Use the tools in your toolbox

By Napoleon Tetreault

In the age of specialization and our climate of doing less with more, are you taking full advantage of the tools available to you in order to achieve your goals?  

Whether you are the owner, parts manager, salesman, janitor or any other person in any business, we are all tasked with doing more with less. We want more sales, more margin, more customers buying more stuff, more impressions and more likes — all with less employees, with less payroll, with less time and the list goes on and on. So, how do we accomplish all these goals with less resources? We use the concept of leverage. I’ve written about the concept of leverage in past blogs, and there is no doubt bountiful information in the business world on that topic, so the focus for today will be on leveraging your resources in the parts department.

Leverage the time you spend with the customer. Some customers come in and grab what they need and leave. Some customers need to be shown and sold to. Wholesale accounts are not very profitable, whereas the new rider who comes in off the street could be. It is important to recognize what type of customer you have and how much time or effort to invest into that customer. That retired guy who comes in, grabs a coffee and hangs out for an hour — he needs to be greeted and welcomed, but don’t neglect to pick up a call because he is deep into a war story. Spend your time with the customer who can give you the greatest return on the transaction.

Leverage your partners’ programs. Most of us use dating programs to stock our stores with the products that we sell. This locks in deals, gets us inventory that we plan on selling and gives our customers some selection. This is an example of leveraging your vendors. Are you taking full advantage of the programs they have to offer? I have personally seen one program very underutilized and that program is the Drop Ship program offered by Tucker Rocky Distributing. Imagine this: You have a customer that you have been working with for the past 30 minutes selling her a jacket only to find out that the color she really wants is not in stock in your store. Traditionally our response would be, “No problem, I will order it and it will be here tomorrow for you to take more precious time out of your day and come back to pick up.” She will most likely respond with “Let me think about it” or “I will let you know,” but what she is really saying is, “Why would I do that if I can just order it myself and have it shipped to my door for probably less money once I shop around?” In this instance we can offer to drop ship the product direct from your vendor to her house. It locks in and finalizes the sale (once you hit submit you don’t have to receive it, tag it and wait for your customer to pick it up). Yes, it will cost you shipping, but the benefit of making a profitable sale outweighs the risk of losing it. If you are not using this program, you are not fully leveraging your vendors.

Leverage everything that you can. Do you still have snowmobile jackets on the wall in June? That is probably not your best way to leverage your limited floor space. Are you using your showroom for storage instead of properly merchandised product? Again, there is cheaper square footage for storage, use your showroom for visually appealing displays for your customers to be attracted to. Are you keeping your help busy when they show up? Put that part timer to work so that stuff will be complete when you need it to be. There are a myriad of ways in which you can use leverage to benefit your business. Your imagination is the only limit!

This concept is not new and you are all familiar with it. Take a moment to ensure you are leveraging what is available to you in your circle of influence. As always, if you have an experience or example that we can all benefit from please comment below. Happy Selling!

Napoleon Tetreault is a sales representative with Tucker Rocky, an aftermarket PG&A distributor in the powersports industry. He works with powersports retailers on merchandising, profitability and management of the parts department as well as the education of dealership personnel. His experience includes being the GM of the largest indoor motocross facility in the US, owner/operator of a regional distribution company and current role with Tucker Rocky. He can be reached at:


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