AAPEX: Turning Inspiration into A Plan

Thursday, October 20, 2022

AAPEX: Turning Inspiration into a Plan

By Jay Litsey from Royal Purple®

Jay Litsey

AAPEX is the time for inspiration. We come together to learn what’s new and are inspired by the innovations and collective energy. But then what? How do we harness this energy to influence our bottom line all year long? It starts with ideation. Have you ever had a great idea but then did not follow through? If so, you are not alone. 

My name is Jay Litsey, and I represent Royal Purple®, one of the world’s most-respected synthetic oil brands. I want to share with you what you can do to get from great ideas to more profit. As the Sr. Channel Marketing Director for Calumet Performance Brands, which is the proud owner of the Royal Purple® and Bel-Ray® brands, I have been in aftermarket sales and marketing for more than 25 years. I have increased global brand awareness and led value-proposition messaging to meet consumers where they need help most. 

Ideation as an art form

At AAPEX, ideas run rampant, and it’s a matter of what you’re going to do with them. What happens after AAPEX? How do you keep inspiration flowing? Sometimes, it’s hard to ideate when you are busy running a business. You may also have been doing this for so long that you feel like you are out of ideas. 

The good news is that there are some easy tricks to get ideas flowing. When have ideas hit you in the past? It might be at the oddest times, like in the shower. We all must take the time, even if only five minutes a day, to quiet our mind and let the brain wander. Let it happen, and write it down.

This might be shocking, but you may not be the only person with good ideas. Some of the best ideas can come from your staff. Buy them some pizza, and ask them if they have any ideas for the business. You’d be surprised what they might come up with.

Some vendors focus on meets-spec product while others are capable of providing you with free business advice. Have them assess your operation. You might get something beneficial from a second pair of eyes.

Plan your work, work your plan

It’s said often but done rarely. Here’s a simple planning format to turn ideation into an actionable plan.

  1. Situation: What is your goal? What is keeping you awake at night?
  2. Idea: What did you, your staff, or vendor think of?
  3. How it Works: What are the detailed steps to make the idea come to life?
  4. Costs: Line costs out by item.
  5. Benefits: How much more money will you make, time will you save, etc.?
  6. Timing: Set a certain number of days or weeks for each step.
  7. Next Steps: What are you going to do first, starting today?

Solid execution is more important than the perfect plan

Here’s an example. You’ve found that you can’t save your way to prosperity. You may want more traffic, more oil changes, or to make more money per customer from selling not saving. You think about it, talk with your staff, and challenge your best vendor for any solutions they might have. Your vendor took you through some programs built to accomplish your goals. If you sign up for their promotions, you get free, traffic-driving promotional digital media; free consumer offers; and point-of-purchase (POP) materials. Instead of getting the promo box and putting it under your shelf, you do the following:

  1. Sales representative planning meeting: Meet with your sales representative a month before the quarterly promotions start. Ask what needs to be done to get your free tools.
  2. New product or product ordering: Ask them what needs to be ordered (and do they have a purchase incentive, free rack, etc.).
  3. Promotion materials review: Have the vendor take you through when the advertising hits: what it says, what’s in the kit, and greeter tips for no-pressure selling. If you do your own marketing, get their images and incorporate yours.
  4. Greeter meeting: Ask your vendor to hold a greeter meeting. Schedule it two weeks before the start of the quarter. Everybody likes free coffee and donuts, so get your vendor to kick in and feed the troops. Show them the POP materials, tell them about the advertising and how the offer works, and take them through any greeter scripts or training materials. Have them role-play for practice. They will hate you for it, and then they will love you for it.
  5. Dress for success: At the end of the meeting, everyone puts up the POP materials, fills the new rack, cleans up the building, and makes sure they look their best.

Rinse and repeat

Shampoo bottles used to say “rinse and repeat” on the back, but I doubt if anyone ever did it. Maybe we should have? Testing, learning, and modifying your plan along with repeating what’s working are the keys to success.  

Well done… not only are you uniting your team, but you are taking actionable steps to turn inspiration from AAPEX into a plan that increases profits. 

Interested in learning more about how Royal Purple can help your after-AAPEX plans? Stop by the Royal Purple booth A1657, Venetian Expo Level 2. You will meet key leadership and be among the first to learn about new Royal Purple products for 2022:

  • Royal Purple® Max-Restore High Mileage Fuel Treatment: a highly concentrated, high performance fuel system cleaner that is specially formulated to solve performance problems typically found in higher mileage vehicles such as reduced fuel economy, increased emissions, engine wear, and lost performance. 
  • Royal Purple® Max ATF®: a full synthetic, multi-vehicle, high-performance, long-life, automatic transmission fluid. It maximizes fuel economy, creates smoother shifting, dramatically reduces heat and wear, extends transmission life, provides exceptional anti-shudder protection, and inspires greater torque-hold capacity to prevent clutch slippage. It is also compatible in hybrid vehicles.

To learn more, visit the Royal Purple Company profile on the AAPEX website. 

Oct. 20, 2022