July '16

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84 THE SHOP JULY 2016 PERFORMANCE listing on both sides your company's name, location, services, products sold and your areas of specialty. List some of the main brand names you carry, along with any engine or driveline installation or service you offer. Customers will take these cards with them and remember how nice you were, as well as what information you discussed when talking about their trucks. TRUCK TALES Yes, ask them about their trucks! Who doesn't like to talk about what they have done to their pickup? If they don't seem interested in your booth, stop them anyway and ask what kind of truck they have and what they've done to it. When they leave, look them in the eye, shake their hand and thank them for stopping by the booth. People want personal service and attention. Also, be polite and courteous. These are Midwest people with rural roots. Here are some other ideas to make the most of running a booth at a race event: • Stand out in front of your booth and talk to the people walking by if you prefer, instead of staying behind the table. It will make your booth look busy, so others will want to stop. • Giveaways are always a big hit with show attendees. Try raffling off equip- ment or swag. • Gathering names and contact info is a big part of working outdoor shows, so figure out a way to collect names, cell numbers and email addresses. • Wear appropriate clothing for the event. These are rural events, so maybe blue jeans and a company shirt with your business name on it. Don't show up in dress pants, dress shoes and a silk shirt; or even worse, white shorts with a white tennis shirt! Remember, you want to fit in and talk with the attendees about your products or services. Another tip: if you fly in to the event, make sure you rent an American-model vehicle at the airport. This is a diesel event, so you won't see many Toyota or Mazda vehicles in the parking lot. (I always ask for a Chevy, Ford or Dodge product at the rental counter, and if they offer a miniature rental car I always correct them and ask "Do I look like I would fit in that thing?") GOOD PEOPLE You will find that the people who come to diesel events are among the nicest in the U.S. Treat them with respect, because they work very hard during the week. They look to have a good time during the weekend enjoying their hobbies—and diesel trucks are definitely one of those hobbies! Also, the people at these events know their diesel trucks, so if you don't know the answer to their question, don't fake it! Tell them you will have to find out, because you are a salesperson and not an engineer. Honesty is the best approach. After the event, always make sure to follow up with your contacts, especially if you told them you would get back to them. One of the biggest breakdowns at shows is when the attendees never hear back from the vendors they met with in the midway. Attending DIESEL Motorsports events, local races or other automotive gatherings in your state as a vendor will earn you added business—if you approach the show as work. Coming just to party with the guys is fun, but it won't make you any money. You may be a great diesel mechanic, but are you also a great sales or marketing person? Don't worry—you can do it! Just be yourself and follow some of the pointers above and you can become whatever you want to work toward. These shows draw in enthusiasts that fit your customers profile. So, if one is coming to a racetrack or fairgrounds near you this summer, consider using it as a way to promote your business. And if you have any questions, reach out on our website (listed below)—I would be happy to coach anyone on ways to help your business grow in the diesel market- place. RON KNOCH is president of DIESEL Motorsports (National Association of Diesel Motors- por ts), a sanctioning body formed in 2007 for diesels that promotes all diesel motors- ports associations, clubs and events, and hosts diesel drag racing, sled pulling and dyno competitions. Learn more at The smoke is supposed to come out of the stacks, not the hood—this puller needed some repairs after the show. The diesel pulling trucks carry appropriate names, which shows the owner's humor in how much the truck can cost. A small investment in a pop-up and signage can draw people to your vendor area. From there it is up to you to col- lect people's information. RACING RACING RACING into Summer

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