Ted Turner said it best, “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise”. As summer gives way to fall, marketing becomes more important. Many shops slow down on their marketing as business slows down. This is exactly the time to invest in continued marketing. It’s an opportunity to market while your competition is not. Many shops do reactionary marketing because they don’t have a formal plan. This type of hit and miss approach can be a waste of precious marketing efforts and dollars.
Developing a personalized marketing plan will be well worth your time and effort. About 80 % of auto retail dollars are spent at 20 % of the available shops. The reason is these shops understand exactly who their clients are and they market to those clients with a very organized and focused approach.
The first step to a great marketing plan is to know your target market. You can begin by using your operating system to run reports that reveal your client base. Look at things like who has spent more than $500.00 with you in the last year. What kind of vehicle do they drive? Where do they live? What is their zip code? If you are active in your shop you can probably think of ten to twenty great clients off the top of your head. Have your service advisors put together a list of their favorite clients too. Assemble all the information into a master list. Look at this list and determine what these clients have in common. What type of vehicles do they drive? Why do they use your shop? Use the information to develop a survey that asks the questions you want answers to. Begin targeting your specific clients.
Here is an example of a survey to get you started, but it’s important to tailor it to your shop:
Dear Valued Customer,
Here at “your shop’s name”, we are constantly striving to provide the very best customer service. If you could take a moment and share your input, we would greatly appreciate it.
What is the most important thing you consider when deciding where you will get your vehicle repaired?
Professional, friendly staff
What radio station, tv channel, and social media do you prefer?
TV channel ___________
Radio Station _________
Social Media __________ (examples, Facebook, Twitter, Google +)
Have you or would you be comfortable referring family or friends to our shop and why?
Name the top 3 most important things you expect from a repair facility?
If you would like, we can add your name to our in-house mailing list. From time to time, we have specials for our customers only. This information is for our use only.
Name and address _________________________________________
Email address _____________________________________________
What could we do to improve our business and make your experience better?
Thank you for taking some of your valuable personal time in order to help us understand your needs better. If you have any other input, or if I can be of any assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to ask.
“Your Shop’s Name”
You and your staff should only give the survey to good clients. You do not need any input from undesirable folks. My next article will cover how to use this information to develop an action plan and ACCELERATE YOUR SUCCESS !!!