Our current supplier for shop supplies just announced a 25% increase on nitrile disposable gloves (Ouch), as well as a 10% increase on wiper blades and metal spin on filters. I have limited to no choice in forwarding these increases to customers. However, I am in the market of seeking other suppliers. What companies do you currently use for such stocked inventory? Any recommendations?
What are your thoughts in asking the techs to supply their own work gloves? Perhaps a non disposable nitrile grip?
By Mail Shark
There’s an old adage in marketing: “features tell and benefits sell.” This is critical to keep in mind when you’re promoting your auto repair shop. If your prospective customers don’t understand the features your shop offers, how they’ll benefit from these features, and why they should consider your shop for their next repair or maintenance service, you may lose them to your competition.
The main constraint you’ll encounter when emphasizing benefits on your direct mail is usually space. There are a lot of important elements an effective direct mail advertisement should contain, all of which are fighting for valuable space. Furthermore, putting too much information on an ad can make it cluttered and hard to read, which could diminish your return. A great solution to this problem is to provide a clear, concise, and organized list of your shop’s features that can easily be scanned by your prospects.
Depending on the available space, there are two ways you can do this. If you have limited space, you can simply list your benefits out in a bulleted list. If you have extra space, you can list them out in conjunction with an icon to help illustrate the benefit and call additional attention to them.
Here’s a starting point to help you develop and build a list of your shop’s features and benefits.
-Are your technicians ASE certified?
-Do you offer a warranty on your work?
-Do you offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee?
-Do you offer any financing options?
-Do you offer any amenities in your waiting room?
-Do you offer any type of shuttle service or loaner car service?
-Do you offer same day service on most repairs?
-Do you offer early drop-off and/or after-hours pick-up?
-Do you offer roadside assistance?
-Do you offer online appointment scheduling?
-Are all repairs approved by your customer before any work is done?
Pro Tip: Make sure you give your list of benefits a header. Something like: “Why Choose XYZ Auto” or “Our Benefits For You.” or “10 Reasons to Choose XYZ”
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
With A/C season fast approaching, just curious about what everyone is offering in terms of pricing, how you buy your refrigerant, do you offer free checks, and do you market A/C service in your area? What equipment like robinair lets say, do you use?
By Mail Shark
After speaking to a number of Euro & Specialty shops recently about executing targeted direct mail campaigns, I’ve realized there isn’t a clear understanding from the shop owners perspective about the capabilities and source of targeted auto lists. I hope to add some transparency to the subject here.
1. What type of targeted auto data is available?
Below is a list of 6 categories available to select specific vehicles to target, with the top 3 being the most widely used. I have also attached a sample report that illustrates an example of data from a list that was run by make, model & year.
4. Fuel Type
5. Auto Class
6. Auto Style
2. Where does this information come from?
This seems to be the point of the most confusion. Targeted auto data is NOT available from any DMV. This is due to what is called the Shelby Act AKA Data Access Act. You can google Shelby Act and read a plethora of information about it on google.
Since the DMV does not release this data, the actual data that is available is compiled using multiple sources. The following list includes the primary sources of where this data is derived from. This list includes but is not limited to:
1. Co-Registration: When someone goes to specific auto service businesses for example, they take down the vin number and car info and then sell this info the list compilers. That is just one example. Over 90% of lists will come from service industries that report the vin info. Info is lacking on new models because they didn’t go to a service provider that releases the data.
2. Responder info: Someone who fills out form from a magazine, surveys, or forms they filled out somewhere, etc.
3. Online insurance quotes
4. Warranty Companies
5. Transactional data: If the consumer has purchased something for their car such as a stereo or running boards, etc.
6. Major Car Clubs of America.
7. Aftermarket Repair Companies
3. Questions to ask your direct mail &/Or List provider before purchasing a targeted vehicle mailing list.
1. Is your list triple verified? This means your list must have come from and have been verified by three sources in order for the record to be included.
2. Is your list NCOA’d? To NCOA a list means to utilize the post office data to validate that the recipient’s name matches their current address. This ensures that the owners of the vehicles haven't moved and are in fact located at the address confirmed.
3. Is your List Shelby compliant?
In summation, I can tell you first hand that not all list providers are created equal. I have personally vetted over 10 of the top list vendors to choose our resource for targeted lists. Therefore, my strong recommendation is to do your research, ask all of the questions listed above and get a list count from more than one vendor to compare.
I hope this helps and if there are any questions, please let message me.
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
Targeted List Example.xls
By Joe Marconi
I think it’s safe to say that few people go to McDonald’s for the fine dining. In fact, McDonald’s struggled a few years back when it introduced healthy choices on its menu. Even with its challenges, McDonald’s is considered one of the most successful business models on the planet. It’s a brand that is so well known for its consistency that it actually promotes comfort in the mind of the consumer—a lesson in marketing that could prove powerful for your business.
Imagine yourself traveling with your family on a highway far from home one night. It’s late, everyone’s hungry, and you’ve been on the road for hours. You’re not familiar with the area but you tell yourself to turn off the next exit and find food. As you drive off the exit, you notice a cluster of stores and bright lights; a good sign for weary travelers. As you approach the stores and bright lights you notice two food establishments: Billy’s Burgers and McDonald’s. The only two restaurants in town. Now you tell me: Which one would you choose? Most would choose McDonald’s.
While there are many reasons why most people would choose McDonald’s over Billy’s Burgers, perhaps the most compelling reason is that McDonald’s has done an amazing job building its brand on the consistency of its service and its products. McDonald’s’ customers know exactly what they are getting, and that communicates comfort. People tend to feel more secure with what they know and what they anticipate.
So, what does McDonald’s have to do with running a repair shop? It’s the marketing lesson of consistency of service. Promoting consistent world-class service with each customer will create an experience that will give customers a compelling reason to return in the future.
Now, most of us are not franchised across the country, and many of us are single location business owners. Our business model is different in that we tend to build relationships over time. While we may not be a national brand, we can still have brand recognition in our community. We can still have a brand that communicates consistency and comfort; a winning marketing strategy.
When a customer walks into your business, it’s not because he or she is hungry and looking to eat a meal. There’s a problem with his or her car, or a service they need to have done. People rely on their cars and leaving their car at your shop can be disrupting to their lives. This causes a level of anxiety within every customer. We need to recognize this and find ways to reduce or eliminate this anxiety. If not, the experience won’t burn a positive impression in their mind, which means they may not be back.
The customer experience is a crucial element to the success of any company. But, do we fully understand the impact of consistency in service at every step of the customer experience? How being consistent can promote a feeling of comfort and security? Your customers must be greeted the same, the phones must be answered the same, car delivery must be the same, and the quality of service and repairs must be consistent. Something as simple as forgetting the lube sticker or not resetting the maintenance light can raise anxiety and make the customer question the quality of your service, which will have a negative effect on the entire experience.
However, the marketing lesson is not only how you define great customer service, but in defining how to deliver consistent, great customer service at every step of the customer experience, time and time again.
This strategy will ease the anxiety within your customer, which will benefit you the next time your customer’s check engine light comes on or when her car needs servicing again. By delivering a consistent, amazing customer experience again and again, you will instill comfort and security in your customer’s mind. This simple strategy increases the odds that the customer will think of you the next time for their automotive needs. And that’s the secret of McDonald’s.
Think about this. A consumer is traveling to work on a Monday morning. She notices that oil change maintenance is on. This consumer has been to your shop, the dealership and the local quick lube in the past. She knows the cars needs servicing. Where will she choose to get her oil change done? Will it be your shop? Will it be the dealership or quick lube? That all depends on what business made the best impression in her mind.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on January 25th, 2019
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