A new book by the authors of ``Up Against the Wal-Marts,'' a David vs. Goliath how-to about successfully competing with mass merchandisers, features some practical tips from Barry Steinberg, president of Direct Tire & Auto Service, based in Watertown.
Authors Don Taylor and Jeanne Smalling Archer note in their latest book, ``If You Can't Beat 'Em, Don't Let 'Em Beat You,'' that ``while it's true that traditional businesses have found it harder and harder to compete against the corporate mega-retailers'' such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Home Depot, ``death is not inevitable.''
Direct Tire-which operates locations in Watertown, Norwood, Peabody and Natick, Mass., and has $14 million in annual sales-is included in several chapters of the new book, according to its publisher, AMACOM.
Mr. Steinberg shares his interviewing process: seeing prospective employees three times at three different times of day to look for people who have high energy levels throughout the day.
He said Direct Tire adds value by offering a free loaner car program so customers coming in for services don't have to wait. In another chapter Mr. Steinberg points out the dealership provides employees with tools and resources ``to get jobs done efficiently.'' Last year, for example, it spent $85,000 on new tire equipment, auto repair tools and diagnostic electronics.
He told the authors that service is the only way to stand out in a marketplace where brand-name competitors saturate every curve. When larger auto service and tire centers began slashing prices, Direct Tire refused to join the game and, he added, it was ``the best competitive move we ever made.''