You Can Know It All

Jul 13, 2010

As many of you know, one of the most enjoyable aspects of being the parent of a young child is them asking you just about any question under the sun and expecting you to know the answer.

Lately, I’ve done OK when it comes to “Who would win a race between…” but not so well when my youngest asked, “How do the people in the videogame get on the TV screen?”

At my college graduation, the guest speaker told us that as we headed out into the real world, we didn’t need to know all of the answers-just where to find the answers we needed. And in a lot of ways, the same can be said for you as a small business owner.

Much like a child and his parents, inexperienced customers look to you for knowledge and guidance when it comes to their latest performance projects. They expect you’ll know the answer, regardless of the question.

And in most cases, you will, thanks to your experience, formal and informal training, and plain common sense. But every once in a while, you won’t know the answer. Then, it’s time to figure out where to find it.

A recent article in Performance Business reminds shop owners that one of the first calls when seeking those answers should be to your friendly neighborhood warehouse distributor.

Representatives of the various WDs interviewed for the article explain that while their main function is to stock as many products as possible at the best prices, the knowledge and expertise they can provide may be just as important.

That knowledge comes from a daily familiarity with the products they source, experienced employees who are often personally involved in the race and street performance markets, as well as access to the technical resources offered by parts manufacturers.

“Today, nearly all manufacturers are downsizing, and where you and your customers see it first is in technical support. It’s hard to get an expert on the phone today. But with our standing, the manufacturers will get a question answered, and we will pass that information on,” notes Mark Craig of Diesel Performance Parts Inc. (DPPI). “We’ve had six manufacturers in this year already doing trainings and showing new product. Once we get that info, we turn it around in weekly emails to our dealers.”

So, it makes sense to contact the WDs to find the information you need. And the neat thing about today’s technology is that you don’t have to keep it a secret.

In that same issue, Dick Dixon outlines several ways-including postings on your website and your own email messages-that you can get information out to the people who are turning to you for answers-even the media.

“We live in an electronic world that has revolutionized the way we gather information and communicate,” he says, “and the more activities your business is involved in, the easier it is to let people know, thanks to the magic of the personal computer and handheld wireless devices.”

So, be sure to use all of the resources at your disposal to become the Mr. or Ms. Know-It-All of your local performance scene. Meanwhile, I need to go Google why the sky is blue…