While Tire Review’s 2021 Top Shop winner Burt Brothers Tire & Service and Midas of Cocoa’s Ron Katz, winner of the Tire Business Humanitarian of the Year Award, may approach their businesses differently in some cases, both define the main key to success as giving back to the community. During the “Tires at 2: Successful Tire Dealers Share Their Secrets” education session on Tuesday at the 2021 SEMA Show/Global Tire Expo, owners of both businesses shared how they’re doing good in their communities and in the industry.
Cousins Jake and Cory Burt, who co-own Burt Brothers with Jake’s brothers Jason and Jeremy and Cory’s brother Brandon, has 16 locations throughout the greater Salt Lake City, Utah, area, and give back by focusing on local teachers. The shop’s efforts go hand-in-hand with Burt Brothers’ slogan of “doing it better,” Cory said.
For the last 10 years, Burt Brothers has worked with a panel of local judges to choose a teacher in the area who “does it better.” That teacher is then given a two-year lease on a new vehicle that’s paid for by Burt Brothers and serviced by them for the duration of the lease. At the end of the lease, the teacher has the option to buy out the lease, Cory said.
Katz shared some of the good things he’s done for his community in South Florida, which include a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for those who wanted to be vaccinated and a fundraiser to help a customer with cancer pay off debt.
“I believe in karma,” he said. “If you do the right thing, the right thing comes back to you.”
The “right thing” is coming back to Katz in the form of customers. Because he’s formed a strong partnership with the local community, the local media has taken notice and cover different things going on at the shop every three months or so, Katz said. Katz owns three Midas shops in the South Florida area.
“Everybody knows Midas, but now they’re starting to know Ron Katz,” he added.
At the end of the session, tire dealers answered questions from various audience members. Read through the Q&A below for more on what makes Katz and the Burt Brothers partners successful.
Q: What’s the first thing you would teach a new salesperson to say when they answer the phone?
Katz: “I always teach my people to smile on the phone. It’s very important that what the person hears on the other end is [a happy tone].”
Cory Burt: “We obviously teach our people to answer the phone in a certain way. ‘Thank you for calling Burt Brothers in X location, this is Cory, how may I help you?’ And then people just kind of throw up on you. It is what it is … they try to give you everything under the sun that they’ve come in for, but the thing that we teach our people to say to whoever is calling is, ‘Yes, I can definitely help you with that.’ We always want to go positive. Even if we don’t do it … We don’t do body work, and some people will call and ask [if we do body work], sure, I can definitely help you with that and then we can refer then to whoever it is.”
Q: How do you compete with big box shops like Walmart, Costco, etc?
Jake Burt: “We just do better service. We get down and dirty if we need to get down and dirty to do a deal, but once we go over our Burt Bundle with all the services we do that’s included with a tire purchase – free rotation, rebalances, repairs, brake checks, realignments – it’s just something the big-box stores don’t do.”
Q: How are you responding to supply shortages?
Cory Burt: “That’s been a major concern, I think it will continue to be, but we’ve found with all the really good partners that we do have, fortunately, we haven’t put all our eggs in one basket. As far as tires and supplies go, we have a number of partners we can deal with there. But I guess the good thing is everybody is dealing with it in every form of everything.
Katz: Midas is owned by TBC Corporation, which benefits from a tire distribution joint venture, called NTW, formed by TBC’s parent company, Sumitomo Corp. and Michelin in 2018. “o we get our tires directly from there,” Katz aid. “And right now, the shortage has not really hit us as bad because they have warehouses, and they are stocked with a lot of tires.”