If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time in the automotive industry, it’s this: forming relationships is key to success. Now, that might sound like canned advice, but it’s easier said than done. Relationships take time, they take effort, but investing in them is one of the smartest business plays you can make.
You don’t have to take my word for it.
In 2017, 73% of tire dealers saw growth in their service sales volume, a Babcox Media survey found. That same year, tire dealers surveyed reported that 53.6% of their revenue came from service. As technology such as telematics, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and more mechatronics comes into your bay, your parts suppliers will be your link to the training and continuing education you and your technicians need to service issues that arise with these technologies. The changing automotive landscape was evident in our trip to The Hybrid Shop grand opening. The team there is looking to build relationships with independent tire dealers and auto centers so that they have an opportunity to service hybrid vehicles, especially in battery maintenance.
Let’s take it another step. In our cover story, you’ll see how tire dealers are navigating that relationship to improve their businesses. These guys aren’t just letting their parts suppliers’ sales rep into their shop to take stock of their inventory each week. They’re actively involved in the parts programs their shops use, leveraging the data, rewards, marketing programs, insurance and other perks available through partners.
As the industry evolves, you have the opportunity to define how you can best serve your customers’ needs. Some of those ways can include partnering with parts suppliers, tire manufacturers, distributors, software companies and others to be sure you have what you need to gain a competitive edge.
Speaking of tire manufacturers and dealers, it’s becoming ever more important to form relationships with other independent tire dealers in your area to share best practices and capitalize on training opportunities and continuing education. Building a strong relationship with your state associations is another step to boost your success. And don’t discount association relationships. As you’ll see in this issue, the North Carolina Tire Dealers Association’s 2019 Expo and Trade Show provided its members with helpful sessions to boost their business’ growth. They’re also helping tire dealers down the line by piloting a program with the Tire Industry Association (TIA) to provide TIA training to vocational schools and community colleges — places to source future technicians.
And while you’re building and growing relationships out in the industry, don’t forget about the relationships that are closer to home — the ones you have with your staff. Providing them with more resources shows that you care about their success. Sure, training takes time and some money — and many shop owners and managers see both as scarce commodities — but making a commitment to continually develop your employees gives you another competitive advantage over your competition. Investing in your people — building a relationship with them so that they know you want them to be the best they can be — builds loyalty and gives your employees a sense of purpose that they’re building their careers with the resources you provide, instead of coming to work day in and day out and simply doing what they have to do. If those aren’t enough reasons for you, you’ll also likely see a direct decrease in turnover.
The ability to adapt to change and leverage your relationships accordingly is essential to continue to attract new customers and grow your business. Here at Tire Review, we too have to adapt and foster our relationships. We’re constantly tweaking our content to better serve you — independent tire dealers who are working day in and day out to serve your communities. That’s why in this issue and others this year, you’ll see a stronger focus on service, in addition to up-to-date coverage on tire segments, news and trends. We’ve also hired a new editor to help with this transition.
Heading up Tire Review’s new focus on the independent tire dealer is Mary DellaValle. Mary was most recently the former editor of ImportCar magazine, where she spent the majority of her 31-year career here at Babcox Media. She is also the former editor of Shop Owner magazine, which focuses on business management issues for independent repair facilities. Mary has also worked on several custom publishing pieces for some of the major import OEMs and brings with her an in-depth knowledge of the automotive aftermarket service sector. Mary has been a member of the Import Vehicle Community (IVC) segment of the Auto Care Association since 2002, and was the recipient of the IVC “Person of the Year” award in 2009. She is truly an asset to our team, and we encourage you to reach out to her and welcome her to the tire industry. Mary can be reached at [email protected] or 330-670-1234 ext. 221.
As we transition in leadership, we look forward to continuing our relationship with you, and we hope you use us as another resource for your success.
Check out the rest of the April digital edition of Tire Review here.