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Mobile electronics manufacturers succeed or fail based upon their understanding of the market as well as the quality of their retailer relationships, and here is where all manufacturers can improve their game. Just when you think you have a handle on what it takes to succeed, a more careful examination proves that you have much to learn.  I gained a lot of insight after reviewing and judging the Top 12 retailers in this year’s Retailer of the Year (ROTY) Award. In no particular order, I will share with you five lessons that every manufacturer should learn and understand from the Top 12: 1. The best retailers don’t rely on gimmicks to grow their business The Top 12 retailers all had very straightforward approaches to earning the business of their customers, starting with an honest assessment of what products and services are offered and how each retailer possesses true differentiation from other retailers.  No “fake deals,” and few, if any, giveaways.  Manufacturers need to collaborate better with their best dealers and understand that broad-based, one-size-fits-all promotions will not necessarily work with specialist retailers.  Having a flexible, customized approach will earn more of the specialists’ business.  2. The best retailers have commanded…
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Internet and Surprise

Written by Published in Blogs
As is my custom, I was reading an article the other day in TWICE; “The Internet Is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy.” The article was written by a well-respected CEO, ‘industry veteran” type who is quite capable. I perceive the goal of the article was to help brick & mortar retailers who constantly lament that the Internet is a significant cause of their business troubles. The article discussed the showrooming concept and how to make that work for the brick & mortar retailer. It talked about the need for a brand to have a significant Internet presence. It even discussed why it is OK for the brand to sell directly to the consumer and to brick & mortar retailers at the same time. I agreed with everything in the article. I was however disappointed by what was left undiscussed in the article. I find this failure to identify the real issue and discuss it in frank terms most distressing and a little bit irresponsible. Kinda like pointing out that “the emperor has no clothes.” All his servants are afraid to say so for fear of reprisal, so they let him run around naked. It also reminds me of a man…
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As I began researching my topic for this month’s blog, I looked to the past for inspiration. The day I started my research happened to be May 29th, the same day that Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. This is significant for several reasons. Not only does Everest sit at around the same altitude as most jet airliners (27,900 feet), but due to low oxygen levels, freezing temperatures and unpredictable weather changes, climbing this mountain is considered more than just dangerous – it’s insane. Risks are inherent in reaching the top of any mountain, but like climbing Everest, a new business startup can be an original idea that others deem to be insane. To be a small business owner you have to be a little “crazy,” as some might say. But I call it something else: Passionate. Without passion, there is no innovation. Without innovation, there is no glory. Granted, glory isn’t why a passionate person opens their business, but personal achievement and self-belief are. No matter the position you find yourself in, whether it be new installer, solo retailer,…
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Empower Thought

Written by Published in Blogs
Background… My wife has and uses an eBay account. You may recall that eBay got hacked a few weeks ago and encouraged their users to change their passwords. When she tried to reset her password the site said, "We’re too busy, try later." In order to protect the checking account attached to her eBay account she attempted to remove the checking account from the eBay account. The notice from eBay indicated that a form of payment could not be removed while a transaction was pending. You can guess she made no such transaction so it follows that one of the eBay hackers was using her account. What to do…? I called our bank and requested that they put a “deny access” to any PayPal and/or eBay request for payment. It was our attempt to prevent the bank from funding a fraudulent purchase. Now the point… The “customer service” guy at the other end of the phone wants to know upon which transaction I wished to place a stop payment? Me: No, I explained again, not a stop payment but a deny access order. Bank: We have to have a specific transaction. Me: We don’t have the transaction details. EBay claims…
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Pushy Sales People

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So, I happened to be speaking with a person the other day who indicated a desire to be able to sell the experience, sell the store, sell her knowledge and skills and only after that, sell products to the consumer. BUT (paraphrasing her), “What if the consumer says NO? I don't want to be a pushy sales person, I hate those kinda sales people”. Everyone hates ‘em. Because they are bad at their job. Two things occurred to me which I think are VERY IMPORTANT... ONE: A sales person is perceived as pushy when he keeps trying to close a sale WITHOUT PROPERLY OVERCOMING OBJECTIONS. Trying to push something the consumer does not want. TWO: QUALIFYING the consumer properly, prior to presentation and then trying to close the sale dramatically reduces objections. Corollary... Sales people who are good at QUALIFYING consumers are not so often perceived as pushy. Rather, the consumers see them as an EXPERT on the subject matter. This is why understanding how a sales transaction is constructed and then understanding how to MANAGE THE SELLING TRANSACTION is so IMPORTANT. Dig this... The reasons to QUALIFY a consumer (second of six specific steps in a selling transaction: Greet,…
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Brand new car audio company, Audiofrog, is emerging at a time when big box stores and online sellers are slashing prices, in-turn making it more difficult for brick-and-mortar shops to compete. To explain the rationale for starting a new brand at this time, Andy Wehmeyer, president and CEO of this new high-end audio brand, sat down with Mobile Electronics for the June issue. Below is an excerpt from that interview: ME: Tell us about the new brand. What inspired you to create it? Wehmeyer: I spent the last 20 years working for a huge audio company. At the beginning, it was an absolute dream job. But after 20 years of getting a pretty good handle on the car audio business I saw an opportunity to do something that I don’t think anyone else is doing in a global kind of way. There are global brands that are managing themselves in all of the markets like Harman, Pioneer, and JVC. While there are others, like Focal and Audison, they are primarily European-focused brands and they go to market in countries outside their home market exclusively through distributors. That can be a pretty good model if just moving product is your objective,…
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