The spirit of selling is identifying and fulfilling a need—nothing more, nothing less.
Selling is the foundation of success for every tire dealership and service shop.
I have met service personnel from all levels of this business who seem to detest the word selling.
Instead of hating the word, they ought to embrace the real spirit and meaning of it. After all, getting behind the meaning of sales ultimately provides the best job insurance anyone could want in these uncertain times.
Unfortunately, embracing this word can be difficult simply because we've grown up hearing so many negative meanings attached to it.
For instance, you may have heard one of your parents caution the other, "Watch out, they're trying to sell you something!" When you heard the way your mom or dad emphasized the word sell, you began to sense that it meant something unsavory, untrustworthy—or downright dirty.
What's more, you heard more negative connotations piled on the word as you grew older. For instance, just think of the common phrases and expressions in our culture that cast doubt on the words sales or selling. One example is: "The guy sold us a bill of goods." Another: "Listen to that sales pitch, will you?"
At the same time, many people I know in the aftermarket service industry came of age in new-car dealerships. It was there, they told me, that they acquired a deep distaste for the expression "up sell." To them, up sell suggests a swarthy salesman hustling "premium" floor mats and vinyl trim options to gullible new-car buyers.
Of course, the negative connotations in this discussion don't just rest with new-car dealers. Sadly, we've had our share of hustlers and crooks in the aftermarket auto service trade. Therefore, some service personnel either learned negative meanings or had them reinforced by people in tire dealerships and service shops. These folks will describe the co-worker or manager who, for example, hustled shocks and struts for every vehicle that rolled in—whether it needed them or not.
Let's try to regain some perspective here. Every day, thousands of vehicles roll into repair facility service bays. Indeed, a certain percentage of them need some kind of maintenance and/or repairs. The need may be relatively minor. For instance, the car may need a new side-marker bulb or a rear-window wiper blade. The vehicle could be overdue for an oil change or tire rotation.
Or the need may be more serious. Perhaps the timing belt or timing chain has become noisy—a precursor to a belt or chain failure. Maybe the oil warning light has been flickering on and off. The oil level is normal and the oil's been changed regularly. Ouch—this might suggest an imminent engine failure.
Perhaps a vehicle arrives at your dealership or service shop with a relatively obvious need—maybe perhaps a seeping water pump—along with several less-obvious ones. The list can run the gamut from torn CV boots, frayed drive belt, swollen radiator hose or fatigued struts to an overextended interval on the transmission fluid.
These all are legitimate needs—nothing bogus or questionable about them. At some point, someone will or will not meet these needs by selling the required repairs and/or maintenance.
There's no crime in that.
In fact, some service person might identify the seeping water pump and then up sell—if you choose to use that phrase—the lesser items such as the bulb and the wiper.
But when someone outside your business meets these needs—makes these sales—they also make the profits. It boosts his or her bottom line instead of yours. It improves job security for his or her staff instead of yours. If that's so, you've gained nothing.
Concentrate on the positive, beneficial connotations of identifying and meeting needs. Then keep your employees and/or co-workers equally focused on them, especially identifying the needs in the first place. Ultimately, you—and your customers—win.