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Do Yourself a Favor: Attend AIMExpo

What possible reason do you have to not attend?

We are about a month away from AIMExpo. It’s much bigger than it was last year, and last year was a great show. I’m hoping that everyone reading this is planning on going. I’ve heard many dealers gripe about going to Vegas again, but I’d far rather go to Vegas, which is easy and inexpensive to fly to, than Indianapolis, where half the time, it was hell to get to because of the weather.

I love taking dealers to the show for the first time. They can’t believe the variety and types of displays there. And why wouldn’t you go? Please tell me what possible reason you have to not attend.

You are going to see almost everything that’s possible to purchase for your showrooms, and your parts and accessories (P&A) department, as well as for service. Don’t take my word for it — here is a link to the main AIMExpo page. Explore!

Are there any new accessories that you were considering putting into inventory? Just about every brand you have heard of will be there. Maybe you want a new line of ATVs, motorcycles or scooters? They will all be there! Clothing and helmets? Lots! Everything and anything!

All of the big distributors will be there too, showing off things you’ve never seen or touched before. Then, there are things you have never even heard of. Last year, I found items I didn’t know existed. Many times, I’ve found a cool item at these shows that no one in my area was carrying. I brought these items in, and they sold very, very well. By the time my competition caught onto it, it was too late. I’d become the go-to guy in the area for that item. I did this many times.

I also established connections with manufacturers that continue to this day. I once met the founders of K&N (this was at another show of the same kind years ago). I asked them why they didn’t make a filter for the Virago 1100. They looked at each other and said, “We do, don’t we?” Somehow, they had missed this model in their plans. At the time, it was one of my best sellers.

I don’t know if it was my questions that got things going, but we soon had K&N filters for Virago 1100s. We one time needed some extra bolts for a certain accessory. Unable to get them locally (they were specifically made for this unit), I called the distributor, and they told me to order another unit. Just for the bolts. I happened to have the card of the owner (I always ask for a card and file them away) of the manufacturer of this particular accessory. I called him, and he remembered me. We soon had the parts we needed. His company’s products became a very good seller for us, because we believe in their product, and their service.

I’ve also seen clothing I’ve never seen before. Sometimes it’s good for them, in that I liked the product. Sometimes I’m glad I saw the product because I realized that the quality they professed to have wasn’t evident at all. Often, this product was something I was about ready to order. Once I saw it, I realized if I ordered it, my customers would not be happy with it, or vice versa.

You’ll also meet dealers from all over North America and the rest of the world. Just sitting with these dealers and talking, I’ve learned so much. It’s like an impromptu 20 Group, something I firmly believe in. Hopefully you can share some of your successes with them as well.    

For those who don’t see the value, you’re doing something wrong. There are huge opportunities at AIMExpo; all you have to do is attend. My favorite remark over the years has been when I meet someone there from my area, and the first thing out of their mouth is, “I should have come here before this!” Do yourself a favor and don’t miss this show. See you there!

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