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Don’t Skip AIMExpo

Plenty of opportunities await dealers who plan to attend AIMExpo 2023. Don't regret not going.

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” — Mark Twain

This has always been true. I know it certainly has been true in my life. The examples are many, and I try not to be a poster child for inaction, which brings me to AIMExpo.

I am hoping that all who read this are planning to attend the trade show — taking place Feb. 15-17 in Las Vegas. It will give you a first-hand look at new products. You will be able to talk to the venders and, more importantly, the manufacturers of many of the goods you sell at your store.

You will also see items you never knew existed. Perhaps there is a new item that you have heard of but haven’t experienced? You will be able to talk to the people who sell those products and have incredible knowledge about them. You will get new insights to these products that you can take back with you to show your staff and maybe sell a few more each month. You will also get to talk to the owners of the companies whose products you sell.

Years ago, I ended up talking to the founders of K&N about why they didn’t make air filters for the Virago 1100, one of Yamaha’s best-selling motorcycles. They brought those filters to market about 18 months later. Selfishly, I believe it was because of my interaction with them.

You will see the new motocross gear, get to touch it and see the new colors and fabrics. There will be examples of items that will change your mind for better or worse, just because you can hold them in your hand.

When Mustang Saddles was getting up and running, I saw them in Cincinnati (yes, it was a long time ago). I talked to Al Simmons, the founder (who sadly passed away this year), and he showed me the saddles he was making, and they were amazing. I had never heard much about them before, but I started to bring them in. I was the only shop in my area who handled Mustang saddles. I put them on every bike in the showroom they would fit. I sold them by the dozen and made a small fortune off of one brand — a brand I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t gone to the show.

Hopefully, you’ll also bring your parts and accessories manager. I bring mine often and let him loose on the floor. They always come back, not only with much more knowledge and selling skills but also pumped to the nth degree about products and items they had seen — often things we had never considered before. They took this enthusiasm back to the store and got everyone else pumped up as well.

Most of the OEMs will be at AIME this year. Why they are not all there, I cannot fathom (looking at you Honda and Harley)! In my area, there is no motorcycle show this year, and it is important to me to see new units in person.

AIMExpo also has an education aspect to the show. There are quite a few MIC Symposiums each day, and McGraw Powersports is offering many seminars about how your business can be made more efficient and profitable. A good place to send your general manager, if you have one.

I also make sure I talk to as many dealers as possible while I’m walking the AIMExpo floor or sitting in on an educational segment. There are so many ideas out there that I have picked up over the years that I can’t even count them. It’s all because I was willing to have a conversation with other dealers at a dealer show.

Any costs associated to the trip will be made up many times over by the increased sales of current and new products you will find. Not to mention the immense knowledge you will pick up.

Hopefully, I will see you at the show. If you don’t go to AIMExpo, I feel sad for you, as you will miss out on a lot of knowledge and comradery. It’s good to have contact with other people in the industry. I have used the contacts I’ve made at these shows many, many times.

Do yourself a favor: Take a second look at the quote above and think of all those disappointments in the past. Don’t add to them by missing out on AIMExpo!      

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