LAS VEGAS—The last thing Eddy Kay ever wanted to be when he grew up was a salesman. During his early years, Mr. Kay said his family had encouraged him to earn a college degree to avoid becoming a salesman. But after playing in a dead-end garage band for several years, Mr. Kay found himself doing the very job he had always loathed.
``I was always told sales was something to do when you don't know how to do anything else,'' Mr. Kay told attendees at the International Tire Expo in Las Vegas last November. ``I hated my job; I hated my life because I was doing a profession anyone could do.''
A retail consultant from West Covina, Calif., Mr. Kay spoke on how dealers can add on to an invoice. He said one of the most important sales techniques he ever learned in his 20 years in retail is the ``add-on close.''
``It's not being pushy—it's being aggressive,'' Mr. Kay said. ``Add-ons are the gravy that sends your kids to college.''
Customers show buying signs when they touch their faces, touch their money, ask if a product is in stock or continually play with a product, Mr. Kay said. A sale needs to be closed at that point, because 50 percent of the customer's thoughts are positive.
Once a dealer knows a customer is leaning toward a purchase, he can close the sale by saying, ``How about a wheel alignment with those tires?'' or ``How about a set of new belts to go with the pump?'' he said.
The add-on close allows dealers to both close a sale and ask for an additional sale. A customer may refuse to buy belts but say yes to the new pump, but that's what a dealer wanted to happen in the first place, Mr. Kay said.
``Ask 100 percent of the time, and you'll get it at least 30 percent of the time,'' he said.
In the long run, add-ons will save customers time and money by giving them necessary service and products the first time they visit a dealership, he said.
``Adding on to the invoice is the highest form of customer service you can give,'' he said. ``As the expert that customer came in to see, you should know every item in your store that is the perfect match product, whether the customer asked for it or not.''
Mr. Kay cautioned dealers not to give huge discounts on their tires or auto service, especially when using the add-on close. He illustrated how Nordstrom's Inc. charges customers full mark-up prices, but is a profitable retail chain because of its customer service.
``Service is expensive,'' he said. ``I still want to know why salespeople give money away in a sale.
``If someone says `I need a new tire,' ask them why, then offer to go out to their truck or car and take a look at their tires.''
Although asking someone to buy a product can bring feelings of embarrassment or fear, Mr. Kay said it's OK to have those feelings as long they don't keep a retailer from making a sale.
``Be afraid; now go ask for the sale.''