September '19

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52 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2019 tomers wanting to keep a body style of vehicle they are used to and drop in a better power plant." ACTION PLAN From finding them on social media to stocking the parts they need, there's a lot to accomplish when serving the sport com- pact crowd. Our sources offer some tips for assistance. "Focus on the markets and customers that you understand or are at least inter- ested in," recommends Z1's Floyd. "Make a commitment to be the best in your niche, or just stick to what you know. Don't try to be everything to everyone." It also pays to know your stuff, says PER- RIN's Leitl. "A brick-and-mortar sport compact shop must have inventory and the ability to install and service the products they are selling," he believes. "With how huge the internet is in selling performance parts these days, you need to take immediate advantage of a customer standing in front of you. That customer is probably there for at least one of the following reasons— they want to see and touch the part before purchasing, they need the part installed by a professional, or they want it now; right then and there." And as internet delivery times shrink, the shop must turn to installation, knowledge and service to maintain an edge. "One other thing is to offer installations on parts the customer brings in," he adds. "Many times, I hear about shops refusing to install parts the customer brings in. I do understand the frustration of not making the part sale, but take a step back and look at this two ways. One, get a cut of the pie! Revenue from an install is better than no revenue at all. And two, earn that customer's direct business on his/her next purchase." A shop's social media footprint is just as important as the sign on the front of the building, and both deserve major invest- ments, says Oden of The Shop Houston. "One of the better moves we made early on was heavily investing in social media content and high-quality video and photo content," he reveals. "The industry typi- cally uses low-quality, cell phone-style content and it's easy to stand out with high-quality media. We invested heavily in quality equipment to get the content we wanted." The business also took cars to the track and generated dyno content to prove its worth in the market. "We found our niche in the Nissan GTR space and were able to do things with the car that were impressive to our clients and developed a brand synonymous with quality and performance," Oden adds. Finally, Mach V's Hurwitz says a direct approach has worked well for him. "I try to know my subject matter as well as I possibly can, and I try to tell my cus- tomers the truth as I know it," he explains. "I try to deliver on my promises, and if I don't know the answer to a question, I will admit that I don't know. Oh, and I work a lot." Which is what it takes to thrive in the sport compact space. Shops and manufacturers share their hottest sport- compact-related products: "Ethanol-based flex fuel systems do very well with our customers. Along with ECU calibrations, a switch to ethanol-based fuel on a fac- tory turbocharged platform allows customers to see very cost-effective power gains quickly. These upgrades typically install very easily and pro- vide a noticeable gain, often in the same day. Upgraded forced induc- tion systems are the second most popular upgrade." David Oden The Shop Houston "We sell a lot of wheels. Wheels are nice for the consumer because they can have a performance benefit (allowing bigger/stickier tires, reducing weight), plus they can make a dramatic change to the appear- ance of the car. We even have our own Mach V-brand wheel designs. Another item we sell a lot of is the Cobb Accessport tuning device. It's a reliable and affordable way to increase performance and keep tabs on the workings of the ECU." Dan Hurwitz Mach V Motorsports "Our Z1-designed and built power packages for the Nissan 350Z and 370Z are some of our best sellers. Developed through hundreds of hours on the dyno and track, they include air intake, exhaust system and ECU flash to substantially increase performance for a reason- able price." Russell Floyd Z1 Motorsports "We are very successful with lower- priced items that, once installed, give the customer immediate satisfaction. A dress-up item gives them immediate visual satisfaction. An inexpensive performance item like a short shifter gives the driver satisfaction they can feel every time they drive the car." John Leitl PERRIN Performance Brick-and- mortar sport com- pact shops should have inventory and the ability to install and ser- vice the products they are selling. (Photo courtesy PERRIN Performance) Sport com- pact trends seem to some- times come and go and come again. (Photo courtesy PERRIN Perfor- mance) Sport Compacts

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