With more than 2,000 new products on display, more than 2,300 exhibiting companies filling over one million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show is shaping up to be the biggest yet as industry optimism continues to build, according to Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. The show will be held Nov. 4-7.

Kersting says attendance is trending upward, and you will see more exhibitors and products than ever on the show floor. The Tire Industry Association’s (TIA) Global Tire Expo makes up one section of the exhibits (see TIA’s show schedule in the September issue of MTD).

The SEMA Show is part of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW), which also includes the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX), that runs from Nov. 3 -6. AAPEX will have more than 5,000 exhibitors at the Sands Expo Center and will be holding its seminars at the Venetian Hotel.

Plus, Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, will speak at the AAPEX general session on Wednesday, Nov. 5. His topic is “The next four years: Navigating the economy for business growth and success.”

Here is a sampling of seminars available for those registered for the SEMA Show and AAPEX during AAIW. For times and dates, see the complete schedules at www.semashow.com and www.aapexshow.com.

A sampling of SEMA seminars

SEMA Show Education Days will offer dozens of free seminars on a wide variety of subjects. All seminars will be held in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Hiring Millennials: How to find, train and retain young people in today’s job market

Presented by: John Rosanbalm, Conklin Co. ; Karl Klimek, Square One Education Network; Amy Hirsh Robinson, Interchange Group; Wade Kawasaki, Coker Tire

This seminar tackles the challenges an employer faces when hiring and dealing with Millennials and provides insight into what makes them happy, productive and stable long-term employees.

Healthcare reform law: What you need to know!

Moderated by: Stuart Gosswein, SEMA senior director of government affairs

Presented by: Gene Marks, The Marks Group

How will the Affordable Care Act affect you and your employees? What do you need to know now to prepare? What changes will be coming over the next few years? Marks’ business management columns in the New York Times, Forbes, Inc.com and The Huffington Post are read weekly by thousands of small- and medium-sized business people around the country. His presentation will sum up the key health care issues affecting business people.

Digital Marketing: Building a sustainable social media strategy

Presented by: Jennifer Cario, SugarSpun Marketing

This session will take a practical, step-by-step approach to building a social media strategy founded on actual business goals.

10 economic, political and tech trends that will affect your business tomorrow

Presented by: Gene Marks, The Marks Group

Marks will explain what today’s winning companies are doing to make sure they’re earning big profits tomorrow.

Fueling a high performance culture — driving business growth

Presented by: Christine Corelli, Christine Corelli & Associates

This presentation will tell you how to stay on top and keep your customers coming back for more. Topics include treating customers as your personal friend, creating the right first impressions, defining your purpose, using the best measurements for success, implementing powerful customer retention techniques, learning ways to create delighted customers, eliminating internal competition, follow-up tactics, defining who are your real customers and competition, and incorporating the “Disney” model.

Selling to women: Today’s greatest economic engine

Presented by: Christine Corelli, Christine Corelli & Associates; Doug Dvorak, Dvorak Marketing Group

The presenters will delve into the how to’s of selling to women and demonstrate effective selling techniques, address how to avoid deal-breakers, and provide tips on how to deliver memorable service that will promote word-of-mouth advertising.

Have you asked your customer to marry you? (Are you really engaged?)

Presented by: Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor

Companies spend big bucks to make their phones ring and attract customers to their business. If those contacts aren’t handled just right, all that money is wasted. Friedman will offer her insights and techniques to ensure you never waste another dollar of your marketing budget.

Harnessing the power of today’s communications tools

Presented by: Zan Martin, Holly Krozel and Jeff Lee, Martin & Co.; Stacey David, Stacey David’s GearZ; Chad Reynolds, Bangshift.com; Jeff Nasi, TEN AfterMarket Digital; Marla Moore, Coker Tire; Luanne Brown, etool developer

Learn how to perfect your website and use it as a self-publishing tool by directing your fans to every piece of information they want about your brand. Learn about how your super fans (brand ambassadors) impact your brand identity.

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All the latest auto service tools will be featured on the trade show floors of the SEMA Show and AAPEX during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week.

All the latest auto service tools will be featured on the trade show floors of the SEMA Show and AAPEX during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week.

A sampling of AAPEX seminars

Ready, blame, fire! Myths and misses in marketing

Speaker: Ira Blumenthal, Co-Opportunities Inc.

Based on Blumenthal’s book “Ready, Blame, Fire!” this energetic session focuses on challenging conventional wisdom. Targeting the “14 greatest myths” in marketing, attendees will learn from history and gain a well-defined understanding of the “compelling imperatives” for success in a complex, highly competitive business climate. The focus of this session is on business development, quantum leap growth, alternative channels of distribution and marketing success.

2015 aftermarket outlook

Speaker: David Portalatin, The NPD Group Inc.

You will learn how sales in 2014 measured up to expectations, and you will receive insights into consumer attitudes that will shape the coming year. You also will learn what macro factors will have the greatest influence on 2015 sales, which changing consumer attitudes may represent opportunities for growth, and expected 2015 automotive product sales performance.

NHTSA safety and regulatory plans: What is coming down the pike?

Former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administrator under President Obama, David Strickland, will provide an insider’s view into the agency’s priorities and initiatives. He also will provide tips to attendees on how to work with NHTSA to ensure a proper hearing for their issues.

Beyond the paycheck: Creating a culture of recognition in your workplace

Speaker: Dr. Bob Nelson, Nelson Motivation

Recognition represents the single most validated principle for driving desired behavior and performance. The primary reason why managers don’t use recognition is because they aren’t sure how to do it well. This presentation will expand your thinking of what recognition really means and what you can do to build it into your culture. Learn practical ways for managers to treat employees in a way that maximizes an environment that produces more focused, competitive employees.

Creating a world-class service organization

Speaker: Dennis Snow, Snow & Associates, Inc.

Attendees will learn the key points of contact that make or break the customer experience, how to elevate the customer experience from ordinary to extraordinary, and customer service processes that make service excellence “business as usual.”

How to build an online marketing machine

Speaker: Bob DeStefano, SVM E-Marketing Solutions

Are you turning enough website visitors into customers? At this seminar, you will learn how to make sure your website is customer-focused, how to drive targeted visitors to your website, and how to nurture relationships with customers and prospects.

Performance excellence: The employee factor

Speaker: Dennis Snow, Snow & Associates Inc.

At this seminar, attendees will learn that the number one reason customers become disenchanted with a company is because of employees’ attitudes of indifference.

This program is designed to change that. Seminar attendees will learn ways to identify employee behaviors that align with the company’s mission; employee selection, training and communication processes that reflect the company’s values; and internal processes that support and instill customer service-oriented behaviors.

Coaching the sale: How to become the greatest sales manager in the world

Speaker: Noah Rickun, ETE Reman

A sales manager’s role is vitally important because it is key in building a successful organization. Here attendees will learn what it takes to lead a sales team to victory, how to create a game plan for sales success, and why sales stats are a vital part of becoming an all-star.   ■

Automotive aftermarket sales are on the rise

According to the SEMA Annual Market Study, sales of automotive specialty equipment products continue to climb, reaching $33 billion in 2013. The number represents a 6.7% increase over the previous year and marks the fourth consecutive year of growth.

Reasons for the growth, says SEMA, include:

  • A renewed focus on per performance models by the OEMs, such as the Scion FR-S, redesigns like the 2015 Mustang, and high-performance packages such as the Hellcat Challenger.
  • A healthy uptick in the truck market, where sales of specialty equipment for light trucks grew 8% in 2013 to post the market’s best sales year since 2007.
  • And the U.S. economy continues to grow, with gross domestic product rising and unemployment rates dropping. “Forecasters are generally predicting sustained moderate growth for the U.S. economy over the next few years. Meanwhile, car buyers have shown renewed enthusiasm, pushing new-vehicle sales upward toward pre-recession levels,” SEMA notes.

Vehicles will light up the night at SEMA Ignited

On the last day of the SEMA Show, the customized vehicles that were on display at the trade show will roll out of the Las Vegas Convention Center and into the “SEMA Cruise” and, for the first time ever, assemble at “SEMA Ignited,” a celebration for industry members and the public that will include food, music, celebrities, iconic builders and exhibitor displays.

“SEMA Ignited is an extension of the SEMA Show that will allow exhibiting companies to gain additional media and consumer exposure for the acclaimed vehicles and innovative gear they bring to Las Vegas,” says Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO.

For years, auto enthusiasts would assemble at the LVCC at the conclusion of the SEMA Show to get a glimpse of the show vehicles as they exited from the trade-only event. That led to the SEMA Cruise, and now, the SEMA Cruise has a destination, as hundreds of one-of-a-kind cars and trucks will congregate at The LINQ Promenade, Las Vegas’ new open-air entertainment district that includes the world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller.

“This event will be a platform for a consumer and media blitz, featuring the best of the 2014 SEMA Show,” explains Kersting.

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