The afternoon sessions during day two of K&M Tire‘s 2021 Virtual Dealer Conference, held Jan. 20-21, kept the momentum of the event going full-speed ahead to provide its dealers with resourceful information and takeaways to help improve their businesses and make them thrive.
Constructive Disruption Seminar
K&M Tire Director of Training, Jeff Wallick, explored how dealers can spot opportunities to accelerate and grow their business in 2021 and beyond by embracing challenges and turning them into advantages.
“Remarkable companies are remarkable precisely because of what they don’t do, as much as what they do,” said Wallick as he encouraged dealers to think outside of the box to improve, better focus and streamline their business, and to examine themselves and their business with a critical eye.
He cautioned to avoid these five words that kill progress: That’s What We’ve Always Done.
“Last year’s disruptive environment was actually an opportunity to experiment in disguise. If you don’t see this as an opportunity to experiment right now, what are the odds that you’ll ever try something new?,” Wallick questioned.
As a means to embrace “constructive disruption,” Wallick suggested dealers ponder something they could subtract from their business that would enable them to make a gain — an improvement that would help boost profitability. “In 2021, what will you add to your business in order to multiply the results that you seek,” he asked.
In the spirit of “where your focus flows, your energy follows,” Wallick advised dealers to consider when was the last time they revisited their store hours and the number of days they’re open, re-evaluated their current tire programs or tweaked other areas of their business that might need adjusting, as a means to make immediate improvements.
Regarding ways to make it easier for customers to do business with you in 2021, Wallick emphasized the critical need for convenience during their shopping experience. “Are you where your customers are when they begin their purchase journey?,” he asked.
With more than 60% of consumers starting their product search on Amazon, he advised dealers to amp up their customer outreach and ask themselves, “how convenient are you to do business with and how easy is it for your customers to find you?”
Wallick suggested they go to Facebook.com/business/pages to create their free Facebok business page, and to Google.com/business to claim their free Google My Business page, as a means to connect their business to thousands of current and prospective customers.
In closing, Wallick asked, “What is your call to action? Through a sea of challenges, spot the opportunities to set yourself up for success, not only for the next year or so, but for the next decade. How will you refocus your business through subtraction so that you can add to your bottom line. What is something simple you will do today to make a positive impact on your business?”
Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire Seminar
Dave Miller, K&M Tire director of marketing, highlighted five components of the Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire associate dealer program.
1. Exclusive Incentives & Finance
Miller described the biggest loyalty-driving pieces of the program for both retailers and consumers — exclusive rebates that only Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire dealers are eligible to offer.
In 2020, he said exclusive rebates offered to consumers through the program totaled almost $850,000.
“Leveling the playing field and empowering the independent tire dealer is what this program is all about,” Miller noted.
For 2021, the Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire program will continue with a digital platform for both instant rebates at the counter and consumer rebates that the end-user is responsible for uploading to the online rebate site, added Miller. “The exclusive rebate digital platforms are easy to operate and streamlined for quick turnaround on both instant and consumer rebates.”
Another perk of the program is the ability to help drive up car counts by advertising rebates to consumers on their behalf via social media, utilizing a “geofencing” location-based service to find the right customers and send them right to their door.
Miller also detailed “volume bonus” programs for both Ag and Commercial dealers, noting that its consumer purchase incentives paid out well over $550,000 to Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire dealers in 2020.
2. Office Supplies & Software
Through partnerships with numerous vendors, the Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire program can offer solutions for the backend of its dealers’ businesses by offering national account discounts on things like website development, P.O.S. software, uniforms and office supplies, said Miller.
He noted website options can be tailored to help create a great online experience for customers and carry out its dealers’ vision for their businesses. An in-house team can also help build custom websites for members of the Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire program.
While the whole Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire program is all about marketing, “it’s our job to offer our dealers a custom a la carte marketing package that helps pin an exclamation point on the vision for your company,” said Miller in detailing the program’s vast marketing arsenal. “It gives you the flexibility to choose what aspects of the branding packages are suitable for your area marketing.”
The program is such that it guides dealers in choosing custom marketing packages, mailers, social media advertising, SEO marketing options, and the like. “The Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire program literally puts all the power in your hands to level the playing field,” said Miller, adding that its “In the Tread” magazine is another resource for its dealers. Mailed on a quarterly basis, the magazine offers valuable industry information and details resources available through the Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire program.
4. Parts & Oil Programs
Miller announced a new vendor partner for 2021 — Blackburn OEM Wheel Solutions.
Company spokesperson Bo Graf provided an overview of the company, how it acquires wheels through a process of working with auto dismantlers across the country, and how its vast inventory can help make K&M dealers more profitable selling OEM wheels. He also conducted a demo of the K&M/Blackburn-branded website.
5. Warranty Services
Miller reviewed two warranty options —Road Hazard Coverage and Service Warranty. The warranties feature a la carte style options.
“With the vast SKU proliferations and surprise maintenance on most makes/models of vehicles, we want your customers leaving your independent shop knowing that they have a friend in the tire business, and that means turning to a Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire location for all of their automotive tire and service needs,” noted Miller.
Momentum: p=m*v Seminar
With K&M’s trade show theme “Keep on Rollin'” in mind, Phil Avery, director of learning and development for Best-One Tire & Service, shared what came to his mind when he thought of the theme: momentum. While momentum may be the driving force of an event, he explained to the audience that it’s much more than that.
First, he broke down what creates momentum: mass x velocity. Mass means the size of the organization or operation. “Many of us are small and agile,” he said referring to an independently owned tire dealership. “For you to have momentum, you have to go faster than the rest.”
However, what you do with that momentum matters. “It’s about being intentional about what we’re doing,” he said. To provide dealers food for thought about what it means to drive momentum in their business, Avery provided an algorithm for them to follow:
- M – Mass x Velocity. While independently owned dealerships may be smaller operations, K&M Tire dealers can take advantage of the larger K&M family to increase their mass, he said. “You have resident experts who aren’t on your payroll,” Avery said. “The velocity is up to you. You set the pace. The question is, what do you want it to be?”
- O – Open to change. Avery urged dealers to be adaptable and go in the direction of change. Especially with 60% of their business starting online, Avery urged dealers to stay relevant and where their customers are.
- M – Motivation. Motivation starts with an “outside force,” or the business owner and the relationship that he or she has with their employees. “If you are in business of creating raving fans who are customers, you first have to start with your employees. The customer experience will never exceed the experience of your team players,” Avery said. He encouraged dealers to ask their employees about how they feel about their business and their trust in it by using a seven-ring assessment.
- E – Even if….Even if you’re on the right track, what can you do better? Avery emphasized that shops who do the same thing “because that’s the way they’ve done it” for years are at risk of losing momentum because they’re not trying to get better each day.
- N– Need to play dominos. Avery said the key to gaining momentum is starting small and growing. He said one domino, which is usually 2 in. tall, can topple a domino 50% larger than itself. Over time, the domino gains momentum by knocking down larger objects, which shows it has gained momentum. “Think about the little item you’re going to adjust and change,” he said.
- T – Tagore. This refers to the poet Rabindranath Tagore who famously wrote, “Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.” Avery encouraged shop owners to persevere and be persistent when implementing change, despite any challenges.
- U – Ugly. Continuous Improvement. Avery said the word “ugly” is like a SWOT analysis. It stands for: What are we underestimating?; What’s gotta go?; Where are we losing?; and where are we missing the yes? “Take time out of your business to answer these questions. Look strategically at your business and you will find opportunities for growth,” he said.
- M – Me. Avery said that in the end, creating momentum or change in your business starts with you as the leader of the organization. He encouraged dealers to employ one or more of the strategies learned at the conference to propel their business forward and build momentum, since change starts with them.