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This page is an archive of previously-published content. The information was accurate at the time it was published; however, the information may no longer be accurate or complete. If you have any questions about current Car-Part products, please contact your sales or support rep.

Volume 05 - Issue 09

Retrain Your Brain and Retain Your Customers
By Theresa Colbert

Hundreds of Thousands Could Lose Internet in July In this world of ever-changing technology, "that's the way we always did it" now has some of us asking, "is that the right way?" The honest answer is: No. The way you always did it has changed so much in the last 10 years. Think about how a lot of yards did inventory 10 years ago: picture the guy tapping his head and saying, "I keep it all up here." We used to write on the shipping boxes with a marker, but now we print, ship, and track our parts on our computers. The customers used to call us on the phone, but now they use email or instant messaging. In reality, when is the last time you opened the Yellow Pages to look up a phone number?

We have the phone numbers we use all the time saved in our speed dials or our cell phones, and the shops that call you for parts have your numbers memorized or on speed dial. But everywhere I go, all I hear about is sales being down or recyclers not being able to buy cars. I have guys tell me they are only selling 30%-50% of the calls that they get.

This is where I say retrain your brain! Keep the customers that you have! Sell every caller a part! They say it takes 2 weeks to learn a new habit. If that is true, everyone should all increase sales in about 3 weeks, IF (and this is a big "IF") you actually try to sell your customer the parts he is looking for. Change your sales percentage to 60% or even 80%.

Think about the following phone calls:

Phone Call #1:
I was speaking with Frank at Yard A. While I was there, he picked up the phone and I heard the following conversation. "Hello there, Bill! How's business at the shop? Oh great! How's little Billy's pitching? Starting pitcher? Wow! That's awesome! Oh, a Chevy 350 engine? No, darn it, I sold my last one 2 weeks ago. You might try Yard B over in the next town. OK, Bill, see you at church on Sunday. Bye."

Bill, owns a shop and trusts Frank enough to call him for his parts (Bill probably even has Frank on speed dial), but Frank turned down this sale. Not only did he turn it down, he gave the opportunity for Yard B to get Bill's business and keep it.

Phone Call #2:
Bill: "This is Bill at Bill's Repair Shop, Frank over at Yard A said you may have a '98 Chevy 350 for me?"
Jim: "Why yes Bill, we do have that engine. We can have it here in 2 days and it is $750, laid-in."
Bill: "Send it over! Hey, you don't happen to have a transmission for that same truck? It's the automatic with overdrive."
Jim: "We sure do. That one is coming out of Omaha and will take an extra day, is that OK?"
Bill: "Oh, sure, send 'em both when you get 'em! What's your name again? Thanks, Jim. Oh, and can you send me some business cards when your driver comes over here?"

Did Jim have an engine and transmission at his yard? No! Do Frank and Jim both have F-keys linking them to their Trading Partners? Yes!

If so, why does Frank risk losing a good customer to another shop? Because he has not retrained his brain to today's way of thinking! Jim knows that it costs a lot more money to get a new customer than it does to retain an old one. In this instance, Frank gave Jim one of his customers and Jim plans on keeping him. He knows that finding all the parts a busy shop needs is one way of keeping the customer. If you retrain your brain to think like your customers and put yourself in their shoes, you will see how brokering parts can be the very thing you need to retain your customers!

Let's look at this from the customer's point of view:

Bill has one mechanic and himself working at his shop. They have 2 lifts and 2 more bays. They come to work in the morning and look at what has to be finished that day and that week. At this point, Bill is making a list of what he needs to order. If you were Bill, would you rather call one person and give them a list of all the parts you need, or would you rather call around to a bunch of yards trying to find the parts? I have been on all sides of this fence. I managed a repair shop, worked at a wrecking yard, and worked in aftermarket auto parts. I thought I knew all the ways to find parts, but I learned something from my auto mechanic husband one day a couple of years ago.

Our conversation:

Me: I was at that really nice Yard A today. They have a huge, clean yard! Do you guys buy a lot of parts from them?
Hubby: Nope, I get my parts from Yard B.
Me: (sigh) I know that. But, when they are out of them, do you use Yard A?
Hubby: (sigh) No, they find them for me.

At this point, I must point out that in 31 years of working on cars, this is the first job my husband has had where he has to order his own parts. He has always had a manager or service writer to do so. He has no clue that a lot of yards will not take the time to look for his parts.

Me: What do you do when they can't find them for you? (uhhh, I work at, hint, hint!)
Hubby: They always find them for me!

I had no clue that there were yards out there that looked for all of his parts! When you really think about it, what a great idea! He dials one number, gives them a list of his parts, and forgets about it. Jim over at Yard B finds the parts, marks them up, drops them off, and never has to worry about retaining that customer! Jim has retrained his brain from the old way of thinking and is using technology to retain instead of trying to find new customers.

Use Trading Partners and your F-keys to buy, price, and look for aftermarket parts under the Vendors button. That is all you need to do to retrain your brain and retain the customers that you have!


Did You Know?
Partmate now features Desktop Review, allowing your employees to "flag" parts that need someone else's input (or that they just want to remember to revisit later). Visit our Products site for more information, or contact your sales rep.


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New on the Products Website

Checkmate Roadmap (from 2012 Conference)
Collision Industry Panel Discussion (from 2012 Conference)

If you need login information, contact your support rep.

See Us At

ARPAC – Sherbrooke, QC
September 20-23, 2012

Central Midwest Auto Recyclers Convention and Trade Show – Indianapolis, IN
September 21 & 22, 2012
Checkmate booth and Car-Part booth, Roger Schroder speaking

Arizona Automotive Recyclers Association Annual Event – Maricopa, AZ
September 28-30, 2012

Automotive Recyclers of Michigan Annual Meeting/Automotive Service Association of Michigan "The Event" – Lansing, MI
October 6, 2012

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