April '19

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10 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 advice for customers and new shops. These days, even industry veterans have to do their homework or quickly get left behind. "There's no question that technology is changing the way we tow. We are experi- encing a demand, greater than ever, for our products to be connected to today's wireless, hands-free, hassle-free world," says Kristi Feeney, marketing coordi- nator, towing and accessories, for CURT. "Our designated Innovation Team has a focus on new towing solutions that will improve ride comfort, make towing more user-friendly and integrate technology into our products." Large numbers of products hitting the market in a short amount of time can also mean a proliferation of lower-quality compo- nents that ultimately leave installers and end-users frustrated. " M a n y p e o p l e assume that every- thing they buy has been vetted and tested, but that's not always the case," she explains. "It is important to run a quick check on the products you are considering for purchase to make sure they have been thoroughly tested and proven safe." Numerous hitch and towing products have improved dramatically over the years, meaning it's in a shop's best interest to con- stantly monitor the latest innovations. "Many salespeople are surprised by the real differences in our product, as they are not aware of the new technology avail- able in weight-distributing hitches," says Chad Wall, marketing manager, Blue Ox. "Many hitches rely on 50-year-old friction technology that can stop working in wet weather conditions. Friction hitches also create a lot of noise. Eliminate the fric- tion and you eliminate the constant noise generated by the hitch—our hitch doesn't control sway, it prevents it." RESPONSE: Stay up-to-date on the latest technology and innovations; be the expert your customers expect you to be. The more you know, the better you can help your customers with their unique towing needs. They trust you to be an expert, and highly value the tips and tricks you can share. "With our latest weight-distributing hitch product, for example, shops can inform customers that they do not have to purchase a new hitch when changing trailers—but instead merely purchase new spring bars matching the tongue weight of the trailer," Wall says. He also reminds dealers that seeing, and feeling, is believing. "Allowing customers to take a test drive with a better hitch will sell them on the advantages." Feeney agrees with earlier statements that not every customer truly understands their unique towing needs, and can often benefit from a packaged product approach. "It can easily be overlooked, but pro- viding a comprehensive solution ensures that your customers have the right equip- ment based on their towing needs and life- style," she explains. "It also helps shops grow their business and become a more reliable supplier of towing products from a consumer standpoint." POWER TO THE PICKUP ISSUE: Today's newest pickups and SUVs are awesome, and their popu- larity leads to more opportunities in the towing market. Still, weight ratings remain the key to happy hauling. While all the previous issues are impor- When it comes to towing, it's all about safety. (Photo courtesy Keystone Automotive/ Husky) Technology is changing the way people tow. (Photo courtesy CURT) It's important that the towing products your shop offers have been thoroughly tested and proven safe. (Photo courtesy CURT) Today's towing products are much improved from years past. (Photo courtesy Blue Ox) TACKLING TOWING'S TOP ISSUES

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