August '19

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AUGUST 2019 THE SHOP 45 Kargo Master have engineered a host of commercial truck and van products designed to serve everyday professionals. MARKET ANALYSIS Before aspiring upfitters can market them- selves as open for commercial business, companies like CargoGlide, Stowe Cargo Systems and Westin Automotive emphasize the importance of local assessment. Make a list of regional competition, starting with those closest to you. Take note of who their primary targets are, what brands and products are being stocked, how they are selling—perhaps certain package deals—and, if possible, the approximate price point they are hitting so your shop can understand the margins involved. Hobie Smith, director of sales and mar- keting for CargoGlide, recommends evalu- ating the local environment and terrain. "Learn what obstacles the work vehicles face in your area. A work vehicle in the Northeast may need special attention to undercarriage protection and rust repair because of the climate. Out here (in Utah), the driving conditions definitely require a proper shock setup," he explains. Know your target audience. Don't just identify their needs—offer them proven solutions. That is something only a proper SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportuni- ties, Threats) analysis can do. After a proper assessment is complete and a shop is ready to actively pursue com- mercial business, it pays to invest in trade memberships that directly target the com- mercial industry such as NTEA. Not only will your entire staff have access to valu- able market data, but will receive access to various resources throughout the year as well. If dealerships are a target—and they should be—then consistency is vital. "All the things they do as a dealership, they expect us to keep up with their same practices," says High Caliber's Bride. "Essentially, we serve as an extension of the dealership or fleet account being worked on. So, when approaching a new partner- ship at the dealership level, dress the part and be prepared to talk and negotiate on their level. They want answers immedi- ately—be prepared to answer how you will solve their problems and make their lives easier." A PLACE TO WORK Industry insiders say a shop's workspace There's no denying the exponential growth and impact of the Euro van within the commercial space. Stowe 1/2 page vertical ad_Layout 1 4/29/19 11:23 AM Page 1

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