PowerSports Business

Powersports Business - May 25, 2015

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www.PowersportsBusiness.com INDUSTRY LEADERS Powersports Business • May 25, 2015 • 17 INDUSTRY LEADER — MIKE WEBSTER All this experience taught me that in order to create a successful show or event, you first need to conduct significant research of all cat- egories, including manufacturers, distributors, dealers, consumers and media. Equally impor- tant, the research must be interpreted properly. After conducting this research for two years (with help from my longtime friend and busi- ness associate Larry Little), we determined that the industry wanted and needed a platform, which we called the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) and launched in October 2013 in Orlando. The second part of this challenge is prov- ing value and ROI to our exhibitors, dealers, consumers and media … and convincing them that this is not the traditional and now outdated trade show or consumer show that they have been used to for so many years. We had a suc- cessful launch in 2013 and experienced very good growth in 2014. And for AIMExpo to continue on this growth path delivering excel- lent value and ROI to all constituents each and every year, it should be a collective effort by everyone in the motorcycle and greater pow- ersports industry and especially our exhibitor customers taking the initiative to invite their current and prospective dealers to attend. We never assume that "if you build it they will come." That only happens in fictional movies. You're only as good as your last show, and together we need to work harder every year to keep it relevant, informative, progres- sive, exciting, a great learning experience with lots of networking, and in doing so, it will gen- erate sales! What is the best advice you can give others in the industry? Working together toward a common cause or goal, especially in an enthusiast market, is vital to the successful growth of that industry. We are all in this together, and together we have a much better chance of winning. It's about gen- erosity, perseverance, attitude and having fun. Don't get greedy — longevity is much more important than a short term money-grab. The philosophy of our Marketplace Events Motorcycle Group, and in particular AIMExpo, is to first and foremost do whatever it takes to help the entire industry grow and prosper and sell more product and make more money. All we ask for in return is our fair share. It's all about customer service. Focus first on what the customer wants and always strive to provide the best customer service in the world, whatever it takes. Your competition is anyone the customer compares you with. We tend to get annoyed with our customers … don't! Remember that your customers are both external and internal. If you find that you can no longer satisfy your customers' wants and needs due to lack or resources or desire, get another job. Always smile and move! Wake up, be thankful, be approachable, complain less, smile … really, start early and go long, go beyond expectations, be resourceful and resilient with no excuses, be attentive, engaged and interested. Be passionate every day, or go home. And most importantly, have a sense of urgency. Be happy! What are the challenges you face as an inde- pendent show — one that doesn't have a built- in, sure-thing base of exhibitors or attendees? Marketplace Events is a great organization with a great culture, and they support what we're doing, even though it's for the most part different from the rest of the shows they pro- duce. What we're doing is a lot different than the other shows they do. We have their sup- port 100 percent, and our financial partner, Stephens Capital Partners, is 100 percent sup- portive, too. AIMExpo has been a very big investment for us as a company because we wanted to put the appropriate money into it to guarantee its success and do everything the right way out of the gate. That's all great, but I would says the chal- lenges really are that it takes more of an effort to get your attendees, primarily dealers, to attend the show, because the world is different for them, and their resources are a little different. They might not necessarily have the financial resources or the staffing resources to break away for a few days to attend the show. But if you're a dealer or retailer or service shop or anyone in the powersports industry, you really need to be at this show. There are so many rea- sons why you should attend that you can take back with you and put into play the next day and start improving your dealership. A lot of dealers have become a little com- placent and have the thinking that since the Dealer Expo no longer worked, why would anything else work? That is absolutely not true. So we've put a lot of our resources and money into attendee marketing. I know the money that we spent at the other company, and that's a drop in the bucket compared to what we're spending here because we have to re-educate the market. We had a good start, and the num- bers are growing, and they'll be better this year. Especially for the dealers, all the right compo- nents are in place, including the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo educational seminars for dealers. PSB "We are all in this together, and together we have a much better chance of winning. It's about generosity, perseverance, attitude and having fun."

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