Retail

Building Trust Through Engagement Skills

Wayne Williams
Posted on December 16, 2016

You can buy advertising, but you can’t buy trust. I’m an outgoing person. I like to engage people in a wide variety of ways, mostly individually or in smaller groups because I like understanding what people are really saying. I take responsibility seriously. I often feel the weight and responsibility that is inherent in certain situations.

As independent tire dealers, as business owners, you carry considerable responsibility to your businesses, your families, your employees, your community and beyond. You are responsible to a set of values and a code of ethics, not to mention state and federal laws that cannot be ignored.

I remember being in junior high school where I was first assigned responsibility for audio/visual equipment. Back in the day, that meant an old projector on a roll-around cart that was “temperamental” on its best days. After carefully threading a film through all the particulars, there was still a good chance the movie would not play properly or the film would feed incorrectly, which was followed by the all-too familiar sound of film flapping spastically. Immediately your classmates would all laugh, and the pressure was on to re-thread the film.

To this day when I’m speaking or doing a presentation, I always leave the audio/visual equipment in the capable hands of a trusted individual (which is never someone from the hotel or conference center). I don’t allow myself to be responsible for distractions that could cause a serious disruption.

I tell this simple story because among all the responsibilities weighing on an independent tire dealer, none is heavier than the responsibility of earning trust. This trust applies to both your business and personal reputations. Earning trust among the stakeholders of your business not only includes the obvious participants, employees and customers, but it extends to the community, vendors, family, and beyond.

Like my junior high school story, if trust is not properly handled, it’s like the film not properly fed into the projector. When the projector is turned on, the film will flap, flap, flap, followed by the inevitable chorus of laughter. No one wants to fail out loud.

I’ve never read an inspiring story about a person or business that cheated themselves to the top and remained there. Trust is the core element in any successful business. Trust is central to success because it’s so closely tied to the owner’s DNA.

I think a safe place to start is an honest personal assessment, followed by a plan to improve trust at all levels, all interactions and with all stakeholders. Make no mistake; dealing honestly with truth is very weighty.

It’s been my experience and observation that the improvement I’m talking about never stumbles into a retail store; it’s purposeful, planned out, and comes from the top. Cursory efforts will result in temporary improvements and are subject to failure if they are applied without vigor and consistency. I touch on this subject as we move into the New Year because I believe that unprecedented pressure awaits independent tire dealers in the near future. (More about that in future articles.)

Everything I read today says consumers want personalized service from knowledgeable sales staff. They want value, and they want to understand how that value proposition applies to them individually. As awesome as the Internet is at dispensing information, it’s deficient of the personal touch, and in many cases does not anticipate or answer the value proposition or the desire for personalized service. Trust is built on knowledge and understanding. Trust is built on product knowledge and skillful presentations.

I was in a tire store this week and heard a salesperson say to a customer, “It’s a good tire,” with no supporting information. Where’s the value? Where’s the personalization? Where’s the knowledge? The most important ingredient to building trust is you, the owner, your standard.

The weighty issue of building trust is owned by the owner. Your personal touch, the trust-touch, is mandatory. This is no small matter. How you and your team deliver this touch matters.

Last weekend I took my wife to dinner at a famous national chain restaurant. During dinner, the manager came to the table and asked if everything was OK. Before I could reply, he had turned and started to walk away. His words were appropriate, but the delivery was very corporate, cold and impersonal.

The differences between the intent and the delivery were as subtle as a sledge hammer.

Trust is built through knowledge and skillful engagement.

Building trust adds value! ■

Wayne Williams is president of ExSell Marketing Inc., a “counter intelligence” firm based in La Habra, Calif. He can be reached at exsellmkting@gmail.com.

To read more Counter Intelligence articles, see:

Selling + Serving = Retailing: Create Confidence and Build Enthusiasm to Make Sales

There Are Only Two Problems You Can Have in a Tire Store

Beware of Routing Dullness: Invest $25 and a Little Time in You and Your Career

Leading Up the Hill or Off the Cliff: Make Your Employees See the Light or Feel the Heat

Expenses Creep, and Gross Profit Leaks: Watch the 'Extras' That Affect Operating Expenses

Related Topics: Counter Intelligence, Sales training, Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams Wayne Williams
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Yokohama will meet with tire dealers across the country during the 2018 ride and drive training program.
News

Yokohama Takes Dealer Training on the Road

Yokohama Tire Corp. is once again taking its dealer training program on the road. The 2018 experiential Ride and Drive Dealer Training Program kicks off with a multi-city tour May 22 in Anaheim, Calif.

The new Monroe ads will run in a broad range of automotive service industry publications and reach thousands of additional industry professionals.
News

Tenneco Ad Campaign Touts Advantages of Monroe Products

Tenneco Inc. has launched an extensive print and digital advertising campaign called “If It Doesn’t Say Monroe” which highlights the quality, performance and value benefits of the Monroe brand of ride control products.

©gettyimages.com/chombosan
Article

Servicing the Next Generation of Cars and Customers

A couple of years ago, one of the consumer magazines compared the cars of 1991 to the cars of 2016 and listed the top 15 automotive milestones over that 25-year period. Hybrid technology, stability control and GPS satellite navigation were the top three in order and amazingly enough, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) was number nine. The list was a mix of mechanical and driver-related innovations that made cars better, safer, efficient and more convenient.

Continental has released a VDO rubber snap-in TPMS sensor for late-model Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles.
Product

New VDO TPMS Sensor Fits Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep

Continental has expanded its OE-replacement TPMS sensor program with a new VDO rubber snap-in TPMS sensor specifically designed for late model applications on Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

News

TBC Grows With NTB and Tire Kingdom Brands

Since the start of 2018 TBC Corp. has opened eight new NTB Tire and Service Centers and Tire Kingdom stores. The company plans to open another 20 locations by April 1, 2019.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!