Top Dealer Gripes and Tips from KnowledgeFest

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KnowledgeFest Young Guns

After attending over a half dozen seminars at KnowledgeFest last month we noticed some common dealer gripes and popular tips for retailers that you might find helpful.

Among the gripes from dealers to their suppliers:

Put all your dealers on your web site in the “Store Locator” section, not just the larger dealers who hit a certain sales quota.

Improve product quality control and notify retailers when there is a problem.  Don’t pretend nothing is wrong when you are getting unusually high returns on a product.

Online discounting:–Dealers understand that suppliers need to sell to retailers beyond specialists to make money.  The problem is the actual discounting.  If Amazon sold at a fair price, dealers wouldn’t take issue, they said.

More product training!

 

KnowledgeFest Young Guns
KnowledgeFest panel offering retail tips. Left to Right:  John Schwartz, Jason Krantz, Micah Williams, Derek Pace, Jon Kowentz, Chris Cook (moderator)

8 Tips for Retailers:

“Take down all vendor logos.  Make signs with your logo.  You are the brand you sell.”

Work with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to offer your customers a ride home when they drop off their car.  (You can sign up for a special account with discounts to give customers a better rate) —Jason Krantz, Kingpin Car & Marine Audio

If someone comes in the shop for a very minor repair (like hitting the reset button), don’t charge and ask instead that the customer go on Google [or Yelp] and give you a good review.—John Kowanetz, Handcrafted Car Audio

Get involved in the community—volunteer to speak at local high school automotive programs—“This way the kids know me.  I bring product and do a ‘good and evil.’—You can see the product online for $200 and in my store for $500.  What’s the difference?  And I explain why you can’t get 3,000 watts for $200.”–Jeff Meece, Meece Car Audio.

Get involved in other community programs.  “Everyone in your community should know your store.”—John Schwartz, Perfectionist Auto sound & Security

GO OUT TO THE PARKING LOT—[We heard this one a lot]  When a customer comes in, go out and check out his car. –Micah Williams, Sonus Car Audio

Send out thank you cards—They can be printed locally at a very low cost.   Then HAND WRITE a note and mail it.—John Schwartz, Perfectionist Car Audio

Take the time to sell every customer. Kingpin Car Audio spends on average of 45 minutes per sale for a full system.  The average ticket price at the shop is $1,743.77.

Put in more phone lines –“I put in 10 phone lines [including the install bays].  The installers are trained to answer the phone and use the scheduler [to make or change and appointment],”– John Schwartz, Perfectionist Car Audio

Source: KnowledgeFest 2012

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3 Comments

  1. “If someone comes in the shop for a very minor repair (like hitting the reset button), don’t charge and ask instead that the customer go on Google [or Yelp] and give you a good review.—John Kowanetz, Handcrafted Car Audio”

    I do this quite often…..people may say I’m crazy and sometimes don’t charge when I can, but think about it, if you went somewhere to have something fixed and the tech just smiled and said “have a nice day” instead of charging you $20 for a simple little fix that takes 5 minutes, you better believe you’re going to remember that and tell all your friends how well you were treated. That free 5 minute fix could lead to a lot more than the $20 you just made.

    I also purchased a second hand Honda Civic that I have at my shop that I use as a loaner….it’s not a great car, only cost me $1800 but it’s clean and runs well and when I tell a customer they can take my car and go and run errands while I work on their car rather than wait around the shop, they are very happy and appreciative.

  2. Most of the advice given by these fine dealers is very basic: “Treat your customers with respect, reach out to your local community and take the time to explain your services and to get to know each customer.” While not every tactic works for every dealer, these are solid bits of advice that need to be considered by anyone working in the retail side of mobile electronics.

    About the vendor gripes, let me comment on the dealer locator statement where a vendor will only list “larger dealers that hit a certain sales quota.” My company lists over 600 authorized dealers who support our brand, many of which are single or dual location stores that are not “large” by any measure. These dealers merchandise a comprehensive assortment of our models including CD, multimedia, navigation, amplifiers and speakers. In exchange for this multi-category support, we list them on our website and we direct as much business to them as we can. It’s a real partnership where we support each other.

    There are some outstanding dealers out there that have a selected way of merchandising which does not give some vendors the kind of support that qualifies the dealer for “direct” status and thus they are not listed on the vendor’s dealer locator. That is a choice made by the dealer, not the vendor.

    I don’t know exactly how much value most dealers place in being listed on their vendors’ online dealer locators, but I’m sure most would like to have all bases covered when consumers are searching for a local dealer to help them make purchase decisions. If dealers support a vendor’s category requirements, they should expect support from that vendor which can result in more business being driven to that dealer.

  3. “If someone comes in the shop for a very minor repair (like hitting the reset button), don’t charge and ask instead that the customer go on Google [or Yelp] and give you a good review.—John Kowanetz, Handcrafted Car Audio”

    This is a great idea, but a word of caution: Google has a habit of losing reviews and changing policies 180 degrees at the drop of a hat. If you are relying on Google to compile your reviews, you are playing a risky game. There has been an ongoing issue of lost reviews since the switch to Google+ Local and there has just been a policy change to not allow “review stations” any more.

    Here are a couple articles to check out on these topics:

    http://goo.gl/qxqds

    http://goo.gl/vagwp

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