the conversation is tonality. Words are only seven percent.” Salespeople should also be aware of their own body language and tonality: “If you’re experiencing slow business, do you think people recognize that neediness? They absolutely do. Even if you’re down to your last dollar, you still have to be confident, because you’re more likely to sell. Tonality comes from that confidence.” While the words are less important, they should be nurturing. “Be nice. Be tactful. Listen for your prospect’s tonality.” Visual communicators, Hallinan noted, make up about 55 percent of people: “They speak fast and see the world

through pictures. They like diagrams. They like to see things. When they’re thinking about an answer to a question, they tend to look up. They’re descriptive and they use sight-based phrases like, ‘I see what you’re saying,’ or, ‘Looks good.’ They’re visualizing it.” When a salesperson is asking a prospective client a question that requires more thought, a visual person’s eyes will go up, he noted. On the other hand, an auditory communicator tends to look left and right. “Auditory communicators make up 20 percent of the population,” he said. “They have more tonality and their pace is moderate. They have more expression. When they read something, they might read it out loud.” The kinesthetic communicator, though, has a slower pace. “They’re patient. Their eye movement is down when they think about an answer,” Hallinan said. Anyone, though, regardless of communication style, tends to do business with those they like and trust. “People tend to like people who are like themselves. You’re going to make more sales if you can connect with someone based on how they communicate,” he added. “We need to be the ones to change, not the prospect. Adjust. Adapt.” If the prospective client appears relaxed, the salesperson should be relaxed, too. “If he gets more attentive, you should too.”

UNDERSTANDING THE BEHAVIOR OF PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS

Listening, asking questions, being honest and building relationships: These are a few of the keys to overcoming the traditional “prospect system” of selling, according to Hallinan, who added, “I’m not aggressive. I don’t coach that. The more you talk in a sales conversation, the less likely you are to win. This is about creating comfort and trust. We have to understand the people we’re talking to.” Unfortunately, many people still associates negatives with salespeople. Hallinan said people often think “sleazy” when they think of sales. “That’s how people see our profession. It’s wrong, but it’s not your fault. It’s the people who came before us.” Because of what they anticipate, prospective clients are reserved. “If you coach a kid on how to buy a car, you wouldn’t tell them to walk in and show the money, right? Prospects aren’t honest with salespeople.” A prospective client might promise to return another day. Salespeople recognize they likely won’t, “But on some level, aren’t we hoping they will?” Hallinan asked. “Generally speaking, those who say they’ll ‘think it over’ aren’t likely to return. When this occurs, you’ve spent some time with this person, you educated them and gave them information, and they say, ‘Thank you, I have to think it over.’ Ninety-six percent of the time, it’s already a ‘no.’” Four percent of the time, these prospects actually do return, he added. “If I say, ‘Give me your mortgage payment and

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Creating Comfort, Nurturing Trust

 strategy & tactics

I’ll place a bet that’s four percent likely to return,’ you wouldn’t do it. But we do it with our time.” Some businesses might say they’re better than that, he noted. “How much better? Two times? That’s eight percent. Three or four times? At best, you’re 16 percent likely to get that money back,” or to get that customer back. Additionally, prospects will hide: “Let’s say they go home. You have their email and phone number. They don’t pick up. How many emails should you send?” This prospect might be included in an email campaign, and something could change and they might eventually return. But if they don’t answer, and attempts to follow up are failing, Hallinan said, “They don’t want to tell you no because they don’t want to be confronted. Maybe it’s because they like you.”

LEARN TO CULTIVATE A GROWTH MINDSET

While a shop will often say they’re “different” to justify why a prospect should buy from them, Hallinan reminded attendees that, often, competitors say the same thing. “Or, do they?” he added. “Be careful of the words you choose. People buy for their reasons, not your reasons.” Reasons might include product features

46 Mobile Electronics September 2022

such as Apple CarPlay or safety benefits. But, he suggested, what if safety isn’t a hot button for this person? “We need to create comfort. That’s our job. There are some people you’ll just be naturally comfortable with. We all behave a certain way. We can’t expect people to be comfortable with us,” he explained. “If you want to get good at something, you have to have a positive mindset.” Anyone can have any number of negative mindsets or low self-esteem, which may or may not be situational, he added. “We have to get our heads into the right space to be high-performance.” Hallinan went on to encourage salespeople to invite new clients to introduce them to friends or family. “Do you get all the referrals you

deserve? No. Why not? We don’t ask. We aren’t consistent about asking.” An important aspect to getting better at anything, he added, is cultivating a growth mindset. “People with a growth mindset want to change. [They focus on] constant improvement.” Hallinan challenged attendees to consider what aspects of themselves they could improve: “You might say ‘I can be more effective at selling if I could be more comfortable with a money conversation.’ Or, ‘If I were more comfortable with a certain personality type.’ Some might say, ‘If I could get the truth out of my prospective customers.’ There are all kinds of things we need to get better at. What do you need to get better at to sell at a higher level?”


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 installs

Blue Dream This irresistible motorcycle, completely modified from the ground up, served as a mouth-watering centerpiece at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas in February 2022. SUBMITTED BY ANDY SMITH, SMART CYCLE SOUND AND PERFORMANCE, PLEASANT HILL, IOWA

This completely modified motorcycle was on display at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas in February 2022. It was built by Andy Smith, who is an HKI employee, as well as owner of Smart Cycle Sound and Performance in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. The bike is a 2016 Harley Davidson Road Glide. According to Smith, “There’s not a single stock part left on it.” The bike boasts a 32-inch front wheel and a matching 16-inch rear wheel. “It’s a full air ride, with a full custom body kit we ordered and then modified to fit what we were trying to do with the build,” Smith explained, adding that the audio system

48 Mobile Electronics September 2022


facebook.com/MobileElectronics 49


 installs

“It also has a Stinger Elevate Head unit we molded in—we don’t see too many of those in Harleys—and it runs five batteries.” includes four 6.5-inch GZCF 165 NEO Pros in the faring, a brand new coaxial from Ground Zero. It also has a set of GZCT 20 N Pro horns in the faring; each lid has two GZCM 8.0 N PRO midrange 8’s; and each bag also has one GZCT 20 N PRO. “There’s one 10-inch subwoofer in each saddle bag, sealed and ported, Hydrogen Series, dual two ohms,” Smith said. “This bike is rated for 22,400 watts. The subwoofers are powered by a SounDigital 1200.1 EVO X amplifier. Then we go into the faring to run the rest. We have three SounDigital EVO X 2400.4s; two EVOX 800.4s; one EVOX 400.4; and one EVOX 1200.2. It also has a Stinger Elevate Head unit we molded in—we don’t see too many of those in Harleys—and it runs five batteries.” The customer who owns the motorcycle loves to show it off, according to Smith, who said he allows HKI to bring it to events. While it’s been to bike shows and rallies, Smith noted that KnowledgeFest is the first industry event where this sleek eye-catcher has been able to strut its stuff.

50 Mobile Electronics September 2022


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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. facebook.com/MobileElectronics 53 facebook.com/MobileElectronics 51


FROM THE PRESIDENT

Remember the deadline: Turn in your nominations by midnight on Sunday, October 16 for consideration.”

AND SO, IT BEGINS

We have yet another year of accomplishments to celebrate. There’s no better time than right now to get started. The Mobile Electronics Industry Awards comprises a months-long process to recognize and honor those in the industry who best exemplify the professionalism, business ethics, service and expertise we want consumers to notice when they do business with us. Candidate companies and individuals submit video nominations and are narrowed to a list of finalists after a selection or voting process. In certain award categories, finalists submit material that’s judged by a select panel to determine a winner. In other categories, final voting tallies determine the winner. In past years, the awards ceremony has been held on the last day of KnowledgeFest in Dallas, hosted by the Mobile Electronics Association (MEA). But, as you know, the 2023 Industry Awards will return to Las Vegas for what’s sure to be an exciting event.

THE AWARDS PROCESS CONTINUES TO EVOLVE Many in the industry have said they wanted the awards to undergo a refresh. In response, we did just that. You’ll remember that 2022 came with some changes. This year, we continued that review based on your feedback. Our awards committee of previous winners in varying categories continues to discuss the best way to honor our industry participants. Because of this, we will have a fresh presentation of the Industry Awards each year that allows for clear progression from one award to the next. We want to keep encouraging winners to continue pursuing excellence as they advance in their careers. To help everyone stay on track and aware of the deadlines, we’ve created a clear timeline that’s now listed on the homepage: www.meindustryawards. com. In addition, the submission process has been refined to make it easier for you to create your submission and related video.

WHAT’S CHANGED? HERE ARE THE DETAILS The Installer of the Year will consist of a single award with no runner-up. All the questions for the initial video submission have also been streamlined and presented in order. We also reduced the

52 Mobile Electronics September 2022

number of years of experience required from five to two years. •

• •

The Trusted Tech will now be selected by your votes from the Top 50 Installers and does not require a separate nomination. The Rookie of the Year Award will allow submissions for both installers and salespeople with up to two years of experience. The Retailer of the Year will have two categories: Single Store and Multi-Store, with no runners-up. Finally, Retailer Performance Awards will now be selected by the judges from the Top 12 Retailers. Alternates will be included in the selection.

COME TO KNOWLEDGEFEST AND BE RECOGNIZED In the past, awards such as Best Online Presence and Best Customer Retention required their own nomination. This time, if you’re a retailer and you get picked into the Top 12—including alternates— when you make your second video, those questions will be included to allow the judges to recognize retailers who excel in specific areas. All retailer awards will allow for self-nominations with a second, as well as blind nominations. Once you’ve been selected for the Top 12 and Top 5, there will be a new outline and new set of questions. Remember the deadline: Turn in your nominations by midnight on October 16th for consideration. On the deadline, all nominations must be received along with the videos. What’s next? Be on the lookout for on the Top 50 and Top 20 announcements on October 30. We will make these announcements via video presentation, and we’ll list them on the Industry Awards website. KnowledgeFest Las Vegas will be held at the Paris Hotel & Convention Center on February 3-5, 2023. Here’s an extra perk: If you attend, you’ll get an additional ribbon to display on your badge that recognizes your place on the Top Retailer, Installer or Sales Pro lists. This is a great way to be recognized by your peers for all you have accomplished. The Mobile Electronics Industry Awards will be presented on the last day of KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, February 5, 2023. See you there!