Do You Sell Tires?

Bruce NewsletterOver the last several years working with parts and service managers, this question always seems to arise…Why should we even worry about stocking and selling tires? Every parts and service manager should always strive to be a customer’s one-stop automotive solution center.

Solution is defined as:

The act of solving a problem, question, etc.: The situation is approaching solution.

The state of being solved: A problem capable of solution.

Tires are one of the solutions we have not helped our customers with in the past. Only in the past 8-12 years have the vehicle manufacturers pushed the dealer into paying attention to those needs.

Do your customers know you’re in the tire business?

Do your own evaluations. Visit dealerships or independent repair facilities in your own area. When you approach their facility, are you aware of any signage or displays on the outside of their building that would give you any indication they are in the “tire” business? Walk into the building and take note if the service reception area has any point-of-sale displays. Does the customer lounge have any displays or printed brochures they can read or take with them (and of course your dealership name, phone number, and web address are on them)? Does the parts department have some of the same point-of-sale displays? Is there any tire rebate information posted from a particular tire manufacturer? Have the service advisors (consultant) been informed of tire rebates?

I just thought they were black, round, and they roll!

Your parts and service staff should be trained (educated) in tire sales. Most vehicle manufacturers have web- based training available, as do some of the tire manufacturers. I have found that a local source is usually the simplest, most inexpensive and convenient solution. You probably have a local tire vendor you use or are currently purchasing from on an as-need basis. With the prospect of selling you additional tires, they would probably hold a training class with your staff. They might even work with them several mornings in the service reception area to observe and educate them on what conditions to look for and how to begin a conversation with customers.

Do you have the answers to these questions?

These are important questions you and your staff need to know the answer to when asked:

What is the tire’s primary job?

  1. Carry the load of the vehicle
  2. Provide cushioning assistance for the suspension
  3. Provide balance to the wheels
  4. Reduce resistance against the road

If you answered 1, you are right.

On a tire’s sidewall marking, which designation might not appear on every tire?

  1. Radial ply
  2. Metric passenger tire
  3. Speed rating
  4. Aspect ratio
  5. Tire section width

If you answered 2, you are right.

What is the useable life of a tire, regardless of mileage?

  1. 2 – 3 years
  2. 4 – 5 years
  3. 5 – 7 years
  4. 8 – 10 years
  5. No time limit

If you answered 3, you are right.

What is the greatest difference between an OE and non-OE tire?

  1. OE meets R&D specs for a specific brand
  2. OE meets R&D specs for a specific vehicle
  3. OE meets R&D specs for a specific wheel
  4. There is no difference

If you answered 2, you are right.

Are there benefits beyond tire profits?

  • Customer Retention Tires are the first major purchase customers make outside the dealership
    • Tires wear out typically between 30,000-45,000 miles
    • Loss of tire sales leads to loss of other sales
    • Customers take others repairs with them when they shop for tires
    • Conservatively, 7% of all vehicles with 35,000 miles need tires
    • 78% of people will buy tires from the first person that recommends them
    • 75% of people will have their car serviced where they buy tires

Do you have the right tools as part of the reception process?

  1. Every service drive should have an air hose for those obvious situations of low tire pressure.
  2. An advisor should have a good digital air gauge for those cold mornings when customer have warning lights on their instrument panel (this is another good opportunity to educate your customer that TPMS sensors are not there to replace checking tire pressures at least once at month).
  3. An advisor should have a tread depth indicator (not the card). Tread depth should be checked at each service visit to monitor wear patterns and budget for future replacement when the time is right.
  4. Product on display and priced (as low as…).
  5. Current rebate offers.
  6. Do you know how to determine the age of the tire?
  7. Do they know where to find the air pressure requirements?
  8. Do you give each customer the tire registration form, with DOT serial numbers from the replacement tire, to mail in? Remember…it’s a federal law!!!

The tire replacement market, according to Tire Business, is worth more than $35 billion…yes I said BILLION-dollar business this past year. What part of this business do you want to bring to your Service and Parts operation?

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