By Joe Marconi
First, let me state that you need to treat every customer as if they are royalty. However, your existing customers have a relationship with you. They trust you and return to you for a number of reasons.
The key to growing a business is to get NEW customers to return. Survey after survey shows that customer retention greatly improves with each vehicle visit. So, you need to give your new customers a compelling reason to return. Plus, you need a marketing plan that reaches out to your customers to keep your business top of mind.
What marketing strategies to you have that makes a great impression on new customers and makes them wanting to return?
By Joe Marconi
There is a large repair shop in the mid Atlantic states (they want to remain anonymous) that just formed an alliance with a local new car dealer to service their used cars. I will change some of the details; a request from the shop owner. But, the story brings up a few interesting facts. And, the big news is: This shop is profiting from this relationship!
The shop owner was approached by the GM of the dealer to service some of the used cars they have been taken in on trade and want to sell. The dealer techs are not trained and not familiar with the different car lines, being a Chrysler-only dealership. Due to the shortage of cars these days, the dealer is taking in on trade, all makes and models and wants to sell the used cars. And we all know profitable used cars are.
The repair shop performs a multipoint, which they get paid for, and then they do many of the services and repairs, which includes tires, brakes, wheel alignments, oil changes, air and cabin filters, wipers and other simple services. Most of the cars are newer cars, and the work can be done by a GS tech.
I don't know the pricing, sorry. But, I am interested to see where this goes.
Imagine, a new car dealer asking an independent repair shop to service and repair their used car fleet???
By Joe Marconi
One of the lessons from COVID is for repair shops to have a strong cash reserve. Shop owners need to budget their money each week, and allocate money to different bank accounts, such as payroll, operating expenses, taxes, etc.
Another account I would recommend is to have a Cash Reserve account, where money is allocating each week, and not touched unless their is a emergency, such as an economic downturn and or if an economic emergency occurs in your area or with your company.
While no one could have predicted the affects from COVID 19, I think we can all agree that being cash strong is a viable strategy.
You should have anywhere from 3 to 6 months of covered expenses in a separate bank account. I know, I know....it's a lot of money. Start slow and build each week. Anything set aside is better than nothing.
Of course, to have a reserve means that you need to have the profit to put away. Right? Well, another reason to know your numbers, revisit your pricing and make sure your labor rate is enough to support your payroll, operating expenses and have enough left over to set aside money for the unexpected.
Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
By Joe Marconi
The strength of your company relies on many factors, and one of the most important is having a great set of systems and procedures in place. Systems and procedures bring consistency to your customer service, and to your repairs. While I am not a fan of creating a company with employee clones, having everyone in your company on the same page, sharing common goals is crucial for overall success.
In terms of selling your company, having systems and procedures in place is an advantage when potential buyers are interested in your company.
Please remember, it doesn't matter where you are in your business career, you are never too young to start planning for your exit strategy. And, perhaps equally important is that by preparing your business for sale will actually help build a stronger and more profitable business.
Stayed tuned for more tips on Creating Your Exit Plan.
Kevin Syed, Owner of Integrity 1st Automotive, 8 Locations, Dallas Fort Worth TX, grew up with an entrepreneurial father and was always encouraged to lead. Having successfully earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from University at Buffalo, Kevin went on to become a franchisee with Getty Petroleum / British Petroleum service centers for the better part of a decade in New York City. After gaining the knowledge, experience, and funding required to produce his own operation, Kevin went on to operate his own independent shops in New York. Kevin sought to find a new place to call home with his wife and twin girls; he longed for the community values and environment of the South and so his family made the decision to move to Texas. Integrity 1st Automotive was then born in Texas and Kevin has scaled his business to multiple locations across the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex. When he’s not working, Kevin enjoys local car rallies (e.g. Lamborghini Club Dallas), traveling, and hunting. Listen to Kevin's other Episodes HERE
Carl Hutchinson, Owner, Complete Automotive, 2 locations, Springfield, MO has been in the car industry since 1982, but has worked on vehicles long before that time. He has a passion for engineering, for understanding how vehicles operate, and how to repair a customer’s concern. Earlier in his career, Carl started working at a GM Dealership, then went to work at independent repair facilities as a technician and eventually became a service advisor. Carl’s experience in the automotive industry led him to his current position as co-owner with Maureen Hutchinson of Complete Automotive in Springfield MO., where he works every day to provide high-quality, valuable service to all customers. Carl is an Alumni with Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield MO Campus. He currently sits on the Automotive Advisory Board with Ozark Technical Community College, a member of South East Rotary, and a member of the Springfield Midwest Auto Care Alliance chapter. Carl has his Master ASE Certification, L1 and Service Advisor certification and is an AMI Graduate. Listen to Carl’s previous episodes HERE Kenny Wedow, Owner, Fine Tuned Auto, 2 Locations, Broomfield and Erie CO knows cars. A natural talent even at the young age of 17, he pursued it auto repair in shop classes in school then slipped right into the work field. Working for dealerships such as Saturn, and Nissan, as well as other independent shops, has afforded Wedow with extensive and well-rounded education. More importantly, before Wedow branched off to open the doors of Fine Tuned Auto in 2013, he already learned the importance of patient diligence. Many dealerships and independent auto shops can default to make generalizations about the problems with your car, sometimes not always seeing the things that really might put you in danger on the road. The patience Wedow has to pull everything apart if need be to find the root answers makes him unique in his field. It is a quality that got him promoted to foreman at a Nissan dealership when he was only twenty-three. It wasn’t that the six technicians under him weren’t experienced, in fact, some of them had worked considerably longer than Wedow. However, his attention to detail and follow-through put him above and beyond. Listen to Kenny's other episodes HERE
Key Talking Points
Building Trust- Focus on relationships, not transactions. Reviews, book of business, referrals etc. People always like to try something new, wow them. Make customers feel better- don’t fake it. Location Location Location- be selective. Walk-ins at an easy location will increase with oil changes etc. First chance to gain customers for life. First impression marketing- Kenny uses poker chips with his information to attract new customers. Signage, uniforms, customer waiting area etc elevate the professionalism. The image plays a huge role in sales, female-friendly bathroom/lobby, cleanliness, smell in the waiting lobby, convenience etc. Be mindful of female customers, educate and simplify. Direct mail, google ads, geofencing- who is your clientele? What advertisement is right for your area? Once you have multiple growing businesses- what is your year after year retention? Why do people choose certain careers/trades? What is the reason? Look at different industries and see what they provide. Focus on the relationship, not the transaction Be involved in the community Connect with the show:
Aftermarket Radio Network
Subscribe on YouTube
Visit us on the Web
Follow on Facebook
Become an Insider
Buy me a coffee
Check out today's partners:
This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com
Are you seeing auto shops in your area get hundreds of 5-star Google reviews and are you feeling left behind because your shop only has a few?
Hey look, Broadly is your answer to getting more online reviews. With more reviews, your business will rank higher in search results — and that means more customers coming into your shop every day. Broadly helps you automatically request reviews so that your customers can promote your business with just one click. When you immediately ask for a review after service, when the experience is still fresh in their mind, you’re more likely to get a 5-star positive review. Plus, asking for feedback makes your customer feel valued and more connected to your business. Isn’t that what you want a connected customer? See how Broadly can help grow your auto shop. Visit www.getbroadly.com/chat to learn more.
Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio