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The Internet Has Changed the Way We Do Business

 

The other day, Mike, one of my service advisors, gave a customer a price on tires. She then reached into her pocketbook, pulled out her Ipad, and said, “Give me a minute”. After a few minutes of surfing, she said to Mike, “Well, the price you gave me is ok; there is one tire shop in Danbury that has those same tires for $15.00 less per tire. Can you match the price?”

 

Sound familiar? You bet. We have all been down this road, and that road has no end to it. Look at your new car dealers. The days of the traditional car sales are over. Many new car dealers no longer pay commissions to sales people. Why? The margins have shrunk due to competing dealers giving prices online, and so many car dealers competing for a share of the same pie.

 

While, I don’t think the internet will have the same impact on our industry, it has impacted us to a degree. And we must learn to deal with, not fight it. You need to bring value to your customers. Don’t enter the price game, you will lose. You need to be competitive, but you need to be profitable too. Making a sale for the sake of a sale, without turning a profit is financial suicide.

 

Promote benefits, not price. Create your unique value proposition: Ask yourself, "Why the customer should buy from you." Let those shops that don’t understand this engage in a price war. As they fail, it will only make us stronger.

 

How did Mike handle the question about “Matching the price?” He simply said, “Well Miss Smith, let’s review some of the benefits. Our tires come with a road hazard warranty, road side assistance, lifetime tire rotation and flats fixed free. Plus, Danbury is 45 minutes away, if you ever have a problem with the tires, do you really want to travel to 40 minutes to shop where they don’t know who you are?

 

She looked down at her Ipad, looked back up at Mike, and said, “Ok, makes sense, put the tires on."

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