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How To Sell Tires: 4 Ways To WIN The Tire Game

It’s tire season. It’s time to get in the game. I know a lot of dealerships that just see tires as a pain in the a**. Sure, they’re heavy and hard to carry, but you should definitely want to know how to sell tires. 

Why you need to know how to sell tires

They are key to staying in the green throughout the winter season. Did you know that around 17,000 new-car dealerships in our country are still losing around 90% of tire sales each year? This market in selling tires, by the way, accounted for around $26 billion in sales in 2020. We’re losing all of this profit, simply because we don’t know how to sell tires.

Plus, knowing how to sell tires is definitely a tool to keep your customers coming back to your service department to get this maintenance job done. Selling tires or simply having them available for customers is essential to customer loyalty and retention at your dealership. 

But how? 

You don’t want your customers going elsewhere for tires. If a car pulls into your drive for maintenance, you want to make sure they come back to you when they buy their next car. Our business model is shifting towards a focus on customer loyalty and retention for that consistent income. And getting in the game for tire season by learning how to sell tires is a perfect opportunity to facilitate that interpersonal relationship with the customer.


4 Game Plans To WIN The Tire Game!

So, before I show you how to sell tires, take a moment to reflect. If you’re an advisor, the question I’d ask myself is, what is keeping me from being really good at tires? Think about it. Think about where your perception is with tires, where your dealership’s perception is with tires, and whether you even have them in stock. Because these are all important aspects to ensuring your head is actually in the game for when you’re considering the various game plans on how to win this tire season.

Tire Game Plan 1: Adjust your perception. 

As an industry, we need to recognize that our perception is off with selling tires. Internally, we perceive that tires at the dealership are more expensive. For a long while, dealerships were not really into the tire game. So the prices they offered that I’ve seen were terrible. These places definitely have no idea how to sell tires.

But before I even get into pricing, I would contend that there’s a lot of dealerships that aren’t in the entire game at all. I know this because of the dealers and groups I’ve talked to in the past. And this happens to me all the time. 

For example, somebody opened a shop. There was an extension or a satellite and it wasn’t making money. It was losing money and they didn’t have any traffic. They didn’t have any idea on how to make money. So they asked me for advice on how to make money or drive traffic there. And we’re all sitting around a table at one of their other places somewhere in the Midwest. So I came up with the idea of selling tires to them. And the head of the group, the Vice President, goes BAM on the desk and shouts “WE DO NOT SELL TIRES!” Then I was like, “So you’ll think about it?” 

What I’m saying here is, a lot of times, we’re not in the tire game. Because we don’t even have the right perception of what the game is. We don’t know what the game is, we think the game is something else. But it’s actually a little simpler than what we perceive. But to get in the game, you got to see the game. 

How to see the game.

Wear the right outfit, have the right mindset, show up, and more. These are rudimentary behaviors to get into the game. And a lot of times, considering how to sell tires is an afterthought, in the sense that we perceive the customers go elsewhere for tires because they’re cheaper someplace else. And I mean, just think about that for a second and what that says about you as a person in this industry. A customer would go somewhere else to save $20. 

Time is the one thing that customers can’t get back. They can’t get time back, but they’ll drive somewhere else and waste more of the one thing they can’t get back just to save $20? That reasoning just doesn’t make sense. If you’re losing customers over price, usually it’s because of your perception. It’s not the price, because most of the time when you shop, the prices are very comparable. So the perception is that we lose the customers because of price. But the truth is, we lose the customers because you’re not in the game. And you’re not playing to win. You’re indifferent to it.

And you can make a really strong case, if the car is already at your shop, the price really doesn’t matter. Like, you got it. You have to captivate your audience. 


Tire Game Plan 2: Maintaining sufficient inventory.

The next strategy for knowing how to sell tires goes into the inventory. You’re not in the tire game, because you don’t have the inventory. If you were in the game, you’d have the inventory. And if you had the inventory, it should definitely be a focus. 

If you want to know what it’s like and what the overall feeling towards tires is from a dealership, then go to your Parts Manager. Walk into the Parts Manager’s office, sit down, slide him a cup of coffee, and say, “What do you think about tires?” Just watch their face for a second. Because you can tell the reaction won’t be pleasant. 

Also to all Parts Managers, please do not run an inventory stocking level of any tire that has an odd number in it. Don’t just have three tires. It’s like having one rotor. 

So get inventory. You got to figure out a place. I get it that tires are big and cumbersome and a pain in the butt to move and everything, but not having the tires means you’re not in the game. And that’s a terrible idea.

Tire Game Plan 3: Hiring the techs to work on tires.

The next thing focuses on the labor for working on the tires. Knowing how to sell tires won’t do you any good if you don’t have the labor for it. You have to also know who exactly is going to work on them. And it’s probably going to be the Technicians.

Sometimes, perception becomes reality. So sometimes we perceive certain things as reality. And whether this stigma is perception or reality, it’s a problem that we believe technicians don’t want to do tires. 

Sometimes it’s best to use some of the A techs like they’re really good B techs. It’s not the best use overall though, like they don’t need to be doing tires, because we can get somebody else to do it. Tire alignment techs, well, we got to have it available. So, the tire and alignment person or tech would never let a tire install go without an alignment. 

Tire Game Plan 4: Presenting options of tires.

Honda has historically shown how to sell tires and has done a good job at this last game plan especially. This ties back to the Parts Manager maintaining inventory, but most of the time we only have one option. We don’t have a good, better, and best. A lot of times, customers will pick the middle option, no matter what. And we perceive that we’re losing customers over price. But that’s because we’re giving them one option to choose from. But it pays off to have options of those tires that sound like those tracks on a tank.

So you can have the cheap tires and then have the really expensive tires. And then the middle one is where most customers will land. But the choice in the options makes the customer perceive that the prices are lower, because there is a lower price to compare it to.

Having the good, better, and best, and having options kind of takes price off the table in a few ways. And the main one is that the customer gets to choose their own adventure. They get to write their own story. It’s less about price at that point because it’s like, “Do you want the race car ones? Do you want the middle one? Or do you want the ones that you don’t want?”  


Quick Recap…

Let’s get in the game of selling tires. Let’s recap really quick the game plans and strategies for you to win. First, perception. Number two is having the inventory. Number three is having the techs to do it. And that could mean maybe not making any techs do it. Or having the right mix, like maybe assign the quick lube techs to do it. And last is having good, better, and best options for the customers. These are all great ideas and a path for you to have the best tire season, and the best winter ever. 

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