Dayco’s National Sales Manager, Steve Carolan, discusses the importance of sales staff being well informed on OE brands.
Motor factors rely on their sales staff to develop customer relationships and to maximise the revenue potential from their customer base, which, from a profit perspective, is predominantly made up of independent workshops. They, therefore, not only have a position of trust and responsibility, but also one of influence, which, if deployed wisely, can help the business flourish.
One of the issues which suppliers consistently grapple with is translating their approved status into actual sales with an independent business, or within a buying group. This can often be as a result of motor factor sales staff who are unfamiliar with their brand, or may simply be an unwillingness to specify an alternative, as it’s easier to stick with the ‘normal’ brand.
Although the second reason is always going to be difficult to resolve, for original equipment (OE) manufacturer brands such as Dayco, the unfamiliarity issue is a red herring, a fact highlighted by the company’s recent market research amongst technicians.
Steve commented, “Dayco is a major player as an OE supplier of dampers to vehicle manufacturers around the world, so when we recently extended the range into our aftermarket programme alongside the belts, tensioners and water pumps that we are traditionally known for, we wanted to establish the existing awareness of Dayco dampers among technicians.
“Although the primary purpose of the market research was to gauge the effectiveness of an awareness campaign targeting workshops and technicians, it was very revealing to find that the pre-campaign awareness of Dayco dampers with 10,000 technicians was already high, at 55%. Following the campaign, when another 10,000 technicians were surveyed, this figure increased to 63%.”
Bringing these results back to the subject of sales staff who are unsure of supplying an unfamiliar OE brand, one of the contributory issues sometimes stated is the fear of an increase in product returns from workshops, which is obviously a challenge for every motor factor.
However, these findings show that this uncertainty is not shared amongst technicians that see these brands fitted on a daily basis to the vehicles that they work on. So, rather than being an unknown brand that immediately puts them on the back foot, OE brands such as Dayco are likely to instil greater confidence in those tasked with installing them.
Taking the theme further, owners and branch managers can use the opportunity that this presents and combine it with the support that Dayco provides them with in the form of on-site training, promotional information and point-of-sale material.
The company hopes that this support, alongside access to the OE quality parts that factor’s customers need, ensures that they can further develop the skills of their sales staff, which will make a tangible difference to the company’s overall profits.