February '20

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50 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2020 to the consumer but can also roll the cost into their financing so that the customer doesn't have to pay for the accessories out of pocket, but can instead make it part of their monthly payment. This gives the dealership a big advantage over independent shops that require payment in full. The dealership also has the advantage of standing behind the product and installa- tion if there are any warranty issues. Consumers usually feel better when they know that the place that sold them the vehicle is also responsible for helping them get any warranty issues resolved on any accessories they have purchased. So, how can a dealership be successful offering accessories? There are two key elements: • First, be proactive instead of reactive • Second, give the customer options Many dealerships accidentally sell acces- sories because consumers ask for them at the time of purchase. The salesperson limps into a sale and usually doesn't make the kind of money they could have made if they had been prepared. Being proactive means that there is a plan and process in place for the dealership to offer accessories. In my experience, a plan needs to be in place—just being reactionary whenever the customer brings it up isn't enough. This is where a good restyler can help a dealer learn how to sell more accesso- ries and offer tools (digital or non-digital) that can make those accessory sales more profitable. AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE Buying a new vehicle is an emotional deci- sion. For the dealer, everything from the test drive to the color of the paint and inte- rior to the smell is about getting a customer to say yes to the car deal. Why should accessories be any different? Successful dealerships will have a number of vehicles preloaded with accessories sit- ting on their lots. We like to call these vehicles showroom cars, but others call them preloads, stock units or lot cars. Whatever you call them, the purpose is for customers to see what can be done, and oftentimes these are the first vehicles to sell. Sometimes, of course, customers don't want all the accessories on their particular vehicle, or they want a different color. In that case the dealership will send out the vehicle the customer buys to have done exactly what the customer wants. Just like at Burger King, have it your way is a model that has helped a lot of restylers and dealer- ships be successful. TIPS FOR SUCCESS It's one thing to get a dealer excited and on board to do some accessories, but it's another thing to make sure they are suc- cessful. How can a restyler help a dealership sell accessories? First, be a true partner. This means having the dealership's best intentions in mind when creating packages for its showroom cars. Also, offer training to the sales staff and the management team on products that you are selling or have installed on a vehicle. Helping them feel comfortable and capable to talk about and sell your products will always lead to success. Don't be afraid to share success stories. When one of your dealerships is successful with a package you have built, or is selling a particular accessory very well, let other dealers know about it. Dealerships always want to know what everyone else is doing to make money and they never want to be left out if something is truly working, so use this to your advantage. Also be available and reliable. Car dealers very rarely ever remember what you tell them when you are simply stopping in to make a pitch; however, when they are in the middle of a car deal and need information on a particular accessory they will be quick to call or text you for answers. Responding quickly will go a long way toward building your relationship and their sales numbers. The more you become a partner with your dealership client, the deeper your roots will grow and you'll soon be known as its primary vendor—even and especially in a challenging market. JOSH POULSON is the principal of Auto Additions in Columbus, O h i o , w h i c h wa s n a m e d Restyler of the Year, 2012-'13. Auto Additions offers a com- plete line of product upgrades including 12-volt and appearance packages with a specific focus on the dealership seg- ment. Josh is chair-elect of the SEMA PRO council and was named 2015-'16 Person of the Year at the 2015 SEMA Show. Helping Dealers Grow Their Margins Being a true partner to your dealership clients means helping them understand the products you sell and being there to answer questions whenever they need you. When one of your dealerships is successful with a package you have built, or is selling a particular accessory very well, let other dealers know about it.

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