Some dealers believe a great way to get new and existing customers into a tire dealership is by advertising and offering discounts for services - and that includes brake work. However, approaches vary by dealership.
Four tire dealers and/or managers recently discussed best ways to use brake service marketing to win new customers and keep existing clients coming back.
Kilgore Tire Service is a smaller dealership with two locations in Kilgore, Texas, that relies heavily on web advertising. “We’ve started using a web host service to run ads for us through sites like Facebook,” says Darrin Mallett, the company’s co-owner.
A web host service is a secure place for businesses to store content and promote it on different online platforms. Kilgore Tire uses TCS Technologies to power its site.
“This definitely works for us and in the first month of us doing these ads, I noticed a huge difference in the amount of traffic that comes through our store.”
Facebook is a popular place for dealerships to advertise, as well.
Fort Pierce, Fla.-based St. Lucie Battery & Tire Co. has 15 locations across Florida. It mainly advertises through Facebook. Performing routine car inspections is another big way St. Lucie generates brake service tickets.
“Our service department definitely cranks out a lot of brake work,” says Jamie Deans, service and shop manager at St. Lucie’s Battery & Tire’s Fort Pierce, Fla, location. “A lot of it is found through the fact that we do tires, so we have to take the wheels off and can see (brakes), but we do get a lot of people who respond to ads, as well, so I think it’s a good mixture of both.”
Lee Lamb, store manager for Bill Duckworth Tire, which is based in Brunswick, Ga., says loyal customers bring their cars to his outlet for brake work.
“We’ve been here since 1965. We have five generations of customers that have been coming here for tires or services.” This allows Duckworth Tire to not have to “advertise like everyone else.”
Lamb says oil changes and tire rotations are common at the dealership and technicians always check the condition of customers’ brakes while performing these services.
Andrew Moser, service manager at Rice Tire’s Frederick, Md., store, benefits from the use of coupons in order to get more customers into his shop. Rice Tire sends out mail advertisements with coupons in them - usually to existing customers - to get them to come to the dealership for their brake repair needs, instead of going to another automotive repair facility, says Moser.
“It’s pretty effective because we will get people that call in to schedule an appointment and they say they called us because they saw or have a coupon of ours.”
The height of brake service
All four agreed that the ‘holidays” are the busiest times for brake service repairs.
Moser says customers have more downtime to get their vehicles worked on.
Lamb says spring and summer are Bill Duckworth Tire’s busiest seasons because “everyone is getting ready to travel for summer break or spring break.”
St. Lucie Battery & Tire sees a lot of tourist traffic and notices a spike in its brake work revenue in March and April due to people who have traveled to Florida for their spring breaks or have wintered in the state.
“All the northerners and snowbirds are trying to get their maintenance work done so their vehicle is reliable to get back home,” says Deans.
Mallet says springtime is the busiest season for Kilgore Tire’s brake services, but for a different reason.
“People are usually waiting to get that income tax check and we’ve found people usually hold off on getting their brakes fixed until they have the money,” he says.
The consensus from dealers interviewed by MTD is that ads and promotions are effective in getting customers into their stores and those customers’ cars into service bays.
“A lot of those promotions bring on new relationships that we definitely nurture into long-term relationships,” says Deans.