Motor oil and oil filters might be called the lifeblood of the aftermarket, because they play such a critical role in basic regular maintenance. With the variety of items available on the market today, selling in this category can be challenging. Fortunately, there are a number of keys to selling oil and filters that can help give you that slight edge over your competitors. 1. Know Your Selling Points Knowing the basics, such as the make, model, and year of the vehicle, will help to identify what type of motor oil it uses, but you should also inquire about the customer’s relationship with the vehicle. Is it a car they use as basic transportation, or a car they have dreamed about owning their entire life? The way the customer feels about their vehicle will have a big impact on the type of motor oil they choose. 2. Assess Driving Conditions In addition to that first consideration, driving style, climate, and vehicle mileage will also contribute to a recommendation. What conditions does the customer typically encounter on a day-to-day basis? For example, if the vehicle is a pick-up used for mixed commercial use, does this involve towing trailers or hauling loads? Is the vehicle used for commuting? Does this include mostly highway or stop-and-go city driving? These questions help determine if the vehicle and engine oil are subjected to any extreme conditions, and whether specific engine oils that target those conditions should be recommended. 3. Educate The Customer When a customer selects a brand-name motor oil, they are not just purchasing the oil in the bottle; they are also purchasing the engineering and testing of that motor oil that ensures it is of a high quality and will perform as advertised within the engine. Take the time to ensure your customer understands the certification approvals that are specified on the label when choosing a brand or specific type of engine oil. 4. Make Recommendations Does the customer feel that maintaining their vehicle is important, or do they see maintenance as the downside to owning a vehicle? This will also help to determine the type of oil that the customer would be most likely to purchase. Someone who is purchasing oil begrudgingly might not consider using a top-quality product. If the customer has a positive attitude towards maintenance, follow up by asking if they are doing the oil change themselves or taking it to a shop. 5. Oil Choices For Older Vehicles The best oil to recommend for older engines would be a brand name, high-mileage semi-synthetic blend or a full synthetic oil. Both semi-synthetic and fully synthetic oils offer better flow, pumping, and cranking abilities at extremely low temperatures (minus 40C) and during start-up. Point out how the superior oxidative and thermal stability of synthetic grades leaves engines virtually varnish-free and reduces sludge and deposits that could have built up in older engines. 6. The Benefits Of Extended Oil Change Intervals While the early tendency of the trade was to dismiss manufacturer-recommended oil change intervals as a recipe for engine damage, that message has little credibility in the face of automakers’ recommendations. However, with extended oil changes comes the very credible opportunity to recommend the highest quality, most durable products you can offer. This applies to both the motor oil you sell – semi-synthetic and full synthetic, for example – as well as filters that can withstand as much as five times the intervals you might have been recommending pre-extended interval trend. 7. Product Placement Is Key It’s always a good idea to make sure your displays are clean and well laid out. Make sure that your motor oil isn’t front and centre of your store, as most walk-in customers will be more than willing to search for their chosen brand of motor oil. Lead them through the store to your oil display to increase the possibly of purchasing other items. Also, be sure to place related items in close proximity to one another. 8. Ensure DIYers Have Everything Ensure that each customer is asked if they need catch basins, disposal bags, and instructions on what to do with the used oil and filter. If your local municipality has a program (most if not all do), have the details on hand for the consumer. It will help raise your environmental image and also help you guard against being accused of promoting non-environmentally friendly practices. 9. Display A Used Filter For Effect Like the lungs of a smoker, used oil filters are awful-looking. By displaying the cross-section of a used oil filter, you’ll be driving home for the consumer the importance of regular filter maintenance.