When told that he was selected as one of the 2016 Powersports Business Industry Leaders of the Year, K&N national sales manager Johnny Jump was surprised and honored. His humble acceptance of the award not only points out his team-focused approach to business, but his commitment to the K&N brand.
In August, Jump made the career move from K&N brand manager to national sales manager, and his history with the company helped prepare him for the added responsibilities. Working alongside his former national sales manager Nick O’Kane, Jump had become became familiar with a majority of the brand’s customers: “I was able to build relationships with the reps and some of the marketing managers for some of the major distributors, so when I did move into the sales role, I knew who the primary contacts were and had good relationships with them.”
For K&N, 2015 was a tougher year in sales due to timing problems and inventory management with the distributors. “Some of our primary distributors for the powersports products were leaving out some inventories; they’d had some changes in the category managers internally,” Jump added.
In 2016, Jump said a lot of those internal positions have been ironed out, and people have started to get familiar with the products, which has led to a turnaround for the K&N brand. The company saw powersports sales increase by 9 percent in the first quarter and has seen relatively flat growth so far in Q2, but hopes that upcoming promotions will help drive business.
Currently, K&N’s powersports dealer registry holds approximately 4,500 dealers, with plans to increase in the future. All registered dealers are acknowledged on the brand’s website. Jump views every conversation, be it with a rep or dealer, as an opportunity to build on his relationships and strengthen the K&N brand. In 2015, K&N completed 75,000 dealer referrals, sending K&N customers to dealers to obtain K&N products. Along with notifying these dealers of new products and rollover updates, Jump also works diligently to make sure that dealers are aware of any e-commerce and MAP policy changes throughout the year.
Jump said his new role at K&N has given him the ability to ensure product education to both the dealer and end user. K&N participated in the 2015-16 International Motorcycle Shows tour and presented several educational dealer seminars.
“We did a fair amount of dealer presentations to the dealers at the IMS shows,” Jump said. “I’ve been doing some local large dealer presentations, and we’ve been scheduling individuals at the call center as well.”
Registered dealers receive an introductory dealer kit, which includes sales cards, literature and signage for the store. “There are different pieces within that dealer kit that get sent out to registered dealers, so they can further educate themselves on the K&N brand and also so that they can display some visibility inside the store,” Jump added.
Recently, Jump launched a K&N dealer loyalty program that ran until the end of April. Jump says he coordinated the program alongside the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties NVP regional showcases in Georgia and Pennsylvania. “I could talk to every dealer about it, and that was really helpful at both locations. King of Prussia (Pa.) seemed overwhelmingly popular for dealers as a whole. Dealers were very interested in the program, so we got a handful of signups after each of the shows.”
In addition to word of mouth, K&N also sent emails, and reps gave flyers to dealers to promote the program. “Our goal and belief has always been to make it very easy for the dealers to obtain K&N product, whether it be through a regional or national distributor,” Jump said. “We put this program together to draw attention to the brand and give some incentives to the dealers so they can recap the benefits of the loyalty program and K&N profitability within their stores.”
PSB; What has been the biggest challenge in your current position, and how have you dealt with it?
Johnny Jump: Online pricing has to be the most difficult and delicate area I deal with. I have dealt with it by continuing to educate dealers, setting up dealers on our dealer locator in order to drive consumers into dealerships for their products and services. These days, many consumers are too busy with their day-to-day and have a difficult time making it to the dealers.
I push dealers daily to get their products and services online, so consumers can find what they want and pick them up during their available time. Dealers who have a pulse on their consumers can gauge what types of products and services they can benefit their consumers with. Having the appropriate products in stock at the dealership definitely turns consumers’ wants into retail sales. When visiting dealers, or discussing product benefits with them, I also try to educate them on appropriate inventory for their store, new product releases, top selling products within their specific market specialty and display & POP options available in order to provide in-store visibility for the brand. As a dealer, your opportunities with consumers are to provide added value over price alone. If your consumers get help when they need it, product education when necessary, updated on new trends and opportunities that suit their riding needs, they will come back and bring their riding buddies.
What’s the biggest opportunity for the aftermarket industry, and how can the industry take advantage of it?
Continuing to engage with your consumers in-store and learning to capture their attention electronically. There are quite a few software programs, as well as social media platforms, that can help gauge your consumers’ interests and most popular product markets. Run reports, track results and build on trends, even if they are seasonal.
I’ve seen dealers hold monthly training schools for specific products and/or services, and build out adventure touring ride groups, sport bike track days, motocross track days, ATV/UTV/side-by-side rally groups, where they meet up once a month or a few times a year to all ride together, show consumers new areas to ride/camp or provide group discounts for these events. It helps build camaraderie. Ride on Sunday, Shop on Monday! These types of events help the up-and-coming riders in these sports learn the proper bike and safety products to use and build confidence to keep growing as enthusiasts.
That being said, even K&N has opportunities outside of the dealer’s normal demand for the products. Being educated on each of the different product categories and market segments within a brand is of the utmost importance of a parts manager. If K&N can be popular amongst sport bike riders, then why couldn’t it be popular for sport touring enthusiasts? Or, if K&N is high in demand for big American V-twins, then why couldn’t you educate some of your consumers who ride big metric cruisers? There are opportunities for growth within brands and opportunities for improved revenue within product categories.
What is the best advice that you can give
others in the aftermarket industry?
Stay passionate about your products and the core markets that make up your bread and butter. How can you convey the messages about these products so that others can benefit from their features most effectively? Continue to learn and educate yourself, your employees and your consumers about market trends, new products and benefits that are designed for and involved with the powersports industries. Track, analyze, plan, implement and broadcast programs within your customer base, dealership or event in order to create success and revenue to continue growing your business. And most importantly, keep it fun. We all got into this business because we love motorcycles and motorcyclists. Work hard, and ride harder.