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WPS growth leads to big plans for 2018

By Kate Swanson

Sales rep meeting in Boise finds distributor capitalizing with brands, dealers

Western Power Sports sales reps gathered in the distributor’s hometown of Boise, Idaho, last month for the company’s 2018 National Sales Meeting. The first two days of the meeting were dedicated to ATV/UTV and off-road vendors. Following a daylong meeting between reps and WPS staff, V-twin and street motorcycle vendors took the spotlight at the Boise Centre for the final two days. The event ended with the WPS Awards Banquet. 

Craig Shoemaker, president and CEO of Western Power Sports, said the company has a very positive business mindset heading into 2018.

“We’re feeling great — 2017 has been a good year for us and now we’re super excited for 2018,” he said. “We teach our reps to be education for our dealers. We preach selling all the time; we also preach dusting, straightening and counting inventory. The goal is to help your dealers have dollars per square feet that go out the door and turn inventory.”

Nic Scaramella of Alpinestars discusses new product with reps. Photo by Kate Swanson/Powersports Business

As dealers who stock WPS product are aware, the company distributes plenty of brands that are attractive to consumers. With its FLY Racing brand, Shoemaker said the company looks forward to increasing its street presence in the market in 2018. “FLY Racing has been known as an off-road company, but we’ve sold street gear for years and have done very well with it. Our Highway 21 and our FLY street gear is starting to catch more traction,” he said. “Along with the combination of the Scorpion street line, that’s going to make a lot of people look at us as a street apparel company.”

In addition to offering a stellar lineup of products in the motorcycle and ATV/UTV segments, WPS also is finding that snowmobile dealers are capitalizing with their products. To assist with that growth, WPS announced in January that the company will kick off a 14-stop WPS Snow Show product reveal for 2019 products, beginning in Maine and ending in Alaska in March. “Our FLY Racing snow gear has really caught traction. The design and development team made some really awesome strides between 2014 and 2016, and now we’re starting to see the rewards and benefits,” Shoemaker said.

The Boise show allowed reps from different geographic regions across the country to work in small groups each day, learning about new product details from vendors on site and receiving updates on each brand’s current business goals. Each group spent about 20 minutes in training at each vendor booth.

National accounts manager Todd Hinson showcased ITP Tire & Wheel’s ATV and side-by-side products during the WPS National Sales Meeting in Boise. Photos by Kate Swanson/Powersports Business

The ATV and off-road days of the WPS show played host to more than 60 brands, including Maxxis, Alpinestars, Maxima Racing Oils, Rigid Industries, EPI, ITP, Motorex, ODI, Seizmik UTV and Camso. 

ODI Grips powersports sales and marketing manager Johnny Jump was on hand to discuss the newest ODI MX handlebar offerings, including the Podium Flight MX and Podium CFT. AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and ODI brand ambassador Jeff Emig introduced reps to the Emig Pro ODI V2 Lock-On Grips. 

Just days after announcing its partnership with Husqvarna Motorcycles, Motorex shared its excitement with the reps in Boise. Pat Riley, Motorex’s national sales manager, and Brian Cornelius, national sales representative, talked about popular items like the Power Synt 4T full synthetic motor oil and Top Speed 4T synthetic performance motor oil. The duo also highlighted Helmet Care as a door opener for those who are looking to add Motorex in store. The Helmet Care active foam removes dirt and deodorizes helmets, and serves as an easy add-on for helmet sales.

Alpinestars, which began distribution through WPS in 2016, focused on promoting youth gear during its training time. From the Tech 3S Kids boot to the 2-piece chest protector and versatile neck brace, the brand is eager to capitalize on the youth moto crowd in 2018.

Francois Jean, an aftermarket sales manager for Camso, gave reps a call to action to educate their dealers on the benefits of a track conversion kit. With the ATV R4S track system’s sales “through the roof,” Jean said the Camso products offer a business opportunity for dealers who sell ATVs and UTVs in areas with snow. 

Seizmik UTV president Steve Shankin shared his excitement with reps, and thanked them for the sales growth that Seizmik saw in 2017, with sales up more than 20 percent over 2016. Shankin said UTVs have the ability to provide 10 times the off-road motorcycle business. His advice was for reps to empower their dealers to engage customers while in the stores and to utilize accessories on the showroom floor. After all, UTV accessory sales for dealers averaged $2,196 per vehicle last year, Shankin said.

Steve Shankin, president of Seizmik UTV, discussed the add-on sales potential for UTV accessories.

Todd Hinson, national accounts manager for The Carlstar Group, discussed ITP Tire & Wheel’s top performing ATV/UTV tires with reps, highlighting the Mud Lite, its best-selling tire, and the Cryptid tire. With new sizes available and its made-in-America roots, Hinson broke down the features and benefits of each tire, and how reps could relay the information to their dealer base.

Maxima Racing Oils announced new 2018 applications for its Ready-To-Use Air Filters and updated packaging for many of its products. Its full synthetic, 4-stroke engine oil is specifically engineered for side-by-sides and is recommended for all OEM equipment. The oil’s surface-active chemistry aggressively attaches to engine surfaces to keep them clean.

Overall, Shoemaker said WPS has seen growth across the board, with off-road products like side-by-side tires from Sedona and ADV and dirt bikes tires from Shinko achieving great success. Dale Spangler, WPS content marketing and media relations manager, added that along with those two brands, overall WPS has seen an increase with its house brands.

WPS plans to build on its success from 2017, during which it was named the exclusive distributor for Scorpion Sports, Inc. and also added Yoshimura products. “Since we’ve added Yoshimura, it has been doing great, and all our other exhaust lines have improved,” said Shoemaker. “With Scorpion, we’re super excited about that as well. It’s a great opportunity we hope to build on. We’re seeing a lot of good reception to the brand.”

“Any time that we can add key vendors like Yoshimura, it just takes us that much higher as far as getting to the next level,” said Spangler. “With these types of brands, we hit key segments and it’s that much easier for us to walk into dealerships and handle new business.” 

The company’s goal for its dealer network is simple: Help the dealers turn their inventory in their showroom, so that whatever space they have available isn’t growing dust. “The more turns they are getting, the better off they are and the better off we are,” added Shoemaker. “We try hard to sell, to promote and to teach about the brands we carry and what helps them move.”

“We’re passionate, actual enthusiasts, and we back it up with good, genuine customer service. We strive to make it easy and pleasant to do business with us,” said Spangler. “When our sales reps talk with their dealers, they genuinely love what they’re doing; it’s not just another job for them.” 

The WPS Dream Team of sales reps stepped up to make 2017 a successful year for the company and its dealers. Photo courtesy of Western Power Sports


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