THE SHOP

October '17

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A few years ago, I frequented a con- venience store from time to time to pick up a bottle of water or a snack. I became acquainted with the owner, who worked the counter. He knew I was in advertising, so we often chatted about marketing and sales promo- tion ideas. He surprised me one day when he said, "I increased my sales by 5 percent with two words." This really piqued my interest. "What were those two words?" I asked. He explained, as a customer was cashing out, he would ask, "cigarettes or chewing gum?" While these are actually four words, the point was well made. A simple question, prompted at the time of sale, will often garner an additional sale. His customers often replied, "Yeah, give me a pack of Marlboros," or, "I'll take a pack of gum." He chose those two items because, at that time, they were popular and easy to sell. ATOS Making a suggestion or recommendation At Time Of Sale (ATOS) can dramatically enhance your bottom line as well. It is a simple, yet effective, sales tactic. How does this work in the automotive aftermarket? Every product or service sold over the counter, or on the telephone, can be enhanced with a simple question or helpful hint. Your customer will appreciate your guidance and concern, and you will make a few additional bucks in the process. For example, say a customer is modifying his suspension system and buying high- performance shock absorbers. You suggest, "You may want to upgrade your bushings from stock rubber to urethane." Chances are the customer never thought of this, and will appreciate your suggestion. (By the way, a urethane kit can add $300 to the sale.) A customer buying motor oil will also usually need an oil filter and maybe a drip pan or funnel. If not—no harm, no foul. You are not pressuring them to buy a product they don't need. You are offering something they may want but hadn't thought of. THE RIGHT QUESTIONS Over-the-counter selling offers the oppor- tunity to have a personal interaction with each customer. Ask pertinent questions before check-out, but don't be overly aggressive. Find out if the customer has everything they need to install the product, like the right tools, special lubes or additional items that will complete the install. You will find opportunities to make suggestions that will increase sales. All too often, the sales clerk simply asks, "Is this it?" when I place items on the counter for check-out. Don't be that guy. Telephone inquiries can be handled in much the same way. If a customer calls to ask about the availability or price of an item, you'll want to respond with answers, Don't be shy about recommending additional products at check-out. ENHANCING SALES WITH ADD-ONS By Tom Smisek When you inter- act with customers face-to-face and get to know their vehicles and their plans, then you can make educated sugges- tions regarding additional parts and services they could benefit from. Ev- ery product or service sold over the counter, or on the telephone, can be enhanced with a simple question or helpful hint. Your customer will appreciate your guidance and concern, and you will make a few ad- ditional bucks in the process. 74 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2017

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