May 1, 2020
Time to Succeed in your Business
While I imagine I am not the first to say this, and honestly I won’t be the last, I do think it’s important for me to say this right now. To all my friends in the Car Audio world or any retail business in the US, this is the time now where we have to focus on growing our business. As of May 1st, 2020, it looks like businesses will be reopening soon and you need to be ready to stand out as people get back out in the world. This is going to be some ideas on things you can do in your business to make it the next choice for your customers.
Now is the time to focus and work more, not less!
I realize what is going on in the world today. Doom and Gloom are all we hear about and it is causing a lot of people to sit back, wait, and not focus on what they need. It can be depressing to feel like you can’t do anything. The reality, if you decide to take action, is that you can now do more than ever to advertise and grow your following so you build customers. You have to think about it not as “pushing” for sales. You want to bring value to your customers and give them what they want first. Why not try it, many of your retail businesses are either on fewer hours or closed altogether. This gives you all the free time to work on your business. Put the Netflix and Disney+ down and grab your laptop and camera.
Tell your businesses story
The first thing you want to work on and start thinking about is telling your business’ story. People buy from other people and they don’t just buy from a nameless organization when they have the choice. Personal is ok, being real with the challenges, struggles, and successes you are having is a good thing. Its what makes you human and makes your story much more interesting than the next. Think back, have you ever bought something from someone because you knew they needed the help? Girl Scout cookies, kids school drives, Animal Shelters, and even food banks are all places where people help because they know what they are doing and know they need help. Start thinking about how to make your story interesting and share it.
Now, the question is how do I share it? Use your super fancy “studio, pro” level camera you own called your phone and start making videos.
“But… But… No one wants to see my ugly face. I suck at talking on a Camera!”
First of all, if your face was a problem you wouldn’t have a store in the first place. Secondly, you get better at things you do by practicing so start recording videos! The only thing you really need other than your cellphone is a Tripod Stand and a Microphone, which you can find using those links. Even those are just suggestions and not necessary. Your videos don’t need to be perfect, an unscripted video can get more attention because it’s interesting and authentic. You can also write articles just like this one if you are a better writer, or you can even record a podcast as well that you can share with people. If you don’t know how you can either message me directly on Instagram at @CarAudioChris or you can just Google/YouTube it. Here is an example of a video I did with a customer of mine. It isn’t perfect but we did it in one take and took a whole 30 mins to do from start to finish.
Special thanks to HiPro Audio in Victoria, TX for this video
Show off interesting things you are doing or have done
Most businesses in the past have a catalog of jobs they have done over the years. Use these posts to share regularly. Try posting 1 time a day to start moving to 2-3 a day. Make themes of the week to talk about cool things you are doing. For my car audio guys, you can do “Fail of the week”, “Banger of the Week”, “SQ Saturday”, etc. The idea here is to get your customers to see you more than your competitor all while being entertaining, informative, and not just another sales guy. On all of these posts, DO NOT be salesy! There is a time and a place and I will talk about that a little later.
Another piece of advice with these is to plan out a week of posts or more at a time. This makes it so you don’t forget at the moment and makes it easier to schedule automatic posts daily. As business is picking up, you will get back to closing sales and doing jobs. This makes it so you will have at least a post go up daily and gives you time to make money and still grab new attention online. Scheduling can be done on most social media now so if you need to know how then hit me up here @CarAudioChris.
How to ask for the sale online
Let’s think about how you would want to be sold online. You don’t want to see an ad every 5 mins saying the same thing, do you?
“Buy from me! Buy from me! Or Give me your vote! Give me your vote!” - Bloomberg on every YouTube video for 4-5 months
All jokes aside, you want the ask to feel organic, and this is why you want to plan ahead of time. As I said, we have the time right now. If you need to sell radar detectors, then for the week or two before you post about a radar detector sale, show off some amazing vehicles you have done with custom installs. Explain why the customer went with that one, and talk about the benefits all without asking for the sale. Once you have posted multiple photos, videos, or text posts about it then you can ask for the sale. You are prepping them to buy the thing, creating the desire, and then offering them the way to get it.
This strategy can be used for anything from tint(reduce summer heat), to remote start(cool down the car), to blue tooth installs(hands-free solutions while driving), and anything in between. If you are sitting at home watching the latest episode of West World then you have time to work these all out. It doesn’t take long when you take the time to build the idea out. There are even services that you can use for Facebook and Instagram where you can plan it all out and see it laid out on a calendar if you are more visual. I recommend Plannable.io which you can find using the link here.
Last, but definitely, the most important!
You have to be able to start building relationships with people. In a world right now where we can’t walk around and shake hands you need to be the one that can do it socially online. You want to become the voice in your community that has the answer to the challenges your customers want. Where it is how to make the speakers sound better, or the crazy guy that gets their trunk rattling. Be excited about what you are doing and make sure you show it.
We are in a world where a lot of people are down, maybe even depressed, that are looking for the next smile. You want to be the one that brings that to them and in the process, you can gain a customer for life. When you do this, the price becomes unimportant. Don’t be another source of doom and gloom, there are plenty of those already out there. Make sure you are the one that makes the people around you happy and do it by using some of these ideas.
I hope this helps you out, please let me know how it goes and what you are seeing with your customers. I am so ready and excited for what is to come. Things are only getting better from here and its got a smile on my face, what about you?
January 10, 2020
Best Way to Increase Sales in Your Retail Store in 2020
So in 2020 everyone is starting to look at their New Years resolutions, and when you are a business owner your resolution always seems to be to increase sales. Well there is one new “Huge Hack” you can do to increase sales. Luckily you are here to read about it and will be able to execute on these secrets.
What do I need to do?
Some people think, well do I need to bring in the newest brands to increase sales? Bringing in a new brand to a store can both help create hype and create confusion in your store. While is this could be helpful to your 2020 year, is it “The Hack”? No it is not!
Beating my competitors price?
Others believe that beating a competitor’s price is the key to closing every sale. While making a quick buck and lowering your price can make you more sales in the short term, at what cost? You can have your creditbility change with the customer and now you are just the deal guy instead of the valued expert.
The race to zero ends badly and it is more important to be profitable than to make the sale at all costs.
So if this isn’t the answer either, what is the super secret “hack”? It’s way more simple than you think.
“The Super Secret Hack” of 2020
Smile… that’s it. Smiling is the best way you can start any relationship with your customer. First impressions are everything and if the first time they see you they see a big smile on your face they will trust you and it will be easier to make more sales. Seeing a smiling person puts someone at ease and makes it easier for them to reciprocate.
I know this sounds crazy but try it in your shop, whether it is you or your sales people make sure that every customer that walks in your door is met with an energetic hello with a big smile. Be happy to see that customer walking through the door. This sets your business up for success and your store will be different than any of your competitors around you. Some of you already do this now but we want to make sure you remember this going into 2020. We live in a world where more people are more interested in their phone than actually talking to the people in front of them. Smiling shows that you are honestly interested in talking to them which makes them subconsciously feel important and happy.
Now is the time to experiment, try it out and let me know what you think. What’s the worst thing you have to lose? I think you will be very surprised to see the difference in sales and customers you have already. Go comment on my Facebook or Instagram to let me know happens after A/B Testing.
January 7, 2020
Rebirth of PPI: a new product and new direction
So as I sit here digesting my first day of CES 2020 I have to share my excitement about the new changes happening at Epsilon. With Ronnie Brashear at the helm they are making some huge changes with the current lines of products and really focusing on the direct dealer base. Providing a good quality product with an affordable price that is profitable to sell. With all the history around Precision Power, it makes me happy to see what they are doing to get ready for the future. This is really a rebirth of the line and what it once was with a 2020 twist.
New Amps, what to expect?
There are going to be two main new amplifiers to look out for the 2020 year, the Power Class and the Atom Amplifiers. The Power Class amps not only look amazing but are going to sound great as well. All of these components are high quality components, some from supplies in places like Germany, not just picked off the shelves of China. Some of the components will be US pieces as well to make sure they are great performers with no sacrifice in performance. These amps are vertically mounted with a fancy mount and will even have a DSP that can be added as well. Check my social media links above to check out pictures that I will be taking from the booth tomorrow(Jan, 7th 2020).
The Atom line of amps are going to be a small step down but super compact with some matching marine options as well. These amps have the ability to be stacked and have the mounting screws hidden for a great looking install. These are going to be the daily bread and butter of the line with good quality parts from suppliers Korea.
Speakers to match!
These lines will have great speakers to go with the new amplifiers as well. The Power Class 2 and 3 way component sets are great looking products that are very unique to other items in that price point. Ribbon tweeters are unheard of and are a great addition to these speakers. Unfortunately these are not released yet but will be coming soon. Hopefully before the end of the 1st quarter.
Atom will be where your mix of components and coaxes will be while giving a great sound quality bang for your buck. All while fitting in all of your common vehicles and sizes. Even these speakers will be protected so you will be able to sell them and stay profitable at all time.
Harley Davidson, down the road of the Motorcycle world!
Another super exciting announcement is the product mix of Harley specific pieces that will be plug in play for most of your motorcycle needs. This includes a Factory replacement radio that plugs into the factory radio harness. It will also work with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, SiriusXM radio, steering wheel controls, and will even integrate with Maestro for gauges and other options on your bike. This is going to be a game changer because no other manufacturer offers this solution right now, and it made to drop right in. We even have an option for your Road King Harley’s without a place for a radio. PPI has a BT radio option that bolts right onto your factory throttle bracket using factory bolts. All while giving you controls for volume and song with in whatever system you put on your bike.
After you radio is replaced, PPI will also have drop in replacement speakers specifically for your different lids and fairings. A challenge in the bike speaker world is weight and heat so they tackled this by giving you a Neodymium speaker to save weight while adding a brand new heat sink to keep the speakers cool while not over heating the speakers. Other competitors have been known to over heat and even melt items in your bag, that won’t be an issue with these speakers. You don’t want to burn/melt your jacket while jamming your audio going down the road.
If you need bass they are going to have you covered you as well, PPI will be releasing this year a pair of factory drop in sub enclosure for factory bags, with an amp and port built in. These match your factory bags already and all you need is power, ground, and signal and you got an easy bass upgrade without all the hassle of a leaking bag because you had to cut it up for your subs. They are two 8″ woofers, one in each bag and are sold in a pair.
Last but not least we have prefabbed fairings for both the 14+ and 13 down Harleys loaded with speakers in them. These are kits you can get directly from PPI that will just bolt on and get your music. Everything all said and done you can build out an 8 speaker system with subs with a great factory fit and finish. This is one of my favorite new things about the brand in 2020.
UTV and Marine, a very fast growing market
Last but not least they are launching a UTV Speaker speaker line that give you both 6.5″ speakers or a small, medium, and large sound bars for any vehicle you can get. If you don’t have a SXS and you have a boat there will be a full mix of, 6.5“, 8”, and 10” sub options for you no matter your situation. Because these are all built to Marine standards they can be used in any outdoor application.
With all of these new products coming out, and PPI committing to direct dealers with limited and protected distribution, this line is going to blow up in the next 18 months. This is not going to be an internet brand of the past, and they will be building quality products like back to the PPI Art and Power amps of old. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see PPI do this. If you have questions we will be finishing up with CES this week but feel free to reach out to me on any of my social media channels above.
Thanks so much and I hope you have a great 2020 this year!
January 5, 2020
Technology and How to Use It In Your Business
So this is going to be a little bit different than my other posts but this technology is so cool that I just couldn’t help but think about the possibilities available to car audio shops like yours. By using things like Apple Shortcuts or Google’s Action Blocks, the Android equivalent, you can be on your way to becoming more efficient in your day to day.
NFC technology has been around for quite a while but is fairly new in this method of automation. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android pay work off these same methods. They work by using a communication protocol that lets two devices speak the same language and pass information passively. These tags are normally non powered and are just inside of a sticker or piece of plastic.
When a device sees this communication between the tag and itself it can be made to trigger an action that is preprogrammed. Depending on what you tell it to do, and the device you are using, you can do anything from turning on a light, to completely controlling your whole home automation system of your house.
The easiest thing is your cell phone. Most cell phones in 2020 have NFC capabilities including the Galaxy S devices, and the Apple iPhones. While they can read the NFC tags you need something else to activate something with the tag. This is where things start to change depending on your phone. I personally use Apple iOS, I do not know much about Android but I have heard that it is capable as well. I will use the Apple Shortcuts app in order to explain the process but just know it can be done on Android devices too.
How to get started
First of all you need to buy some NFC Tags to play with. They are very inexpensive and do not “wear out” or stop working. I personally ordered a set off amazon for $6.39 that you can find right here. As of January 2020 that was the going price for 10 tags. Once you get those tags this is where you need to make sure you have the Shortcut app installed on your phone.
Once this is done you will want to make a Shortcut. I will link a couple examples here for you to think about. This is definitely not going to be an article how to create these from scratch. Personally if you really want to learn Shortcuts and how to do them I would recommend watching Matthew Cassinelli and Christopher Lawley no YouTube for their examples. Below are some ideas that can easily be done to help you run your store.
- Turn on/off lights to the whole shop
- Activate an alarm as you walk out the door
- Electronically Lock/Unlock front doors
- Track hours on an install (recording start/stops)
- Turn on music to play through a stereo
- Turn AC / Heater on and off
These are just a few simple examples of an endless amount of possibilities. Shortcuts can integrate in with an almost unlimited amount of other devices through the Apple Home Kit. A lot of these shortcuts are already created and all you have to do it add the NFC Automation. Once you have the things you want to automate, you need to tie them to your NFC Tag.
Setting up your first tag
When you open your Shortcut app if you look at the bottom you will see these three buttons. Click on Automation to open up the menu to start your setup. Once you click on that, you want to press the plus at the top of the page to create your first Automation script.
Here you want to press the “Create Personal Automation” button to get started. That will open up multiple different ways to automate your shortcut you made. A few interesting ones to check out are Wi-Fi, for when you connect to the business internet, or arrive and leave based on your physical location. For now we are going to scroll down to the bottom and choose NFC.
Once you click that you will see a window with a script showing When and then it saying when it senses the NFC tag. Below that you will see the words NFC Tag and Scan next to it. Click Scan to have the next step pop up.
Once that is done you will tap your phone multiple times on top of one NFC tag from the bunch you bought earlier. Make sure there is only because it can sense multiple at once. You should see this message pop up while you are doing so.
Once the phone registers the tag it will pop up with a prompt to give the tag a name, this will give that tag a reference point of multiple different automations or just one depending on what you need. Typically you want to name it after the location or the job it is doing for you to reference again in the future.
After you have saved the name the phone will open up into the Actions section so that you can add the different steps that you want this to activate. Again you can have a shortcut that you can run or you can open an application. These will always change based on what you need. Customize it to whatever you need and then hit save.
From here you can just rinse and repeat for each different Automation you want to add. This is something that can be a game changer from a time saving stand point. Also, it can help prevent you or your staff from forgetting to do something during the day when you have multiple steps that can I all be automated.
What do you think would be a great way to use this for you and your store. Go and check out my Facebook page where you can comment on the post about this blog and let us know what you would do. Go check the link here and join in the conversation with other business owners like yourself.
Last but not least I am putting some links to shortcuts I use every day. These are both activated with NFC tags I have in my house and I don’t have to think about any of this when I go to bed or wake up.
Thanks so much for reading this and let me know what you think!
Examples of some of my Shortcuts I use daily
- I’m Going to Bed
- This Shortcut tells my phone to do these steps:
- Turns on my alarms
- Turns on Low Power Mode to reduce battery drain
- Set Brightness to 0%
- Set Volume to 100%
- Turns on DND
- I’m Awake
- This Shortcut matches to going to bed one but in the opposite
- Turns off my alarms
- Turns off Low Power Mode to reduce battery drain
- Set Brightness to 70%
- Set Volume to 65%
- Turns off DND
January 3, 2020
What Brands to Have In Your Car Audio Shop
So in today’s world some people want to have certain brands because of nostalgia, loyalty, or personal preference.
What should I sell in my store?
That is all fine but today you need to have a little more strategy when looking to sell certain brands. I am going to give some examples of what you can do in your store in order to maximize profit and grow you stores image with your local community or online.
High Margin price protected brand
This is something you want to try and pick out first when you are looking at your current line up. You want to make sure your store has a company that not only has a good profit margin but is something that is not a struggle to sell based on price. This means that a MAP, or Minimum Advertised Price, structure is enforced by the manufacturer. When everyone has to sell at the same price is give you the advantage to become the best at service.
You want this product to be your go to product for any customer. This is a brand you want to actively build credibility with so you can keep profit margins high and keep the dollars moving through the store. You won’t always sell this product but you want it to be what you try to push your client too based on their needs.
Popular brands that everyone knows
You want to have at least one of those brands that everyone knows. This is something that may not be your go to product, but something that almost every customer that walks in knows about and knows it is good. A lot of times these sell themselves and while you can recommend your high profit SKUs you won’t always pull that customer away.
Sell this speaker and make sure that you can keep it in your store. Once you have it in your store try and keep a “Popular” vs a “High Profit” comparison in order to show customers the difference and let them decide. Either way, make sure the customer is happy with their choice whether it is name recognition or performance. Both ways you win in your customers eyes.
Here you want to keep something that is a “go to” for the customer that only wants to buy on price. Some times these customers are looked down upon but they are all here to fix a problem they have. There is no reason to turn these customers away just because you feel “too good” to sell it or you think it is “too cheap”.
In todays world, almost all products are good no matter the price point, it’s all about longevity and features. You want to make sure you have an offering for them because they will just go to your competitor if you don’t have it.
The Best of the Best
This is a brand that shows what everyone should strive for. You want to make sure every customer that walks in the door gets a chance to experience it as well. This is not something that everyone will purchase but when a customer experiences what they could have it makes it much easier to upgrade them in the future.
A common experience is a customer comes in a $100 item but you show them a $1000 item that does what they are looking for. You show them how amazing this item is and why it is worth that money. Once they understand the difference and why then it makes it much easier to get them to buy the $500 item that gets them close. If you didn’t have the $1000 item to show them in the first place they just wouldn’t even know why its worth spending the $500 that they did.
Focus on making a sale to every customer
Once you have these products that fill every hole then you just have to make sure you talk with every customer and find the solution to their challenge. They are coming to you because they want to buy something. It’s your job to find out what the problem is that they have to explain why they want to buy. Once you know this then it is a matter of getting the best solution to fix that issue. When executed properly you should be able to sell almost every person that walks through the door.
We are all in business to sell things whether it is online or in a retail brick and mortar environment. In order to maximize what we are doing we need to make sure you are following a strategy on what you have in your store. I hope that this quick article can help you find that. Start implementing this in your store today and let me know how it affects your sales numbers.
December 31, 2019
Welcome to CarAudioChris’ Blog
So, here is just another website that is talk about this guy named Chris. What is this all about? Well, I hope to tell you here in this article.
What is this blog for?
I am guy in the Car Audio industry that has been focused on Sales since I was 16 years old. I love selling, installing, listening to, and play with car stereo systems. I have gone From SPL loud systems to SQ amazing systems. I started getting to the point where I was helping brick and mortar dealers in this industry grow their businesses by using certain skills and changing how they think about their business.
These skills also translated online and I was able to help them learn how to use online platforms and website in order to multiply the amount of people they have coming through their door buying products.
Help retail business adapt to the current ways to market
My goal now is reach more car audio dealers and other businesses by showing them a way to increase their revenues. The industry is always changing and it changes more quickly every day. People have to run their businesses more efficiently and do what’s best for their customer and not how we have done it in the past
Does this include selling online?
Yes, I want to show dealers the do’s and don’ts of how to sell online and how they can do it efficiently. Online sales do not have to be hard and if done correctly most manufacturers will allow it. It isn’t a big scary project like most think, especially with as easy as companies like Shopify have made it for you. We will be posting “How to’s” on things you can do for yourself and even have people that can help you when you can’t.
Do I need to market online?
For the most part yes. Every platform is different and made to hit different markets. Businesses that use these platforms to their advantage become relevant with new customers. Businesses that don’t use the platform are irrelevant and don’t exist in the mind of your customers. There are tons of ways to do this, some more time consuming than others but we will go through these ideas in future articles.
Why should I listen to you?
Well, honestly I don’t think you should take my word alone. Feel free to research what we are saying and then do what you think is best. We have our opinion on what we think will work and we will show results on how it happened. Success and failures are going to happen as we go through the process. By working together, we can find the solutions that work and multiple the output with time. This isn’t just about me and what I say, I am constantly in the field, talking with businesses just like yours and we are always looking for the next big thing that is working. This is all about working together and succeeding. There is enough business for all of us, we are not in a world of lack.