Fall trade shows sizzle with the excitement of new possibilities

Dec. 4, 2013
Tool and equipment manufacturers raise the bar; now it's up to you.

This is the time of year for mobile distributors start to learn about the innovative products presented at the fall aftermarket trade shows (ASRW, AAPEX and SEMA). It’s an exciting time.

Based on what I saw in Las Vegas this fall, the excitement is well founded. It’s not just “me too” products being introduced. There are a lot of new, time-saving features in many of the scan tools, pneumatic tools, battery chargers, smoke detectors, fluid evacuators, fluid exchangers, leak detectors, gas analyzers, meters, lab scopes, camera probes, coil-on-plug testers, hand tools, storage solutions, shop equipment, you name it.

Innovations galore

Several new leak detectors were on display in Las Vegas with expanded detection capability. Innovations in this category are important considering vehicle emissions regulations are becoming stricter in more states. Some solutions offer increased pressure and volume capacity and can be used in many different automotive applications.

Handheld diagnostic test equipment continues to become more versatile. Some aftermarket testing tools allow technicians to work on tablets and smart phones. Some work on the Android operating system. 

More testing tools are also incorporating reprogramming capability. Not every shop wants to get into reprogramming, but for those that do, more options are now available.

Tool carts seem to be coming out of the woodwork, some of which have trays for holding tools and parts. With technicians using more handheld test equipment, these tool carts spare them the trouble of having to walk back to their work station when they need a new tool.

A look ahead

One of the most exciting topics is a category that has yet to become a factor in the aftermarket, but likely will in the not-too-distant future: aftermarket telematics. This topic was widely discussed in Las Vegas.

Telematics allows transferring car-generated information via telecommunications to a remote device. Carmakers are incorporating this capability in new models. The carmakers see this as a way to steer aftermarket work to their dealerships. But aftermarket telematics solutions are being developed to give independent shops a way to counteract this competitive threat. There are already numerous such systems available.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement all these new tools present. But as a tool salesperson, it’s important to stay focused on how these new products will improve your customers’ productivity. As a mobile distributor, you are the aftermarket shop’s gateway to better productivity and profitability. You’re at the customer’s shop, in person, with products and information.

Is it possible to know exactly how these new innovations apply to your individual customers? Every customer is different, and not every tool is for every technician. Knowing the customer’s specific needs requires communication. Your sales success actually rests more on their communication skills than your product knowledge.

Now it's up to you

As the salesperson, it’s up to you to create a better understanding of how a new smoke machine detects intake and exhaust leaks on a particular vehicle. And how it will allow the shop to service more vehicles with leaks, faster.

Or how a new tool cart helps him or her organize the arsenal of pneumatic ratchets, lab scopes, meters, scan tools and gas analyzers they use. Or what their options are if they begin noticing too many vehicles getting sent to OEM dealers for reprogramming and they want to keep more of this business.

There’s no way most techs know what they might need on any given day. They never know what vehicle will roll in. But who better than you will help them be prepared?

Professional Distributor offers plenty of information about these new products in its In Focus, Sneak Peek, Most Wanted and Driving Sales and sections. To get started, visit www.vehicleservicepros.com/AAPEX/products.

Tool and equipment manufacturers are giving mobile distributors more products that provide solutions to customers’ needs than ever. Distributors who truly know their customers are able to visualize how these new products improve customers’ productivity. Armed with this visualization, they can win the sale through effective communication.

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