The "Tires at 2: Successful Tire Dealers Share Their Secrets" seminar at the 2017 Global Tire Expo lived up to its name on Oct. 31. Before a big crowd, the two tire dealers on stage were open about how they run their businesses.
Mark Rhodes, president of Plaza Tire Service Inc. in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Craig Wortham, general manager of Alyeska Tire in Anchorage, Alaska, were on the hot seat. The moderator was Kevin Rohlwing, senior vice president of training for the Tire Industry Association.
One of the topics of interest was the importance of collecting e-mails and phone numbers from your customers. Rhodes said his 62-store operation has close to 150,000 emails, which is a cost-effective way to keep in touch with his customers. The result? Thanks to emails and text reminders, Plaza Tire stores see each customer "at least one more time a year."
Rhodes said he also gets "massive" results from direct mail.
Wortham's eight stores have collected more than 10,000 emails with a smaller customer base, but that doesn't lessen their importance. That kind of communication, along with texting, "is the wave of the future," he said. "If you are not doing it, you are opening yourself up to your competition."
When questioned about how much price competition he can have in Alaska, Wortham said "I have to be competitive, especially against online sales."
Both independent dealerships also believe in online ratings and reviews. Rhodes said speed of service is what customers mention and rate the company on most often. "You can do something really fast and charge more for it."
The Global Tire Expo, part of the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show, will run through Friday, Nov. 3, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.