The Qualities of Quality

Dec 2, 2009

(Issue: July 2009 – Author: Jef White)

It seems that as the economy has skidded through this rough patch, advertisements for everything from sub sandwiches to car insurance and maybe even your business, if you run ads tend to focus on three things: price, service and quality.

Most aftermarket performance retailers and builders have direct control over the prices they charge and the type of service they provide. Quality takes some cooperation from your suppliers, but remains a vital and profitable selling point for independent speed shops.

“We are finding that people are still buying and that the purchases they make are higher-quality, more-expensive pieces that they know will last for many seasons,” says Jeff Stacy of FK Rod Ends in an off-road article in our July issue.

“I think the biggest change we have seen is in the actual quality of the parts being offered to the sport compact segment. There are now more high-end parts available for these cars than ever, and the customers in this segment are willing to pay for them,” adds Yoni Kellman of Motovicity in that same issue.

So, no matter which segments of the performance aftermarket your company serves, it pays to promote quality. But how to you get that message across to customers who hear the term “quality” so often each day that it can begin to fall on deaf ears?

Here are some suggestions gathered from marketing columns in Performance Business that can help you sell quality:

  • Outline improvements over stock. The featured intake products beginning on page 10 in this issue are a good example, offering proven horsepower and torque gains.
  • Highlight added benefits. Quality means getting more than you expect. Not only does that new exhaust system sound sweet, it also provides performance and mileage gains as well.
  • Explain return on investment. Not to make you do a bunch of math, but if the customer buys a $10 part and has to replace it in two years with another $10 part, instead of initially buying a $15 part that lasts for five years, he’s losing money in the long run.

It’s apparent that education is the key to convincing customers a quality product is worth a higher price. Here are some successful sales techniques that can help close the deal:

  • Good-better-best option. Offering levels of performance naturally reveals the quality of higher-end products. If a customer is replacing a windshield wiper, the “good” option might be good enough. But not for his hot rod carburetor.
  • Highlight racing/performance heritage. If the NASCAR/ARCA/NHRA/IHRA/etc. guys run it, then you know it must be good.
  • “I use it myself.” Speed shop owners often forget that customers view them as experts. So outfit your shop truck or personal vehicle with high-quality upgrades. Then, when your customer is down to making a buying decision, all you have to do is open the hood to close the sale.

These days, customers want to believe that each purchase they make is a smart decision. Help show them that quality parts, along with fair prices and top-rate service, never go out of style.