December '18

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22 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 utors are working much closer together and collaborating more in educating the customers and making sales. In years past, that interaction wasn't nearly as common. It allows for the relationships between the shops and manufacturers to flourish and become a solid partnership." QA1's Fegers says a big factor is delivery to the customer. "Over the past 10 years, the market has evolved somewhat. These days, you either need to have the product in stock or be willing/able to get it in short order. Racers historically have not been keen on waiting for parts to arrive and in today's climate they are even less likely to wait for something to arrive or be in stock. Being flexible and accommodating to customer requests for special-order products has become more important over the past 10 years." MOVING FORWARD The point of this annual review is to increase circle track-related sales and ser- vices for shops. Here are some ideas on how to accomplish that goal "Many of the sanctioning bodies are adopting professional-built spec engine programs in lieu of or in addition to crate engine programs," McFarland says. "In some cases, the series publish a list of key part numbers that must be used, leaving some areas open for the builder to work their experience into the build within parameters. In other cases the builder takes a build sheet and test engine to the sanc- tioning body for approval, creating their own spec engine." He's also seen instances where one builder does the work to get its spec engine approved and then sells the required compo- nents to other builders on a pallet, allowing them to build and manipulate the open areas to their liking. "Get involved, and dis- cuss with the sanctioning bodies how rules might be modi- fied or added, allowing more builders to participate," he continues. "Keep in mind the sanctioning body's or track's main interest is increasing car counts. Make this part of any discussion and they will be inclined to listen." Kontje suggests getting to know your customer base and becoming recognized by specific groups of racers. "Pick a lane," he says. "You can't be everything to everybody. Find out what your racers need and don't spread yourself too thin with a plethora of parts just to add to your product lines. Determine what you are good at selling and stick with that. Racers will naturally rely on your judgement if you exhibit interest in getting them what's best and explaining how you can help them. Once you establish this trust with your customers, they'll want to buy from you." Knowledge is also big to Begle. "It's important to under- stand what the racer wants and needs," he says. "Create a business strategy and take it to the track to present the plan to showcase your capabilities and what you have to offer. Go to the track to develop relationships with teams to try to grow business. There are racers that build their own engines that do not have the necessary machines to recondition used components. So, offering and promoting machining services is another option." Finally, Fegers reminds us that quality and performance are most important to racers. "Stock good parts. It really is one of the most basic things, but one of the most important," he believes. "It's common for shops to continue ordering the same parts mix that they have for years when they really should note their customer requests or comments. Those who stay current with customer and market demands are the shops that racers will support." Another Round These days, you either need to have the product in stock or be willing/able to get it in short order. (Photo courtesy QA1) Shops that work together with their manufacturer suppliers as well as their racer customers will come out on top. (Photo courtesy Roush Yates Engines) (Photo courtesy Roush Yates Engines)

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