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By Joe Marconi
If there is one thing that doctors and dentists do very well, it's that they book the next appointment for their clientele. I have heard every excuse possible why many auto repair shops don’t do this. But the fact remains that everyone in your shop today will need future service and repairs. And the question is, “Are they coming back to you.”
Another reason for booking the next appointment is that there are times when not all the recommended services were done today. Some were postponed due to budget and prioritizing what’s most important. So, before that customer leaves, make sure the customer commits to a future date to have the work done. After all, why did you recommend it in the first place?
Car delivery is the time to review all the work done today, continue to build the relationship and to inform your customers of upcoming work and services. But don’t leave it to chance that the customer will remember. Be proactive, discuss future dates and put those dates in your calendar.
Lastly, call customers a few days before the appointment as a reminder. If the appointment has to be moved, then move it.
By Ron Ipach
Let's say you're looking at your shop's appointment book, and you could stand to use a few more cars in the shop today. You need to know how to get cars in the shop right away.
I'm going to give you three very quick, easy, and cheap ways to get the phone ringing, and get that appointment book filled:
Idea Number One
It's not earth shattering. It's using email marketing. If you've collected and have current email addresses for your clients, all you have to do is just come up with a terrific offer. Now, remember, we're trying to get them in your shop today. So, we want to give them a great offer, to show up today. Let them know that they're getting this special offer, because you need more cars in the shop today, you need them to respond right away, and you need them to bring their car into your shop today. So, the offer is very, very important. A wishy-washy offer isn't going to get somebody to respond. Come up with a kick-butt offer, and email it to them.
Now, the problem with email is, not everybody looks at their emails every single day, and you don't have emails for everybody in your database. But, hey, it's easy, it's simple, it's cheap, so go ahead and do it. And hopefully, some people are going to see it, and they're going to respond today. For idea number one, if you've sent emails before, then marketing via email shouldn't be a difficult thing to do.
Idea Number Two
This is the way that I love more than anything else, is using a mobile phone and text message marketing your offer to them. So, if you've been collecting and getting permission to send them texts (which you should be doing), you can just simply send a kick-butt offer to them, and get them to respond immediately via text. Now, you can do them one by one, just grab your phone and start texting people individually, or there are some services out there that you can group text everybody, and get them all done in one sweep at a time.
But the important thing to know about text message marketing is, it's a brilliant way to contact people, because 99% of texts get opened. And even more importantly, 95% get opened within the first three minutes [Forbes]. So, you send out a text, people are going to look at it, and they're going to respond within five minutes. Now, if you put together a kick-butt offer, you will get your ringing right away. I love that idea, and on a separate video we'll kind of go into detail on exactly how to do your texting and everything. That's a much larger subject to cover. Certainly not one I'm going to be able to cover here.
Idea Number Three
You're going to hate this idea. I know you're going to hate it, but it's a tool you already have, and most people under-utilize the tool. And that is using one of these. A phone, okay? Just a regular, old-fashioned, home phone, and you start dialing for dollars. I mean, think about this. How many people have been in a shop that declines services? Well, wouldn't it be a great idea to call them up, and just kind of look at all the people that decline services, and come up with a kick-butt offer to get them in the shop today. Let them know:
"Hey, we have a few slots open, I'd like to fill it."
"This is once in a lifetime offer."
"I'm going to give you an offer you can't refuse."
Dial for dollars, and that will get people in shop.
Now, I know you hate it. Let's face it nobody, especially an auto repair shop owner, wants to get on the phone and start cold-calling people. But, hey, you want to put people in your shop today? You've got their phone numbers, you've got their buying history, you've got their unsold service history. Dial for dollars, and people will come to the shop./
Now, those are three quick and easy, down and dirty, inexpensive, almost free ways, to get people into your auto repair shop. Pick the one you want, and do it.
--> Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count)
President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.
For those of you guys whom use a outside book keeper that is not you, your wife, your mom etc what do you pay? How often do they do your books? What qualifications did you look for? Did you set up how you want everything accounted or did you rely on them to choose their methods.
I just opened a shop about 2 months ago. Business was really slow at first, but it's starting to pick up a bit.
My question is, what book or service are you guys using to quote hours on a job. We've been just taking a guess so far, but my mechanic wants to get this service that tells you what amount of hours a job takes, and it's like $500 a month. I just can't afford it right now, since we are not breaking even yet. Would love to know what you would suggest.