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Hi everyone. I have a marketing idea I want to run past you all. I'm thinking about a Referral and Review program. How it will work is when someone refers a friend or someone leaves a review about their experience at our shop, they will be entered into a drawing which will be done live and saved on our Facebook page. Drawing will be for something like $250 cash for 2 different customers. Drawing held early December for extra Christmas money. What do you all think?

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I would avoid cash prizes. You are essentially buying referrals and reviews which on the surface may sound nice but you are incentivizing clients not because they like you and would have given you a referral otherwise. I would be a bit more creative and maybe get some of the other businesses in your community involved. For instance go to a nice local restaurant and work out a deal with them where you purchase $100 gift card for 50-75% with the explanation that you are going to co promote their business. Great idea though, I like it.

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Also, Facebook has changed a lot of their rules, so you might need to look into the fine print. I know that at one point both Google & Facebook were not allowing you to "pay" for reviews.. They saw it as bribery, but there are other ways to do the same thing, within their fine print. Ex. a shop does a raffle for anyone that had an appointment/service in that 30 day time frame. So, it encourages setting up appointments in the shop, and then you can post the raffle winner on FB.

Just a thought!

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Hydro, Lets face it , we want good referrals not the turds. I have 50 customers that I call my " Centers of Influence", I go see them, take a business card and write on the back one free oil change. I tell them, John your business is very valuable to me , and you and me have always been on the same page , 2 way street, John I want you to think of a friend you can give this oil change too, someone that you think would appreciate me and I would appreciate them, "the 2 way street". Bingo, you will get a good one. Good luck

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  • 2 weeks later...

Most owners don't really understand the importance of referrals - nor how to get them. First of all, nothing good happens by accident. You've got to have a system to generate referrals.


One of the most important parts is to create an instant reward. It doesn't have to be big either. But you can't use some 'discount' later... or something in the future, and expect it to work. It's got to be instant. It doesn't have to be big.


Think about it this way... ever try to train an animal? You won't get anywhere unless you're ready to reward the proper behavior and the reward has to be NOW.


Above that, you've got to give the customer the 'tools' to create the referral. You can't do your job unless you've got the right tools. Same thing with generating a referral.


I work with a shop that generates 25+ new customers a month. But then... it's not just the new customer. The back up after that is a series of direct mail letters to KEEP the new customer. Crash and burn is no way to grow a business.


Hope this helps!


Matthew Lee
"The Car Count Fixer"

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When a new customer is checked in, we ask if they were reffered to us. We send a a custom thank you card that is addressed and personalized by hand to the person that reffered them. It includes two ten dollar off coupons for the wings place next door. I pay 8$ per coupon and only pay for the ones that are redeemed. A thank you card with some candy explaining our free top off policy is included with oil changes.

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Perfect! I like the strategy. The only thing missing... or you didn't mention... is how you encourage customers to send customers and make referrals. I also like the 'hand written' card. It's so much more personal. In fact, do you realize that when it comes to those small little 'thank-you' cards, you can actually dominate your customer's mailbox! Why?? Because on average, most people receive between 0 and 3 of those small cards a year! They just stand out in the mail... and always get opened and read!


Good one! There's so much to learn from what you've posted... every shop owner should read this!


Hope this helps!

Matthew Lee

"The Car Count Fixer"

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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.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      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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