Thursday’s luncheon at the RV Aftermarket Executive Conference assembled a panel of RV dealers to give the aftermarket suppliers and distributors in attendance a little piece of their mind. Actually, it was a great opportunity to learn more about the retail buying experience and how dealers are engaging consumers through digital means and at their brick and mortar stores to drive aftermarket product sales.
Each panelist took turns sharing their own experiences and the challenges and opportunities their dealership faces when selling aftermarket products. Occurring just days after the RV Industry Association released its first-ever RV aftermarket survey on the buying habits of RVers, the results of the research echoed throughout the 45-minute discussion.
Facilitated by BAL Aftermarket Sales Manager, John Hawkins, most of the discussion centered around one topic: how can the aftermarket suppliers and distributors help the dealers be more successful selling their products? The common answer, education.
“If 48% of the consumers who buy an RV from me don’t buy aftermarket products from me then I have to come up with a plan for those customers,” said Ray Schwantner of Mike Thomspon’s RV Superstores. “As a dealer, we need to sort out our customer base to effectively reach different segments of the market. Ultimately, we just need to be taught how best to sell your products.”
“Our guys have to know their stuff because the consumer knows what they’re looking for,” said John Foster of MotorSportsLand RV. “Education from our partners about their products and being able to compete on price will help us sell more than our online-only competitors.”
“Incentives and training for our sales staff will ultimately help us sell more aftermarket products,” said Tim Finnegan of Gerzeny’s RV World.
“We live in a world of instant gratification,” said Jason Brown of MotorSportsLand RV. “If they want to have it right now, we have to be ready to serve those customers.”
So, why the overall emphasis on product education? The research study showed that today’s consumers are not only looking for product availability, but also technical guidance. What a great opportunity during the 2018 Aftermarket Executive Conference for all these members of the industry to come together and deliver critical feedback to help the entire segment grow.