Auto Service World
Feature   September 1, 2008   by Auto Service World

Top Five Visibility Product Sales Tips

It’s hard to believe that winter driving is now only a few months away, but alas, as the dog days of summer wind down, it is time to

start talking to your customers about the importance of fall maintenance. Chief among the replacement opportunities this time of year are visibility products.

The Deal with Blades

As studies have shown, about 90% of driving decisions are based on visibility, and wipers are the primary tool to keep the windshield clear. Wiper blades are a simple and inexpensive maintenance item, but often overlooked. Temperature extremes, heavy precipitation, and repetitive friction on a windshield have damaging effects on a wiper blade’s performance over time. With extremes in weather over several months, a blade’s natural rubber will dry out and deteriorate. Heat can warp the rubber, and cold can make the blade become brittle. Therefore, it is critical that wiper blades are changed at the six-month wear mark. Also, as CUVs and hatchback compact sedans continue to grow their market share, don’t forget about the rear blade, as manufacturers often refer to this as the “forgotten blade.”

The Purpose-built Winter Blade

Some manufacturers have designed a blade particularly for the harsh winter months. In the instance of one particular manufacturer, it features a protective rubber boot to prevent snow and ice from clogging the blade. This allows the blade to maintain even pressure to provide a clean wipe and enhanced driving visibility. Other options include beam blades, which also offer durable all-weather performance, including harsh winter conditions. They feature a primarily one-piece superstructure with no moving parts that can be clogged by snow or ice.

Offer Restoration or Replacement

Shop owners know that their customers are often looking for the quick and cheap fix. While this is not to be encouraged in all cases, there are going to be members of the driving public that simply do not want to replace what can be repaired or temporarily restored. In the lighting market, there are products that can be suggested, like those that restore the vibrancy of lenses and headlamp covers without having to replace them. Look into these options and make sure you tell your technician and service writer clients about them. It could make the difference between a tidy profit and no sale at all.

Halogen and HD and Other Options

Today’s lighting market requires an encyclopedic memory. Like many parts categories, lighting has seen an absolute boom in SKUs, as manufacturers all try and provide the perfect lighting solution to every consumer. Make sure you educate your customer, be they a shop owner or a retail shopping DIYer, on the virtues of finding the right fit. HID, Halogen, LED, extra white, extra blue, heavy duty, and many more can all be considered options for many lighting applications. Best get studying.

Make Sure They Are Certified

As a recent trip to a heavy-duty trade show confirmed, the world of lighting compliance is a tricky one. Knock-off manufacturers have, in some cases, incorporated the various legal lettering usually found on compliant lighting products into their own stamping machines. This means that a light may have all of the required insignias and acronyms stamped on it, but does not, in fact, meet the requirements it claims. Be sure to warn your customers of the dangers of non-compliant lighting, and be sure to check your own suppliers as well.

Special thanks to Gates Canada, Hella Canada, and Robert Bosch for their contributions to this list.