It was only a brief comment in a panel discussion on ``How to increase commercial tire and retread sales'' at the recent World Tire Expo in Louisville, Ky., but it was especially insightful.
Speaking about how to motivate salespeople to sell retreaded truck tires, panelist Terry Westhafer of Central Tire Corp., a commercial tire and retread operation in Verona, Va., said, ``A new tire is a `generic' tire. Instead, we are trying to give our retread product its own identity.''
Talk about looking at things differently.
Instead of focusing on price and viewing all retreads as being equal, Mr. Westhafer pushes his salespeople to think of the company's retread products as unique and having their own brand and identity. It's the new tires that are all the same.
Isn't that how all tire dealers and retreaders should view their own operations-that their shop offers something better than and different from the competition? If not, what they have to offer becomes a commodity.
Still, many firms don't look at things this way, or at least they don't practice it.
Instead, they fight tooth and nail with the competition primarily on price and fail to distinguish their businesses and the products they offer.
In the me-too world of retail and commercial tire dealerships and retreaders, finding a way to stand out from the crowd can make the difference between so-so sales and a revolving customer base vs. growing revenues and loyal customers.
Mr. Westhafer achieves this at Central Tire, in part, by educating his employees so that they understand and promote the differences in the firm's retreads and how they stack up against new tires.
Such a business philosophy must start at the top of an organization and trickle down to the rest of the company. It's something all tire dealers and retreaders should consider for their own businesses.