Latest Insight

Ep. 5 – How to Become a Sales Professional

In this episode we dive into different ways parts managers can sell more parts online by becoming more of a sales professional.

In This Episode, We Discuss:

  • Do Not Be An Order Taker! (2:01)
    • How Can Parts Staff Sell More? (2:54)
      • Contact information needs to be online
      • Listen to the customer
      • Deliver the product the right time, the first time
    • Utilize Chat Features (5:15)
      • See in real time what pages customers are shopping
      • Knowledge about product
    • Tips To Gain Customer Trust (6:18)
      • Build a relationship for repeat business
      • Customize your email signature
      • Make yourself a thought leader by becoming an expert


auto parts marketing, automotive podcast, eCommerce marketing


Aaron: In this episode, we’re joined by Ashley Robertson, Head of Customer Success at OEM Interactive. We’re going to be discussing how to become a sales professional.

Aaron: Ashley, glad to have you back in the Pit Stop today.

Ashley: Good to be back.

Aaron: Always a pleasure. Last time you were in, we were talking about a lot of frequently asked questions. We touched upon a bunch of great things. Everything really revolving around increasing or stepping up your game and staying ahead of the curve. And in order to do that, one of the things that we’re really stressing with a lot of these parts managers is being more of a sales professional because it’s something that … Not that they’re not professional, but it’s being that sales professional and being a lot more client interfacing is sometimes new and undiscovered territory, unexplored territory for some of the people that … Some of our partners that we work with.

Ashley: Absolutely. A lot of these guys, parts countermen, they’re typically used to customer comes into the dealership, comes up to the parts counter, has a part that they have in mind or an accessory that they want, and they’re basically just order takers.

Aaron: Order takers.

Ashley: Yep. We’re trying to get away from that.

Aaron: What was that word?

Ashley: Order takers.

Aaron: Order takers. What have we been saying for … Stressing now-

Ashley: Don’t be an order taker.

Aaron: Don’t be an order taker. Do not be an order taker.

Ashley: It’s all about transitioning from being an order taker to now you have an online presence and now you want to set yourself up to sell, become that sales professional, close the sale, connect with customers.

Aaron: Absolutely. And being an order taker … You have to take a step back here. What are we trying to do? We’re trying to build a brand. And you don’t build a brand and build customer loyalty, build repeat business by being an order taker. It’s about that experience. It’s about being a professional. So Ashley, what can parts managers do to … What advice would you give them to help the parts staff sell more and be more of a sales professional?

How to Sell More and Be More of a Sales Professional

Ashley: Yeah. One of the main things that I see a lot of the parts departments do when they get into online business is they have this idea that they don’t need to be involved in sales. So they just have the website up. If you build it, they will come. That’s not always the case. So you do need a phone number on the website. You do need … Some people are still going to latch onto that voice on the other end of the line in order to help make their purchasing decisions. Not everyone comes to a website, plugs in their vehicle, and feels 100% confident with the part that they’re ordering. You want to make that available to them. That is going to be a whole portion of listening to the customer, making sure that you’re delivering what they need first time, the right time.

You don’t want people to have to keep coming back and processing returns and that opens up a whole other can of worms where now you’re losing profitability. So having a phone number is critical. Making sure that that phone number is accessible easily on the website. Don’t try and bury it in one of the secondary pages. You should have it on the home page, on the contact page where customers would typically expect to see that information.

Aaron: And I think what you just said, being accessible and being easily accessible and being at your customer’s beck and call.

Ashley: Absolutely.

Aaron: If you’re at a restaurant and you have a waiter or waitress that’s taking care of your table, do you want them easily accessible if you need something? Absolutely. Same premise here. You don’t want to be looking around, flagging them down. And it’s the same thing. And we talked about this before, a car, a vehicle is somebody’s livelihood. They make their ends meet, their money, and their careers … They gotta take their car to work. They’ve gotta feed the family and put money and food on the table. Each customer is different.

Ashley: And I think we touched on it last time too, another great feature that they can use is a chat feature. The cool thing about chat now is your parts staff can be signed on to the chat, and they can actually see in real time which page is a customer shopping. So before that customer even calls in or writes in with a question, you have some idea of what they’re looking at and what type of service they need. Maybe you even are looking it up in your DNS system.

Aaron: And being able to have that knowledge and that technology there helps you really, once again, be more of a professional, but also being at their beck and call, but with intelligent insights where you know what they actually need. You can help troubleshoot any questions that they may have before they even ask those questions. What are some tips that you would do that you would recommend to help gain customers’ trust?

Ways to Gain Customers’ Trust

Ashley: Yeah. That’s a great question. So one of the things that I stress is the future is all about relationships. So building that relationship is going to gain that trust, is going to get you that repeat business. Customize your email signature. Simple things like that. When you sign off on an email back and forth to a customer and you’re corresponding, put your name in there. If that customer then calls in and you have three or four people on the parts staff, they can ask for the exact person that they were already speaking with. So someone brand new isn’t trying to backtrack through the conversation and form a whole new relationship. You’ve already got that established.

Aaron: Yeah. And that may seem very elementary but-

Ashley: Yeah, trivial. But a lot of people don’t do it.

Aaron: A lot of people are not doing it. All their contact information that’s in there … If you’re on any social platform, having that there so that these consumers can follow you on Instagram or Twitter and be up-to-date with any promotions that you may publish or put out there from a seasonality basis. And this customer may be coming to you for brake pads, but winter is coming around and you decide to put something on Twitter about roof racks for the winter season. “I need those.”

Ashley: That maintains long-term contact, which will build loyalty over time.

Aaron: Yeah. That’s a really good point about the longevity of the customer and doing what you can to be at different touchpoints that are easily accessible for the consumers because consumers are at so many different touchpoints now. And consumers at different demographics, age demographics, they’re using different platforms as well. So what can parts managers do to continue to build that rapport and more importantly continue to build customer trust over time?

Ways to Build Long-term Rapport and Brand Affinity

Ashley: Yeah. Great question, great question. And I think the biggest thing is make yourself a thought leader. Best way to do that, be personable, really make yourself an expert in your field. That’s going to build trust with the customer if they feel confident that you know what you’re talking about and the advice you’re giving them is based on expertise. Some of the ways you can do that, you can become active on auto forums. So that’s a great way to market yourself and create an expertise in each marketplace by brand or by specific models, parts that are needed, accessories that are popular within the last couple of years, suggestions to people that are looking for things.

Aaron: Absolutely.

Uploading Installation Guides to Your Website

Ashley: Another great tool you can use is to create or upload installation guides to the website. A lot of people feel like a job is really fairly simple, but it can always help them to have a quick installation guide. Not all of these does the dealership need to create. You may already have them in your service department. So if it’s a matter of just a few pages in a PDF, why wouldn’t you upload that to your site for the customer?

Aaron: And I think you just touched upon a really, really important thing, and this is something that we should talk about in another edition. But creating installation guides, basic installation guides, and your service department may actually have those. So your service department may have those. Now we’re working hand in hand with the service department. And this is where the two departments need to team up and need to look at the big picture as a whole and not like A) you’ve got this department over here and you’re responsible for that and you got this department over here. We’re a team. And what can the service department do to help increase part sales. And if they’re creating installation guides, then people are going to be more apt to buy these accessories. And if they can’t do it, if you don’t recommend them doing it on their own, they actually see how big of an undertaking this is, then guess what, they’re coming into the dealership.

Ashley: Right. To get service.

Aaron: So everybody, it’s a win/win for everyone.

Ashley: Yeah, it really is.

Aaron: The service department and the parts department are working together to help be more thought leaders, be more recognized experts, and-

Ashley: And be in each other’s corner. You’re both becoming sales professionals that way.

Aaron: Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s a really, really good point. And I appreciate you bringing that up. And I appreciate you being in again for another-

Ashley: Definitely. Always a pleasure.

Aaron: … edition of the Pit Stop. 10 minutes or less, we’ve actually gone a little longer than 10 minutes. That’s okay because it’s great information. And so we will back again with another edition here soon.

auto parts marketing, ecommerce marketing, auto parts agency, selling parts online

Related content