Matt Feroli

While other 12-volt dealers wait in vain for the reemergence of a long-gone demographic, the magical return of high-margin audio sales or the next business-boosting product, Matt Feroli is dusting off his high-school Spanish books.

Like other smart dealers and installers, Feroli, owner of car electronics installer, Boomer Boston in Dorchester, Mass., realizes the bread-and-butter 16-24 year-old male demographic is yesteryear's news and that connected solutions are more important to his shifting clientele than booming bass. And a portion of that new clientele is where the old textbooks come in.

"About one out of three of my customers is Espanol," Feroli said, adding that he boosted margins last year by increasing his service rates by 25 percent. "I've been throwing a lot of money at the 'Spanish Yellow Pages' and digging out my high school Spanish books to relearn the language."

That's not all Feroli and other successful 12-volt specialists are doing. Dealers who beat the odds in 2009 and are looking to do better this year have been following similar strategies: redesigning their Web pages to increase their marketing power and customer draw; displaying advertisements through Google Adwords; bringing on new product lines and redesigning their stores to cater to new demographics; focusing on the connectivity and integration of in-car iPod, iPhones, Bluetooth, in-dash navigation, FLO TV  and other solutions; and increasing their service fees to offset decreasing ASPs.

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