Mobile Electronics Magazin April/May 2024

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RETAILER OF THE YEAR TITAN MOTORING CONTINUES TO PRIORITIZE DIVERSIFYING SERVICE OFFERINGS, SEEKING NEW WAYS TO BETTER SERVE ITS CLIENT BASE. + “DON’T JUST BOOST” Meredith Soleau demonstrates how to sell intentionally using Meta’s professional advertising platform. INSTALLS A full SounDigital and Ground Zero system in a 2010 Chevrolet Silverado turned heads at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas this past February. CRESCENDO IN
April/May 2024


12// What’s Happening: Retailers Reflect On Continued Education

As the industry looks toward the future, training and learning new skillsets continues to be the only way forward.

18// Retailer of the Year: Turbo Charge

With the addition of its Titan South facility and a new focus on content marketing, Retailer of the Year Titan Motoring demonstrates best practices in business diversification.

32// On the Show Floor: Peak Power

With continued coverage of the show floor at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, manufacturers share everything from expanded offerings for off-road vehicles to refined retail packaging.

42// Strategy and Tactics: Selling on Facebook and Instagram

Meredith Soleau of 242 Degrees Social Media Agency shares cost-effective social media marketing strategies to increase reach and sales.

Titan Motoring in Nashville, Tenn. continues to provide a living example of a business that always asks the question, “What’s the next best thing we can do for our clients?” The shop won its second Retailer of the Year award at the Industry Awards at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas this past February. Featured on the cover: Ray West, Philip Lindsley and Dan Bowman.

Volume 56 Issue 3
28 Retail News 48 Installs DEPARTMENTS 4 Editor’s Forum 6 Feedback ON THE COVER:
ARTICLES ADVERTISING SALES EDITORIAL Rosa Sophia MANAGING EDITOR 978.645.6466 Chris Cook EDITOR-AT-LARGE CREATIVE LAYOUT AND DESIGN Contributing Editors Jamie Sorcher and Laura Kemmerer Published by Chris Cook PRESIDENT 978.645.6434 Richard Basler EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MEMBER SERVICES 978.645.6449 Tony Frangiosa CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, MEA AD INDEX Firstech - DroneMobile 53 HKI USA - SounDigital .............. 26, 27 HKI USA - TURY 38, 39 Kicker ................................. 3 Ford F-150 Give-a-way 11 KnowledgeFest 2024 ................... 9 MEA Websites 15 MECP ................................ 45 ME-TV 17 Meyer Distributing...................... 7 Pixel Technologies 31 SiriusXM .............................. 10 Snap Finance 47 Sony................................... 5 Trulli 51 TM mobile electronics association 18 2 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024
3 For more info, contact us at 405-624-8510, or your KICKER Sales Rep. #kickeraudio #livinloud @kickeraudio Comp Down-Firing Enclosures CompVT Down-Firing Enclosures TRTP CompRT Down-Firing Enclosures SHIPPING NOW! ©2023 STILLWATER DESIGNS


Retailers urge other industry professionals to use all the tools available to create the best possible outcome for clients.

“[Some of us want to tell clients] we’ll get it done by the end of the day. What happens if it’s not done? You’ll be working late. [Always] under-promise and over-deliver. If it’s an eighthour job, we tell them it’ll be ready the next day. Then when it’s done on the same day at five o’clock, they’re ecstatic.”

- Dan Bowman, Titan Motoring, Nashville, Tenn.

“I can’t stress enough [how important it so to go to] events where you can get training from others in the industry—how imperative it is and how important it is for your business.”

-Jayson Cook, Columbus Car Audio and Accessories, Columbus, Ohio

“Use Instagram. Use your photo library. Show how it works—what it looks like. You just won that client because no one else showed them photographs. We’re still behind. That’s why I really like attending KnowledgeFest because there are other marketplaces that are more developed, and you have to prove yourself. Clients are curious. But they all want the same thing at the end of the day: a solution. And we have to provide that. When you get a client who says, ‘Have you done this before? Can I see some pictures of your work?’ We love that.”

- Jon Lackey, Blvd Customs of Lakeland, Lakeland, Fla.

 feedback 4 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024

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Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, allow yourself to be inspired. What might you improve upon in your own store—your own life?

This time last year, I wrote about finding one’s passion and using it to build an enjoyable and fulfilling life. From April 19-21, the industry went to Nashville for KnowledgeFest. In this issue, we featured two-time Retailer of the Year award winner Titan Motoring, a business that exemplifies everything many shop owners aspire to: A positive store culture, a wide list of service offerings and a dedicated, multi-talented team. I finally got to visit the store after writing this month’s cover feature. Check out “Turbo Charge” on page 18. How do you build a legacy to take pride in? It begins with careful planning and a solid foundation.


At KnowledgeFest, Titan Motoring’s own Philip Lindsley and Dan Bowman taught a class entitled “Your Next Million Dollars: Expand Beyond Traditional 12-Volt to Increase Revenue.” They focused on incorporating new services using a minimal investment, and provided a road map to help retailers get started. Lindsley often speaks on diversifying service offerings. After all, if a business can pivot to meet as much need as possible, it’s sure to persevere in the face of any economic situation.

As we arrived at Titan Motoring for a KnowledgeFest after-party, I could see what Lindsley was talking about when he said his business had a bit of a parking issue: There wasn’t much room to maneuver. Fortunately, the addition of three-and-ahalf acres at the new Titan South facility has allowed them to expand departments and add new ones. It’s also allowed for the storage of longer-term projects.

at the high ceilings, the bay doors and the way Titan’s done such a fabulous job incorporating its image, logo and theme color into the design and layout. Above the displays, the shop’s numerous awards drew the gaze of visitors. That evening, we went on a tour of the workspace: I got to see some in-progress vehicles and couldn’t help but drool a little at the wide-open bays and tool chests—in Titan colors, of course!

No business is the same. Each one has its own focus, its own “bread and butter” that pays the bills and keeps things moving. But when it comes to longevity, as Lindsley often says in his classes, diversification, flexibility and the willingness to pivot into new territory can help a business outlast all others. Especially in a continually shifting economy.

When it comes to longevity, diversification, flexibility and the willingness to pivot into new territory can help a business outlast all others. “ ”

The pick-up truck out front with its lime green LED under-glow provided ambiance and eye candy as we entered the showroom, greeted by shining surfaces and inviting displays. I’d arrived with my coworkers from the Mobile Electronics Association, and we marveled


When a shop has a good plan and a vision for the future, this helps create the recipe for a solid foundation. Building a positive store culture and having the right team, some of which Lindsley touches on in this month’s feature article, is essential. If anything’s worth mentioning from last April, it’s this: Someone once told me that if you feel dejected and you don’t like your job, it’s important to be open to the possibility that it might not be the place of work that’s the problem. Maybe it’s you. Are you ready for a change, and if so, why are you unhappy? Read about the businesses we feature and what they have in common. How might you continue to grow that same level of passion in your own store? Avoid the desire to compare yourself to others: Instead, be inspired. Take a look at what you’re doing well, and what you might improve upon. Everything—in personal and professional life—is a work in progress. Let’s enjoy every minute.

6 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024

Mobile Electronics

The Mobile Electronics Association reports specialty retailer performance for the first quarter of 2024 as compared to 2023. Here are the findings.

 stats First Quarter (Q1) 2024 v/s 2023 2024 v/s 2023 by Month
Retail Sales Report Industry Retail Sales Report
TM mobile electronics association
The average dollars per transaction decreased 17% from Q1 2023 to Q1 2024. • The average transactions per store decreased 15% from Q1 2023 to Q1 2024. Data owned and provided by the Mobile Electronics Association. © 2024 Mobile Electronics Association Key Observations 17% 10% 11% 26% 219 vs. 257 in 2023 January February March $30,255 vs. $36,470 in 2023 AVERAGE TRANSACTIONS PER STORE PER MONTH AVERAGE DOLLARS PER STORE PER MONTH DOWN DOWN DOWN DOWN 8 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024

Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire

Time is a precious commodity. How you use your free time will make or break your success. It’s not about working harder or finding more time to do the work. It’s about designing the freedom to engage in the high-value work that brings you energy and fulfillment. Dan Martell founded, scaled and successfully exited three technology companies within a 10-year period. In 2012, he was named Canada’s top angel investor, having invested in more than 50 start-ups, such as Intercom, Udemy and Unbounce. In 2016, Martell founded the SaaS Academy and grew it to become one of the largest coaching companies in the world. He’s also an Ironman athlete and philanthropist. In his first book, Buy Back Your Time, he teaches entrepreneurs how to scale their business before burning out. Reading this book will help you learn the secrets to working less and playing more and also how to invest your newfound time wisely—both at work and at home.

How do the big names do it? Adobe, Ben & Jerry’s, HBO, Maker’s Mark, the Minnesota Vikings, Salesforce and Whole Foods. The On Brand podcast helps organizations and individuals tell stronger stories and build better brands. Each week, host Nick Westergaard interviews marketing and communication thought leaders or those working for innovative brands. As a lecturer at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, he teaches how to craft standout presentations that drive action. He is the author of Brand Now and Get Scrappy.

 helpful stuff
On Brand


What to Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life is Uncertain

If you’re ready for a career change, but not sure how to make it happen, this book will help you reevaluate your purpose and determine your next best step. Navigating what’s next in life often brings a level of uncertainty and anxiety. Entrepreneur, speaker, and pastor Jeff Henderson has experienced this firsthand—first when he left his marketing position at Chick-fil-A to start a church and nonprofit, and then again when he left that nonprofit in the middle of a global pandemic. He wasn’t sure what to do next, but he knew he needed to make a move. This book outlines the process he used to determine the next best step, and how you can pursue more meaning and purpose in both life and work.


Started From the Bottom


Every week, host Justin Richmond interviews successful people who grew up on the outside— people of color, people who weren’t part of the old boys’ network, people who grew up in a world where almost nobody went to college. So how did these folks beat the odds? How did they avoid feeling like imposters? How did they overcome and do it? On the most recent episode, Nike executive Larry Miller is featured. Convicted of murder at age 16, Miller kept his crime and incarceration a secret for over 40 years. But after building the Jordan brand at Nike into a billion-dollar business, Miller has chosen to open up about his story.


As the industry looks toward the future, training and learning new skillsets continues to be the only way forward.

12 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024  what’s happening

While equipment and builds change as technology and clients’ priorities change, the basic methods of seeking solutions—listening to the customer, asking qualifying questions and demonstrating product—continue to be essential bedrocks of the sales process. With this foundation in mind, sales professionals share their perspectives and what works for them, depending on their demographic and store focus.

The first-ever KnowledgeFest Nashville, April 19-21, brings classes such as “Selling in the Age of Big Tech: Keep Up or Get Left Behind” and “Building a Business, Not a Job!” Through training and networking at these and other industry events, 12-volt professionals can continue to keep these essentials top-of-mind to best serve clients.

Jon Lackey of Blvd. Customs of Lakeland in Lakeland, Fla.—who’s been in

the industry for over 32 years—said he keeps learning every day and closes his store to attend training events. “Some shops around me won’t go to a show or a conference and they don’t do enough to better themselves,” he said. “I want them to better themselves.”

When one shop fails to do this, he said, it reflects badly on the industry as a whole. “Now, the client has a perception because of another company doing a bad job. That means I have to doubleand triple-sell the value of my business and services because this customer has a different mindset.”

He encouraged other businesses to step up and get involved in further educating themselves, adding that it boils down to the leaders in the business. “What are their main focuses? Is it solely on them, or are they focused on growing the business? Why are they in that business?” Any choices we make today, he said, impact the future. “There are many opportunities to learn and to be better.”

In this month’s What’s Happening feature, let’s take a look back at excerpts from past issues which are still relevant today.


According to 2023 Rookie of the Year Jeremy “Taco” Patterson of Speakerbox Autosound & Accessories in Huntsville, Ala., the challenge becomes more refined when selling an idea becomes easier. The salesperson has to find the best way to maximize value for the client. In order to communicate this to the client, it’s essential to keep learning, Patterson said, adding that in the 12-volt industry, it’s a huge challenge to keep up with the “sheer amount of information to learn.” He chose to focus on small sections, one at a time, refining skills such as DSP tuning—and trying not to do too much at once so as to avoid overwhelm.

James P. Smith of A.C.T. Audio in Vernon, Conn. also spoke on client interactions. When qualifying the customer, he said he seeks common ground and recommends that salespeople use

a demo vehicle if possible. For clients who have home theater equipment, he suggested making a comparison to car audio and “explaining how this allows us to do that in a vehicle.” If the client isn’t a car person and doesn’t have a home theater, Smith said, “I tell them the DSP allows us to control the final outcome of the speaker to maximize its performance for the vehicle.”

The demo vehicle he uses allows him to switch between DSP and a basic setting, showing the difference between the two options. “That’s the power of the demo. Then you need to simplify it into terms your customer understands.”

For salespeople who are car audio aficionados, he said, they might find themselves wanting to get deep into the technical side of things. Smith warned against this because “the customer’s eyes will glaze over,” he said, adding, “They don’t care what it is. They care about the end result. Learn to understand the customer and find a relatable common ground.”

Sales professionals during presentations at KnowledgeFest recommended “planting seeds” during the entire process, always inviting the client back for more. Following up helps to cultivate life-time customers. Sometimes, a customer meant to call back, but forgot or didn’t have the time. The follow-up call may be a welcome opportunity for them to choose to return. Additionally, it’s also important to check in with previous customers to make sure the equipment is working properly. One sales professional suggested sending handwritten thank-you cards.

During a discussion about bringing customers into the store, Jason Kranitz said he never shares a price over the phone. As other industry professionals have noted, this can lead to the customer hanging up and dialing the next shop to see who will offer the lowest price.

Dan Bowman of Titan Motoring in Nashville, Tenn. 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. Bowman said he tells clients, “I don’t want to set an unrealistic expectation by missing something on your car, and then giving you a surprise call halfway through. 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.’”


Some things remain relevant regardless of how much time passes: In the October 2022 issue of Mobile Electronics magazine, we covered “The Sales Pro Challenge,” a panel at KnowledgeFest in which sales professionals shared their challenges and ideas for overcoming them. The panel was moderated by Chris Cook. Present to offer insights and act as judges were Jason Kranitz; Amari Schwartz of Schwartz & Co. Bookkeeping Services; and Robert Kowatch of SoundShield—all previous

recipients of the Mobile Electronics Sales Pro of the Year Award. The workshop brought real world retail experiences into the classroom, offering attendees the opportunity to consider each situation from different perspectives. At the end, Cook presented on what could’ve been handled better by salespeople. “Keep establishing value,” he said in response to one presenter. “Forget what the competitors say. [Remind yourself] ‘My customers come back to me time after time because—’ Ignore the competitors and follow the value of your own business.”

Critiques were offered on what salespeople could’ve done better during their role-playing experiences. During the assessment, Cook reminded attendees that when it comes to scheduling a job, the customer isn’t interested in the issues of the business or the problems of the salesperson; they just want the job done. “The customer doesn’t want

14 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024  what’s happening
“ ”

what’s happening

to know your problems,” he said. “Their problems are more important to them.”

Cook also advised approaching the initial introduction differently: “When someone comes in, greet them and say, ‘What kind of car do you drive?’ Don’t even ask what they came in for. Ask them if they have a few minutes. They might’ve come in for a backup camera, but now you’re getting them interested in a stereo.” They might not buy that day, he added, but they’ll remember. “Assume they came in for whatever your best product is, and then work your way down from the top.”


Echoing Smith’s recommendation, Lackey encouraged retailers to build a demo vehicle. “Prove you are better. Prove you can do an install and this is what it’s supposed to sound like,” he said. “Demonstrate the difference between one estimate and another.”

A simple demonstration—giving clients the opportunity to listen and hear the difference for themselves—might take no more than 15 minutes. “Now,” he added, “the client feels comfortable about opening their wallet.”

According to Lackey and many other industry professionals, everyday buyers are “reflective of what’s going on in the community, in the world, in the economy.” Then, he said, “you have a niche of clients for whom none of that matters. They have the money and they want the service. Everyone, of course, wants those clients.”

This type of client, he said, is harder to earn because they’ve already done their research. They’re generally drawn into a shop by word-of-mouth. “When we do those jobs, they take longer and the ticket is bigger,” Lackey said, noting that a shop should consider whether they’re equipped to take on such a job, before making the commitment. “Do you want that client?” If so, work toward making the business the kind of place that customer will want to frequent. The first step—for any shop— is always education.

16 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024 
Retailer of the Year 18 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024



Retailer of the Year

Two-time Retailer of the Year Titan Motoring in Nashville, Tenn. continues to expand its empire in Music City, according to owner Philip Lindsley, who opened the company to service dealerships in 2011. Currently, Titan has over 30 employees and its reach extends to states away, thanks to organic social media growth and effective content marketing.

In May 2022, Mobile Electronics magazine interviewed Lindsley after the business’s first Retailer of the Year win. At that time, Titan had run out of space for its fast-growing business, according to Lindsley: Parking was limited, and they could’ve used five more technicians, but room was needed to grow.

“I purchased another property in the beginning of 2023 to use as a build facility, about five minutes from here. We’ve

invested a lot into it, and we’re not done yet.” He noted they’ve dubbed it Titan South. “It’s helped the business grow. We can be more efficient because we have the space,” he said, adding, “We’ve been able to hire more techs, and we can bill more hours than ever before.”


While the new facility is not customer-facing, team members will take customers over, if necessary. “It has a fence and a gate. There are three buildings on the property, totaling 7,500 square feet. The largest building is for audio and fabrication, and Dave Koz is there building Sprinters and longterm projects—stuff that stays there for weeks and months a time.”

In the past, when clients had a larger project, and it couldn’t be started right away, the shop wasn’t able to store it on-site because there wasn’t enough room. “Titan South is three-and-a-half acres, so we can store vehicles. It’s more convenient for clients. Scott Miller just came on board and he’s working with Koz. We’ve been able to get more techs, and we’d like to hire one or two more in the next year. We’re always hiring.”

The fabrication facility at Titan South is equipped with a larger, five-byten foot CNC, which the team finally has space for after the expansion. The facility also features lasers and 3D printers. Lindsley said the second building is dedicated to upholstery and leather, and this is where upholstery tech Austin Moore does much of his work. “We met Austin at KnowledgeFest

20 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024


In the last year or so, Dan Bowman has appeared more frequently on Titan Motoring’s social media. According to Lindsley, this was a natural progression. “Dan is very knowledgeable and good in front of a camera,” he said. However, instead of simply featuring “cool cars,” the team dove into content marketing when they observed a decrease in viewer engagement.

“A normal post might get 100 likes, but then we made videos with Dan that were informative and about what we do, and how things work. We tagged the companies whose products we used. All of a sudden, we were getting thousands of views and shares,” Lindsley explained, adding that Tik Tok especially has been a huge boon for business.

to bring in my truck.’” One video focused on a $30,000 suspension: “We sold two of those systems to people states away because they saw it on Tik Tok.”

Lindsley said this demonstrates how important it is to create value and be informative, and he also encouraged retailers to tag companies and manufacturers, because they will share your posts. A performance company Titan Motoring works with shared one of their posts:

Indy,” Lindsley added. “He’s been there for over a year. He’s in that building with Will Schrader, our main upholstery guy.” Schrader, he added, has been in the position for nine months, after being promoted from driver.

“People who are inexperienced in the industry can get their foot in the door by being a driver, or part of our logistics team. They might pick up and drop off cars from dealerships, or pick up parts. After they’ve been with us for a month or two, we ask if any particular department interests them. Then we try to let them help out in that department. That’s how Will got into upholstery.”

With consistent cross-training, Lindsley said, “the hope is that no one will

“We have a post on there now of Dan talking about extended range fuel tanks, what they look like and how they work, and it’s over a billion views now,” he said. “We’re getting people calling us from states away saying, ‘I saw you on Tik Tok and I want

“We went from 9,000 followers on Instagram to 17,000 in six months. It’s not just Tik Tok. The main thing is to shift static posts and videos to what you did, how you did it and why you recommend it. What problems did it solve?” He urged businesses to get into content marketing and try different platforms. “People are bombarded by things that say, ‘Look at this, it’s so cool,’ and they swipe past it—but when you create value in a video where you explain how it works, people stay.” Titan Motoring has observed that people view the company’s videos at least 3.5 times, not just once. “It’s so informative and engaging, they want to watch it again.”

ever feel alone or stuck on a problem.” Recently, Dan Bowman—2023 Sales Pro of the Year—moved into the role of sales manager. “We also moved another technician, Blake Brunson, from upholstery into sales.” For Brunson, he added, they created a new position: Customer concierge. He first came to Titan as an upholstery apprentice, and a friend of fellow team member Cameron King. “His role is to check in clients. He does some

of the photo inspections when cars get dropped off so techs can hit the ground running. He moves cars around the lot, keeps things organized, answers the phone and handles small tasks so that salespeople can stay with clients.”

A third building houses the detailing and ceramic coatings departments. Titan Motoring has also brought back its paint protection services: “We offered it some years ago,” he said,

Titan Motoring continues to expand its empire and its staff. The company now has a second facility and over 30 employees.

adding that if it’s not done exactly right, the outcome could be disastrous. Without the right person in the position, the company lost money. Recently, Titan Motoring hired someone to handle paint protection and window tint, but it didn’t work out. Everything unraveled in a day when the employee left.

“We had to figure out what to do because we had a job that day for paint protection film,” Lindsley explained. “My tinter, who used to work at Tint World, saw we were in a bind and offered to do it. He ended up doing a phenomenal job. We said, ‘Why didn’t you tell us about this?’ And he told us he’d done it before, but he wasn’t certified or trained. He’s dependable and has a great attitude, so we sent him for training—right away. He got way above average marks, and he’s been doing it ever since.”

When Titan chose to invest in him, he added, it created an even deeper sense of loyalty for that employee. “Things get thrown at us and we deal with it. I feel grateful and fortunate to have a team with multi-skilled people.”

22 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024 Retailer of the Year
With its new Titan South facility, Titan Motoring now has the space to store vehicles for larger projects.


Prior to having to prioritize its paint protection category, Titan Motoring intended to expand into flat glass—tinting windows for residential and commercial buildings. “If a business offers window film, you can easily do this,” Lindsley said. “It’s a slightly different installation process, but it’s generally the same. There’s not a lot of overhead. There’s heat protection, and also security film. There have been a lot of smash-and-grabs in businesses recently, so it’s a huge market. You just need hands, tools and a vehicle. It’s extremely profitable, and a great thing for shops to branch into.”


Additionally, he said, there’s a huge demand for paint protection. It also goes hand-in-hand with ceramic coatings. “Seventy-five percent of clients who want one, want the other,” he said.


In Mobile Electronics magazine’s May 2022 Retailer of the Year cover feature, Titan Motoring reported an increase in the overlanding category as a result of COVID-19 safety measures. More and more people were partaking in outdoor activities. According to Lindsley, the business continues to see an increase in this category. The clients, he said, have higher budgets than most.

“Dan Bowman is currently building a 2015 Lexus GX 460. It’s a $50-60,000 car, and the client is about $120,000 into upgrades, and it’s not even done yet. These clients are ready and able to pay the right shop to do these types of projects.”

Lindsley, who teaches classes at KnowledgeFest on diversifying into various product categories, urged retailers to branch out. “Don’t just offer everything in the book,” he warned. “Figure out what you excel at and offer that at the same high level from which you offer your current categories. Or, if you want to offer something and you can’t be at that high a level yet, do what you need to do to get trained and reach that level.”

He added that he owned a previous business in which he failed to

diversify, and the business closed its doors. It’s even more essential now than before, he said, adding, “Diversify or die.”

As of KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, this past February, Titan Motoring became a two-time Retailer of the Year award winner. “We have a lot of areas to improve upon,” Lindsley said. “You want to feel like you deserve it, so you go back and try to make it even better.” Working on the video also helps to reveal issues. “I have such a good team. I trust them, and they know they can make decisions without me and I will stand behind them. You’ve got to learn to not micromanage and trust your team,” he said, adding, “If you can’t, then get a team you can trust.”

24 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024
Retailer of the Year
Titan Motoring won Retailer of the Year for the second time at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas this past February. Pictured above: Philip Lindsley and Ray West.

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 retail news 28 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024

At Greenville, Miss.-based Car-Tunes, Inc., owner Kimberly Trainer said the team is always doing something new and always evolving. New car purchases have slowed due to the economy, she said, and she feels this is a boon for any 12-volt retailer who continues to do their best to offer services to their clientele.

“More people are keeping their vehicles longer, and things are wearing out and they need replacements, or they need new technology, so that is an advantage for us,” she explained. Additionally, Trainer has also noticed another trend in her store: An increase in a female customer base.

“I’ve noticed more and more female customers coming in on their own, with their own vehicle, for their own wants

and needs,” she said. “When you fulfill that need, they are very loyal customers, and they will tell everyone else how happy they are with the work. They’ll come back. That’s always been the case with clients, but I think it’s different with those loyal female customers.”

Trainer said she’s also noticed a difference in the way they approach requests: “They’re very specific about things, too. Sometimes you can deliver something, but the client doesn’t completely understand their own need, so there’s a disconnect—but these female customers are much more specific about what they want.”

Car-Tunes is also looking forward to presenting the Drone XE dash cameras, a new product that’s just begun shipping. In the showroom, they’ll be

revamping a display to incorporate more graphics and product information, Trainer added.

“The live view option on that product is a great way to get more customers interested,” she said. “Everyone has Ring doorbells, for example, and they want that live video in their cars. For security, I think it will be great.”

When it comes to new technology, Trainer is always excited to learn more. “Firstech has a lot of new technology and that’s really exciting for me. When something new comes out and you get excited, the customers see that. It’s amazing that something like that can be available at such an attainable price point. It’s affordable for everyone, and I think the day-to-day need for something like that is real.”

 retail news 30 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024
Kimberly Trainer and son Dalton Trainer at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas.

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With continued coverage of the show floor at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, manufacturers share everything from expanded offerings for off-road vehicles to refined retail packaging.


DOW Technologies recently partnered with VOXX Electronics, TURY and Kicker, expanding distribution of Kicker to include Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. DOW also distributes Kicker in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. VOXX Electronics and DOW also have an agreement to extend distribution of VOXX’s line of ADAS products, including Flashlogic, Prestige, and

Rosen. In addition, DOW will offer the Movies2Go line of products within a larger territory. DOW is also entering a new product category within the 12-volt market with the introduction of TURY’s line of Fast products, which offer the ability to immobilize the throttle as an added security feature. These products will be available to authorized dealers across DOW’s territory with the

exception of the Mid-Atlantic territory. “Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for our customers, and this expansion helps our team offer complete installation solutions,” said senior vice president Dave Elkin. “The addition of Tury is a great example of our team identifying a product that has a unique market advantage and offers our customers a new revenue opportunity.”

32 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024  On The Show Floor


For the 2024 lineup of products, SoundSkins has released new premium packaging. The packaging is intended to catch the eye of potential clients in a retail environment. It is also available in Spanish.


These Sony XS-160GS XS Series speakers deliver deep bass. The woofer surround material is made of foam rubber and is light-weight and durable. The soft-dome tweeter boasts a flat frequency response and wider dispersion. In addition, its

silk diaphragm contributes to natural and smooth sound with good internal loss. The acoustically-optimized spider allows for higher power handling and airflow, with a profile designed for more rapid and precise cushioning of the speaker cone.


With an increasing demand for thicker sound damping material, Dynamat is introducing Pro X this coming summer. This product will be intended for serious installations that need additional damping, according to the company.



Trulli Audio is based in Mundelein, Ill., about an hour from Chicago. According to the company, most of the materials used are from the U.S., and all design, engineering and assembly is completed in the U.S., as well. On display at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas was the Trulli Audio TD200 with thin driver technology. “We wanted to give listeners the fidelity and SPL—the loudness of a traditional subwoofer without having to compromise because you don’t have the space,” said a company rep. “We wanted to eliminate that space issue and still give users the full sound.”


This amplifier from Audiopipe offers 1,000 watts RMS of sound and a Class D design, with adjustable low pass filter, adjustable subsonic filter and a full MOSFET circuit design. It also has a compact size at 6.17 by 10.5 inches.

 On The Show Floor 34 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024


NAV Atlas is an off-road audio brand with an additional focus on communication both in the vehicle and outside the vehicle. A radio with 256 channels is available. This product has a 12-mile radius allowing users to speak with other people in their group. The line features overhead communications, headsets and helmet headsets with high-quality sound. According to NAV Atlas representatives, the company aims to target 12-volt dealers to help increase retail margins and accessibility to the off-road market. The handheld radio also has a dual purpose: It can be used


ATOTO attended its first ever KnowledgeFest in Las Vegas. The company is currently entering the United States and Canadian market, seeking reps and distributors. Products include the S8, a powerful amplifier with four channels and 75 watts RMS per channel. The XPAN is the company’s flagship head unit, which features built-in AI, as well as the Track HU vehicle locator. Any desired apps can be downloaded, such as Spotify or YouTube, and the unit features an HDMI input. Additionally, for long road trips, this product allows the user to connect a gaming console.

in a retail environment so different departments can stay in touch, without any additional fees. “If stores are using it, or expeditors are using it, the customer might need it,” said the company rep. “It’s applicable to fleet work. Also, if you’re talking in a store that has multiple departments,

you can use this ianstead of texting and it’s free.” The device itself costs $109 retail, without any phone bill of any kind. When it comes to off-road applications, the headset features passive noise canceling, allowing for easy and clear communication in loud off-road situations.



The Musway ONE.2000 amplifier features 2040 watts RMS. The 4-fold laminated board suppresses EMC interference, ensuring a clean signal. EPS technology seamlessly integrates with OEM factory radios. With 1 x 925W RMS @ 4 Ohms, 1 x 1500W RMS @ 2 Ohms, and 1 x 2040W RMS @ 1 Ohm, it offers versatile power. Precision controls include Subsonic Filter, Lowpass Filter, Bass Boost and Phase Shift. Features like Auto Turn On, Filter Bypass, Quick Connect, and a Bass Remote Controller enhance functionality.


The FLX line of amplifiers from Cicada Audio is an update to the current BDA amplifier line. It features increased power, up to 30 percent reduction in size, flexible mounting options with removable feet and amp mounting plate options. This product is direct-bolt with no cutting necessary and uses all plug-and-play accessories. Available in May.

 On The Show Floor 36 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024


These new Radio PRO replacement interfaces from PAC (a Stinger brand) allow for replacing the factory radio in select 2014-2019 GM vehicles while retaining the BOSE amplifier (standard and premium, MOST 50), steering wheel controls, rearview camera, and OnStar. They will also work with non-amplified factory systems. The RP5-GM61 is the standard unit with radio pro features, including the ability to maintain steering wheel controls, AUX input, rearview sensors/camera and OnStar. A chime module, all necessary harnesses, and an antenna adapter are included. A step up takes users to the serialized GM6A-RST, a MAP-protected version. This model upgrades to a digital speaker with the audio files for each specific vehicle built-in, enabling chimes, alerts, and tones to sound like factory, rather than the generic sound

of a chime module. It also offers USB retention for charging, an antenna adapter, and an expansion port to add an Echo Master VS41 four-camera video switcher. Consumers can choose to add an additional backup camera, left and right blind spot cams, and

a front camera as well. These new products enable dealers to ensure their customers get all the same integration when replacing the factory head unit, regardless of original screen size and whether the vehicle is amplified or non-amplified.


The WDX marine amplifiers from dB Drive work well in UTV, ATV and marine applications. They fit well in small spaces. The four-channel WDX M4 is IPX6 rated, with adaptive crossover technology and collective heat management. The entire series was built to withstand water, and also offers a mono-block amplifier.



Lucas AGM Start & Stop were introduced at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas. These batteries have an average of three times the energy and service life of a conventional battery. They are the perfect under-hood solution for vehicles where they must cope with the challenges of intense conditions such as cold winters, hot summers or powering accessories and equipment. Built to exacting standards in Europe, they carry a full three-year replacement warranty. Also shown were future Marine and heavy equipment models.


The Lucas Lighting show display is a larger format version of an upcoming wall-mount display, featuring the same comparison between halogen, L1 Series, L3 Series and L5 Series. The video portion shows a series of product videos and category information all close-captioned on a video server that keeps content playing to catch customers’ attention. Displays are expected to be available this summer.

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40 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024


At KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, UTV Stereo presented Can-Am side-by-side kits to bring audio options to these off-road vehicles. Currently available are the Signature Series Stage 6 and the Elite Series Stages 7 and 8. Each kit includes all the equipment, speakers, tweeters, amps, subwoofers and harnesses possible to create a full audio system.


Many in the industry know Amari Schwartz as the 2018 Sales Pro of the Year, when she worked with Perfectionist Auto Sound in Anchorage, Alaska. Now, she’s offering bookkeeping services through Schwartz & Co. At KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, she met up with retailers on the show floor to discuss bookkeeping and the services she offers.

Often, she said, she finds that small companies aren’t doing any bookkeeping at all. “They aren’t reconciling, either,” she added. “That’s important to ensure there are no double entries or missing entries, and it’s important for tax purposes. You might be missing deductions or paying too much or too little. I see that a lot.”

When Schwartz works with a client, she takes a look at the big picture of the entire business “to better understand how it’s doing.” She reviews every category of spending, including advertising and social media, to better organize profit and loss. Her bookkeeping services include expense transactions, classifying accounts, and organization, with a goal of looking for additional tax breaks. Often, she said, businesses classify expenses as miscellaneous, and these items could qualify as tax deductions.

“I will go through and get your books ready for the end of the month. We will look at the previous month, the current month, and we’ll see where you might’ve lost money or spent too much money. We review the report and we do that at the end of the year, as well, to reconcile and close your books and prepare for your next year.” Hiring a bookkeeper may feel like an extra expense to some small business owners, she said, but “in the long run it’ll save you money and time.”

Schwartz offers a free consultation to discuss what’s needed. Then, during a discovery call, she’ll review a company’s books. From there, she compiles a to-do list, a price, and a game plan for the next six months. “Some clients want monthly, some want quarterly,” she said. “I recommend doing your books every single month to save time and money.”

For many people, she added, it’s overwhelming to run a company and make the right choices. “It’s so much better to make financial decisions with a bookkeeper instead of trying to do everything yourself.”

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Meredith Soleau of 242 Degrees Social Media Agency shares cost-effective social media marketing strategies to increase reach and sales.

At KnowledgeFest Las Vegas this past February, Meredith Soleau discussed marketing budgets with attendees and the right way to utilize social media for drawing in new leads. The class, “Facebook and Instagram Ads that Actually Sell,” warned against boosting posts— which Soleau said is too general to be effective, and can actually decrease

the visibility of a store’s advertising attempts in the long run.

Instead, she said, go to ads.facebook. com, or “the back end” of Meta, to use strategic advertising. Most people who use boosting aren’t really aware of what it’s doing or how, according to Soleau, who added, “And Meta knows it.” In the long run, she said, it’s more expensive.

“If you go into the back end of Facebook and run your ad there, you’ll get more results. It’ll be cheaper, and it’ll be more robust.” Simply boosting a post, on the other hand, is like saying, “Good luck—hope you reach the right people.”

In her presentation, Soleau led attendees through demonstrations to show them how to manage advertising from

 strategy & tactics 42 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024

the Meta ads website, advising on what to make the most of—and what to ignore.


Soleau began using social media during her work at a dealership. Today, she’s the president of 424 Degrees Social Media Agency. “Social media has opened doors. This is the new sales model,” she said, adding that the goal is to get people to refer business to your store. “People are addicted to social media. Everyone knows how it works now.” With so many people working remotely and shopping online, usage has gone up since the pandemic. “The numbers have only increased of how much time we spend looking at our

phone. I think the rest of the time, we’re probably looking for our phone. According to the numbers, people spend more time on Facebook than anywhere else.” Meta also purchases ad space on some of the world’s largest websites. Additionally, viewers spend a lot of time watching reels, which makes Tik-Tok an effective tool for marketing. “Tutorials are the most popular Tik-Tok videos. Use that to show your viewers how things work. Show them what you can do,” she advised. Threads—through Instagram— is also becoming a popular platform. Soleau encouraged attendees to sign up, noting that any followers from Instagram will immediately be added to Threads. Finally, be sure to connect Facebook to Instagram. “Then you can run ads on both networks at once, and this doubles your chances for success. If someone is an Instagram user, but they don’t have Facebook, they’ll still see the same ad.”

To do this, navigate to the Facebook page’s professional dashboard, click on Linked Accounts, and link the two pages. Some people, she said, might have a personal Instagram account that veers more toward a business-like presentation. It’s then possible to upgrade to a professional account, which allows the user to view all the analytics, such as post views and impressions. However, she added, it’s important to have both and to not implement paid advertising from a strictly personal page.


It’s important to consider the behaviors of the audience: Some people scroll. Others watch videos, while others engage in posts—either by liking, sharing or commenting. Others prefer to click links and look at external websites, some send messages, and others fill out forms, which generates a lead. “If you’re only advertising using videos, the other people won’t see it,” she explained. “You have to have a full coverage of how you market to all the different behaviors, because the algorithm categorizes us according to those behaviors.”

Today, it’s easy to create short videos, or reels, to use in marketing and advertising. “People love this kind of content,” Soleau said, adding that anyone can learn to create it. “Show off your work. You can also use Canva, including to feature reviews.” Tik Tok can also be used to share customer testimonials. Soleau suggested some shops might have fans who are very invested in the work they do— and they might be excited to be featured on the business’s Tik Tok.

“Humor goes over well, too. You can share funny staff photos. But avoid only featuring another company’s products,” she added. After all, a company should be promoting its own brand. Along the same lines, she said, “Avoid using stock photos. It should look authentic. Don’t feel like you have to hire a professional


photographer, either. Our eyes are trained to avoid stock photos in advertising.” On the other hand, an audience will be drawn in by a shop’s authenticity and they’ll want to know the people they’re seeing in the photos.


In the professional advertising side of Facebook ( a business can look at its advertising and view the analytics. For example, one advertisement might’ve cost $100, resulting in 30,000 impressions and 12,000 video views. On another video, a $50 cost might obtain 20,000 impressions and 8,000 views. “The difference is all in the keywords we pick,” she explained. “You get to pick what you want the ad to do. Awareness is, ‘I want to reach as many people as possible.’ It’s not very productive. Focus on traffic and engagement.” If a business wants more traffic on its website, it’s important to manually set it up and avoid allowing Facebook to make recommendations.

“Choose website traffic. Facebook likes to automatically choose

‘Advantage Campaign’ budget. Don’t do it,” Soleau advised, adding that many of the options will be extraneous once a business zeroes in on what’s most important. “Saturday and Sunday we see social media engagement go down, so focus on weekdays.”

Rather than creating a new post, the platform allows a business to choose an existing post. “I think, for a car audio store, it’s good to let the post sit on your page. Select an existing post you’d like to use.” Adding a “send message”

button will help to increase engagement and get potential customers to reach out to the shop.

Soleau also encouraged retailers to create Facebook event pages any time they have an in-store event. “When someone responds by saying they’re going, Facebook will invite them to add it to their calender. On the day before the event, they’ll get a reminder.”

When an advertisement invites viewers to get in touch, retailers can change the “start conversation” button

 strategy & tactics 44 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024
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to something more specific. Then, if the potential client hits the button, it’ll request a phone number. “They give their number. Now, you can put your salespeople in the Facebook account as admins so they receive notifications when a message is sent, and they can call the client.” Facebook and Instagram messages, she added, have the same open rate as text messages.


It can be easy to throw money into marketing, but Soleau recommended ways of becoming more intentional. She said a healthy ad budget is between $500-$1,500 per month. Stores can keep the budget manageable by handling all their advertising in-house.

“There are only four things I think you need in your store: Video views, getting more engagement like comments

and shares—and I think you only need Messenger, not Facebook’s lead generation. I think you only need website traffic ads to send leads into your website. How much does this cost? Well, how many clicks do you want to see, and how many video views do you want?” Once you know that, she added, this can be reverse-engineered.

“Traffic ads only cost 50 cents to $1.00 per click. Don’t run something just for one day because you need the time for Meta to find the audience. I might choose $100 per ad, and run it for two weeks to get a couple hundred clicks.” For example, she said, “Maybe we create an ad on subwoofers, remote starts, and another ad about window tint. Each ad drives the viewer to different parts of your website.” She advised taking a closer look at website analytics and deciding which part of the website

needs more attention and why. Perhaps a shop wishes to raise awareness of a particular category or service.

“Do you want a video to get 20,000 views? Pay $40 and run it for a week.” A shop might show off a build and explain what’s possible. “Because of how cool it is, it’ll go viral. We’re paying for 20,000 video views, but it might get so many shares, it’ll get even more views.” Soleau then clarified the meaning of viral: “Viral is getting 10 times more reach than you normally would. If you only get 100 views, and now you get 1,000, that’s considered viral for your page.”

Finally, consider the demographics, and don’t let Facebook define it for you: “Choose the area in which you want the ad to run. How far will people drive to get to you? It’s so easy to waste your money,” she said, adding, “Get the right targets.”

 strategy & tactics 46 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024

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The SounDigital and Ground Zero system in this 2010 Chevrolet Silverado drew attendees in for a listen at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas this past February.


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48 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024

Alvaro Avila said he purchased this 2010 Chevrolet Silverado brand-new and continued to build onto it over the years. It features both SounDigital and Ground Zero equipment.

“It has eight EVOX2 SounDigital amplifiers,” he said, adding, “The DSPs are all covered by Ground Zero.” The build also features the new Ground Zero Nuclear subwoofers, powered by a SounDigital 8000.1 EVOX2 amplifier.

50 Mobile Electronics April/May 2024  installs


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 April/May 2024

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