October 22, 2021

Her Right Rear Tire, Part 2

About a month ago, I wrote about my wife’s flat right rear tire and how I decided which repair shop to take it to.

To make a long story short, I had three options and considered several factors:

Ultimately, I chose the place that was closest to my house (a Firestone shop) because it was a small repair and most convenient for me, but... that wasn’t the point of the message.

The point of the message was to illustrate how many things besides price I considered in making my decision.

Fast forward a week from the repair, and guess what?

My wife’s right rear tire started going flat again.

Had the place that fixed the tire done a bad job?


My wife had fresh nail in her tire.

So I took it back to the same place as last time, and for the same reasons: it was a small repair and they were the most convenient.

Here’s where it gets interesting...

They checked the tire and informed me that they couldn’t patch it because the tire already had been patched once. They said my only option was to replace it.

Furthermore, since the tire was fairly worn down, they couldn’t just replace the one because our car is ”all wheel drive”.

Apparently one new tire with three worn down ones is a Bad Thing™ on an AWD vehicle.

I asked:

“How much for four brand new tires?”

To which the guy replied, “About $900.”

I thanked him for his time, told him I’d think about it, and left.

Again, I was faced with the decision of which repair shop to go to, but this time the circumstances were meaningfully different.

There were a few new things going through my mind:

Unlike the simple tire patch situation where convenience was the most important factor in my decision, this time trust and reciprocity were the leading factors.

So I made an appointment at Sullivan.

When I brought the car in, they confirmed exactly what the guy at Firestone told me... the tire couldn’t be patched and I’d need all new tires because it is an AWD vehicle. Even the price he quoted was roughly the same.

I told him to go ahead and sat down to wait.

At the end of the day, I had four new tires that cost me about $900.

In other words, exactly what I would have gotten at Firestone.

But what’s fascinating about this to me is the difference in how I would have felt had Firestone done it instead of Sullivan.

With Firestone, I would have:

With Sullivan, I was:

Ostensibly, I would have received the same deliverable from either place. But how I felt about it would have been significantly different.

Like my first “right rear tire” message, this story is meant to illustrate how nuanced a buying decision can be.

I got two flat tires and made two different decisions, based on the specifics of each circumstance.

Here’s the thing...

If you think that your ideal buyers are only concerned with getting the best price, you are almost certainly overlooking a few meaningful factors that you could use to differentiate yourself from your competition.

Don’t know what those factors are?

Ask your past clients.