The New Reality – Tires as Loss Leader?

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All Tires $5.00 over cost! Tire Loss Leader pricing is becoming a prevalent form of advertising for large and regional chains as they work to maintain market share against like competitors and surging New Card Dealers. Independent Tire Dealers are watching tire margins shrink  (further) as they struggle to match large and Regional Tire Chain pricing.  Once a strategy regulated to the Car Dealers, advertising "dollars off store cost" is now being  adopted by an alarming number of large retailers.   How can an Independent Tire Dealer Compete with this strategy? While the thought of competing with Large Chains head to head may be daunting for some Independants, I believe that the Independent Tire Dealer can still compete and thrive against the Big Guys.   Here are a few strategies that Independents are using to  fend off the competition: Figure out what your competitive advantage is - and leverage it! Offer value added services such as a complementary car washes, … [Read more...]

Why you should be doing Work Place Marketing

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Work Place Marketing, is a form of "grass root marketing" that centers around reaching out to people or associations that work within the trade area of your service center (s).  Most of us have done some type of Work Place Marketing. Typical Work Place Marketing examples range from handing out coupons or flyers in nearby shopping strips and office parks, to having discount cards printed up for large employers, schools and associations.   Statistically 35% of consumers buy tires & service while they are at work. Traditional media that targets residential households is not the most effective way to reach these consumers. How do you get a message out to people that park their vehicle within a few miles of your store front EVERY DAY? You get out of your stores and Knock on Doors! While the traditional coupon, flyer and printed discount card will get them in the door, how do you convert that first time customer into a loyal passionate fan? RTS has put … [Read more...]

Finally! A Rewards Program for Tire & Service Dealers

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The Only Marketing Program You May Need   Over the past few years, I have worked on a platform to provide a custom marketing solution for Independent Tire and Service Dealers. Today, I am really excited to announce the availability of the Retail Tire Solutions Loyalty Rewards Plus Marketing Program.   This Marketing Platform will change the way you market to your customers forever!  It very well may be the only marketing program you need going forward! Why it took so long? One of the most difficult problems associated with offering marketing programs to Independents, is the reality that there are so many different POS systems being utilized by Tire Dealers and almost as many single store operators. Marketing programs that have the ability to Reward current customers,  Win Back lost customers, Acquire new customers, Improve Gross Sales and provide you with some pretty cool Tools that measure return on investment (across many platforms) can be fairly expensive to the average … [Read more...]

Are you kidding me?

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Are you kidding me?  That was my response to Steve, a good friend of mine, when he told me that some of his Independent Tire & Service clients sell oil club programs in hopes that the customer DOES NOT redeem them. Yes - You heard that right! I told Steve that strategy made no sense.   Especially when you take into consideration that it takes approximately $350 to gain a new customer.   The main reason to sell club programs is to encourage loyalty and repeat business. To make sure we are all on the same page, an oil club program is a program that sells multiple oil changes at a significant discount,  trading future gross for loyalty and repeat business.  I also like idea of selling alignment policies and "super coupon" programs. You should probably know by now ... I am a Big fan of just about anything that encourages customer growth! Key Point - it's not how MUCH its How MANY - How much a customer spends every time they service their vehicle with you is less … [Read more...]

What is the Best Kind of Advertising?

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Answer? A program that insures your bays are filled every day with customers that will purchase Tires and Service from you, at reasonable gross margins. There shouldn't be any mystery about that. The question is - what does that program look like? Well if you are a Big Retail Chain or New Car dealership, the program looks a lot different then if you are a small or midsize Independent. Big Retail and New Car Dealers have the resources and budgets for sophisticated database programs, amazing websites and over the top digital campaigns, while still spending big bucks on traditional advertising. To assess ROI on each campaign, Big Retail and New Car Dealers have really cool tools that can analyse every metric under the sun. If you are an Independent (if you advertise at all), you probably have a web site, FaceBook page and Twitter Account (or at least I hope so). You may do some ADVO or Money Mailer type advertising monthly and a declined service/reminder program. For big events, … [Read more...]

Tool Day – Free Payroll Productivity Worksheet

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Starting today, and every Friday (fingers crossed), I will work on posting another retail tire and service tool.  Today I am posting a Daily Payroll Productivity Worksheet that I put together and it seems to work really well.  The Worksheet is pretty straight forward, enter your Total Sales, Service Sales, Technician & Sales Associate payroll information daily and in turn the Worksheet will produce: Vehicle Service Associate Payroll percent to Sales Customer Service Associate Payroll percent to Sales Total Payroll percent to Sales Effective hourly rate of pay for Flat Rate Technicians and your Sales Team There is even an area to adjust for Fringe (taxes, benefits, etc) and spiffs for your sales team. Benchmarks are listed at the top of the page.  Most Retail Tire Stores shoot for: 20% Vehicle Service Payroll/Service Sales   10% Customer Service Payroll/Total Sales 30% Total Payroll/Total Sales You can find further posts covering additional tools that … [Read more...]

Quick Tips – Competing with Car Dealers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGyyWPhKjeE In today's Quick Tips I discuss strategies to compete with your local Car Dealer, such as offering Policy Alignments, Road Hazard, Life Time Balancing and some type of Preferred Customer Card program.  I didn't mention this in the video, but another great way to promote customer retention is to offer your customers the option of joining an Oil Change Club. … [Read more...]

Are You Connected?

…To your suppliers?  Electronically?  Why should you be?  You could be wasting lots of time and money, and making costly mistakes, by entering things multiple times.  In today’s electronic age, connectivity is much easier and more affordable than it has been in past years. When computers exchange data, instead of humans re-entering it, there is virtually no margin for error.  The system doesn’t change the numbers along the way; data remains constant.  Just think of credit card processing for a moment.  There are millions of transactions that are being processed every day, error free.  When is the last time you had a credit card statement come through with a different amount than what you signed for?  Typically any errors in charges were created by the person manually keying in the amount of the charge.  And then those charges appeared on your receipt, right or wrong. In addition to data integrity, speed and efficiency come into play.  Imagine needing to look up a part for a … [Read more...]

3 Bootstrapping Customer Driving Techniques

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One of the most stressful times in any retail environment is when you are staffed to the hilt but no customers are walking through the door.  You look to your left and to your right and you have hourly employees that you are paying to just stand around.  I have been there.  Not Fun!  While there in no sure-fire way to instantly acquire customers, there are some techniques that many dealers use that seem to be pretty effective. #1 Alway have a box of oil change coupons on hand like these.  If there are no customers in your location, then its a safe bet that your sales and technicians are probably not too busy.  With the oil change coupons in hand, point your staff to the nearest traffic intersection to hand out the coupons.  You will be pleasantly  surprised how may coupons are redeemed in the coming weeks. #2 Have an "A" Frame board on hand with an "unbeatable" oil change offer like this.  Put the "A" Frame out in front of your location when you have empty bays. #3  Have Free … [Read more...]

Alignment Strategy – What’s a Good Job?

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A good way to gauge whether or not you are maximize your Alignment Opportunities is to base you Alignments sold verses PAT. PAT = Potential Alignment Ticket Potential Alignment Tickets are work orders (invoices) that you have sold two or more retail tires on. I would focus on a goal of 70% Alignments Sold to Work Orders that you have sold two or more tires. Track it Daily for best results! If you need a tracking sheet, check these out. Good Selling, Pat … [Read more...]