Basic Tools Still Matter in the Modern Retail World

Joy Kopcha
Posted on February 12, 2020

Sometimes, it’s the simplest tools that make the biggest difference in a tire dealer’s business. Take for instance, voicemail.

Five years ago I was talking to a tire dealer about his social media efforts — he was ahead of the game on this front compared to plenty of other dealers. The longer we talked, the more our conversation wandered all over the place, and eventually he mentioned that he had just recently upgraded his tire store’s telephone service to include voicemail.

I won’t mention the tire dealer by name here, but I was really surprised that this progressive dealer, who was moments ago talking to me about social media marketing, Google Ad words, online tire pricing and booking service appointments online, had only recently discovered voicemail as a business tool.

Truth is, he just hadn’t thought about it.

A friend told him he thought the 50-plus-year-old tire store should get an answering machine. So he did. And it didn’t take long for it to pay off.

“It’s amazing how many calls we missed. We have three lines coming into the building. Yesterday somebody called while all the lines were busy.”

That customer left a message and later came in and spent $600.

I imagine there have been plenty more profit-making messages left on the store’s voicemail in the last five years.

I won’t claim that I remember every conversation I’ve had with a tire dealer from the last five years, but for some reason this one has stuck with me. This tire dealer, with a single store in a city of less than 30,000 people, figured his customers knew when his store was open and when it was closed. And, if they called after hours and didn’t reach someone, they’d call again in the morning. As I recall, he hadn’t ever thought about the customers who might call when all the other phone lines are busy.

I don’t need to tell you that competition is fierce, or that you, the independent tire dealer, still control the vast majority of retail tire sales in the U.S. (63% of sales, to be exact). But that’s all the more reason you don’t want to leave low-hanging fruit for someone else to grab.

So this week, take a walk through your store to look for what you might be missing.  I’m not talking about the big things, like the heavy duty tire changer or other piece of shop equipment you’ve been contemplating.

Better yet, ask a friend who’s not familiar with the ins and outs of your business to walk into your store and take a look around for you. What do they see? What do they smell? What do they hear? (This would be a great exercise for you to do with one of your friends from the local chamber of commerce who works in an entirely different field.) They just might offer a suggestion that’s hiding in plain sight.

I’d love to hear what you find. Drop your comment below, or send me an email.

Related Topics: Joy Riding, retail

Joy Kopcha Senior Editor & Digital Projects Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Fountain Tire was well-represented during the OTR Tire Conference. From left to right: Nelson Tonn, vice president of sales and mine service; Ben Miller, director of mining operations; Darren Chalifoux, director of OTR safety and equipment; Fountain Tire CEO Brent Hesje; and Gary Foley, director of store OTR operations, in front of a Stellar Industries service truck.

Notes from the 65th TIA OTR Tire Conference

The 65th edition of the Tire Industry Association Off-the-Road Tire Conference is in the books. Here are some notes from the three-day event, which attracted attendees from all over the globe.

The Cooper Work Series All-Steel Drive (ASD) tire is an open shoulder steel-belted drive tire.

Cooper to Unveil 2 New Truck Tires at TMC Show

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has expanded its Work Series line of tires with the introduction of two new tires in 19.5-inch sizes (225/70R and 245/70R) for Class 4 through Class 6 trucks and vans.


Bridgestone's Sales Fall 3% in 2019

Net sales for Bridgestone Corp. in fiscal 2019 were 3,525.6 billion yen, down 3% versus the previous year. Operating profit was 326 billion yen, a decrease of 19% compared to 2018.

The new Conti HSR+ is also available with a matching retread, the ContiTread HSR 16/32-inch all-position retread.

Continental Is Showcasing Latest Regional Drive Tires at TMC

The newest 19.5-inch tires for Class 4 trucks are among the products Continental is highlighting at the TMC Annual 2020 scheduled for Feb. 25-27 in Atlanta, Ga. the American Trucking Association’s 2020 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition.


Goodyear Recalls 3,721 Fortera HL Tires

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is recalling certain Fortera HL all-season light truck tires, size P255/65R18. The potential number of units affected is 3,721.

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!

We respect your data and privacy.
By clicking the submit button below, you are agreeing with Bobit Business Media’s Privacy Policy and this outlined level of consent.