Mobile Electronics Magazine - September 2023

Page 1



12// What’s Happening: Top Trends

Drawing in new clients and attracting fresh talent to the industry are two challenges that will always be top-of-mind for sales pros, store owners and managers. How do you deal?

30// Trusted Tech: The Steady Rhythm

With over 30 years of industry experience, Trusted Tech Dean Beyett said the best way to improve skillsets is to buckle down and learn from those who’ve gone before us.

42// Strategy and Tactics: Learning to Uplift

How can a business cultivate value? John Schwartz of Perfectionist Auto Sound in Anchorage, Alaska discusses how uplifting a team and being your own customer will help a shop grow.

Volume 55 Issue 7
ARTICLES 22 Retail News 48 Installs DEPARTMENTS 4 Editor’s Forum 6 Feedback ON THE COVER: At KnowledgeFest Las Vegas this past February, Dean Beyett of Five Star Car Stereo in Clearwater, Fla. was named this year’s Trusted Tech. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K
Sophia MANAGING EDITOR 978.645.6466
Editors Jamie Sorcher and Laura Kemmerer Published by Chris Cook PRESIDENT 978.645.6434 Richard Basler DIR. TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS 978.645.6449 Tony Frangiosa CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, MEA AD INDEX Alpine Electronics 5 Firstech - DroneMobile ................ 53 HKI USA - SounDigital 46, 47 HKI USA - TURY .................. 34, 35 JBL 17 Kicker ................................. 3 Mobile Electronics Industry Awards 11 KnowledgeFest Las Vegas .............. 9 MECP 51 ME-TV ................................ 39 Meyer Distributing 7 Pixel Technologies ..................... 19 SiriusXM 10 Snap Finance ......................... 25 Sony 41 TM mobile electronics association 12 2 Mobile Electronics September 2023

For more info, contact us at 405-624-8510, or your KICKER Sales Rep.

#kickeraudio #livinloud @kickeraudio
CompRT Down-Firing Enclosures KXMARLC Zone Volume Controller SHIPPING NOW! 2023 ©2023 STILLWATER DESIGNS


This past August, instead of flying, I decided to drive to Dallas for KnowledgeFest. I live in Florida on the Space Coast, and I’d never driven west through the panhandle. It was also my first time navigating part of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The map, with its new roads to take and places to explore, continues to be an apt metaphor for life and personal development. Improving oneself or one’s business often comes with an innate sense of curiosity and a willingness to explore—“What would happen if I tried this, instead of that?”


At sales trainings, I often hear about the “new way” of selling and marketing compared with older, “traditional” methods. Here’s how it seems to me: Customers want to know the business owner more than ever because they want to do business with someone they know, like and trust. We often talk about creating an experience for clients. Marketing gurus encourage business owners, salespeople and technicians to market themselves online with a personal headshot—to showcase their own creativity and demonstrate how they and their business stand apart from others.

Where does this all begin? With personal development and working on oneself. In this month’s Strategy and Tactics column, John Schwartz of Perfectionist Auto Sound in Anchorage, Alaska reminds readers that we can’t separate personal and professional growth. Both are intertwined, both are important. Without stepping back and working on ourselves, he stated, we cannot lead effectively.

A mentor of mine recently told me, “Sometimes, the parts of ourselves we see as ‘bad’—the reactions, attitudes, mindsets and behaviors—are really just parts of us that are trying to deal with something that’s overwhelmed us.”

In this regard, we should be gentle with ourselves. Our habits and reactions were useful to us once, but they might not be anymore. As we grow and change, certain behaviors no longer serve us. Learning to understand ourselves better will help us in our personal growth. When we grow, it lifts up those around us. If we are business owners, it lifts up our employees, too.


I continue to be inspired by the personal stories I hear through interviewing professionals in our industry. Sometimes, when I approach someone for an interview, they tell me, “I don’t really have a story to tell.”

Except, everyone has a story. Even if you think your personal journey isn’t very interesting, or you “just do basic radio installs,” you probably have something to share or to teach—you just don’t know it yet.

What have you tried that hasn’t worked? What new method have you implemented that made your store more efficient, or your life easier? How is your personal and professional life intertwined, and how do you balance your work and your life? If you don’t balance it well, what have you learned from that?

Here’s the thing, my friends: If we both decided to drive from Florida to Texas, we’d end up taking similar roads, but our experiences would vary. Upon meeting up at the convention center, or the hotel bar, we’d both have different memories to share. Even the smallest details of an experience can provide a new and important insight. Will you share yours?

4 Mobile Electronics September 2023
If we don’t shift our mindsets in a more positive direction, we cannot hope to change for the better.
As we grow and change, certain behaviors no longer serve us. Learning to understand ourselves better will help us in our personal growth.
“ ”


Experience incredible music detail with Hi-Res Audio Playback on the Next-Gen Alpine Halo Displays

iLX-F507 iLX-F511


Retailers agree that by expanding skillsets and supporting educational programs, industry professionals can help pave the way for younger techs and salespeople.

“The best advice I could give to another retailer or installer would be to always keep expanding your skillset. Too many people go stale and think they are doing things the best way possible, and many times that’s just not true. We attend the GoFast Dealer Expo and the Remote Start Summit twice a year. We attend at least one of the KnowledgeFest event annually. I’ve been to two Master Tech Expos. While that seems like a lot, I’ve grown and expanded my skillset beyond what I thought possible years ago. We’ve been able to offer way more services to our clients and ultimately made record sales in the past couple years.”

- Mike Hungerford, KarTele Mobile Electronics, Waterbury, Conn.

“I believe the industry can help young prospects who want to learn by continuing to support educational programs. We can also continue being involved in industry-focused networking groups on Facebook, for example. We should share the knowledge we have learned and pass that along to help our peers. This is a great way for young prospects and techs, as well as industry veterans, to help and learn from like-minded peers and professionals.”

-Angel Rivera, Laketown Speed and Sound, Draper, Utah

“Always be honest. You can’t keep up with lies.”

- Ata Ehdaivand, Absolute Electronix, Rockville, Md.

 feedback 6 Mobile Electronics September 2023
93 locations serving you nationwide and into Canada. ■ Family owned and operated ■ Personalized service ■ FREE online ordering ■ Toll free phone lines ■ Spanish bilingual call center ■ Full service IT staff to manage networks, infrastructure, phones, data and security ■ Over 900 product lines ■ Over 3 million sq. ft. of warehouse space ■ Company owned fleet ■ 500+ trucks serve 48 states direct ■ 12 distribution centers | 800.MEYERUSA

The Mobile Electronics Association shares the results from the 2023 KnowledgeFest season

As an attendee based on your overall experience, how likely are you to recommend attending KnowledgeFest to someone in our industry?


2023 34% 51% 16%

recommend it.

Since 2020, how many KnowledgeFest events have you attended?

2023 was my first time attending KnowledgeFest

I have attend two (2) to five (5) events

I have attended more than five (5) events

Did you take advantage of show specials from exhibitors at the event?

In terms of your career development, how valuable were the networking opportunities at KnowledgeFest?

How likely are you to attend a KnowledgeFest event again in the future?

How helpful was the content presented at KnowledgeFest?

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

Retailer Comments

“Ask more questions and talk less, let the customer do most of the talking.”

“There is a thriving community in the 12v industry.”

Thinking about your time on the KnowledgeFest Exhibit Floor:

What was the single most valuable thing you learned at KnowledgeFest?

“Take time to meet people, building relationships make a difference.”

“The Social Media speaker was the most helpful for me. He spoke about many habits we need to be able to master social media.”

“Product knowledge and availability of new products”

“It was a wealth of knowledge. I plan on being my entire team next year.”

 stats
Extremely Helpful Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not So Helpful Not At All Helpful 48% 37% 13% 3% 49% 23% 15% 34%
13% 3% 0% 26% 0% 43% 45% 11% 3% I Spent Time on the Exhibit Floor all three days I Spent Time on the Exhibit Floor just two days I Spend Time on the Exhibit Floor just one day Somewhat Likely Not So Likely Not Likely Extremely Likely Very Likely Extremely valuable Somewhat valuable 48% Excellent 61% Business Owner or Manager 2% 18 to 24 34% 35 to 44 11% 55 to 64 26% Very Good 22% Technician or Fabricator 15% 25 to 34 35% 45 to 54 4% 65+ 15% Good 13% Sales or Marketing Professional 10% Fair 2% Poor Not so valuable Not at all valuable Very valuable I Did not visit the Exhibit floor 17% 3% 1% 71% 9% Overall, how would you rate KnowledgeFest? 49% 34% 14% EXCELLENT GOOD 3% FAIR VERY GOOD I placed orders (or my company did) from my current vendors for products during the event. I placed orders (or my company did) from new vendors for products during the event. I committed (or my company did) to placing future orders as a result of information presented at the event. For Classification Purposes, survey respondents are: For Classification Purposes, survey respondents age groups are:
TM mobile electronics association 8 Mobile Electronics September 2023


SEMA 2023


Back in 1963, a group of small manufacturers—suppliers of performance equipment for early hot rods—got together as the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association, or SEMA. Now known as the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the organization hosts one of the key trade shows of the year and continues to be a prime place to see the newest automotive performance products from a wide range of exhibitors. It’s also a great resource for free education sessions. It all takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the week of October 31 to November 3. Registration is $60 through September 29, then doubled to $120, so don’t wait. On November 3, be sure to stick around for SEMA FEST at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. The event blends motorsports, music and car culture with headliner acts Imagine Dragons and Incubus plus other artists including Third Eye Blind and Ludacris.

Brand Failures: The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time

We’ve all seen it before—some products are runaway hits and others land with a resounding thud. Failures are just a part of doing business. Companies big and small have to take risks to stay competitive, hoping the gamble pays off in the end. Failures can be products that just aren’t selling, or ones that have been discontinued. In some cases, it can take quite a while for a product that fizzles to be completely gone from the market. Betamax might come to mind. Some just make you shake your head—Coors Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water, Harley Davidson perfume, Microsoft’s Zune MP3 player and McDonald’s Arch Deluxe hamburger. This entertaining read takes you through many others, offering insights as to what works and what doesn’t so your brand will thrive.

 helpful stuff



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.


The Everyday Hero Manifesto

Leadership legend Robin Sharma (author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari) has advised billionaires, business titans, professional-sports superstars and entertainment royalty with revolutionary methodology that leads to real results. In this groundbreaking new book, Sharma shares his transformational system. Readers will learn the hidden habits used by the world’s most creative and successful people to realize their visionary ambitions. Part of the secret? A blueprint against distraction and procrastination. Sharma has been ranked as one of the Top 5 Leadership Gurus in the World in an independent survey of over 22,000 businesspeople, and appears on platforms with other luminaries such as Richard Branson, Bill Clinton and Shaquille O’Neill.

12 Mobile Electronics September 2023 
what’s happening


Drawing in new clients and attracting fresh talent are two challenges that will always be top-of-mind for sales pros, store owners and managers. How do you deal?

At KnowledgeFest, Sales Professional Roundtables and Owner and Manager discussions have brought attendees together to talk trends and challenges and share ideas with one another. In Dallas, sales professionals discussed the difficulties they often face when it comes to getting clients off the phone and into the store, and they shared how they might handle these situations. Owners and managers also discussed hiring practices and where stores might look for new, fresh talent.

During the sales track, Jason Kranitz, 2020 Sales Pro of the Year, invited listeners to get involved and ask questions. Also on the panel were Dan Bowman of Titan Motoring in Nashville, Tenn., 2023 Sales Pro winner; and Robert Kowatch of Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security in Anchorage, Alaska, 2022 Sales Pro winner.


“There are a lot of similarities between our views,” Kranitz said, adding that his experience goes back to running a custom fabrication shop. “We have three different shop styles. Dan is at a high-end shop, and they’re very technologically savvy. Rob is, too, and they have a nice remote start season with lots of high volume. We have three different ways of dealing with customers. Take whatever you think makes the most sense for you.”

Bowman agreed, noting, “Even if we don’t have the answer to your question, someone else in this room might.”


Kranitz began the presentation with methods on bringing customers into the store, stressing the importance of never offering a price over the phone. As others have often mentioned, sharing a price over

the phone can lead to the customer hanging up and dialing the next shop to see who will offer the lowest price. The greeting, he said, is also very important. “Put a smile on your face when you answer. You can hear the smile, and the tone changes. Thank them for choosing you.”

Kranitz went on to say that he first got this idea from a very positive experience dealing with Go Daddy’s customer service line. He also recommends asking,

14 Mobile Electronics September 2023  what’s
Sales Pros Dan Bowman, Rob Kowatch and Jason Kranitz discussed ways of drawing clients into the shop to complete a consultation and move toward closing the sale.

“Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today? Let me get a phone number in case we get accidentally disconnected. In case I need to send you something, what’s your email address? Build a rapport on the phone.” Collect as much data as possible, he said, including what kind of equipment the customer might be looking for, and what kind of vehicle they drive.

Then, he said, ask them to come into the store—but give them just two options. “I have Monday available, or do you prefer another day? They’ll tell you, or they might say, ‘How about Friday?’ You locked it in, and when they come in, you

“ ”

While agreeing on the importance of the follow-up, salespeople said this doesn’t have to start post-sale: Kowatch explained how he “plants seeds” throughout the consultation, drawing the client back for more before they’ve even left.

do everything you need to do to show them why you’re different. It only works when you’re religious about it. You’ll get rejections sometimes,” he explained, adding, “A lot of people appreciate this method and they want to be sold. They want that experience.”

Kowatch said Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security fields over 200 calls a day. Someone in the audience shared that their business receives about 75 to 100 calls. “We have eight phone lines, and one morning, I had all eight lit up,” Kowatch said. He agreed with Kranitz’s recommendation to smile upon answering the phone: “You also have to take a breath and reset every single time. You have to bring that ‘wow’ factor into every call.

Bowman noted that it can be frustrating when clients keep pushing for a price over

the phone, but it’s important to stick with the shop’s processes: “I’ll tell them, ‘Look, I don’t want to set an unrealistic expectation by missing something on your car, and then giving you a surprise call halfway through,’” he said, adding, “‘I need to know what your car is equipped with. Come in whenever you like, but I can’t give you a price over the phone.’”

On the other hand, in their presentation on “Paving the Road to Profits With Shop Processes and Efficiencies,” Philip Lindsley and Dan Bowman of Titan Motoring in Nashville, Tenn. shared that they don’t do very many in-person consultations anymore. Instead, the business uses Shop Monkey as a software platform to automate appointment reminders and payments. The

16 Mobile Electronics September 2023  what’s happening
To Learn More Visit: Or Contact: Shawn Spedding 816-385-1944 or © 2018 HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Infinity is a trademark of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, registered in the United States and/or other countries. Feature, specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice. RALLY BAR • Available in 20” and 35” • 20” 150 W • 35” 300 W • RB/RBXL - Party Light • Flexible Mounting • Bluetooth Broadcast • Dome Light • IPX Rated


Dan Bowman of Titan Motoring in Nashville, Tenn., said, “To me, upselling is getting someone to buy the better version of what they’re interested in.” On the other hand, he explained, “An example of an attachment sale is when someone comes in for a remote start, and I also sell them a radar detector. Or they come in for a radio in a Sprinter van, and I also sell them an extended-range fuel tank.”

There are many options for attachment sales, he said.

“Sound-dampening material should be your number one attachment sale. You can do that even if you’re not selling audio, because you can say, ‘Hey, we’re going to make the car a nicer place to be.’”

team has discovered their clients prefer the quickness of these methods.

“We get the client’s information. We find out what they want. We put it all together, send it to them and they review it at home,” Lindsley said, adding that he will receive a notification on his phone via Shop Monkey when deposits are paid. “This has helped our close rate and it’s low-pressure for our salespeople.”


Once they come into the store, Kowatch said he involves the follow-up process in the initial sale: “Throughout, I’m inviting them back for more,” he said. “I’m asking, ‘What does your wife drive?’ And if they’ve told me, ‘Is there anything she wants that she doesn’t have?’ By the time I’m done with our transaction, I’ve already planted multiple seeds. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me.”

He added that 80 percent of his business comes from 20 percent of his clients because they come back into the store a second time. “I’ll ask, ‘Is that car fast

enough for you?’ It doesn’t matter what they come in for. If you land radar as an add-on sale to a remote start, you’re doing pretty well.” Then, he said, “Before they leave, I can say, ‘Now that you can protect yourself, we can make it faster.’”

Following up, he noted, is about cultivating lifetime customers. “Every day, I look at the previous week’s quotes. I go through and call, email, or text depending on the person’s preference. As good as I think I am, I’m not going to close every single person. I often hear, ‘Thank you for calling me. I meant to call. Let’s do it.’ That wouldn’t happen if you didn’t follow up. That’s money just sitting there.” The vehicle check-in process also allows the shop to make recommendations based on technologies a car might be missing.

Kowatch will also call the previous week’s clients to make sure everything is working well for them. “If you can have that conversation, you can revisit the things they want to do in the future,” he said, adding, “Send handwritten thankyou cards. It will set you apart from everyone else.”

18 Mobile Electronics September 2023  what’s happening
During the Owners and Managers roundtable event, retailers brainstormed ways to attract new talent.

Motorcycle Kit

The SXMKR97 is the smallest and most compact SiriusXM® Satellite Radio motorcycle kit on the market. The Commander Touch system features a beautiful full-color touch screen display controller that allows you to pause and rewind capability SiriusXM® programming. The display controller dimensions are 4.1" W x 1.7" H x .5" D. Perfect for a discrete and clean installation into any motorcycle dash or console.

•Touch Screen Display

•Water Resistant Case

•Hide-away Tuner

•3 Mounting Options

•Universal Audio Adapters

•Advanced SiriusXM® (800) 595-0845



During the presentation, an attendee asked panelists to share their views on compensation programs for technicians.

“I think we had a panel once where we went through processes of six differently-sized businesses, and each one had a different one. The commonality,” said John Schwartz, “xwas that each one had a process. If installers are incentivized, they will find a way to grow with you so they can make more money.”

Someone raised a hand and asked, “What are pros and cons to a 1099 versus a W2 employee?”

He responded: “A 1099 employee is temporary. A W2 employee, from an owner’s perspective, will help the bottom line. Profit is a theory—a snapshot of a moment. For example, right now, we have profit. But in reality, every single day, that changes.”


A panel designed for owners and managers also took place in Dallas, where businesses could discuss issues and share opportunities with one another. Much of the conversation centered around hiring new employees and where to find them. The panel was led by Chris Cook, president of Mobile Electronics Association. Also on the panel were Chris Pate of Mobile Toys, Inc. in College Station, Texas; John Schwartz of Perfectionist Auto Sound in Anchorage, Alaska; and David Wall of Freeman’s Car Stereo in Cornelius, NC. The panel discussed prioritizing the well-being of employees, growing from within and how to find additional team members. Panelists and attendees agreed that one effective way might

be approaching technical schools. “Find out who the career counselor is and get involved in a Career Day at a tech school,” Cook said.

One attendee shared that his shop brought in an intern from a local tech school. The individual has since grown to become an important part of the team, and is now leading the charge into working with CNC. “Think outside the industry,” the attendee said. “He might not be a mechanic or a body guy.”

Wall said Freeman’s Car Stereo keeps listings posted on Indeed. “I also use Resume Finder, which is $120 a month subscription.” This also opens the door for people who might want to move from out of state to find a job or further their career.

Another attendee suggested that it’s worth considering expanding the hiring

20 Mobile Electronics September 2023  what’s happening

pool to people with felonies: “It’s an area that’s not really explored much. A lot of states have work release programs for inmates. These are people trying to better their lives, looking for a career when they get out—people who will be out in three to six months,” he explained, adding, “They’re eager to learn and they want to do something good.”

Finally, another audience member asked the panel a pertinent question: “If I find this kid from a tech school and invest in that person as an employee, and put in the time and effort to training him—what’s the threshold of that, versus finding someone who may or may not be trainable, who has their own experience, their own way of doing things?”

One of the panelists advised the attendee to think differently: “Then you’re looking for a body. If someone isn’t ready to be a part of your team, it’s going to hurt your shop. I don’t care how good someone is, if they have a bad attitude or they don’t fit in our company culture, then they have to go.”

“ ”


Lubbock, Texas-based Vernon’s Signature Audio has been serving its community for 43 years. Owner Steve Vernon is pictured with business partner Leon Winchester at KnowledgeFest Dallas this past August. Winchester, he said, encouraged him to begin attending training events a couple of years ago.

22 Mobile Electronics September 2023

The business has four employees, works with over 40 local dealerships and completes 85 to 115 cars per week. For the last two years, the shop has been a top retailer with Sony. Categories include car audio, window tint, upholstery, paint and body, lights and much more. Vernon said it’s a one-stop shop: “We can make a car a convertible, do pop-up sun roofs, rims, tires and truck accessories, too.”

As much as 99 percent of the shop’s business comes from referrals, he added, which the team carefully tracks. He first got the idea of using commissions 40 years ago. “I started with dealerships. I would give them a card and say, ‘I don’t care if it comes from the dealership or not, if you send me work, I’ll give you a commission.’ At first, it might’ve been a bottle of Jack Daniels and a little bit of cash. Then, I thought of making the commission cards. The commission has to be spent at my shop.”

Every customer, he said, is given a card. “For every customer they send me, I will put up to 10 percent commission on their card. I’ll take 40 or 50 cards,

put $25 on them, and when I go out, I’ll hand them to people and say, ‘If you ever need anything, stop by.’” Vernon also gets creative about where he leaves the cards, even tucking them into shoes or clothing pockets when he’s in a department store.

“If someone comes in with a $3,000 commission, and I gave them 10 percent, that means they sent $30,000 worth of business to my shop by handing out cards and saying, ‘Hey, go to Vernon’s and tell them I sent you.’ I look him up and add a commission to his gift card. Then, he spends that at my shop. They’re talking to people I’m not talking to. I have had customers even sell a gift card for $1,500 cash, and it’s worth $2,000, and the [customer who bought that card] will bring it in and get $2,000 worth of equipment.”

Vernon said business has never been better. During COVID, the shop’s revenue went up 200 percent, he added. “We are still climbing and people are still coming in.” Additionally, ticket amounts have continued to increase in window tint, ceramic coating and car audio. “I had a customer send

me [someone with] an SS Impala the other day [for a] $40,000 [system]. So, I put $2,000 on a commission card for him.”

Vernon feels that honesty, quality and integrity are the bedrocks of his business, and it’s to this that he attributes the recent growth. “I’m straight up with customers,” he said. “We take care of them—even if we know they blew up a sub, for example, and it might be out of warranty. I’ll take it out of my pocket and give them a sub and say, ‘Just refer some business to me.’ When I look that customer up on the computer, they might have already referred three or four people to me, so I might just give them the sub for the heck of it.”

Sometimes, he said, customers come in feeling dejected after a negative experience at another shop. “I had someone come in who was disappointed with another company. A sub had blown after two days and it hadn’t been tuned correctly. I gave him a sub for free and we tuned it for him,” he said, adding, “Seven or eight days later, he was back buying door speakers and brought a friend with him.”

 retail news 24 Mobile Electronics September 2023
one in three Americans have a subprime credit score.1 With Snap as your preferred lease-to-own financing provider, you can convert those consumers into loyal customers, boosting your sales revenue and expanding your reach.2 A Snap Finance Solution The advertised service is a lease-to-own agreement provided by Snap RTO LLC. Lease-to-own financing is not available to residents of Minnesota, New Jersey and Wisconsin. ¹DeNicola, Louis. “What Does Subprime Mean?” Experian. July 9, 2022. ²While no credit history is required, Snap obtains information from consumer reporting agencies in connection with the lease-to-own application. Not all applicants are approved. ³The average approval amount a customer receives is $3,000. 4Dollar amount based on top-performing retailers, 2022. Does not indicate future performance. Drive more sales and grow your business with Snap Finance Exclusive discount rates for Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) members A Snap Finance Solution Exclusive to MEA members, use Snap at no cost to you. 0% merchant discount rate Customers can get up to $5,0003 in lease-to-own nancing, helping you increase your average order value. High approval amounts Customers choose from three convenient payment options, including an 18-month term option. Multiple ownership options Snap provides more consumers with an accessible nancing solution. All credit types welcome 2 | 833-575-8789 Start attracting and converting more customers Claim your exclusive MEA partnership offer today. Access code: MEA2023 Average amount our top MEA retailers receive per month in Snap funding4 $23,000



While highlighting features, retailers demonstrate simplicity which contributes to an easier and more effective installation.


Kelly Spongberg, Metaldog Machines, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada


“The demo of the controller in action is stunning.”



“We explain how adding all these controls the old way would be very complex, and this makes it easier.”

 Hot Sellers 26 Mobile Electronics September 2023

Price and learning curve.

HOW TO OVERCOME: “Let them hear the difference.”



“This receiver offers wired and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It fits single-DIN dash openings.”




Thomas Shafter, Blossom Installations, Bartonsville, Pa.


“When discussing audio with a new customer, my explanation of what DSP is and how it benefits their audio system when used in a vehicle is what hits home the most. Also, the flexibility of these amplifiers allows me to design a hybrid audio system that gives them louder sound and stays within the constraints of their budget.”


Price and labor cost to install.

amplifier, I like to lighten the moment by explaining to the customer how it used to take two separate amplifiers ‘back in the day’ to achieve what a modern day amplifier is doing in a single chassis, and not to think of it as purchasing one amplifier, but two amplifiers in one chassis. Then I like to build off this comment by telling them they are going to save labor cost since there will be less time and less parts involved when installing a multi-channel amplifier.”



“We recently installed these lights on our new demo vehicle and people love it!”


Labor cost to install.


“We explain how they function and what the kit can do. We also break it down and explain what it actually takes to complete the install.”

28 Mobile Electronics September 2023
 Hot Sellers


Vision Zero and MECP now offer a course and certification intended to equip professionals with the “knowledge to properly explain, demonstrate, sell, and install Advanced Driver Awareness System components and accessories to modern vehicles,” according to the MECP website. Topics covered include rearview camera, forward collision, parking sensors, blindspot sensors and more.



While looking back on his 33 years in the industry, Dean Beyett said, “If I could do it all over again, I might’ve gone to college for marketing, instead.” He entered the 12-volt industry with a degree in architecture, noting that a mindset for design helped create the foundation for his career. Beyett, who is also a self-taught

With over 30 years of experience, Trusted Tech Dean Beyett said the best way to improve skillsets is to buckle down and learn from those who’ve gone before us.
30 Mobile Electronics September 2023 Trusted TECH
32 Mobile Electronics September 2023 Trusted TECH

photographer, was named Trusted Tech at the Industry Awards in February 2023. Currently, he is general manager at Five Star Car Stereo in Clearwater, Fla. Outside his day job as an installer, his company, Smash Force Productions, helps raise awareness for important industry topics and discussions.

“The productions company came as a necessity,” Beyett added, “because we were doing so much that we had manufacturers who were trying to hire us. We needed a separation of Five Star from what we were doing [in photography and videography], so we built the

company to take us away from the alterego of the store.”

At Five Star, Beyett works with a very small team—the business’s owner, Paul Ahuja, and fellow technician Fernando Lopez. “Our day starts at 8:30,” he said, adding that most of the shop’s builds are multi-day projects. “Two to three days a week, we have fresh days. Otherwise, we continue the work we were already doing the day before.” The work continues until 6:30. A couple of days a week, Beyett and Lopez will stay late and film live shows, product reviews or unboxings, he added. On Mondays and

Saturdays, they host a long-running live show. Listeners can tune in to Car Stereo Talk with Dean and Fernando by visiting the Five Star Car Stereo YouTube page.

“I get home around seven or eight, and go for a run or go to the gym. Friday nights are family nights. Then,” he said, “it’s off to my second job, which is my production company, and I’ll edit videos until one or two in the morning.”


Over the years, Beyett has grown to understand what he most enjoys doing— and what he prefers to leave to someone else. When asked why he doesn’t like fabrication, he said, “Sawdust and unrealistic deadlines.”

In his past experience, he said, those who booked jobs didn’t have enough of an understanding of the work involved. “[Ten or 12 years ago] they would give me two days for four days’ worth of work. It got to the point where I wasn’t enjoying it anymore, and that’s when you know it’s time to do something else.”

Many shops, though, have improved communication between the front and back of the store. Beyett feels technology has been a contributing factor. “A lot of businesses I talk to now have a good understanding and pay more attention to it. The Point of Sale software is better, so salespeople and managers can track time. They can look back and see how long it took to finish a particular vehicle.”

When Beyett first started at Five Star, he said, it was just him and Ahuja. “The work load was overwhelming,” he said. “I wanted someone who didn’t have experience and didn’t have preconceived notions, someone I could [instruct on how] I wanted things done. That was Fernando.” Now, he and Lopez have been working together for almost nine years, and each has a good sense of their strengths.

“As the lead, I distribute what needs to be done. He knows what he’s good at, and I know what I’m good at, so we can each be on one side of the car and work through the project,” Beyett explained. “He’ll get the door panel and speaker out, then start on sound treatment, and

Trusted Tech Dean Beyett has settled into a weekly routine which includes project planning, installation and filming live shows to help educate the industry and the public at large. He also teaches photography and wiring techniques.

I’ll make any custom brackets we might need and hand that to him. He’ll finish getting it in and wired, then I’ll move to another part of the installation—maybe the rear speakers. We leap frog each other so we both have something to do at all times. We can move through the job quickly that way.”

Sometimes, he added, height can prove advantageous: “Fernando being shorter than me, sometimes I see a problem that’s easier for him to handle,” Beyett explained. “There’s

nothing either of us do that the other can’t do. It’s just a matter of who can do it faster and easier.”

Having spent 22 years at his first job, Beyett learned a lot about his own limits—what he did and didn’t want to have to deal with. “For the last 10 years I was there, I was installation manager, so I had to watch the technicians and do my own job, which was also fabrication.” Often, he said, techs had their own ways of doing things. “Doing it the right way takes longer. Some people just want

to be fast, and they’ll cut corners,” he explained, adding, “Why didn’t you take that apart and do it this way instead? You’re creating a service problem. If you spent ten more minutes on this, you’d never have to look at it again.”

Due to the processes he employs, Beyett said Five Star gets very few returns. “We spend more time on the install so we don’t have to spend time servicing something we did wrong.” Return services, he noted, are often generated from simple mistakes. “This can happen because someone was

36 Mobile Electronics September 2023 Trusted TECH
Dean Beyett and Fernando Lopez have been working together for about nine years. Anyone who wishes to listen to their live show, Car Stereo Talk with Dean and Fernando, can visit the Five Star Car Stereo page on YouTube.

lazy and didn’t feel like doing something, so we have a policy. We do it the better way—whether it takes 30 minutes longer or not. That’s better than trying to troubleshoot something later. Fernando is very creative and I can tell him how I want it, and then he can make it even better.”

Together, Beyett and Lopez recently finished a three-day install on a Ford Focus. Beyett said he went in early to complete the final DSP tune. “I don’t like to do DSP tuning at night after a long day,” he said. “I like my ears to be fresh.”


The focus at Five Star, according to Beyett, is basic installs. “People come to us because they know who we are and they like what we deliver,” he said. “If you knew who was going to win the Superbowl, you’d bet on it, right? When people know us from our social media, they already know what we do. They’ve seen it live and they’re excited.”

Beyett and Lopez have shared insights and strategies during training

classes—beginning with “The Digital Business Card” at KnowledgeFest— teaching other industry professionals how to attract new clientele using social media. At Five Star, the two will often go over what they’re doing in a vehicle. “Having the video production side of things has helped the store do better,” Beyett said. “This dovetails into the classes we teach.”

Most recently, their hands-on class on the show floor at KnowledgeFest, “Modern Wire Management,” has been


drawing larger crowds. Beyett recalled the early days of his career when he was taught wiring on a surface level: Rather than fabricating with wiring in mind, it was an afterthought.

“The guy who taught me didn’t take it into consideration. We’d wire stuff, and he’d say, ‘Drill a hole,’” he explained. “I grew up before the Internet, so figuring out how to build a panel or wire something involved turning the pages in a magazine. I always fabricated with the wiring in mind as opposed to the opposite—which was, ‘Figure it out in the end.’ Wiring was just as important

to me as fabrication. When I decided I didn’t want to do fab anymore, I decided to focus on what I like the most, which is wiring. There’s a lot of pre-planning involved. Anything you want to do well, there’s got to be some forethought involved in it.”

Beyett began to notice that many classes offered fabricating techniques, but no one was teaching a deep-dive on wiring. On the other hand, he and Lopez were already sharing photos of wiring along with other build images. “How to use tools, that’s good—but why do you use this? And how does this tape work?”

he said, naming a few of the subjects they tackled. “In other words, ‘This is what you’re doing wrong and here’s how you save money and here’s how you do that faster.’ Before the class, someone will say to me, ‘I’m coming to this class because it’s you, but I don’t think you’ll teach me anything.’ They always come up and say, ‘Wow, I was wrong. I learned something.’”

One thing, Beyett said, is TESA tape. “You either love it or you hate it. People don’t always know how to use it. I talk about why you should love it, and if you hate it, here’s what you’re doing wrong. It’s an ‘ah-ha’ moment for a lot of people.”

38 Mobile Electronics September 2023 Trusted TECH

Wiring isn’t glamorous, he added. “Everyone wants the big lights, the flash and the bling. The wiring is a necessary evil.”

Readers are encouraged to check out the August issue of Mobile Electronics magazine and read the Strategy and Tactics column, “6 Tips for Creating Purposeful Content.” The article also provides coverage of Beyett and Lopez’s “Modern Wire Management” class. For more, readers can also join the Facebook group “12 Volt Clean Wire Club.”

At KnowledgeFest Dallas, besides teaching classes, Beyett and Lopez filmed live videos and helped out at the Orca booth. “Orca also does two trainings a year at Mobile Solutions, so we’ll go to that, too,” Beyett added.


Photography has always been one of Beyett’s interests. “Even though I enjoyed drawing, I didn’t want to do it anymore,” he said. “I liked photography, cool gadgets, putting together a picture, making things look pretty. As cameras evolved, we saw an opportunity to take

advantage of that. I always wanted to do what we’re doing now, but the technology wasn’t as accessible.” By 2010, though, Beyett had cameras and editing software, so the experimentation began.

Most importantly, he said, they have fun. “We want to teach, but we want to teach in a way that you don’t even realize it’s happening. When we create, there has to be some relaxed humor. This is the best job in the world, and sending that message is fun to do.”

Mostly, Beyett feels the mistakes technicians make are often due to lack of exposure. It’s easy, he said, to get caught up “in your own bubble.”

“They’re hung up on simple things that feel big to them,” he explained. “There are little tweaks you can make and things will be different. I think that’s life, though. We get into a rut and we think the same old way is always the best way.”

When this happens, he added, “You’re not someone who wants to evolve. People get too much into their own heads and they believe things can’t be different.”

For those technicians who do want to get better, Beyett offered his best piece

of advice: “Find someone who is really good and work with them. There’s no magic for this.” After all, he said, “We all have this passion that doesn’t make any sense for an industry that doesn’t make any sense, but every morning we get up and do it.” He pointed to camera stores and malls that have gone out of business, “But somehow there are still car audio shops.” While many people aren’t aware of the industry, “We’re still here and working, and that’s because people want their cars to sound better.”

Five Star Car Stereo, he said, recently acquired a 3D printer. “We use the laser constantly, and it’s revolutionized the install bay. The 3D printer is like the laser in that we had no idea what we’d use it for, but it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. If this follows the same track, the sky is the limit.”

As for the future, Beyett is taking it one day at a time. “We’ve done so many cool things—going to Austria with Ground Zero. Doing trainings with JVC. Things that were never on our radar. What new milestones will we hit?” He paused, adding, “I can’t even wrap my head around it.”

Trusted TECH 40 Mobile Electronics September 2023


How can a business cultivate value? John Schwartz of Perfectionist Auto Sound in Anchorage, Alaska discusses how uplifting a team and being your own customer will help a shop grow.

Being able to step back and look at things objectively is essential to growth, whether personal or professional, and it’s something most of us never completely master. John Schwartz of Perfectionist Auto Sound in Anchorage, Alaska challenged attendees at KnowledgeFest Dallas to consider the definition of average; to look more closely at whether or not their businesses were creating real value; and to be their

own customers. The class—entitled “The Retail Owners Cookbook”—discussed not only business strategy, but personal development as well.

“We should push harder. If your team isn’t where you want [it to be], you need to grow,” he said. “If you invest in them and they’re making good money, it only lifts you up as well. There’s no bad part to that.”

 strategy & tactics 42 Mobile Electronics September 2023


Years ago, Schwartz recalled someone sharing with him the definition of average: “Before we had more data modules, we had people come out and program keys for us for remote starts,” he explained. “There was a woman who went to all the shops. She came in one day and said what she loved about our shop was that we weren’t average.”

She told him something he’d never forget: “The definition of average is, ‘You’re either the best of the worst or the worst of the best.’ When you think about your shop,” he continued, “are you being average? I’ve been in the game a long time. My business runs really well,

and sometimes we get complacent. Am I being average?”

Being a CEO, he said, means asking these difficult questions of ourselves. Perfectionist Auto Sound, he noted, is a two-time Retailer of the Year award winner. He and his team make a point of considering whether or not the store is fulfilling the qualities of a Retailer of the Year. “If one of us screws something up, I’ll ask, ‘Are we being a Retailer of the Year right now?’ We live that every day. We’re working on our mindset.” He encouraged business owners to include the team in the journey of attempting to excel.

“Here’s what ‘team’ means: ‘Together, everyone achieves more.’ Everyone should know the goal. Where are you? Where do you want to be, and what excuses are you making? What changes do you have to make?” Considering these questions and acting on them, he said, is how we can move beyond just being average.


Schwartz encouraged business owners to consider their labor rates. If a shop charges $100 an hour, he said, what would happen if it was increased by $10?

“Realistically, if we add $10 to the labor, increase the value and get more cash flow, we can invest in other things,” he explained. “When we build an environment of growth for our employees, the best thing we can do is hire from the inside.” He cited several Perfectionist Auto Sound team members who also work with him in other areas of business. Good cash flow and solid team support allows a business owner to branch out, he explained.

“Running the business right allows you to invest beyond your company.” He added that this might mean opening another company, or expanding into something else, such as real estate. “If you don’t have cash, you can’t create.”

Keeping careful records on projects and time spent per vehicle will give a business something to refer back to. “When an employee requests a raise, for example, you can go to the records and find out how productive they are. Then you can assess

their performance. If you want a raise, you have to give the company a raise,” he said, adding, “You don’t get a raise because you’ve been hanging out for a year and doing the same exact thing over and over. We have to grow as a team.”

When the employees grow, he said, the company grows. “I want all of my people to own a house and have a nice car,” he said, adding that if it’s hard to find employees, it might mean a company isn’t doing enough to support the growth of its team. “We have to lift our team and build an environment for growth.”

Someone in the audience raised a hand and said, “I work for an amazing owner and I get job offers all the time. I can make more money, but what [issues] will I run into? I know the type of person I’m working for—and I know what I’ll get at the end of the day. Why would I leave?”


Learning to be your own customer, Schwartz said, is very important. A salesperson must never sell from their own wallet, and never make assumptions about a client. “Say I have a dream outcome for my car. If I go to a shop, it’s because I’m following them online. Next, I look at the perceived likelihood of achieving my goal. I look at reviews, pictures—this gives them credibility and adds value,” he explained. “The more you show me, the more I know I’ll get my dream outcome. I want to be upsold.”

Then, he added, a few other factors come into play: Effort, sacrifice and time delay. “If we want to the know the perceived likelihood of achievement, time delay can destroy that. You’re booked out a month. I have to factor that in.”

In considering how businesses can reduce effort and sacrifice, Schwartz cited Blockbuster and Netflix as examples: “Netflix made it more accessible. There’s no effort, no sacrifice. How much effort and sacrifice does a client have to put in to be your client? How difficult is it?”

At Perfectionist, Schwartz said, clients receive a tour of the shop. “We have a beautiful shop. I want to show it off. The only brand I sell is Perfectionist.” He added that the team will show the client

Learning to Uplift 43

various installs and explain how long it takes to do certain parts of a job. This demonstrates value. “We show people what we do and how many hours it takes. When we get back up front, we haven’t even talked about a dollar amount yet. They see the value in it because they just saw someone working on it.”

When it comes to any decision, he added, “Always be your own customer. It’ll answer so many questions for you.”


While few people write business plans, according to Schwartz, it’s an important step—a mindset shift. “How can you grow without it? You have to know these things. If you’re not looking where you going, how are you going to get there? Where are you if you don’t have a plan?” He also encouraged business owners to consider whether or not their team members are aware of the business’s goals. “If we don’t have a

 strategy & tactics 44 Mobile Electronics September 2023

plan, how can we elevate our staff?”

To help owners get started, he outlined the basics: “The first page is the executive summary—one page. If I’m an investor, I can read this and it’ll tell me who you are, what kind of corporation you are, what you do, whether you need to borrow money, what you’ll do with it and what the projection is,” he explained. “If I’m interested, all the rest should back up the first page. You’re writing it for yourself unless you need the money. If you have a business, you either want to sell it eventually, or you want it for legacy. If you want to sell it, you need the books to be perfect. For me, Perfectionist is a legacy. I want my kids to have it.”


Schwartz recommended a book called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping by Robert M.

Sapolsky. The book explains how our body’s reaction to stress can make us sick.

“How often are you stressed?” he asked. “There’s no money to pay the bills. When the economy crashed, I was broke.” Then he encouraged attendees to start journaling, focusing on self-improvement. He advocated therapy, working out, or joining peer groups or going to church, if so inclined. “We have to start talking about it. Mental health is a serious thing.”

Recalling his earlier days in the industry, Schwartz said he wasn’t as healthy and was working in the business rather than managing it. His boss at the time came in and asked him, “How will you manage my company if you can’t manage yourself?” Schwartz said, “It hurt, but it was true.”

He brought up a few important questions to consider, which he said he’d picked up from a mentor. He encouraged attendees to write them down and carefully consider the answers:

If you didn’t own a company and you knew what you know right now, how would you build a company to last?

Would you fire yourself?

Are you being average?

What are you doing to improve your game when no one else is watching?

Where do you need to invest additional time?

And finally, where have you settled for “good enough,” taking shortcuts instead of mastering a task?

Personal and professional growth are interwoven. “I later lost everything I had and rebuilt myself. If we’re not doing business plans, then we’re not doing this, either,” he added. “We have to step back and work on ourselves. How do we lead if our mindset is in the wrong place?”

Learning to Uplift 45


It took six years to bring this 2001 Chevrolet Blazer from dream to reality. The car, with a complete Sony Mobile ES sound system, was featured in the DOW Technologies booth at KnowledgeFest Orlando.

 installs 48 Mobile Electronics September 2023 49

On display in the DOW Technologies booth at KnowledgeFest Orlando was this 2001 Chevrolet Blazer, owned by C.J. Fayet, who said the interior and audio was completed by Kimball’s Mobile Electronics in Savannah, Ga. while Auto Extremes in Covington, Ga. did much of the exterior work.

“It took six years to build this,” Fayet said. “The body came off, and we built a whole new frame so the suspension could lay on the ground

like this. From there, we built from the ground up. In the end, between my vision and the help of others, this was the result.”

Sony Mobile ES equipment is featured throughout the vehicle, including a Mobile ES 10.1-inch Apple CarPlay / Android Auto Receiver; 6.5-inch coaxial speakers; 6.5-inch component speakers; a 10-inch subwoofer; a 4-channel amplifier; and a mono amplifier.

Other equipment includes a T-Spec 4-guage amplifier kit with RCA; 2-channel RCA audio cable; 4-position distribution block; and a MANL 4-position distribution block. The vehicle also features a Heise 5-meter 5050 Single Color LED Strip (White), along with Metra Electronics installation kits and wiring.

“This is exactly what I was envisioning when we started the project,” Fayet added.

50 Mobile Electronics September 2023  installs
Get Certi o ed Questions about how to get certiied or link your retail location? Contact us at! Verify Credentials The Mobile Electronics Certioed Professional (MECP) program is the only internationally recognized program of its kind. Verify A Retailer



Make a Promise to Provide a Great Experience

Running a business provides you with a daily opportunity to impress your customers. I know this sounds simple, but the reality can be disappointment when you fail to meet expectations. When someone walks into your business, they have already set an expectation and hope that it is met or exceeded during their visit.


The journey your customer takes has much to do with your level of professionalism while running your business. Look around: Is your store clean and well-organized? Do you manage your schedule with realistic timelines for completion? Did you and your customer come to an agreement as to the successful outcome of the work for which you were contracted? When attempting to meet and or exceed your customer’s expectations, you must view the sale in the eyes of your customer. Step outside your daily process and make sure you would be satisfied if you were the recipient.


Your customer deserves a promise that you can deliver upon. When making this promise, leave yourself some room for error. Some circumstances will be beyond your control. These will require additional care, and you will need to properly manage your customer’s expectation.


To meet expectations, you must properly set them. Overpromising in any area will inevitably leave you missing the mark. Set your team up for success by anticipating what may go wrong. There are always unknown roadblocks that can derail your best intentions. Your job is to foresee as many as you can and build into the delivery time. Telling your customer on the delivery day, or even the day before, that their vehicle will not be ready as promised puts your business in a less than stellar position. No matter how great the outcome is, the failure will always be remembered. Letting your customer know ahead of time will work wonders when seeking to lessen their disappointment. It helps if you let them know that the delay will serve to deliver a better finished product. And don’t hesitate to offer them something of value for the missed deadline. These steps will go a long way when seeking to satisfy your customer.


Disappointing your customer with a late delivery is troubling enough. Don’t complicate the issue by delivering the vehicle as anything less than perfection. An apology goes a long way. But this alone won’t make things right. Make sure you complete the process. Don’t shortcut when you are behind. Take the time to do something special. I suggest that you reflect upon a time when your own expectation was not met. What did you assume would happen? What would have made things right for you?


The future of your business depends on your ability to manage your customer’s expectation. Review what you and your team did, both right and wrong. A weekly and, at the least, monthly staff meeting is a great time to review both great and not-so-great experiences. Make sure to highlight both. Too much focus on the not-so-great may provide you a less than honest result and could undermine your team’s confidence level. Your process should include time to listen and ask for help from your team to solve the any issues for your next project. Regardless of the outcome, take time to celebrate your successes and provide praise. If you treat your team with the same attitude that you would treat your best customers, you may find that they will work harder and do the same.


Every customer should receive something from you post-delivery that allows them to critique and praise your performance. Be proactive. Use some sort of online survey tool. Contact every customer if you can. Feedback is invaluable to your business and essential for growth. At the least, put customers on a callback list that requires someone to contact them within 30 days of delivery of their vehicle. This is a great opportunity to show you care.

If you can get them to stop by the store once again, you have another opportunity to sell them something. Make an appointment to inspect the vehicle and or answer any additional questions they may have. And don’t be afraid to ask for a referral, such as: “Do you know of anyone who may benefit from the products and services we offer?”

If you treated them well, there is a high probability that they will refer you to someone they know. Great customer service begins with you.

52 Mobile Electronics September 2023
When someone walks into your business, they have already set an expectation and hope that it is met or exceeded during their visit.”
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.