Auto Service World
Feature   February 1, 2001   by Auto Service World

Ten Tips on Building Wiper Sales

Why drivers only think of their wipers at precisely the time they are least likely to consider replacing them is one of the persistent paradoxes of the automotive world.

When it’s bright and sunny and prime wiper changing weather, wipers are tucked away at the base of the windshield, largely out of sight and out of mind. Then, at the first sign of the mucky, salt-laden spray, Canadian drivers curse their worn-out wipers, only to forget them as soon as they get to their destination.

You may sell most wipers on such messy days, but most drivers forget about them in the rush to get from car to office, or car to home.

Even in summer, replacement rates are well below recommendations–on average every two years versus an estimated wiper life of approximately six months–and winter weather and road conditions make wipers wear more while drivers are even less inclined to replace them.

This puts the jobber and the installer in the position of knowing that very seldom will a driver actually volunteer that their wipers aren’t working properly. Conversely, it also ensures that the vast majority of customers’ cars have worn-out wipers that should be replaced.

Here are some tips to prompt wiper replacement:

1.Ask every customer if their car’s windshield wipers are working properly. “When did you last change your blades?” is a good question to ask. It’s much better than “Do your wipers need changing?”, to which most customers will answer “No.” If the customer doesn’t know when they last had their wipers changed, it’s a clear signal that it’s been too long.

2.Use merchandising materials from manufacturers or create your own to build the profile of wipers in your store.

3.Focus on wiper blades as a safety item. Customers can’t drive safely if they can’t see clearly.

4.Create a “vision center” that merchandises lighting, windshield wipers, windshield washer, ice scrapers, and related chemicals together. Know that windshields should be cleaned properly to ensure new wipers work their best.

5.Keep as much wiper inventory as you can handle. Coverage equals sales.

6.Offer alternatives in price and construction.

7.Understand that an important barrier to sales is uncertainty about how to install wipers. Most drivers don’t feel they know how to replace their wipers because they don’t do it. It’s a vicious circle.

8.Don’t just sell them, offer to install them. It only takes a couple of minutes and customers will really appreciate it. It may even close the sale.

9.Don’t forget to ask if the customer’s car has a rear wiper, even after they’ve already agreed to buy two. Virtually every SUV or station wagon has three, which gives you 50% more wiper sales opportunities.

10.Encourage your trade customers to include wiper blades as part of their “Spring Check-Up” promotions.

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