October '17

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OCTOBER 2017 THE SHOP 75 but you can also ask questions to find out what else the customer may need. You may even offer some installation tips. If phone calls from perspective customers are handled properly, they will bring in business. Build a rapport and the customer will come back to you. Getting to know what your customers are driving is a great way to build that rapport. Knowing what they are buying for their vehicles gives you that ATOS opportunity to sell options, add-ons and companion items. Remember, it is not price alone, but good customer service that boosts sales. Service businesses can use the same ATOS strategy. When a cus- tomer comes in for a repair or replacement, you may find some- thing else that needs to be fixed. It may be a minor replacement like, "I see your windshield wipers are worn. Would you like me to replace them?" While this may not be a big sale, it is a confidence-builder. The customer feels you are looking out for them. But caution must be exercised, as some repair shops have been known to find things that do not need to be fixed and coerce unsus- pecting vehicle owners into expensive repair bills by pressuring them. A few bad apples have tainted the auto repair industry. The best policy is to point out the faulty part or service problem objectively, explain what can occur, then give those customers some options, from a temporary fix now, to a complete replacement either now or down the road. During the course of the repairs is where ATOS comes in. MAKE A PLAN So, whether you run an automotive parts store or a service business, applying an At Time Of Sale concept can work for you. Selling and/or installing additional items will increase profits and expand your customer base. Start by laying out a game plan. Talk to your employees to get a handle on what customers are interested in. Check sources for new parts to offer, like new product releases and ads in magazines like THE SHOP. Outline a few typical product and/or service ATOS enhancement potentials. They can be as simple as asking a customer buying a hitch ball if they need a lock or some tie-downs. Review your sales strategy with employees, and make adjustments as you discover what works. Selling aftermarket upgrades provides the opportunity to offer options and add-ons. Each shop is different and has varying capabilities, so custom- design an ATOS program that's right for you. TOM SMISEK is a Certified Advertising Marketing Con- sultant based out of Orange County California. Over the past five decades Tom has designed and implemented advertising and sales promotion campaigns for automo- tive aftermarketers including: PROTHANE , Currie Enter- prises, K&N, Dick Cepek, Bel-Ray, Bassani Mfg., Classic Industries, Original Parts Group and Unocal Racing Gasoline. Tom Smisek offers a unique combination of award winning creative talent, PR and marketing expertise. For more information: Keep an eye out for legitimate op- portunities to point out potential repair needs for your customers. If it's low- pressure, they will appreci- ate the added attention and likely turn to you again down the road.

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