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‘Plan it out like a motorcycle trip’ – January 22, 2007

January 22, 2007
Filed under Features

Hundreds of booths. Thousands of people. Hundreds of thousands of products.
The annual Dealer Expo is many things, but it’s most of all a lot to take in, especially without a plan.
That’s why some powersports dealers won’t step into the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome without a staff plan — who will see what and when.
“You have to plan it out like a motorcycle trip out to the West Coast,” said Robert Hintz, general manager, The Engelhart Center, Madison, Wis. “Where are you going to stay tonight? Where are you going to stay tomorrow? What route are you going to take? You need to think it through.
“If you go in there with no plan and all of a sudden you trip into Parts Unlimited and you spend four hours there. Then you start walking some more and you say, ‘Oh, there’s Tucker Rocky way over there’ and you cut across and you take a left and a right. You miss so much.”
To avoid that, Hintz and his staff gather before the event and go over a map of the vendors. Usually, the store’s parts and accessory managers pick out a time on the first day of the event to visit the store’s top 10 vendors.
“Saturday is the day for business and that’s when we try to get to all the vendors that we do business with and see their latest product,” Hintz said.
Hintz said the dealership doesn’t do a whole lot of buying at Indy, but his staff will gather for lunch and talk about what they’ve seen and heard.
“If you really plot out where you’re going to spend your time on Saturday, then Sunday you can walk pretty quickly and you can get through most of it,” he said. “We try to see all the show. We don’t miss any of the areas.”
Hintz said the second day of the show is usually the day the staff separates and looks for new or interesting products, as the first day is usually jam-packed with top supplier meetings. The Parts Unlimited area, in itself, can take several hours, Hintz said.
“It’s just nice to see the product specialists from Icon and Thor,” he said. “They’re all there so you can really see their new lineup, you get to talk to the guys who did the (research and development) on the product and really get good insight on it.”
Hintz said the amount of staff he brings fluctuates from three or four to twice that. Either way, he has two rules: Staff must wear company uniforms and remember they’re there for business.
“I always tell them,” he said, “if you’re going to go and I’m going to pay for it, you need to come back with knowledge.” psb

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