When it comes to increasing sales with general lifting equipment, like transmission jacks and stands and wheel dollies, there are a few simple things you need to do:
Be knowledgeable on the features and benefits of the brands you’re selling.
Be knowledgeable of the competing equipment of other brands.
Most importantly, be keenly aware of your customers’ needs—particularly when it comes to increasing productivity.
And when it comes to productivity in the shop, remember that bigger does not equal better.
“Productivity improvement’s not just a bigger product or a different product,” said Pete Liebetreu, Hunter Engineering Co. product manager. He emphasized a need for distributors to know what they’re selling and who they’re selling to.
“That takes a little bit more knowledge. You have to understand what we’ve done for productivity improvements, and be able to sell that to a customer,” he said.
Educating the shop owner is key, agreed Ron Lainhart, Rotary Lifts parts/service manager. You’ve got to show how the product can “increase the technician’s productivity … you want to hit on that part of it,” Lainhart said. From eliminating back-breaking labor, to speeding up jobs or simplifying a task to require only one tech.
“You know, increasing their productivity … it may only take one technician, instead of two, to remove a transmission or to remove a door.”
It’s important to a shop, “because that’s money,” said Lainhart.
Increased productivity may also come from new and updated tools.
“Offer equipment that offers more than customers currently have—new models that offer expanded features,” said Jeff Kritzer, Bendpak/Ranger Products senior VP of sales and marketing. For instance, vehicle ride height is getting more critical said Kritzer. So a new floor jack with extended reach may hit lift points a shop’s current jack does not.
Lainhart said the wheel dolly is also becoming a shop must-have, as the SUV surge in popularity made tires/rims bigger and heavier and more likely to go into most shops on a regular basis. Some insurance companies are even recommending shops get wheel dollies to reduce worker injuries, he said.
That offers the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation with the shop owner about the equipment, if his insurance company has mentioned it, and even if he’s inquired about getting a discount on insurance if he purchased the equipment.
KNOW YOUR STUFF … AND THEIR STUFF
Once you’re talking with the key people about what they need, you better know what it is you offer and what your competitors offer.
“Know your product, and the differences in your product and all the other products that are out there,” said Steve Perlstein, Mohawk Lifts government sales manager. “If you don’t know your competitors’ [products], then you don’t know your own product. If you know what you’re selling, you don’t have to sell.
“Knowing differences in your competitors’ products is half the battle.”
Hunter’s Liebetreu emphasized that distributors learn about what they are selling as well.
“Know what you’re selling—know the features, advantages, benefits. You need to be able to sell the features and understand the features, and get out there and explain them to people,” he said.
A distributor should look at a “spec sheet before going in, as to what [equipment] will do, what it won’t do, like on a productivity jack: How high is the stroke? What do they need to know? What kind of tables are available for it?” said Rotary’s Lainhart.
And knowing your product, so you can best educate your customer, enhances the shop’s view of the equipment and the distributor.
“Nobody ever wants to say, ‘I got sold this;’ they want to say, ‘I bought this,’ ” said Perlstein. “The difference is that you say one with pride. …
“Hopefully, in everything we all do, we do our research.”