Accessories: When you have a customer making a wheel (and usually tire) combo purchase, leverage that buying mindset — offering add-ons such as wheel locks, or tire storage bags that are a high margin revenue boost for you, and provide extra benefits to protect that investment.
Benefits: It isn't the product that's important to shoppers, it's what the product does for them. Having wheels on display is nice, but are you selling them on the benefits of customizing their ride? Go further and talk about better handling and performance.
Close: If a customer is inquiring about wheels, that means he or she has interest at a minimum. Take control. Not closing wheel sales is a waste of time for your shoppers and yourself.
Displays: Showing wheels online is great. I see too many shops having wheels on the wall — but if you aren't helping a customer visualize them on their vehicle, those wheels are just heavy wallpaper in your shop.
Educate: Teach shoppers about the benefits of wheels and tires on the vehicle. Learn as much as you can about the important benefits that wheels can offer beyond appearance. Use that knowledge to help your shoppers connect the dots to investing in a quality product.
Financing: If industry statistics show that more than 70 percent of shoppers don't budget for tires, let alone wheels, are you helping them bridge that purchase gap with credit card or even no-credit finance options? I bet one of your competitors is. Be the one to get the sale by helping that purchase happen.
Guided discovery: Having goal-oriented conversations empowers shoppers and makes them more likely to buy. Asking guided questions can help decide what wheel size is best and allows you to place emphasis on a "better" or "best" tire selection to pair.
Happiness: The one thing everyone wants is to be happy. Suggesting a new set of wheels to customers on their older vehicle may be the key to their investing in a new wheel package versus trading in that car. Then you will lose tires — and service — to the dealership.
Introduction: Build rapport when a shopper walks in to ask about wheels or tires. Always introduce yourself and — here is the key — ask for your shopper's name. Then use it, but don't overuse it. Use that to focus on shopper's needs and wants — and how you can help.
Journal: Keep a daily journal of your interactions with shoppers. Note things that don't go well to find possible solutions, as well as things that do, and share with your team to find ways to not let a shopper leave without purchasing from you.
Key: The key to wheel-package sales is to understand that shoppers approach the process as satisfying a need or fixing a problem. Through conversation, you have the ability to go beyond the "appearance" of the wheel and sell actual performance benefits, too.
Listen: Slow down and give full attention to what your shopper has to say. Pause and consider before responding. I'm sure you know the adage about why we have two ears and one mouth.
Mount and Balance: It should go without saying that an additional value "benefit" you offer when wheels and tires are purchased in tandem is the value of free mounting and balancing when they are installed. Specify this alone could save them $60-$100 of value.
Never: Don't ask what your shopper "wants to spend." Also, never bash your competitors or use warranty, price or ride comfort guarantees to close sales.
Objections: A good sales process will deal with objections by using your shop's value and your product knowledge to add value rather than dropping down in price or quality.
Product knowledge: If you are displaying the wheels and tires in your shop, your staff has the training to speak about the nuances of each and WHY one is better than another, right?
Qualifying questions: Here are two questions that can change the dynamics of the selling process, increase your average ticket and customer satisfaction:
1) "What is most important to you by changing the wheels on your vehicle now — better handling or image first?"
2) "What wheel(s) have you narrowed your search down to already?"
Recommendations: YOU are the expert, usually not the customer. Be sure customers know the importance of a new alignment when new tires/wheels are installed. New tires wear fastest when new. Avoid irregular wear. Also, this is a chance to look for any damage or incorrectly installed suspension parts that may be lurking on the vehicle already.
Service: Keep increasing value by offering a service special to keep them coming back. How about coming back for a "free torque inspection" at 1,000 miles? Value.
Train, train, train: Top veterans are not big know-it-alls. They realize how much they still have to learn and are in constant pursuit of increasing their knowledge and skills. Taking advantage of drive-and-learns, or online test modules go a long way to keeping fresh.
Understand your buyer: Recognize that your shoppers are on a mission to find a good value as they look to improve the vehicle's image. Help redefine value as it relates to their quality of life rather than their dollars. Many wheels — and tires — look the same. You have to show the benefits (lighter wheel, better ride, better wet, better handling, etc.).
Value: Never stop selling value. A customer might have a specific design in mind, and the Internet nearly will always win on price alone. Selling the shop as the install master and "go-to" provider wins the day. Selling free rotation, inspections, mount and balance, or wheel insurance are all high value-added options to always be discussing.
Warranties: Always make sure your customers understand that warranties are great but also have limitations that are not always the fault of the tire or wheel components.
X: is for eXcellence, which you seek in all areas of your life, and practice in selling. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." — Aristotle.
You: It is true — people most often decide to buy from someone they trust. Therefore you are typically the most important factor in a shopper's decision of what and where to buy.
Zero: Zero is the cost that it takes to implement these tips into a better and defined wheel and tire sales process.
Edward Koczan is a veteran of the tire industry. Currently a corporate key account manager with Hankook Tire America Corp., Mr. Koczan is passionate about the tire industry. You may reach Edward at [email protected].