Meet the Attendee -- December

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Meet the Attendee: Performance Cycle of Colorado

Performance Cycle of Colorado — Denver, CO
Don Waddill - President
12 Years Attending

Tell us about your business and how it’s different than most?

We started in 1981 and originally we were a drag race shop, hence the performance name. Then slowly overtime we developed the shop to be more profitable. Now we are strictly a specialty parts and accessories store focusing primarily on aftermarket accessories, commonly used hard parts and apparel. In 2001, we completely phased out the service department  and now we are 26,000 square feet of all accessories. Our objective is to sell products with higher margins and sell a lot of them. Our customers also know there isn’t anything they can’t find in our store when it comes to accessories for powersports vehicle.

How long have you been going to the show?

We started the first year Dealer Expo moved to Indianapolis which was around 1997. We have been going every year except for 2008, which I decided we would skip because I was feeling burnt out. It was a huge mistake on my part and I know we missed something that year because we didn’t go to the show. So now we’ve got a new plan to make sure we are at the show every year. Moving forward I plan to rotate who goes to the show. There are two reasons for this; the first is I want to make sure different staff gets to experience the show every year. I think by having new eyes walking the show, maybe some of our younger staff members, they will bring fresh perspective into the dealership. The show may seem like work to us, but for them Dealer Expo is an adventure. They get excited and we can use it as a reward for employees who are doing really well. This may mean that I might not attend every year, but at least this way we’ll always have somebody representing us at the event. I think it’s important that our staff members get a chance to forge relationships with the people we do business with too, not just myself. Sometimes people get in the habit of going through the motions, this creates disconnect with the event and industry, you start to feel like you’re seeing the same thing. By changing who we bring it’s a good way to insure that doesn’t happen while opening the door for opportunity.

What is your approach with the show and why do you attend Dealer Expo?
We have changed our thinking over the years with how we approach the show. For a shop like ours Dealer Expo is 100% of our business, so you might think we’d be out looking for new products. But that’s not why we go to the show. We don’t go there with a need to see everything, we utilize the show to build and maintain relationships with the people we do business with. We want to solidify relationships with current suppliers while at the show.  It’s not always about new product or saving a nickel, it’s about the relationships we have.  When we have an issue and we call a vendor they take better care of us when they know us. That’s why we use Dealer Expo to get the quality face-to-face time. I don’t want to be just an account number, it’s harder to do business, and by knowing them it’s so much more personable which helps us conduct better business. I want to be the first guy they call when they have a new opportunity, or need to get rid of product for cheap, we want first dibs on any opportunity the vendor might offer and you can’t do that if you don’t go to the show and meet them in person.

We also use that face time to work out problems we have. Maybe we like dealing with somebody but we don’t like the way they do something. By going to Dealer Expo we can we take that time to try and correct those problems, it smart business. I love the fact that when we are at the show, we are the customer. We get to go around and let vendors know how they can better service us. The better they service your business the better you can service your customer.

Lastly, I’d say we go to the show because it is FUN. I think Indianapolis is a fun town and we always have a good time. You have everything you need right there in down town, there isn’t a place you go where you don’t see other people from the show. Don’t get me wrong, we get a lot of work done but it’s important we enjoy ourselves too, more importantly with those we do business with. I think Indy is the perfect venue. I know some friends in the auto business who attends PRI, the show moved to Orlando a few years ago and my friends all complained. They say they have to drive to the show every day and everything is all spread out, not connected. Indy doesn’t have that problem and most importantly you save the money of renting a car.

Another thing I really enjoy is the silent auction for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, as an enthusiast they have some really great memorabilia up for grabs and as a collector ever year I get to bring something new back to the dealership.

What type of game plan do you have when you get to the show?

Our game plan is always decided before we even leave the dealership. Our schedule is always pre-set and meetings are pre-arranged with everybody we want to see. This covers your time at the show, lunches and even dinners that are important to building relationships that win. We always have time in between to wonder through the aisles as we make our way form appointment to appointment we absorbe all we can.

We start planning between 30 – 60 days ahead of the show. That’s when we start talking to people and scheduling appointments. We don’t have to do too much research for new product as we use the show as place where we leverage communication. We take advantage of every day of the show, we arrive on Friday and we stay all the way through Monday. There is never enough time so every hour counts even the opportunities after hours. I wish the show would start a little earlier because then we’d have more time to do more business during show hours.

Every year we start out meeting with our main supplier first, they are who we spend the most money with so we devote most of our attention to before we go out and venture new opportunities. The show is big but it’s not so big that you can’t jump around. Obviously we have a different approach than most, so we design our schedule around the vendors schedule and meet with who we have to meet with when we have to meet with them.

Then we spend a small percentage of our time devote to the one off vendors who we may not have set times to meet with. We keep that quick and try to see every inch of the show regardless of our meetings, we don’t want to miss anything but you can’t stop at every booth.

What recommendations might you have for other dealers?

If I was to make a recommendation to anybody, I’d suggest they be smart about their time. Really think about the time you have and pick and choose your discussions so you get everything get done.

Everybody is going to have their own opinion of what’s important to them, but it’s important to go to these shows and be involved. You have to be proactive and you have to move forward. You can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. You have to get out there, take charge of your business and take control of the opportunity. You can always learn something every time you go to the show. After 29 years you might think you’ve got it down, but the reality is you need to go and you need to learn. I would encourage anybody not going to join us at Dealer Expo and continue to move their business forward.

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