Winter Tires: Plan Now for Winter 2013

Winter Tires: Plan Now for Winter 2013Yes… we did get winter this year.

I have discussed winter on many occasions. That’s because winter is very important to the success of the tire business in Canada. In all provinces, winter, and winter weather drive sales. Let’s be honest with ourselves… without winter the tire market would be a lot smaller and many of us would not be in the tire business.

In my last article I asked a simple question: Winter 2012 is around the corner… are you ready? Well, we have had a winter, and were you ready? Were your customers ready? Did you use all the sales tools at your disposal?

Which sales tools? Think about all the facts and statistics available from Transports Quebec, and other sources explaining the benefits of winter tires. Then there’s the 7-degree temperature rule – you’re not selling your customers on snow tires, but on winter tires.

Weather forecasts stated we would have a real winter in 2012. Did you prepare to succeed by investing in inventory? These are hard questions, but they are questions that we must ask ourselves.

Real winter

Now, let’s have a quick look at the winter of 2012. Yes, we did get a winter. In some areas, like southern Ontario, it may have started late (first major snowfall was on Dec. 27), but it did come and it has continued. In early February, most of southern Ontario experienced a severe winter storm with up to 30 cm of snowfall, and the winter weather continued after that.

Learning from Winter 2012, as well as previous winters, we must remind ourselves, and our customers, that winter will not bypass Canada, even when we don’t see snow by early December.

We must also keep up to date on the weather forecasts. For example, this appeared online late last year: “November 26, 2012 — Meteorologists at The Weather Network say there’s the potential for some extremes in weather this winter.” That “potential” became reality.

Remember lessons learned

Many of you may say, “Enough about winter. Spring is just around the corner.” Yes, Winter 2012 will be over in a few weeks but we must not forget the lessons learned. You should keep notes on what happened: the temperature fluctuations, the late snowfall, the bad snowstorm in February, the number of accidents, and the people that got stuck with the wrong tires, etc.

This is a tremendous pool of information that can help you sell winter tires later this year. Write it down, file it away, then pull it out in October or November 2013 and use it in your sales presentations as proof that winter tires are a must. This will help you close more sales.

Now is also the time to look at what happened with your 2012 winter sales. Did you invest in the right inventory? Were there shortages of certain sizes? Did you lose sales due to lack of product? What went right and what went wrong?

Make notes and keep them handy. These notes will be valuable tools when you have to plan your winter tire inventory for Winter 2013… and that is only a few months away.

Remember: Prepare to succeed. And now is the time to prepare for Winter 2013.

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