PowerSports Business

July 10, 2017

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The changing business environ- ment we are see- ing at the OEM, distribution and dealership levels of retail-oriented businesses, is, of course, appar- ent. Legacy businesses (JC Penney, Sears, etc.) are suffering great losses, and you need look no further than the evening's news broad- cast for stories of retail giants all closing stores and shrinking the physical presence in the market place. The key trends, as stated by multiple pub- lications, are moves towards boutique stores or omni-channel storefronts (a combination of traditional brick-and-mortar with e-commerce website sales and at-store pickup). Of greater disruption are new business models that offer consumers an inside look at their business practices, in some cases break- ing down production, shipping and labor costs factored into the product's pricing. These com- panies go so far as to list the factories they are utilizing to reassure their customers they are using ethical business practices in the produc- tion of their products. These new companies are creating unique customers who have a keen sense of support- ing companies with a strong sense of identity and utilize ethical business strategies. Plainly stated, they are creating their audience and speaking to them directly in an honest and open, conversational tone. The importance of identifying your audience and speaking to them in a way that connects with them cannot be overstated. One dealer is absolutely doing it right and is recognizing substantial growth in a year where many are just pushing or recognizing small gains. Jeff Slavens is the owner of Slavens Racing, a KTM dealership in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has become "THE" expert in all things KTM and Euro motorcycle to an audi- ence he has created. He is not trying to mass market, but rather is focused on finding inter- esting products that he personally tests and reviews through video blogs and presents to his loyal followers. He is a passionate dealer who loves every- thing motorcycle and shares this passion with his tribe. He offers honest product reviews, comparisons and insights. He has a knack to take confusing products and simplify them for his watchers. Slavens does not live by the steadfast rule that social media video needs to be 30 seconds to one minute. His videos are not studio-like with high production value but typi- cally shot in his shop where the work gets done. One of the key things I believe has really created the loyalty of his audience is he monitors his videos after putting them up and responds quickly to his audience's questions and inquiries for additional information. He is having a conversation with his customers, act- ing as an open book and has created incredible trust in his knowledge and product recom- mendations. Slavens has created a strong sense of identity for his brand and is well recognized as an ethical dealer, and the payoff has been expanding sales. This is only one example of many of the smaller operators out there who are recogniz- ing the strength of running smaller and more intimate operations. These people are not trying to be everything to everyone, but rather are focused on creating their own audience and followers. Slavens has absolutely put his mouth where his money is and has been willing to step out of the comfort zone and create his own direc- tion for his business. I congratulate him on his tremendous and well-earned success. What are you doing to create your tribe? If you would like to see Slavens in action, you can see his videos at http://slavensracing. com/video. PSB Tim Calhoun is the president of SpeedMob Inc., a boutique powersports distributor and brand management company. Contact him at tcalhoun@speedmob.com. www.PowersportsBusiness.com SOLUTIONS Powersports Business • July 10, 2017 • 43 Put your mouth where your money is GUEST COLUMN TIM CALHOUN With more than 600,000 views of this video alone, Jeff Slaves is building his brand one satisfied and educated rider at a time.

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