When it comes to brake components, there are a myriad of options at all levels. The brake market is not so much driven by brand preference as it is by the reliability of the components you are handing over the counter. The key selling point is confidence in the products you are selling, which comes from having a solid base of knowledge on how a braking system on a car functions, as well as how and why brakes fail. Combine this with familiarity with the brake lines you carry, and you will become the expert brake component advisor customers are looking to for help in making an educated decision on a repair that carries a high safety factor.
1 | Hone your customer service skills You need to own your customers before your competition does. Every single customer that walks in your door or dials your number wants to feel appreciated and special. They want to know they are being well served and not being overcharged. By building good relationships with customers, you improve loyalty, repeat business, and of course, your bottom line.
2 | Stand out from the competition Does your business stand apart from all others when it comes to brake component sales? A key step here is to always exceed customer expectations. Work closely with suppliers to build product knowledge. Utilize point-of-sale materials. A customer that is looking for components as important as brake system parts deserves your full attention. Take the time to educate him about all available options, so he can be confident that he has made the best possible decision.
3 | Ask questions With vehicles being kept on the road longer, more owners are willing to make the necessary investment in preventative maintenance to avoid those costly breakdowns. Find out the age of the vehicle and how long they plan to hold onto it. Are they looking to get another five to seven years out of it? If so, then they are likely open to installing a premium set of brake linings and rotors to ensure a long, maintenance-free life and superior brake performance that will keep their family safe.
4 | Time is money We all live life at a much faster pace these days, so when a customer comes in for parts, while it is your job to ensure they are making an informed buying decision, be prudent and don’t waste their time by going into too much detail or by sharing random “brake failure stories.” Make good eye contact, be informative and direct, and congratulate them on a well-made buying decision.
5 | Avoid hardware headaches Re-using worn hardware can result in noisy, under-performing brakes. It is important to emphasize this to your customer. Impress upon them the fact that the investment in new brake components is well worth the few extra dollars to include all new hardware. Make sure your DIY customers have all the necessary tools and supplies, such as proper lubricant for the sliders, to complete the task at hand.
6 | Rotor recommendations Customers that come in only asking for pads likely need rotors too, and just don’t know it. Ask how the car is performing. Is there any pulsing or squealing when the brakes are applied? Are the pads worn down to the rivets, and have they scored the rotors? Point out how much more cost-effective it is to replace both pads and rotors together. It will result in a longer pad life, better braking, and safer vehicle response in emergency braking situations.
7 | The import challenge Foreign-plate customers are often highly loyal to the original brand name components installed on their vehicle. Be attuned to this fact; having a broad knowledge of import brake options as well as a well-stocked shelf of brand-name import brake parts means you can confidently assure your customer that you have both the knowledge and the parts on hand to fulfill their specialized requirements.
8 | Advising the DIYer Even though counter staff have yet to be deputized to enforce safe brake installation procedures, something as critical as a brake job requires a fairly high level of mechanical knowledge. Don’t hesitate to ask the customer if this is their first brake job. Talk them through the process and see if they have the knowledge to carry out the task. Remind them about bleeding air out of the brake lines, and make them aware of any advisories about the ABS system. The customer may also require some specialized tools for the job. Be helpful. The customer will thank you later.
9 | Go the extra mile While it may not be possible to follow up with every customer, for those customers you have spent extra time with to help them, schedule a reminder follow-up call. It will only take a few minutes out of your day, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and you will secure a loyal customer. Plus any feedback from the customer can help to hone your sales skills. nJN