2018 SEMA Show Preparedness: Tips for Making the Most of the Aftermarket’s Largest Show

Where else can you spend four days wowed by outrageous custom vehicles and celebrity appearances, as well as rub elbows with more than 2,400+ exhibiting manufacturers and 70,000+ domestic and international buyers? The 2018 SEMA Show, of course.

Aftermarket manufacturers and OEMs are eager to woo attendees with vehicles and products that showcase excellence in engineering, fabrication, and design, and they spare no expense unveiling the next generation of innovative concepts. In fact, more than 3,000 newly introduced parts, tools, and components will be on display in the New Products Showcase this year. These benefits lie at the feet of attendees as a means to bolster sales, profits, diversification, and relationship-building opportunities throughout the year.

So, it goes without saying that a retailer or restyler’s attendance offers many benefits that far exceed a few days on the show floor. We’ve included some candid advice from a few brilliant aftermarket professionals that way you can close out the year on a high note and kick off the New Year on the right foot.

Ryan Herman, Truck Hero Family of Brands

Each retailer and restyler should take stock in his or her business and be perceptive of new opportunities to grow. What areas are doing well? What areas could use help? Are there any new trends to consider?” said Ryan Herman, Executive VP of Extang, TruXedo, Advantage Truck Accessories, Retrax, and BAK. “Once pen is to paper and there is a set plan for attending, then make sure to review the itinerary carefully. Really consider the companies that are most important to visit and be sure to allow enough time to talk to the right people,” he continued.

Ron DiVincenzo, Cap World

Ron DiVincenzo, general manager of Cap World in Melrose, Mass., urges people to attend the SEMA Show with a sense of purpose. “Be ready to engage. Otherwise, you will wander the show floor aimlessly in awe of everything you see. Vegas is a fun town, but don’t forget why you are there. Use this as a time to network with your peers and be a sponge, soaking up everything you possibly can,” he said.

Charles Bonfiglio, Tint World

Bonfiglio, Franchise President & CEO of Tint World, takes that sentiment a step further. “First, try to pre-schedule your appointments with vendors and for training programs that are a must-hit list. Be sure to keep your appointments with vendors in the same hall, hotel, or meeting area that way you’re not running from one hall to the next and back.”

Furthermore, he encourages shop owners to always keep their business goals in mind throughout the entire show experience. “Discuss business sales for 2018 as well as plans to increase during 2019 and have a list of what can be done to entice customers to start buying more products, like adding website sales opportunities,” said Bonfiglio. In addition, “Make sure to receive marketing materials from brands that you work with, discuss POP options for brick-and-mortar locations, and request to be part of the authorized dealer locator.”

Kevin Krieg, S&K Speed Racing Equipment

“Consider taking a few people to the 2018 SEMA Show, so everyone can spread out and cover as much ground as possible individually. Assign specific tasks to everyone attending within the group and don’t stay at one place too long,” said Kevin Krieg, the owner of S&K Speed Racing Equipment in Lindenhurst, NY. “Plan to be at the show from day one through the very end—from the time the doors open until closing in order to maximize the exposure,” Krieg added.

Charlie Card, Vehicle Accessories Inc.

“Go to the receptions that match up to your business (LTAA, PRO, WTC, etc.). Get involved and meet people who know the industry,” said Charlie Card, the owner of Vehicle Accessories Inc. in Flint, Mich. “Don’t discount the importance of training classes and seminars,” he said.

Kathryn Reinhardt, Magnaflow

Start your 2018 SEMA Show experience at the New Products Showcase. “This is where all the manufacturers dream of winning the best new product of the year and hope to impress buyers with the next best thing,” said Kathryn Reinhardt, Marketing Manager at Magnaflow.

In the midst of all the exciting but, let’s face it, often stressful business building, make sure to stop and breathe in the full experience. “Leave enough time for some good dinners and have fun,” said Bonfiglio. It’s the 2018 SEMA Show, after all. 

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