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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Denim Simkins

Denim Simkins Director, Fixed Ops

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When There Is a WHEEL, There Is a Way

It's October and in most parts across the country this means it's tire season. A couple of things come to mind when I hear this. Number one, shouldn’t EVERY month be tire month at out dealership? Number two, what are you going to do this month to capitalize on this opportunity that again our competitors have done such a great job in creating urgency for us?

Tires should be sold every month at our dealerships and we all know the various reasons why this type of business is so critical to customer retention and service growth. Here are a couple of best practices that should be commonplace within your store.

  • If you can smell them, you can sell them – Tires should be everywhere within your service drive with proper signage of price, fitment and benefits of the tire.
    • Signage with clear pricing should include an out the door pricing, customers hate surprises and the add on.
    • Fitment – Car, SUV and Trucks should be separated so a customer can narrow in on options for their vehicle easily
    • Benefits – make it simple. Its easy to regurgitate the tire manufacture benefits but does this resonate with your customer? What sounds better and makes more sense to most: “Strategic siping in all of the tread blocks increases the biting edges” or “This tire works great in bad weather”
  • Inspect tires 100% of the time – What I have observed throughout the dealership world is that the inspection is completed more often than not, but from that point there is typically a dramatic drop off with the following. Remember more than 70% of people buy tires from who first offers them and have their car serviced WHERE they purchase tires
    • Conversation with customers about the tires on their vehicle. This needs to start when the tire is still in the green condition and not only when it is red.
    • Pricing for the tires needed – successful shops give options and do it rather easy. In most cases it is wise to price the tire that is currently on the vehicle and then also give two to three alternative options. Most aftermarket shops make sure they quote the lease expensive option.
  • Utilize other offers to maximize benefit
    • Nitrogen, lifetime alignment, free rotations, free balance are all common offers from the aftermarket shops and now are no longer value added services. If not all, MOST of these services should be added to every tire discussion with the customer
  • Payment options
    • Tires are a major investment and when not properly prepared can come at a complete surprise. For most coming up with that type of cash is difficult and is a burden to the monthly budget. Make sure you have options to help with this.
  • Tires near me
    • I performed this search recently from my house and the top ten returned searches for locations were the aftermarket shops that have owned this portion of real-estate. Number eleven was a Ford store less than 2 miles from my house where their quick lane was mentioned. Just to make it clear I will never call past the 3rd option, most of your customers are the same.
    • Website – can customers come to your website and find the tire that matches their needs? Can they put in the year make and model and then be shown several options? ALL of our competitors have robust websites that make this possible. If you don’t have this option I suggest the first thing you do is reach out to a vendor that can help you with this. It is critical.
      • Tire information page – this is a great idea to have customers land here that have links with national brands to see the most current rebate offers. In addition you can tell your story and explain the benefits of purchasing tires from you.
    • Follow-up – Do you remember the customer that needed tires last month? Do you remember the one that was “advised” they needed tires two months ago? My guess is NO!!! Develop a follow up process, it might be op code driven or it might be a manual folder system, whatever it is FOLLOW UP!!!

These are just a few ideas from the top of my head and I would love to hear other ingenious ideas that you have implemented and had success with. I promise if you do a couple of these items one hundred percent of the time you will sell more tires and retain more customers.

Rick Ewald

I would add have the technician spin the tires, there may be damage on the inner sidewall of the tire, or a nail that was not visible on the service drive.

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