The last couple of years have been challenging for many industries around the world. Some organizations struggled to keep afloat during the pandemic, enduring lengthy shutdowns, and tiring restrictions. Some never recovered. Others, however, managed to pull through and capitalize on the opportunities that these tough times have presented. During this time of uncertainty, companies like HISUN have utilized the opportunity to build up their businesses, in preparation for the economic rebound they predicted would one day take place.
HISUN has not only been investing in its production capacity over the past two years, but it has been hyper-focused on its people. The brand has gained several new hires since 2020. Many of which came with extensive powersports backgrounds.
Hiring a variety of new versus experienced talent may be suitable in some cases, but exclusively hiring industry veterans offers many benefits, as Ryan Daugherty, senior vice president, explains. “The learning curve for veterans is much shorter. Many times, industry veterans bring valuable contacts to the company — contacts and personal relationships they have fostered throughout years and years, while perfecting their craft.”
Jamie Cheek, vice president of operations for HISUN, adds, “Industry veterans have developed a sense of understanding for the market’s needs. [They] also have long-lasting relationships that are built on trust: a vital element of the sales and service process.”
A Network of Trust
Having an established network of relationships is crucial for any business partnership. Think about it: When suggestions are presented by someone you know and trust, you are more inclined to consider their advice as sound. This holds true, particularly when you are confident that the person has a vested interest in your business, and, more importantly, its long-term success.
“The majority of industry veterans who have recently joined HISUN are a part of our sales team,” explains Taz Sobotka, regional sales manager. Sobotka landed at HISUN in April 2022 after 15 years in various sales and marketing roles throughout the powersports industry. “Leveraging the relationships of these vets will help us expedite our initiative to increase brand awareness and gain market share. The trust these guys have established over the years has lent them a tremendous amount of respect from their business partners.”
Take JJ Pecsok, for instance. Pecsok joined HISUN in June of 2020 as a newly appointed regional sales manager. He launched his powersports journey right after his professional racing career in 2007, where he began working for a dealership. Pecsok later transitioned to an opportunity with Fox Racing and eventually went into management roles at Tucker Powersports. This journey is a testament to his love for powersports and his commitment to maintaining healthy, prosperous relationships in his network of trusting associates within the industry.
“These jobs come with large responsibility, packed full of opportunity. It takes a lot of discipline and proper planning to build out an entire dealer network. It’s important to have someone with experience in these roles. Someone with good intuition, who can make calculated decisions for the future of the company and its business partners,” Pecsok explains.
“Of course, no matter how many jobs you’ve had in the powersports industry or how many people you’ve met throughout your career, it’s necessary to also add value to your network in order to stay relevant. Business relationships are not only classified by who you know, but, more importantly, by the value of each party’s contributions to the relationship,” highlights HISUN National Sales Manager, Jason Walling. “We’ve managed to acquire some really talented people I like to call “friends” during this wild ride. We joke all the time that we get to learn from guys like Greg Blackwell and Larry Vandiver…who I’m pretty sure were present at the birth of Christ…or when the wheel was invented. I’m not really sure which. Anyhow, these guys are an incredible source of wisdom and I’m grateful to work side-by-side with them. Their guidance, from over half a century of powersports expertise, helps us new-generation guys stay grounded, while we pioneer this company’s future. Their faith in what we are doing adds so much credibility to our business plan and helps us secure guys like Mark Francis, who left a 26-year tenure with his past employer to join us. It’s like the domino effect, or chain reaction. The point is, it is imperative to maintain healthy relationships in your network. You never know when you’ll need them.”
A Talent for Customer Service
Many new HISUN hires believe offering excellent customer service is critical to growing a company. For example, Shea Fouchek, South Central district sales manager, is an accomplished AMA Pro road racer who joined the HISUN team in early 2020. Following his racing career, Fouchek spent over a decade in the powersports industry, honing his skills and forging solid relationships in various sales, marketing and advertising capacities. He states, “I believe my strongest assets are customer service and maintaining great relationships. I try to always make myself available and employ more of a consultative and service-oriented approach to my role. If you just take good care of people, you don’t really have to ask for a sale. They just come organically because they trust you will be there for them before and after the sale.”
Pecsok adds “It is important to understand what our dealers need to be successful, and I want to be sure we support them in these efforts as best we can. This is delivered through effective communication and providing the best service we can. We appreciate our dealers, and I feel that is translated through our actions.”
Revving Up for the Future
Every company aims to make more sales, and while salespeople are critical in that endeavor, a company must have a desirable product that meets consumer demand. HISUN’s new hires believe that its lineup of ATVs and UTVs are a tremendous opportunity for dealers to diversify and expand their current model mixes while adding additional price points and increased profitability to their business.
For instance, Greg Blackwell, Southwest district sales manager, has touched on several parts of the powersports market for over 35 years, including advertising, parts and accessories, distribution, and original equipment (OE) segments. He joined the company on April 1, 2021 and believes the quality and future products will speak for themselves. “I see the product line continuing to improve from both a design and quality standpoint, which will lead to increased brand awareness, customer satisfaction and growth,” Blackwell says.
But just how does HISUN plan to continue improving and evolving its product line? “Part of that involves listening to customers,” says J.D. Walter, district sales manager Northwest, who also joined HISUN in April 2021. Walter has spent the last 28 years of his powersports career working in several dealerships, distribution and with another original equipment manufacturer (OEM). He brings a unique perspective to the HISUN team: “that being the dealer side.”
Having been on the other side of the table, so to speak, Walter is able to consider the pain points and aspirations dealers have for their OEMs. For instance, he says, “Dealers hope to see an expansion of HISUN’s electric vehicle (EV) offering. I get a lot of inquiries about HISUN’s current unit, the E1, and dealers are excited about the future of off-road EV products.”
One individual who is pumped to be part of the HISUN team is Sobotka. Looking ahead, Sobotka aims to help reinforce the brand’s growth strategy. “I plan to highlight HISUN’s position in the market by showcasing the energy and expertise of our great team members and the value they add to our emerging brand. HISUN is already a leading manufacturer by volume in the UTV space, but not a lot of people are aware of that. I see the HISUN brand becoming more of a household name amongst powersports enthusiasts over the next decade. I anticipate HISUN having an impact on the ATV and UTV market, similar to what KIA or Hyundai have done in the automotive space.”
HISUN has been in the game for decades as a major supplier to other brands and mass merchants. In early 2020, the time had come for the brand to invest heavily in its own identity. With direction from newly appointed staff, these industry veterans have helped HISUN reach unprecedented milestones, and turn some heads along the way … all in a very short amount of time.
“We’ve grown tremendously the last couple years. This is mainly contributed to our great dealer partners and our experienced and passionate sales team which continues to grow and develop,” Pecsok concludes. “We have high expectations and goals over the next few years. We will continue to improve our products and the support that comes with those products. This includes inventory, production, quality control, customer service, tech support, marketing and a knowledgeable and passionate sales force.”
Comprised from a diverse list of experiences, HISUN’s new team members encompass over 200 years of combined powersports expertise…the right ingredients to support a thriving dealer network. At the end of the day, it truly does take a comprehensive team to make a company grow — from the executive staff to the designers and engineers, all the way through to the marketing, sales, production, and administrative staff. Teamwork is and always will be paramount.
For more information on HISUN, visit www.hisunmotors.com.