Four Ways to Sell New Products: By Colin Wright and Seth Dwyer
New product introductions are great for your shop’s reputation, bottom line and customer relationships. They prove you’re plugged into what’s happening in the market, create new ways to generate profits and give customers a reason to come back and spend more. At St. Louis Best, we employ a four-part formula to make the most of the opportunities new products provide. It’s been thoroughly vetted, too. Years ago, we were the first in the St. Louis area to offer paint protection film (PPF) and ceramic coatings. Today, they’re hot sellers.
1. Be Proactive
Make it a habit to stay in touch with what’s happening in the market with new products, technologies and techniques. Follow leading experts you respect on social media, read industry publications regularly and last—but probably most important—check in with the product manufacturers you believe in. This helps you make better decisions about what to try out, keeps you competitive and gives you time to understand the product before it’s in high demand.
2. Be Selective
We learn about new products almost daily at our company. Some of them are all they claim to be. Some are more marketing hype than substance. The only way to tell them apart is to do your homework: research products extensively, and if they make the cut, have your people collectively test them out on personal vehicles. We always do this because it allows us to compare new products with what we currently offer and decide if they’re worthy of our lineup.
3. Be Patient
Some products we’re excited about aren’t ever offered to our clients. Some we only offer months after we first noticed them. We research, test, share feedback inside and outside our shop and talk to manufacturers to fully comprehend what we’re getting into with a new product. That way, we’re confident about investing in the training required for a successful product rollout.
4. Be Trustworthy
Many products fail because of installation errors. The product won’t perform well when you have a bad install and could get an undeserved bad rap. Your shop reputation could suffer too. To avoid this, we support our in-house employees with training and encourage them to practice by supplying free materials to let them customize their cars and further their education after hours. Your customers don’t want to be guinea pigs. They’re proud of their vehicles, or they wouldn’t come to you for aftermarket customizations.
The Bottom Line
It’s tempting to jump in fast when you see a seemingly game-changing new product with great marketing—don’t. Set aside your impulse to rush to market and instead, do your homework: research, place a small order, test in-house, compare notes and train your people. Then, and only then, is it time to go to market.
Colin Wright and Seth Dwyer are co-owners of St. Louis Best Films and Coatings.
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