Vice president of sales, PowerVibe USA
What are some big innovations within the vibration category?
The biggest innovation seems to be a burgeoning number of units with some iteration of touchscreen graphics.
What are some common consumer misconceptions about vibration, and how does your company address them?
The most common thing we hear from our dealers is that some consumers still think vibration is a gimmick. Frankly, both we and our top dealers welcome this objection because it is so easy to refute. And because it can be refuted so comprehensively, our dealers have even been able to convert some skeptics to customers. To the point, we address it through education. We, and by extension our dealers, can explain in an easily understandable, but still powerful, way what Whole Body Vibration does from a physiologic standpoint.
Since many prospects find this explanation compelling, we can often then get them on the products. Once on the products it becomes much easier for them to actually feel what vibration is doing and how it works. At that point the dealer can flesh out the story and explain the 50-year history of the technology, its use in both the Soviet and U.S. space programs, its use in elite athletic training and the fact that there are over 1,000 published studies about Whole Body Vibration, among other things.
What are some of the main benefits to specialty retailers who carry vibration equipment?
For dealers that really understand and embrace vibration, they “get” that it is a unique category — in other words, customers are not going to see it everywhere, and dealers get that it can be a great, fun product to demo. Regardless of the industry, whether you’re talking golf, audio or what have you, many prospects come to specialty stores to see cool stuff. So, why not show them the coolest thing in fitness over the last decade: vibration.
Many dealers understand that vibration gives them something they can market to any previous customer. If someone purchased a treadmill from you two years ago and you e-mail them about another new treadmill, they’re probably not going to be interested. But, you CAN pitch that customer on vibration because it does something that no other fitness product can do. Other benefits, at least with our line, are tremendous margins and greater margin integrity, because the category is not yet over-saturated.
How does your company help specialty retailers who sell your equipment, i.e., trainings, etc?
We do a tremendous amount of in-store training. Because we’re committed to creating a “community of sharing” among dealers who are having success, much of our training is based on real-world strategies that are working for our best dealers. Some dealers and sales staff will resist if a supplier comes in with a “dictatorial” approach, so we take a different tack. Sure, we’ll give you the technical information you need to explain the physiology of vibration, and we’ll give you all the features, benefits and technical information on our products, and we’ll show you how to use it and train on it.
But at the end of the day, the purpose is to help you sell product. So if we can give you 20 different tips and strategies that are proven to work, you will be able to find several that will work for your market, your personality, etc.
We also provide quite a bit of in-store POP, and we generally have sales incentive programs going for much of the year to help stay top of mind with sales associates.
What are some trends in the vibration category you’ve noticed?
I’ll just speak to the fitness market — we’re very well established in the chiropractic and therapy markets, but the trends in those channels don’t necessarily apply to the fitness market. In fitness, we see growing acceptance of vibration in both the performance training and personal training channels, and we see growing acceptance for vibration as a primary fitness product for certain customer types.
What are some new products coming out from PowerVibe that reflect these trends?
Our new touchscreen unit, recently launched, really helps establish that product as a stand-alone training device. This product literally has hundreds of exercises in its exercise library, and every exercise has a “personal trainer” figure showing the customer how to properly perform the exercise, whether it be a fitness movement, flexibility, balance or massage movement. This same product has trainer-led programs for every specific muscle group as well as total body, trainer-led programs for flexibility and massage, and trainer-led programs for multiple sports, including golf, tennis, skiing, cycling and running.
These features should also help that unit with the personal trainer market. Previously, most trainers felt like they needed to personally direct their clients through a vibration workout. Now, this programming and trainer feature will allow trainers to get their clients started on the unit, but virtually no supervision will be needed after that, which frees the trainer up to work with other clients. Since most trainers charge extra for vibration training, this will allow them to increase revenues since they can now charge for the vibration training while being with another client.
For the performance training market, we are starting to emphasize our relationship with the Michael Johnson Performance Center. They are one of the top 3 performance training institutes in the U.S. and we have been their exclusive vibration partner since Day 1, over 5 years. They have the exclusive performance-training contract with the Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars and FC Dallas. They recently signed a deal with the English Premier League, and when I was at MJP in April they were training athletes from Manchester United and Arsenal, as well as members of the U.S. Olympic bobsled team. MJP also trains a big percentage of NFL Combine athletes, and they have a number of NFL stars as their clients, including the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Every athlete that goes through the doors at MJP uses PowerVibe vibration. So, between getting that information out and utilizing the educational videos MJP has produced for us, we think we have a good story to tell the performance training market.
--Compiled by Ana Trujillo