NEW ORLEANS — It used to be that selling tires alone could keep tire shops profitable for years.
Those days have gone the way of the flip phone.
Today, dealers need to build a better culture in order to compete against various websites and big-box stores in their quest to attract new customers.
That was the message delivered by Matt Winslow, an instructor at the Baltimore-based Automotive Training Institute, who presented his program entitled, "Building a Culture of Profitability," at the recent Tire Pros National Conference.
"The old paradigm was transactional," Mr. Winslow said. "The customer had a need — they needed a tire — and we met that need — we sold that tire. That was our business model. We loved 'em and then we left them."
Mr. Winslow told dealers that selling tires — along with the services and warranties that can be purchased with it — can make a business profitable, as long as the business' culture reflects favorably on the consumer.
"The world is changing in a good way," Mr. Winslow said. "You guys are uniquely positioned to make a lot of money."
In order to do that, Mr. Winslow said, tire dealers need to double their customer base if they're going to survive. "The goal is to build relationships. We want this customer to fall in love with us and find out we're a one-stop shop to meet all their automotive needs," he said.
Mr. Winslow described several aspects to improve the culture of a tire dealership: