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Tire Pros adds regional think tank sessions

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Tire Pros has added to its lineup of dealer training programs with regional roundtable discussions that focus on problems dealers often face. More than 275 Tire Pros franchise owners participated in the first 48 "Think Tank Discussions" held around the country.

Tire Pros is a subsidiary of American Tire Distributors Inc., and the idea for the discussions came from Wes Stephenson, vice president of operations, and his talks with regional and national dealer councils.

“These Think Tanks represent an extension of our training commitment to our Tire Pros dealers," says Dan Brown, president of Tire Pros, "and are a nice complement to Tire Pros University (TPU) sessions that we have traditionally held. The Think Tanks are designed for owners and other key management personnel while the TPUs involve more high-level content and business education intended for owner principals."

Think Tank Discussions are small, localized dealer-led meetings centered on operational topics and common challenges faced by franchisees on a daily basis. The focus is on sharing ideas and best practices, and how to learn and apply proven techniques and practical solutions. The first round of Think Tank Discussions focused on acquisition and retention of quality employees, and dealers shared recruiting and hiring practices, interviewing techniques and talent development.

“The intimacy of a smaller group truly promotes greater participation and genuine conversation,” says Stephenson. “As we are growing up, we are told not to cheat off our neighbor’s paper but, later in life, some of our greatest successes come from copying the right answer from our neighbor.

“During my years as a franchisee, I always valued the input from other dealers more than what I learned from the franchise system. I believe there is a tendency to be more attentive to what our peers are doing and to what they have to say,” says Stephenson.  

“Whether you’re a tire dealer or a deli shop owner, there are common challenges at all levels of management, so it’s easy to find a topic applicable to everyone,” says Bob Bittner, director of store operations for Tire Pros. “The meetings produced a wide variety of interactive discussions, practical ideas and an extensive sharing of best practices and success stories that will be used to develop additional recruiting and retention strategies for Tire Pros dealers.

“The sharing of best practices is a big advantage for the industry’s larger multi-store chains who can identify best practices that are in place at their different stores and implement them across the entire chain. Single-store dealers, or those with a small number, are often out there on their own and don’t have the same opportunity. These Thank Tanks allow individual Tire Pros dealers the opportunity to learn from the best processes, procedures and practices in place among the 660-plus Tire Pros stores.” 

Terry John owner of Mid-Atlantic Tire Pros in Easton, Md. says, “What’s really beneficial about these Think Tank Discussions is hearing other dealers’ perspectives. You have rural dealers and urban dealers, new dealers and veteran dealers, and everyone brings something unique to the conversation.”

Steven Moss, owner of Wilson Tire Pros in Elon, N.C., says the session was helpful. “I took more away from the six hour Think Tank Discussion I attended than some two-day seminars I have attended in the past.”

Moss is a Tire Pros Regional and National Dealer Council representative who helped facilitate the Think Tank Discussion held in Raleigh, N.C.

The Think Tank Discussions also were a good tool to show prospective dealers the Tire Pros system. Two Raleigh-based dealers signed up to join the franchise after attending a Think Tank session.

Tire Pros says it has planned another round of 48 Think Tank Discussions for the fall.

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