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Increasing Dealership Tire Sales

In today’s world, dealerships represent a significant share of vehicle maintenance. As a result, they encounter increasing opportunities to offer replacement tires for their customers.

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In today’s world, dealerships represent a significant share of vehicle maintenance. As a result, they encounter increasing opportunities to offer replacement tires for their customers. However, many dealerships are still under-penetrated in tire sales.

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Tires are parts of a vehicle that wear out over an extended period of time. The U.S. market averages 13,500 miles driven annually and tire treads live up to 45,000 miles. That means it takes the typical driver a little over three years to wear out a set of tires.

However, it’s important to note that tire traction in wet and wintry driving conditions gradually diminishes as the treads wear. This is because as tread grooves become shallower, they lose some of their ability to channel water, slush and snow from between the tread and the road. Worn tires increase the vehicle’s stopping distances, as well as reduce wet road traction and hydroplaning resistance when driving through standing water.

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Let’s review current processes causing a dealership’s under-penetration in tire sales.

When vehicles arrive at the shop, a multi-point inspection takes place on each vehicle. Most of the time the inspection will capture many components of the vehicle including tire tread depth. A typical process of checking tread depth will involve the technician taking measurement of the tire using a handheld analog or digital stick type tread depth gauge.

The gauge will be used in just three different parts of the tread, sometimes leaving out the tread edges. The result is that these measurements reflect tread depth using only three points. Most of the time, the accuracy of these measurements depends on the technician’s skills, possibly creating a certain doubt factor with retail customers. In addition, only a few dealerships will analyze the tire wear and alignment of every vehicle. This limits the amount of additional vehicle maintenance opportunities that a dealership can capture.

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The next step for the dealership is reviewing the multi-point report with the customer. Usually, a very small part of this report will be dedicated to tire conditions. As a result, the service advisors will spend less time talking about tires and talking more about other services such as filter or brake replacements.

All of the contributing factors above result in poor tire sales at a dealership, but with continuous development of new technologies, they can address these inefficiencies.

There are two main types of solutions available for dealerships: a portable solution and a drive-over solution.

The drive-over solution available on the market today is designed to capture the tire conditions on every vehicle entering the shop in seconds and provides a detailed tire condition report for the service advisors to consult their customer on current tire conditions.

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The drive-over solution fits dealerships with a dedicated service drive lane and the higher upfront cost can limit it to dealerships with higher tire sales focus.

A portable solution is something new for the market, featuring key benefits of a drive-over unit with economical, easy-to-justify cost, changing tire opportunities at the dealership.

When a vehicle enters a shop, a technician can simply take a picture of the vehicle’s license plate, quickly retrieving vehicle information such as the VIN, make, model and tire size. Next, the technician will use a built-in laser on the tool to scan all four tires. The laser allows the technician to scan the tires in hundreds of measuring points from sidewall to sidewall with the highest possible precision, leaving almost no room for 

The biggest advantage of this detailed scan is the ability to audit tire wear. The tool will carefully analyze uneven tire wear and point out if an alignment check is needed. After the scanning step is complete, a tire report will be printed. The report can be sent digitally via email or even shared with the customer using a QR code on the report. By scanning the QR code, a customer will be able to view and retain their tire report on any mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. See the sample report above.

A detailed visual condition of each tire will be shown for each wheel position in simple-to-understand colors: green “good” condition, yellow “consider replacing soon” and red “need replacing now” condition. In addition, the report will show if a tire rotation or alignment service is recommended based on tire wear. Explaining the report to the customer that a laser precision measurement tool was used on his or her tires will increase customer confidence in the accuracy of the measurements.

Another key is to highlight the safety risks due to increased braking distance that is shown in the report. Now, suddenly the service advisor is becoming a highly educated tire consultant with all information available to him. He can use all of this information as a selling tool to explain tire replacement and alignment service needs to the customer.

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Using this approach when discussing tire and alignment needs with customers will improve your tire and alignment sales at the dealership. Giving your customers a reason to purchase the tires and alignment service today will save valuable time while making your customers safer. Boris Shtamm

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