OEM or Aftermarket Parts—How Can You Best Advise Your Customers?
by Sara Eisenberg
We’ve covered how to talk with your customers about repairs and
maintenance procedures—but how do you talk with them about the
parts needed for either repairs or maintenance? There are OEM
parts, high-quality aftermarket parts, lower quality aftermarket
parts, refurbished parts and everything in between. It can be
overwhelming for customers to decide what to use—and it’s your
job as an advisor to help them make the right choice.
The most common considerations when choosing parts are
availability, price and quality (not necessarily in that order).
Price tends to be the deciding factor for customers, but cheaper
parts are not necessarily worse, just as more expensive parts are
not necessarily better. You know that parts can vary by brand and
by vehicle, and some parts are manufactured to need replacement
while others are manufactured to last. Much of your knowledge is
based on experience with parts manufacturers as well as the
different parts that need replacement. That experience is
invaluable to your customers, so share it.
It’s important that you communicate to your customers the options
and outcomes of buying quality parts versus less expensive parts.
With pricing, for example, it can be helpful to use the “good,
better, best” pricing strategy. Customers appreciate having a
choice and it gives them a basis for comparison. Three-tiered
pricing gives your shop credibility because it demonstrates that
you are equipped to deliver high-end parts and services and also
allows you to effectively compete against discount shops.
Explain the differences, whether it is materials, where the part
is made, the brand name associated with the part or anything
else. Make your recommendation and explain why you are
recommending that part—perhaps it’s a part that wears out every
few years regardless of the manufacturer, so there’s no big
difference to go with aftermarket over OEM. Or perhaps it’s an
OEM part that you’ve seen fewer issues with than the comparable
aftermarket part. Be sure to define both verbally and in writing
the different quality results and warranty periods.
It is ultimately up to the customer to decide what quality and
price level they are comfortable with. Strive for advising and
educating your customers about parts, services and the
maintenance intervals needed to keep their vehicle in top shape
and you will become a trusted resource they turn to whenever a
question arises. That’s a customer for life!
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