SEMA Member News - May/June 2010

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Help to Shape the Wheel and Tire Industry

Membership in the Wheel & Tire Council affords industry professionals the opportunity to take a leadership role in the marketplace. Learn more about the council and its programs at  

The Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) is comprised of roughly 150 motivated companies that span the tire, wheel and accessory markets. The council is governed by a 17-person Select Committee elected from the general membership. The committee monitors both positive and negative issues that affect and influence the industry, identifying problems and opportunities that the council can address for the common good.

The council convenes a long-range planning meeting every spring as well as open meetings throughout the year, and the WTC reception, held in conjunction with the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, gives the membership an opportunity to get together for an awards ceremony and networking with tire and wheel professionals.

The WTC operates on many levels, maintaining four task groups to achieve its goals. The task forces center on science and technology, education, communications and marketing, and the SEMA Show. To date, the council’s most significant achievements include implementation of the SAE J2530 aftermarket wheel test standard, improved processes for tire-pressure monitoring systems, continuing studies on electronic stability controls, a WTC safety poster, a SEMA/WTC scholarship award and a SEMA Education Institute (SEI) salesmanship training video.

WTC is also in the process of finalizing an audio script in conjunction with the GEARS (Greet, Explore, Assist, Recommend, Sell) program within SEI. SEMA and WTC recognize how integral training is to the success of their members and have invested in the development of a world-class, web-based learning enterprise. SEI’s goal is to provide members with programs and information that will maximize business results. SEI has partnered with software developers, subject-matter experts and professional educators to build the best learning program possible.

The WTC is creating downloadable scripts for its members as part of the council’s continued focus on education. The latest addition is “Understanding Customer Attitudes: How to Handle Sales Objections.” The audio builds on what users of the other SEI/GEARS programs learned in “Introduction to Selling,” which is available through the SEMA website. While the introductory course focused on the basics of selling, the new audio further develops skills in listening to and understanding customers; uncovering their needs, wants, and desires; and then building a relationship with them that leads to helping them find the right product.

The session breaks down customer attitudes into four categories. In “acceptance,” the customer gives a buying sign or indicates that he’s feeling good about everything so far. In “disinterest,” the customer doesn’t seem to care about what’s being offered—usually an add-on product or an upsell situation. In “doubt,” the customer doesn’t believe some or even all of the salesperson’s claims about the product’s benefits. And with “specific objections,” the customer balks at some aspect of the claims being made about the product’s benefits. The audio teaches salespeople how to recognize and use those attitudes in the selling process. The chances of success improve dramatically when salespeople follow the process the instructions provide. After all, customer’s attitudes—positive, negative or indifferent—will crop up somewhere in every sales cycle. If your sales team expects them and practices for them, they’ll be able to handle those attitudes and objections with skill and confidence.

The new SEI/GEARS audio teaches salespeople to think of themselves as advisors to their customers, helping them to find the right products to meet the customer’s needs by being great listeners and learning to ask the right questions. Although extensive product knowledge is critical, product knowledge alone doesn’t make an expert salesperson. Effective selling is a combination of product knowledge, process and positive attitude on the salesperson’s part. Learning those traits is the target of the new audio package, but the SEI/GEARS session is just one of the many benefits that are included with membership in SEMA and the WTC council.

WTC members are among the leaders who guide and direct the wheel and tire industry. Council members are provided with continuous opportunities to network with other SEMA members and industry professionals who are a goldmine of ideas and market-trend information. They get an inside view of how SEMA operates and get the chance to work with SEMA administrators. WTC offers ways for all of its members to improve the industry and their own careers. Don’t let another day go by without making the most of yours.

For more information about WTC and the programs it offers, contact WTC Council Director Zane Clark at