Never Say ‘No’

Never Say ‘No’

When customers call, do you ever say you don’t have “it?” Not having “it” puts your business on the fast track to killing your relationship with a customer.

My job has a lot of perks. One of those perks is that I get to travel all over the country, visiting with program groups, manufacturers, warehouses and, of course, stores of all sorts. I get to witness firsthand, the good, the bad, the ugly, the attractive, what works and what doesn’t.

Last weekend, I was in a regional retailer buying some antifreeze. I wasn’t there in any “official” capacity, but since I was in a parts store, my natural aftermarket journalistic instincts just wouldn’t allow me to complete the transaction without asking a few questions.

“How’s business been?” I asked innocently. The first part of the winter had been a little warmer than usual and I wondered if that had negatively impacted the walk-in trade that is so vital to this particular store. Additionally, this retailer had recently been acquired, and I wanted to know if the rank and file had noticed any big changes.

“Things have been okay,” the counterman responded. “The only big change since (the acquisition) was that we got a new computer system. Oh, and we also added a commercial desk.”

It turns out that the store had never had a wholesale program, and now it was testing the waters. It had added two delivery trucks and a separate phone line and desk to handle what they hoped would be brisk wholesale traffic.

“That’s interesting,” I said. “How is that new program working out?”

“Not good,” he responded flatly. “They’re trying to sell stuff we don’t have.”

Well, now there’s the problem. You can’t sell what you don’t have. And not having it — whatever “it” happens to be — is a death sentence for any wholesale program. Deep and broad inventories are the lifeblood of any viable wholesale program. By not investing in inventory, stores are essentially killing their wholesale programs even before they have a chance of succeeding.

This month, we’re debuting a new column by Son’s Auto Supply owner Mike Demers. His take on “having it” is one that this store should adopt. Mike once wrote, “Never say ‘no.’ If you drive an ox cart and need an ox, please call. Need to replace the poppet-style injectors on your 4:3? We have the number for the electronic replacement. Need a custom DOT-approved brake hose? I can make it. Need your A/C hose repaired? No problem. Working on a ’53 Cad? Sure, we can find those parts. Need a computer flashed? No problem. Only need a stat gasket? Yes, we’ll deliver that. All the other stores sent the wrong parts? Tell me your story, and if I don’t know what you’re describing, I am not too proud to ask for help.”

Those are great words to work by. Never say ‘no.’ By living by that creed, you give your customers a lot of reasons to say ‘yes.’

Mike’s first column, What’s Wrong with Customer Service?, can be found under the section ‘WD Deliveries.’

You May Also Like

What Will the ‘COVID-Era Consumer’ Do in 2022?

The beauty of the automotive aftermarket is that the economic conditions always seem to work in the industry’s favor.

Online Shopping

Remember the tariffs? Nathan Shipley does. Back in 2019, “that’s all we were talking about as an industry,” Shipley recalled, during his “Aftermarket Outlook 2022” presentation this past November at AAPEX.

Looking back at the “Distribution Preview” in the January 2019 issue of AMN/Counterman, aftermarket leaders consistently expressed concerns that former President Trump’s tariffs – and China’s retaliatory tariffs – could disrupt aftermarket supply chains, leading to higher prices and even production interruptions. Tariffs remained on their radar in January 2020, although it looked like the aftermarket was weathering the storm.

Right To Repair, Trade Associations And You

In the fight for Right to Repair legislation, aftermarket trade groups can’t do it alone.

Veterans Can Be Heroes Off the Battlefield Too

Veterans bring an incredible amount of value to the civilian workplace, in terms of nontechnical and technical skills.

Veterans and Vehicles
What’s Really Driving The Automotive Aftermarket’s Growth?

NPD’s Nathan Shipley looks at the many moving pieces contributing to the industry’s recent spike in demand.

aftermarket growth
Strength In Numbers

The automotive aftermarket is filled with great people. In fact, many say it’s our strong suit.

Teamwork automotive aftermarket

Other Posts

Never Stop Learning

With so much internet-based training content available, it’s never been easier to expand your knowledge base.

Continuing Education
Welcome To 2035 – What Things Might Look Like

The future is what we make it. We need to start addressing technology now so 2035 becomes a bright future.

Future of Transportation
Seems Like Everybody’s Talkin’ About Electric Vehicles

Not only are people talking about EVs, but according to the latest U.S. sales figures, they’re also buying them.

Tesla Electric Vehicle
Still Time To Nominate Someone For Counter Pro Of The Year

We’ll be accepting nominations through Aug. 1.