Employee Training: Prepare to Win!

WINPeterLike it or not, the white stuff is on the way. Is your staff ready to sell?

Last winter was real and visible – very cold temperatures, freezing rain, sleet, ice, snow, and slush. Suddenly, consumers became aware that “all season” or “all weather tires” do not offer the best traction in winter conditions. Yes, we have been preaching this for years, supported by data proving that winter tires provide the best traction for winter driving conditions.

One important example is stopping. Longer stopping distances increase the possibility that your customers will hit something. Winter tires consistently deliver shorter stopping distances than “all season” tires in winter conditions, even on cold dry roads. Some consumers only realize this when they have a fright – hit the brakes and the ABS is pulsing and grinding… “holy cow” the car is taking too long to stop! “Whew, close call,” followed by a racing heart and sweaty palms. They only learn by experience.


Tire manufacturers, and the entire industry, with some support from the government and insurance companies, have increased focus on educating the consumer about the need for winter tires. However, we also need to educate John or Mary behind the counter – the person standing behind your counter and dealing with your customer.

The counter salesperson plays an important role in the consumer’s buying decision. The consumer may be armed with information from the Internet and preconceived ideas about the best tire for their car. However, an experienced counter salesperson, well educated about product, can significantly influence that consumer’s buying decision.

When it comes to successfully selling winter tires, a major determining factor is the preconceived ideas John or Mary behind the counter may have. If they don’t believe in the benefits of winter tires, they will not be effective at selling them.

Our personal experiences and beliefs can influence what we recommend to a consumer. With this in mind, consider the points below:

1. Do your counter salespeople read and absorb all the data and statistics that prove the effectiveness of winter tires?

2. Are examples of this data and statistics displayed in your store, visible to your counter salespeople and to your customers?

3. Do your counter salespeople participate in training seminars on winter tires?

4. Do your counter salespeople use the outdated “snow tire” name, thus conveying the false message, and supporting the false belief, that winter tires are only required for traction in snow?

5. Do your counter salespeople use winter tires on their cars?

Advising consumers in Canada about the need for winter tires is not just a sales pitch, it’s a safety issue. Any action to increase the safety of a motor vehicle on the road is serious and important. All parties in the tire industry and the tire supply chain need to take this seriously. When we all do, we will all be more effective at educating the consumer and making that important sale.

If you want to win, you must prepare to win. Preparation takes time and commitment. Invest the time and commitment and you’ll increase your opportunities to win.

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