Modern Tire Dealer

APR 2017

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 58 of 77

57 Unifying the Tire Pros experience Tools and training will help bolster business for all By Joy Kopcha T he nation's largest network of independent tire dealers in- creased overall passenger and light truck tire unit sales in 2016 by 7.8% and same-store sales by 5.5%. With a net gain of 44 new Tire Pros stores last year, Ron Sinclair reminded dealers, "We have power!" Sinclair, chief marketing officer for Tire Pros and its parent company, American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD), is now the leader of the retail franchise network following the 2016 retirement of Dan Brown. And during the annual Tire Pros National Dealer Business Conference, Sinclair offered what became an oen- repeated refrain to members: Tire Pros dealers need to recognize their combined strength in the market, and work to offer a unified brand experience for consumers. Perry Leonard is the new chairman of the Tire Pros National Dealer Council, and he owns nine stores in the Dallas area. He said dealers need to be engaged. "ATD, Tire Pros and the dealers — we're all in it as one." Tire Pros is rolling out more opportuni- ties for dealers to get involved in 2017. e group typically has named dealers to its National Dealer Council, and that group has considered initiatives for the entire network. e national council will remain in place, but Tire Pros is adding four more dealer councils that will focus on these specific topics: customer experience, marketing, training and technology. Each of those groups is made up of eight dealers, along with representation from the Tire Pros leadership team. Ultimately, those councils will offer best practices and ideas for the entire Tire Pros network. Sinclair said he believes Tire Pros dealers are "unified in spirit," but that consumers would report different kinds of experiences if comparing one store to another. ese councils will help develop practices to unite dealers. One of the first things Tire Pros will implement is a uniform telephone greeting, where dealers will be sure to mention Tire Pros when answering a call. Bob Biner is director of store operations for all 748 Tire Pros stores in the U.S. He told Modern Tire Dealer that because Tire Pros has invested to market its name nationally, it makes sense to help consumers make that connection on the telephone. "I think there's a bit of a learning curve for a dealer who's been a successful independent for a long time and has learned the value of a consistent phone greeting, and now has to add Tire Pros to it," Biner said. "ere's a bit of discipline that needs to be applied to that, but when you look at the way forward and our list of the must haves, it doesn't get any more fundamental than the telephone." Asked about the potential for push back from dealers on these strategies and fears that these steps might chip away at a dealer's independence, Sinclair said he thinks dealers recognize they reap benefits from the larger Tire Pros brand. "ese are all independent entrepreneurs. We're trying to build a beer business, draw more consumers in, and ultimately have those strong business results." Measuring performance Stuart Schuee, CEO and president of ATD, said the com- pany sees an opportunity to use data to help Tire Pros dealers perform beer in their markets. By the late fourth quarter of this year Tire Pros will roll out a net promoter score (NPS) system which will help dealers measure their performance. Dealers responded with applause when Schuee told them the expense of the NPS initiative would be covered by ATD and Tire Pros. Focus on dealers Ron Sinclair sees more room for growth in the Tire Pros network. "I feel very confident over the next five years we can build to 1,000 dealers." Hosting the Tire Pros conference in New Orleans during Mardi Gras inspired plenty of fun for dealers, including, from left, Richard and Connie Barnes, from Barnes Tire & Service Centers Tire Pros in Jasper, Tenn.; Ted Jorgensen and Jazzy Kellogg from Dixon Tire Pros in Dixon, Calif.; and Joseph and Danielle Phillips from Coyote Tire & Auto in Glendale, Ariz.

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