The Manufacturer’s Agent Segment Luncheon was held on Wednesday, August 31st during the RVAA Conference in Huntington Beach, California. The luncheon was attended by twenty representatives of member Agent firms. The purpose of this event is to provide RVAA’s Agent Members an opportunity to meet as a group to discuss relevant topics affecting agents within RVAA. Three topics were discussed during the meeting portion of the luncheon.
Most of the agents in attendance were aware of the Standardized Price File and several were using the RVAA approved format to provide price up-dates to their Distributor customers. Most of the agents using the format themselves were also encouraging their Vendor/Supplier Partners to utilize the new system for submitting pricing revisions.
When the discussion moved to the New Product Submission Form, knowledge of the RVAA approved format was significantly lower among the agent members in attendance. Following discussion of the fact that the revised format for the pricing file would now also work for new product submissions, virtually all the agents agreed that it would be beneficial for their Supplier Partners to be able to use one format for pricing and new product submissions.
While virtually all the agents agreed that having aftermarket sales performance data would be beneficial to all segments of our industry, most also felt that the collection of this data would be very difficult. In the end, the agent members felt that the collection of this data resides within other segments of RVAA and that agents have a limited ability to add to this discussion. In an Industry where a definitive listing of Dealer Customers is apparently beyond our ability to develop, most certainly sales performance statistics by product segment is far over the horizon.
HELPING THE AFTERMARKET GROW
The general consensus on this topic was that helping RV dealers grow their parts & accessory sales is up to the individual Supplier, Distributor, and Agent members to accomplish. The dealer’s product selection, merchandising, and selling tactics are keys to their success. Of course, if they bought this product from me instead of what they are currently offering, they would be far more successful. In the end, the dealer’s relative success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Competition by the various segments of RVAA’s membership will continue to drive the dealer’s decisions in this area.
There is, however, one area where RVAA could provide the Industry with a helping hand. The Ownership and/or Management of far too many dealers feel that their Parts & Accessory Stores are a “necessary evil” rather than an important part of their respective businesses. RVAA should develop programs to promote Parts & Accessory Stores as an important profit center for every successful dealership.
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