By Bob Cooper
Now that we are coming into the holiday season, there are a number of things you can do to drive up productivity, sales, customer satisfaction and profits. Each one of the below tips worked wonders for me when I was still in the auto repair business, and they are still effective today for many of our coaching clients, so I know they can work for you as well.
1. End of Year Performance Bonuses – All that you need to do is set a sales goal for the end of the year, and then tell your entire staff that if the goal is reached by December 31st, they will be entitled to a really nice bonus. You can also tell your techs that if they reach certain productivity goals, you will give them a predetermined amount of credit that they can use on their favorite tool truck.
2. Schedule a Holiday Season Charity Drive – Pick a charity (or cause) that is close to your heart, and that will reach the hearts of your ideal customers. Examples would be the US Marine Corps Toy for Tots campaign, food for the homeless, and fundraisers for life-threatening illnesses, local humane societies and the Wounded Warriors Foundation. By raising money for these types of organizations you’ll not only be helping a worthy cause, but you will be connecting with people who may very well be your ideal customers. In my case, we took out full-page ads in local publications notifying our community that we were collecting toys for battered children who were in protected safe houses, and the stream of donors who came through our doors was overwhelming. Nowhere in the ads was there any promotion of our company or services. It was all about the battered children, and how others could help by simply dropping off the much-needed toys.
3. Send the right greeting cards – Identify your top customers, and then rather than sending them one of the typical pre-printed holiday season cards, send them a nice boutique card with a hand-written message inside. All that you will need to do is go to a local card shop that sells really nice cards that are blank inside, and then find the cards that best reflect the holiday season. Then write a short, handwritten message inside that comes from your heart. You have my promise; your cards will be absolute standouts that will send a powerful message to your customers that you really do care about them.
4. Make those phone calls – As we all know, there are certain customers in every business that rise well above all others. You should make a list of those people, and then call them to personally wish them a happy holiday season.
5. Place a ribbon on each computer screen - The reason I did this at the shops I owned was to remind my advisors to wish each and every customer a happy holiday at the point of car delivery. I’m not suggesting a quick “Happy Holidays”, but rather am recommending that your advisors take a minute to pass on a heart-felt message to their customers, and then ask those customers to pass the message on to their families as well.
6. Gifts to key customers – I am not recommending that you give gifts to everyone, but to those customers who are particularly special in many ways. In those cases, you may want to give them a beautiful book that contains images of wildlife, nature, etc. along with a personalized message from you written inside.
7. Give to those who serve – Whether it be to the police and fire departments, or to the doctors and nurses who work in the hospital ICU’s during the holiday season, by giving those who serve a beautiful gift basket of fruit, candies, etc., you will be rewarding those who have earned it through their service, while sending a powerful message about the type of person you are.
If you apply these tips to your business, you have my promise; not only will your sales, customer satisfaction scores and profits go up, but you will be separating yourself from your competitors in ways that will help you build a more profitable, successful business for years to come.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite (www.EliteWorldwide.com), a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses.
By Bob Cooper