The late Wayne Williams was passionate about sharing his industry knowledge and selling skills with independent tire dealers to help them attain success. In his final Counter Intelligence column, he stepped Modern Tire Dealer readers through the GPS method of selling to today’s tire buyer.
Customers are pretty smart; actually, they always have been. I’m picking up lately on an idea that’s floating around: Running a business was easier in the good old days, and advertising, in particular, is harder now (which it is) than it used to be.
The competition is predictable. The needs of customers is understandable and predictable. But Wayne Williams says how your store or stores operate can't be predictable. That predictability must be re-strategized.
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.
It’s amazing what you can forget. I wouldn’t consider myself a big reader, but I do read a lot. In remodeling my work/writing studio earlier this year, I rearranged all my books, hardbacks and paperbacks, hundreds of them. Putting my hands on every book I’ve read in the last 20-plus years, I couldn’t help but sit and glance through a few. It’s amazing what you can forget and how fast you can remember.
As long as I can remember, I have been drawn to people who demonstrate strong leadership skills. My dad was a leader; with an active and creative mind, he inspired those around him. My dad demonstrated the ability to get things done and to lead others to do the same. Somehow my dad, Harvey Williams, learned to lead.
I worked side-by-side with a great retail district manager when I was younger. His name was Fred, and he used to say, “Anybody can put numbers on an operating statement; it’s where ya put ’em that matters.” Fred had a lot of one-liners. He was an interesting guy, to say the least, but most of his sayings and one-liners held a lot of truth.
Retailing is a complex endeavor. I recall my first day working at a retail sales counter in a high-volume location. Customers came streaming through the doors in the morning, the phone never stopped ringing, and it seemed chaotic.
Every tire dealer in America competes against strong, established, online tire providers. Most independent tire dealers also compete with the largest independent “tires only” retailer in the country, and many compete directly with Sam’s, Costco and other membership warehouse clubs.
Over the last few years, I’ve subscribed to a variety of blogs and company emails that provide a lot of marketing research on a weekly basis. The hot topic these days is the millennial generation. It’s interesting that much of the current research indicates that the millennial’s buying habits and preferences are migrating to mirror that of the Baby Boomers.