Some of the top tire dealers in North America spoke about their operations and strategy at the annual “[email protected]” event at the 2018 SEMA Show.
Craig Tate of Tire Review’s 2018 Top Shop Tate Boys Tire & Service joined Modern Tire Dealer’s Tire Dealer of the Year John Quirk of VIP Tires & Service and Tire Business 2018 Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award Winner Mark Smith of Midas of Richmond to discuss what makes their businesses run at such a high level. They were joined by TIA senior vice president of training Kevin Rohlwing, who served as MC for the event.
A common theme in the discussion was the importance of people in the business.
For Tate, that means creating an organization that is built around core values and making it a key part of everything the business does.
“The key for us is our team. Our team and our people… it’s our lifeblood,” Tate said. “Our core values are what guides us. Every decision we make, we go back to those core values… and when we hire people, we ask the questions to understand their core values are.”
Smith pointed to the value of working both in the shop and in the community to develop a passion for doing things the right way. He likened his charity work to the way he approaches the business.
“It’s the power of possible. Look around your area, look around your neighborhood, and you look at what’s working, what isn’t working,” Smith said. “If you multiply the six inches between your ears by the 18 inches from your heart to your head, you find the intersection of what you care about, and what’s possible.”
Quirk highlighted the importance of hiring, developing and retaining employees that are both technically competent, but also have the kind of personality that looks to take care of customers.
“Our fundamental responsibility is to build a relationship with the customer, Quirk said. “I say often to our folks, we’re not really in the tire business, we’re not even the service business, we’re in the relationship business. And if we make that our number one mantra, if we make that the foundation of our culture, VIP is going to win. And that’s what we strive to do in our organization.”