Let The BIG Shows Begin
Forty years is a long time to remain relevant. For Keystone Automotive Operations, the leading and largest wholesale distributor of specialty automotive parts in North America, decades of longevity in a dynamic industry can be attributed to four Ps: partnerships, products, performance, and personnel.
Keystone has learned a few things during its impressive history. Never lose sight of your core business; master the fundamentals that keep your doors open; practice integrity in all that you do, resulting in meaningful, long-lasting partnerships; and invest in the right personnel to produce quality results. Those values, ever present during the days of legendary racer and company founder Joe Amato, are still revered and practiced today.
Capitalize On A Growing Market
The Keystone BIG Shows are a representation of these quality characteristics, bringing together three of the strongest forces responsible for helping to shape the aftermarket, with the end result of stronger relationships, growth and prosperity:
• A passionate manufacturing community dedicated to product innovation
• Business-savvy retailers and restylers looking to capitalize on aftermarket
opportunities to drive sales
• A trusted distribution partner committed to delivering on consumer demand and providing customers what they need when they need it, so they can close the sale.
The specialty automotive equipment market has grown from 7.2 billion to 36.2 billion, a staggering 500 percent over the past 25 years. And there are no signs of stalling — analysts forecast an upward trend through 2018. As a business owner in a mature and expanding industry now is the time to invest in your future. And there’s no better way to ring the cash register than at the Keystone BIG Shows. The first show is slated for February 20 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital. The Gaylord Texan in Dallas will host the BIG Show on March 5. Together, the events serve as the largest wholesale only buying opportunities.
All aftermarket segments are represented, giving every kind of customer a chance to gather, share market intelligence and receive a customized business-building experience in a more intimate setting with hands-on product demos and education, as well as appealing purchasing incentives to bolster profit potential. There’s something for everyone, from speed, restyling and truck accessory shop owners to Jeep® specialty installers and more.
“The BIG Shows are the single most important days of the year, not only for Keystone but also for our suppliers and our customers. It’s the only time we are all in the same place at the same time with the opportunity to really help each other grow,” said Eric Fairchild, Keystone’s director of north east sales and U.S. customer support. “It is the perfect storm of opportunity: teaching, learning, communicating, building relationships, investing in your business and more. The BIG Shows are unmatched within the industry,” he added. “They give the supplier and jobber the opportunity that SEMA intends to offer, but with a more personalized approach and the added benefit that you can buy what you see. Regardless of business size, you can’t afford not to be there.”
Rolling Out The Red Carpet
Corby Phillips, national sales manager at Warn Industries, has been attending the shows for eight years. “Warn’s two biggest selling seasons are spring and fall. The BIG Shows are the perfect time of year, giving the jobber an opportunity to see our new products and prepare for the hobbyists and hunters to come out of hibernation for spring sales,” said Phillips. “The combination of warming weather and tax returns create an ideal scenario for the jobber to make the sale in the following 30-90 days.”
WEATHER GUARD® has been exhibiting at the BIG Shows since 2009, witnessing them outgrow the Secaucus and Atlantic City, N.J., venues. “This year marks our sixth consecutive year as the primary sponsor of the BIG Show West in Dallas,” said Mike Katz, national sales manager. “The BIG Shows always give us a fast start to the year, allowing us to showcase new products, launch exciting promotions and offer crazy, tough-to-pass-up, one-day show deals, so jobbers can stock up heading into the season.”
Products Showcase and enjoy a reception sponsored by Pendaform™ the night before the show. “The showcase offers customers a focused look at a variety of new products on display across all aftermarket segments," said Tim Williams, VP of sales and marketing. “It’s a great opportunity to see what new items can directly benefit your business or complementary items you may not have considered that can diversify your offerings and increase your growth potential. “On a personal level,” continued Williams, “I really love the ability to get in front of the customers, educate them about our product and talk about current trends, as well as throw out some great programs and promotions for them to take advantage of.” Hint, hint… they’ve been known to give away a truck or two!
Talk shop with your favorite manufacturers and be introduced to a variety of new lines that can kick your business up a notch. Take advantage of enticingly deep deals, promotions and giveaways, allowing you to stock up on your fastest-moving items and new products at a lower price. That means more built-in margin for you and increased profits upon closing the sale. And, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with fellow enthusiasts and industry celebrities. Chip Foose, Vic Edelbrock, Richard Rawlings and Brian Deegan have been known to stop by — just to name a few.
Keystone has managed to combine an engaging atmosphere, great events and, most importantly, business-building opportunities effectively. This gives attendees a one-stop shopping experience that is sure to wow and deliver long-term results. “We want to be part of the process to really help our customers market themselves as a local source for new and innovative products,” said Larry Montante, Keystone’s VP of category management.
So what’s in store for 2016? “Well, you’ll have to come out and see us! You can plan on a lot of excitement, entertainment, celebrity meet-and-greets, prizes, cash giveaways and more. It’s a perfect time of year to see new products and talk one-on-one with the manufacturing experts — all while having fun!” said Melissa Holland, Keystone events manager. “We’re committed to making the shows bigger and better every single year. It’s truly a team effort to ensure customers have a fantastic experience, and we certainly have the right people to make that happen.”
But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It — Take THEIRS!
PendaForm’s Williams couldn’t agree more. “In one spot, you have all of the people that make the products, distribute the products and sell the products—all those who help you make money. It’s a one-day show that makes that BIG of a difference. “You have to figure out a way to break away from the shop for a day”’ he added, “because it’s entirely possible you can meet someone and see, learn or buy something so important that it equates to 10 times more than you can sell in your shop that day. What you learn and see, and have the ability to purchase at the price being offered, can make a huge impact. It’s an investment in your future.”
For three veteran showgoers, breaking away from the shop has made all the difference. “We have two showrooms and install everything we sell,” said Glen Smith, general sales manager at BlackJack SpeedShop. “We work on a variety of vehicles, including Jeeps, trucks, modern muscle and even hot rods. I’ve attended the BIG Shows four or five times. It’s beneficial to meet the vendors and actually see the product and take advantage of deals, especially lines like Warn that go deeper at the show just for those attending. It’s a hands-on experience for us.”
Added Chris Schexnider, Classic Tint’s general manager: “Our core business is window tint and bedliners, but we’ve seen a big uptick in truck accessories. I’ve been attending the BIG Shows for four years. Our favorite part is being able to meet the vendors, see the new products and displays, keep up with what’s happening in the market and take advantage of the deals. Last year, we stocked up on WeatherTech® liners and UnderCover Flex. Also, I consider my relationship with my Keystone sales rep more like a friend.”
Access to new products, vendor interface and new-business opportunities are key reasons to attend, noted Jeff Hanks, VP at Cap and Hitch. “Our business is installs and truck accessories. I attended my first BIG Show in ’08. It’s great to talk with the manufacturers and put names with faces. Our favorite aspect is the New Products Showcase, and there are a lot of deals and promotions. We stock up on the small stuff, and Karen Liedel (Keystone sales associate) points us in the right direction of how to diversify our business.”
Where can shop owners across every aftermarket segment gather to meet with the industry’s top manufactures,
discuss current trends, learn about new lines, see new products post-SEMA Show, and have a trade
show experience that will increase their revenue?
The Keystone BIG Shows, of course.
So be sure to:
• Book early for best hotel rates
• Keep reservation and registration info handy
• Check parking structure height restrictions affecting raised vehicles
• Schedule time with your Keystone sales associate
• Download the BIG Show app to keep track of schedules
• Grab a floor plan to map out your day
• Check out show sponsors WEATHER GUARD and ReadyLIFT®
• Visit the Keystone booth for business-building tools and your top manufacturers
• Diversify with new product lines
• Attend the New Products Showcase and Customer Appreciation Receptions to enjoy great food
and mingle with manufacturers, colleagues and the Keystone team
• Place orders early and often. Big Show deals are one-day specials — no exceptions
• So if you find a steal, BUY IT! STOCK IT! SELL IT!