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Mudlick Direct Mail customers are CHEAP!


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Just wanted to share my experience with broad offer direct mailers (Mudlick Mail) in this case. We have struggled mightily when we were using broad offers (oil change specials) to attract customers. Generally they would be more rude than my normal clients for whatever reason. Question every little charge beyond their $49.95 oil change (full synthetic with brand specific certification). Besides that on average they would be some of the cheapest customers that ever come through our door. I just had one of our last direct mailers go out in March and I guess we are getting some late adopters coming in. When presented with the inspection report, this customer flat out said, "I don't want to put any money into this car!" Ok... When our ARO is above $1000, attracting these types of clients just doesn't work.

 

If your business model is to escalate your ARO and work with good clients, broad offers are horrible. Just my .02

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We're an european shop as well and hats off to you for carrying an AVO of over 1k, ours is at about 700 and Ive recently (3months) done a a Mudlick mail campaign. I actually read some of your old posts while researching how effective they were on here. Ive had 4 customers so far, one had an old ass Sparta which turns out is a kit car built in the UK from a Datsun, he had a window issue and needed a window switch, I tried to wiggle out of it but he was an AF veteran (he made sure to tell me) and he was over 80 years old so I felt bad, I hunted down the switch and gave him a price of 250.00 installed.... He was shocked how expensive it was. Second customer came in for a coolant leak that his other mechanic couldn't figure out, approved everything 1600+/-, no questions asked. My most recent one actually came in yesterday. 06 CLS550 AMG that had been parked for over 6 months guys brings it in because he wants to sell it, its his second car, he mentions and exhaust noise and CEL I get to looking at the car and its apparent that it was hit hard on the right side, coincidentally the weld all the way around the body of the cat was split clean, only 5 cats left in the country for it and I give him a price of 1600 for the cat and 2 O2's. He starts asking all sorts of questions about why cant we weld it back etc etc, finally says his brother is coming to have a look, brother comes looks and customer calls me 2 hours later telling me he doesn't want to put that money into a var he's selling... The car had a massive audible exhaust leak and CEL, he took the car.

My campaign was targeted at european vehicle owners with a household income of over 50k. My opinion is that customers who look through all their spam mail at mailers/coupons are more frugal, always looking for a deal and that carries over into their cars. I personally don't think I will be running another campaign even though the new account manager at ML emails me every week to approve the artwork that I never requested.

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We're an european shop as well and hats off to you for carrying an AVO of over 1k, ours is at about 700 and Ive recently (3months) done a a Mudlick mail campaign. I actually read some of your old posts while researching how effective they were on here. Ive had 4 customers so far, one had an old ass Sparta which turns out is a kit car built in the UK from a Datsun, he had a window issue and needed a window switch, I tried to wiggle out of it but he was an AF veteran (he made sure to tell me) and he was over 80 years old so I felt bad, I hunted down the switch and gave him a price of 250.00 installed.... He was shocked how expensive it was. Second customer came in for a coolant leak that his other mechanic couldn't figure out, approved everything 1600+/-, no questions asked. My most recent one actually came in yesterday. 06 CLS550 AMG that had been parked for over 6 months guys brings it in because he wants to sell it, its his second car, he mentions and exhaust noise and CEL I get to looking at the car and its apparent that it was hit hard on the right side, coincidentally the weld all the way around the body of the cat was split clean, only 5 cats left in the country for it and I give him a price of 1600 for the cat and 2 O2's. He starts asking all sorts of questions about why cant we weld it back etc etc, finally says his brother is coming to have a look, brother comes looks and customer calls me 2 hours later telling me he doesn't want to put that money into a var he's selling... The car had a massive audible exhaust leak and CEL, he took the car.

My campaign was targeted at european vehicle owners with a household income of over 50k. My opinion is that customers who look through all their spam mail at mailers/coupons are more frugal, always looking for a deal and that carries over into their cars. I personally don't think I will be running another campaign even though the new account manager at ML emails me every week to approve the artwork that I never requested.

 

 

Yep. I actually really dislike their company from an ethical standpoint. I have found that they do things that do not agree with my own beliefs. I had the previous account manager give me advice for finding techs... He told me to pose as a customer and go poach techs from other shops.

 

Any discount or offer will bring in the riff raft. Have we gotten some good clients? Yes. Have had to deal with a large majority of time wasting calls and time wasting customers? Absolutely. I have a new mailer with a different company that leverages our quality and reputation with no broad offer. Its not been a month yet but I don't think I've seen much of a response from it yet. I will probably go and send 1-2 more campaigns and see how it goes. If it does nothing I may pause the direct mail campaigns all together.

 

I also tend to see an older crowd with the mailers as well.

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Do you feel if you changed the offer on the mailer, it would attract better customers? Or do you feel mailers in general, regardless of the offer, tend to bring in lower value customers?

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Do you feel if you changed the offer on the mailer, it would attract better customers? Or do you feel mailers in general, regardless of the offer, tend to bring in lower value customers?

 

 

I feel that in my market there is very little response from direct mailers other than from the price shoppers or the older generation which are just not used to paying what we charge for our services. My marketing is a weird one.

 

I learned a long time ago that you cannot be everything to everyone. When you market to the masses and target price, you get exactly what the advertising is supposed to do: Bring in people looking for that offer. If this is contrary to your business model, then it's a waste of time.

 

It would impossible to all the explain all the different marketing strategies in this post, so let me say that in order to get the customers you want, you need to clearly define what your profile customer looks like and create your marketing and advertising to target these people.

 

Define your brand by your culture and a world class customer experience. If you define your business by price, at any range, you will get exactly that...price shoppers.

 

 

Agreed. Odd thing is that nothing about our mailer was particularly screaming "WE ARE CHEAP" other than our intro offer. With my experience now, oil change offers will ALWAYS bring in the wrong customer. It might be the years of programming from the industry to offer these discounts have created a trigger in the cheap minds of these folks. Either way I will never offer an oil change special again.

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"...in order to get the customers you want, you need to clearly define what your profile customer looks like and create your marketing and advertising to target these people."

 

(said to myself in my own mind) "The first step to getting help is admitting you don't have all the answers."

 

Without repeating all the same, tired old generic lines, how do you define your customer profile? After 10 years in business I can't tell you that I know that. I mean I know my customer is the person who has two things, a car and a wallet and only one of them is broke. I build a good report with my customers but I don't get in-depth personal with them to know their income levels, their familial status or such. You would think the best customer would be the young professional with a family so they would need to repair their few years old car instead of buying new, but my best customer this month so far was an older guy, doesn't seem all there and works a minimum wage job. He approved >$2000 worth of work. I typically see him 2x a year and for nearly $1000 each time. Meanwhile the couple, she's a nurse and he's a real estate professional (high end real estate) they drive junk and refuse to put much money into them, they're always" broke.

 

So with eager interest in getting your input, how do you determine who your customer is, who your best customer is? Thank you.

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As an intelligent customer who can afford a luxury car, I would be figuring the shop that runs a discount coupon “needs” additional business. And they won’t make it on the discount oil change, so they need to find more to fix. And will have to charge more to make up for the initial discount. So I disagree with the discount coupon, going against the grain of EVERY salesperson trying to sell me marketing strategies. Just sayin’.

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My next mailer won't have any coupons or discounts. This week will be the last week I have coupons on my website, too. I run too nice of an operation and my customer satisfaction is too high to be giving away money or attracting bottom feeders or giving money away. Here lately, a majority of my new customers say they hear so many great things about the way we do business. None have said they heard how cheap our prices were or anything about specials :/

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Guys, this is all neat and nice but some of us run an all makes/models type of operation. We get all types of customers. There are some customers who don't want anything more than an oil change and we'll gladly work on their vehicles. I've done Mudlick and had some failure and some success. Stories in this forum are from people who can bring up one bad example and associate every new customer who comes in because of a coupon as a cheap customer not worthy of your time.

 

Love Marconi's work here but I don't agree a bit with some of what he writes. My shop is in a high traffic suburb and lately my car counts have lagged. We're doing all we can to help our customers. We inspect vehicles, we communicate honestly with our customers, we show them what we find. Then, we give them the estimated repair price. They can say yes, they can say no, they COULD come back if they say NO today. But if I treat them like they're beneath me because I don't like their decision then I'm no better than the folks who have helped give our industry a bad name. The more chances I have at the plate the more hits I'll have.

 

I know other shop owners who have used Mudlick and have car count increases as a result. This is a numbers game for some of us. I want new customers and if I can acquire them with an oil change offer that can help establish a long-lasting and trusting relationship then that is what I want.

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I don't think anyone that has participated in this thread so far would ever consider treating a customer like they are beneath them, even if it was a cheap customer or someone on a budget. Some businesses focus on high car count/low margins, others focus on high margins/low car count. Neither is right or wrong.

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Direct mail coupons definitely scream "we are slow and need work" in my opinion. There are better ways to increase car count. The way that works best for us is to ask happy customers for referrals at check out. We are in a college town so my version is something like this: "Thanks Ed how's business?" "We've been swamped but with the kids gone for the summer it should relax a bit. We are running a bit low on waste oil due to the cold spring, if you know anyone that needs an oil change send them in we can probably do it while they wait". So when someone comes in and says "hi Mrs. Smith is my brothers cousins sister in law" we'll change the oil, inspect the car, and unless something is unsafe just plant the seed for future work. Gaining lifetime customers is our priority, milking everybody every time they come in doesn't work n small town USA.

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I'm also going door to door to businesses and working in Chamber functions to network for more business. My community is slowing while it's growing if that makes sense. Business is down everywhere. My vendors and competitors tell me. I want more cars. I'm going to get more cars and like the SwagMaster we aren't out to milk anyone but fix safety issues and plant seeds. The ONLY thing I do know is that doing nothing will result in the same. Gotta try whatever I can afford to get car count up.

 

And I can't for the life of me understand why sending mailers with offers screams 'we're slow'. Every shop, especially the big shops does it here. The public sees this, thinks about them, and goes there. If anything sending offers screams 'we want your business and to get you to come in how about this...?'

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
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      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
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