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Evil Parts Stores Who Ruin Our Business
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 11/21/2010 60 Replies

There is sure a lot of talk about this subject. I hope this helps give you a strategy to deal with "the competition".

I am surprised and disappointed that so few of us truly understand the business we are in and who our target market really is.

I hope that none of you really believe that those people laying on their backs in the parts store parking lots all across this great country of ours are really any kind of prospect for our repair businesses. Good Heavens.

I'm equally disappointed that you have not mastered the basics of selling diagnostic time to your own customers.

Here's the deal: The ideal prospect for a "Do-it-for-me" (DIFM) business is someone who won't put in their own tail light bulb. There are lots of those people and I hope lots of them are coming to your shops right now.

The WORST prospect for a DIFM is a "Do-it-yourselfer" (DIY). They'd rather spend $800 replacing every sensor under the hood to turn off a check engine light than to spend $100 on a professional to locate and hook up that vacuum line that fell off under the hood that no one has seen yet... The DIYer will feel good that he has prevented "all those future problems" with new parts, despite the fact that the car is still broken.

Of course, once that is done, that same DIYer will come to us, complain about our prices and beg us to fix it free or super cheap (many times they want to lay the blame on us that they've already "spent all their money and have none left").

We need to understand that, just because someone comes into our office doesn't make them a prospect for our business. There are some people out there whose business we can't afford to have and a great many of them are standing in line at parts counters all over town.

So, *WE* get all ticked off, mad, wound up, "how dare they?" and generally angry when these people call or come in. The result of this is that we're now in a poor state of mind to greet our true potential customers with a warm smile and mean it.

Does anyone else find it odd that we are now shooting at our own feet over this situation and doing so with apparent deadly accuracy? VBG

Your correct response to these people is, "here's what we do, here's what it costs. Would you like to schedule a time to have this done?" The answer will be yes, no or maybe. You might try one more selling point, seek agreement and see what happens. Take the appropriate action depending on the potential buyer's response.

Do not let their response or attitude bother you. If they don't want to buy from you, it's simply because you either don't sell what they want to buy or you lack the selling skills to convince them that you do. End of story, no problem. They need to seek the next potential seller, because it's apparently not you.

Finally, use your mental energy and positive thoughts on your own best (and prospective) customers. If you sell investments or insurance, you'll soon find out that the selling process is less about the sales pitch itself than it is about simply sifting through hundreds of prospects to find the one that is needing what you offer. When that happens, the sale is automatic. It's easy once you understand the process.

Anyone can sell a good prospect, one who really wants what you have to sell and *NO ONE* can sell a bad prospect, one who doesn't want what you have to sell.

So, stop prospecting for new business among those who populate any auto parts store, anywhere. And, please stop making villains of those honest parts stores who are seeking to sell to people who just want parts. The store is not evil for selling stupid people a bunch of stuff they don't need if those people really want to buy that stuff. The stores are only filling a need for a group they have identified as their own "target market".

Focus on your own target market and work it to the best of your ability and, to some extent, that means ignoring those who stumble mistakenly in your door. Don't use up a good attitude. Save it for those who might give you money. Oh, and it might not hurt to see if there's some good sales training available....

George from Nebraska

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