For those of you who’ve read the “About Me” section of this site, you’ll know the second paragraph starts out with this sentence: “I’m not someone employed by the RV industry.” Well, two weeks from today, that’ll all change….at least for nine days as I do my best to get as many people as I can to sign on the dotted line to buy a new travel trailer or fifth wheel from a local RV dealer at the Indy RV Expo at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
To give you a little background on how all this came about, we must first backtrack well over a year ago to October of 2012. After realizing I was stuck in a dead end job with no satisfaction other than a paycheck every two weeks, I thought I’d try to venture out and do something that I love for a living. The e-mails I got from some of you thanking me for starting and maintaining this site dedicated to small travel trailers are a big part of what helped me realize I needed to be working in a field that I loved, and that’s when I decided I’d see what the RV industry had to offer. I updated my resume and put together a cover letter that I sent to several RV dealers in and around the Indianapolis area, although that resume was void of any RV background. It was the cover letter and this website that had to sell on my behalf. All I mustered out of it was a two hour sit-down with one of those dealers for a position that they were mulling over that didn’t exist, although I was very intrigued by the possibilities of it and thought it’d be an excellent and fun way to get my foot in the door without having to go the sales route, which is something I wasn’t really interested in doing. But, for whatever reason, it didn’t materialize and I decided that I’d close the book on the idea of getting a job in the RV industry and just stick with this site as my RV “fix”. Then last month, that book opened up again.
I received a voice mail out of the blue from Matt Braun, owner of Braun’s Fun Time Campers on the northeast side of Indianapolis. Matt said in the voice mail one of his three salesmen was retiring, and he was impressed with the letter I sent to them over a year ago and wanted to know if I was interested. I called him back as a courtesy a few days later, even though I still wasn’t really interested in working commission for a living. When I called him back, we talked for 30 minutes or so. I had mentioned in our call that this site seemed to present a conflict of interest with that other RV dealer I dealt with in 2012, but Matt said he didn’t see it as a threat, which made me realize that I should keep a dialogue going with him. Understanding my apprehension, he offered me a chance to get a feel for selling RVs by helping out at the upcoming Indy RV Expo in January. It’d give me a taste of it to see if selling RVs for a living is something that I could do. I pretty much had nothing to lose by accepting the chance and a lot to gain. We met in person early this month for nearly 3 hours just talking the business of the RV industry. Even though I haven’t approached one customer yet, I feel like I’ve been welcomed into their family. And family owned business is what Braun’s is about. The dealership was started in the late 1970’s by Matt’s late father, Dick Braun, before he purchased it in the mid 1990’s. Matt’s brother Nick is a salesman as is Matt’s son Austin, who he hopes will some day take over the reigns of the business.
So this leads us up to the Indy RV Expo starting on January 11. I’m sure the burning question is, “Are you going to sell your soul and try to sell things over 20′ long?” I’m amazed that some of you might think that. Well, the answer is: Absolutely! However, Braun’s carries some units that I’ll be very comfortable talking up, although fifth wheels will be foreign to me. There will be nearly 40 travel trailers, fifth wheels, and hybrids at the Braun’s corral at the show, and something for just about every budget. They’ve been a loyal KZ RV dealer for many years, and a big part of their display will be heavy with KZ products. However, there’s a buzz at Fun Time Campers right now with the recent additions to their inventory of Riverside Retro, Gulf Stream Vista Cruiser, and the Winnebago Minnie, all of which will be on display at the show.
Leading up to the show, I’ve been at the dealership a couple of times to listen to the factory reps from KZ and Winnebago go over some of the features of their respective brands. Thus far it has been a really good learning experience for me not only as someone who’s going to try to sell you on a trailer, but as an RV owner myself and one who’ll one day be looking for that retirement trailer that my wife & I will cruise the USA with.
I’m really looking forward to this show and even more looking forward to talking to those who’ll come through who I hope to relate to better than most salesmen we all encounter at these shows. I think we all have been able to spot the guys who are RVers selling RVs and those guys who were selling spas two weeks earlier. My approach will be low pressure and just point out the various features for those of you who want to listen to me talk. If you don’t want to talk, you can expect nothing more from me than “Let me know if I can answer any questions & enjoy the show”. I’ll give the customers what I would want in a salesman. Just let me know what features you need in a trailer and your budget and I’ll steer you in your direction and not mine! And if you do buy from Braun’s, be it through me or someone else there, you can rest assured you’ll be creating a relationship with a small, mom & pop dealer with integrity, which is one of the reasons I chose to join them for this nine day venture.
The Indy RV Expo runs from Saturday, January 11 through Sunday, January 19 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis: http://indyrvexpo.com. I’ll be there on all the weekends and a few weeknights if my day job permits. So even if you’re not in the market to buy and you just want to head to the show to see what’s new, do stop by and hunt me (Pat) down and say hi. I’d love to meet you…or better yet, sell you!
You can check out the inventory at Braun’s Fun Time Campers at: http://funtimecampers.com. You can also follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brauns-Fun-Time-Campers/207514189273698 and also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FunTimeCampers