John Marshall, YEN Member Insights, February 2012

John Marshall, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Aftermarket News, February 2012

John Marshall On Building &
Maintaining Contacts

In The Automotive Aftermarket

Name: John

Power Slot
(Performance Brakes Business)

Title: National
Sales Manager

About: John Marshall, the National Sales Manager for
Power Slot, is a graduate of Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL. He is
a first time father with a daughter born early last year. John has worked at
several well known manufacturers within our industry over a period of 17 years
and has great insight into a subject that is critical for young automotive
aftermarket executives - building industry contacts throughout the various
transitions in your career.

Tell us a little about yourself and
what you do. How long have you worked in the industry and what other companies
have you worked for or positions have you held as you progressed to your
current position?

I am the National Sales Manager for Power Slot. I
started in the industry in 1995 with Auto Meter Products. In 2000, I accepted a
position with K&N Engineering as the Eastern Regional Sales Manager. In
2007, I accepted the position of Director of Sales with Power Slot. That same
year Centric Parts acquired Power Slot and my title changed to National Sales

Undoubtedly you've met a lot of
people and made many contacts over the years.
How important would you say that it's been to maintain those connections
as you changed positions / companies? Why?

Our industry is small. We see each other at various
shows and events every year. Maintaining those relationships is probably one of
the most important aspects of developing a successful career. I still have friends at each company I have
worked for.

What were some of the challenges
you faced when it came to maintaining those contacts?

Time, we are all busy, so reaching out sometimes is
a challenge.

Transitions from one job to the
next within the same industry or even the same company can be difficult. Do you
have any tips for young aspiring industry executives on how to handle these

Whether you're
let go or decide to move on, always do so with dignity. Stay connected with
past managers/bosses at shows, stop by and say hi. What's new at the company?
How have they been?

Today's digital world provides a
variety of tools to help us communicate and stay in touch. Do you use any
social media or digital programs like MySEMA, Facebook, LinkedIn, or do you
have any devices that you couldn't live without?

In person is always best, but again that time
factor comes into play. Social media is good and bad. Used correctly it is a
great tool to stay in touch. I am on Facebook , which I use more for friends
and family. I do have some business contacts on there, which I regard as
friends. LinkedIn is more catered to your business contacts. I keep getting
request, but have not signed up yet, I guess I should at this point. As for
devices, I can't live without my Blackberry, though my wife threatens to
divorce me if I keep responding to it at dinner.

It's easier to maintain a
relationship with people we see and work with everyday. What do you feel is the
best way to keep in touch with old contacts that you don't see or talk to as

I still like
picking up the phone and calling. Shows and events are a great way to see them
in person and reconnect. Bottom line, regardless of the channel you choose to
communicate - you must make the effort and find the time to do so. You never
know how those old contacts could factor into your future.

What benefit has your current
company received from the network of contacts that you have created over the
Information, it
is nice to be able to get a perspective from someone not within your own
company. Industry contacts/friends can give you general information on what
they see is happening in the aftermarket. What are the new trends and what are
they doing to address them.

What advice would you offer to
other YENsters looking to grow and maintain their contact network as they
progress through the industry?

Getting involved with SEMA is a great way to meet new industry
contacts. Get to know one of the SEMA Hall of Fame members and stay in touch
with them. They have achieved a lifetime of industry know how. More often than
not they are willing to share their wisdom with you.

Are there any specific advantages
that you feel the younger people in our industry may have when creating and
maintaining contacts? Any disadvantages?

Younger people tend to be more on the cutting edge
of technology. They use social media more and are open to new ideas. And for
disadvantages...well social media. Those who rely on it for communication may
miss the opportunities for face to face conversations.


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