Don’t Hold A Grudge (by Jeff Short)
What exactly is a grudge purchase? The dictionary defines grudge as “resentfully unwilling to give something.” In our case, someone is resentfully unwilling to give their hard earned cash for some smelly black rubber things that the guy at the shop says need to be replaced. A new Xbox, Coach purse, vacation, smart phone? Now for those they are willing to shell out some bucks, but not tires. Of course, there are exceptions. There is the sports car driver that wants the latest from Yokohama or the guy with the raised 4X4 who is happy to spend big on the new wheels and Toyo Open Country RTs. But they are just a slice of the tire buying public. So yes, most tires are purchased grudgingly. You should know that marketing professionals actually study how to better sell grudge purchases. There are actually easy to follow steps that will help you sell more tires, and here’s the kicker… you can sell better tires and make more money.
Actual market research shows that the easiest sales are made by quoting only the lowest price goods. The customer asks for the product, and the salesperson quotes the cheap stuff and tells them “it will do just fine and look at how much you are saving.” This salesperson didn’t have to waste too much time qualifying needs or negotiating the price, let alone studying up on features and benefits. But it doesn’t have to be this way, if you and your crew followed a simple sales process.
Let’s start with Goodyear’s research that shows over 80% of tire shoppers buy whatever the salesperson suggests. It’s just human nature. When faced with having to make a decision on something you know nothing about, you tend to go with the advice of an expert. Just like, if your doctor says you need prescription ABC, you’ll most likely not argue for XYZ. Sure, your tire customer will go online and try to read up, but they’ll take your opinion if you say something like, “you don’t want that brand, they’ll shake your fillings loose.” You are the one with all the power. People are price sensitive. Especially over grudge purchases. But don’t forget that Michelin, Goodyear, Bridgestone, and a few other premium brands make up over half of the replacement tire market. There are huge opportunities for dealers to be making exceptional profit margins on tier 2 brands like Cooper, Hankook, Toyo, and Yokohama. You just need the discipline to have a process and stick to it.
Here are a couple steps to get you started:
1) Adopt a “go-to” brand and learn to sell it well. If it’s one of our brands, we are happy to help. You’ll get better and better at presenting it and your confidence will show.
2) Qualify the buyer to find out what they liked and hated about their old tires. This step will give you insight on what to suggest and which features to play up.
3)Quote the good stuff, and tell them why you’d put them on your car if you were them.
Don’t be thrown off when they say they’re “shopping on price.” What else do they know? They’re saying it to put you on notice that they want a good deal. It doesn’t mean that they want you to research 4 wholesalers websites to find the lowest priced, lowest quality tire known to man. It probably means something more like, “I want a fair price on a quality tire that is quiet, has good wet traction, and won’t wear out too quickly.” That’s what they would say if you asked them the basic qualifying questions. This is all more than worth your time if you have set up your go-to brand with a better profit margin. Extra payback comes from word of mouth advertising that your store gains by selling higher quality tires.
Don’t be afraid to make a fair profit. You and your business are worth it.