How many times has your customer called and said, “I need tires on my loader or ADT What do you have and how much?”
Yes, this is an all too common phrase that each of us responds to differently. But, your response is critical to the success or failure of the sale. This is why we are in sales and it’s where the fun begins – now is the time to find the correct product for your customer.
First, what type of buyer is your customer? Is the customer focused on the true cost per hour and values tire records? Or is the customer a price shopper with no real interest in brand just as long as the tire holds air? You as a salesperson have to ask the right questions to determine what is the best offering in order to make the sale and keep your customer satisfied.
There are many choices to present to your customer today in regard to OTR tires and, depending on the application, many of the offerings will perform extremely well. So how do you know what is right for your customer?
Start by asking your customer important questions regarding the everyday use of the equipment. Find out if the machine will remain in the same type of service or will it be used in many different locations within the operation. Ask how often the load and carry distance changes. Find out the average cycle time for the machine. Discuss if it continually hauls material or if there is a lot of downtime during the normal working shift. Even find out about the soil conditions and weather the equipment faces.
Once you have determined the application and the way in which the equipment is used, you now need to select the tire(s) that will be, in your mind, the best option for the customer.
How do you make your decision as to what brand OTR tire will be quoted to your customer? In talking to many salespeople over the years, the answer varies depending on the type of service expectations the customer expects – from you and the tires.
Many say that working with a tire company that engineers, manufactures, distributes and supports its tires with knowledgeable sales and technical people is the ideal company from which to purchase tires. If it was only about the price, then why keep records or do surveys since value would only be determined by the price paid for the tire?
At the end of the day, you want to have a knowledgeable manufacturer sales rep that you can rely on to help support your customer and his or her tire after the sale.
This representative can also train you and your other sales people, make calls with your team, conduct site inspections and pitch in on other opportunities when and if they surface. Support and service before and after the sale is what your customers expect from you and what you should expect from your supplier.
Next is your sales approach. All too often, I hear sales people say, “I have two products: Brand A at this price or Brand B at this price.” Options are great, but if you’re like me, I still like to be sold on what I am looking to buy.
Many times I have walked out of a place even though the pricing was good. Why? Because a sales person at another store was more knowledgeable about the product. That person took the time to understand what I wanted and sold me on the features and benefits that fit my needs and expectations. They took the time to explain the different features of the product, made sure I fully understood all my options and then asked for the sale.
Early in many of our sales careers, especially if you attended a Goodyear or Firestone training session, you were taught the “5 Steps to a Tire Sale” (see sidebar).
The same five steps apply to selling OTR tires, as well. In fact, when explaining the features and benefits of the tire, you are highlighting why the tire(s) you selected would work best for the customer. For example, if the tires are going on a load-out loader, explain that the selected tire’s tread design and footprint is such that the net-to-gross tread design will provide good wear, excellent traction and superior stability.
Remember your customer can buy from anyone, which is why you cannot be complacent even when you have been selling to a particular customer for a long time. You need to approach each sale as if it was the first.
The customer likes to know that you have taken the time to research and understand their requirements and found a couple of options that will work for them.
The last part of the “5 Steps to a Tire Sale” is one that many people forget or makes them uncomfortable – asking for the order. Yes, this sounds so easy but it is amazing how many people don’t close a sale because they don’t ask for the order.
When you ask for the order, be sure not to leave it as a “yes or no” question. You might say, “I have the tires in stock and can schedule our techs to mount the tires for Thursday. When would be a good time to set up the call? And, do you want your take-off casings retreaded in the similar design?”
If the customer comes back with some hesitation, be sure to try to address their concern and then ask if there were any other questions. If they are satisfied, then ask again for the order.
OTR tire customers are no different than any other tire customers. In fact, many of the OTR customers you sell to are very knowledgeable about their business, equipment usage and their expectations. Cost-per-hour or cost-per-ton is always on their mind no matter what size of business they operate.
Moving the customer from “what is my price?” to purchasing the correct tire for the application can take time. But once you have sold them on the true value of the tire and service and not just the price, you’ll truly gain a long-term customer.
Next time you talk with your customer and offer a quote on tires for a specific machine, what are you going to do? Will you take time to determine a customer’s real needs, explain why you are selecting a particular tire and ask for the order?
Or just quote the price and hope for the best?
As I have stated many times in previous articles, don’t just be another salesperson. Take your knowledge and skills to another level by being a tire consultant. Differentiate yourself and have fun selling the values of the OTR tire you are recommending and the support service you and your company offer.
Customers that see you as a true value to their business will be with you for many years.