By Mark Johnson
Shop owners, if you are having problems with cash flow due to the Coronavirus or even if you are not feeling the effects yet. It is always a good idea to make preparations to have enough cash on hand.
With that said, the government has allocated 8 Billion to assist business owners affected by COVID-19 by offering SBA disaster loans and I am helping shop owners with filing their applications. Please see my article for more info.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
We're eager to do whatever we can to help shop owners sort through the challenges that have come along with the Coronavirus, so have decided to host a complimentary webinar this Thursday (3/19) from 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM Pacific Time.
During this special session industry leaders Bob Cooper and Kevin Vaught will be sharing some tips on what you can do to protect your employees, your customers and your business.
Join us and you will learn...
- What to tell your customers and why
- How to better protect your employees and your customers
- How to maintain your car counts & sales during these difficult times
- How to better control your expenses
- How to ensure you are able to weather any financial storm
Seating is limited, so click on the following registration link to reserve your spot today: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6233489164748174347
By Mail Shark
This informative article discusses digital vehicle inspections and the importance of using it to attract new customers. With contributions from Chris Cloutier from Autotext.me & Tony Mercury from AutoShop Solutions, there is a lot of great info here.
If your shop is considering, or has already invested in Digital Vehicle Inspection (DVI) technology, you clearly understand the tremendous value and benefits that DVI provides. However, the vast majority of the general public does not understand what it is or how it benefits them. After speaking to several shop owners who conveyed to me that their customers have no idea what DVI is when they come into their shops, we decided to ask a random sampling of 104 consumers ages 18+ who all own and have had vehicle repairs within the past 12 months:
“Do you know what a Digital Vehicle Inspection is in relation to getting your vehicle serviced or repaired?”
I’m sure that doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Like many technologies, consumer education simply just takes time. This lack of consumer awareness is a problem for shop owners who are currently utilizing DVI technology and want to use this powerful technology to capitalize on its ability to differentiate their shop from competitors.
How Can DVI Differentiate Your Shop?
Implementation of DVI technology, from a marketing perspective, can help position your shop as professional and highly educated by using the most advanced technology to service and repair your customers’ vehicles. It just may be the most powerful tool at your disposal to create and position your shop as TRUSTWORTHY.
How DVI Creates Trust & Why It’s So Important?
The primary benefit of DVI technology, from a customer prospective, is that it provides them with full transparency to their repairs/services needed. Whenever you bring transparency to what is generally a non-transparent process, it adds a tremendous amount of TRUST.
Being able to convey that potential customers can TRUST your shop is arguably the most critical component to attract them to your shop and, of course, to maintain current customer relationships.
Two out of three U.S. drivers simply don’t trust auto repair shops based on the findings from AAA, with the top reason for the lack of trust being “Recommending Unnecessary Services.”
Top Reasons Why U.S. Drivers Distrust Repair Shops:
According to AAA
This is further echoed by some of the latest consumer research from the Mintel 2019 AUTO SERVICE, MAINTENANCE, AND REPAIR market research report. When asked why they chose their auto service/ repair location over the previous 12 months, beyond shop location and being a returning customer, the top reason reported by respondents was TRUST. The TRUST factor came in above both quality and cost.
Just think about that for a second. We know that the primary reason consumers don’t trust auto repair shops is due to the feeling that they have been recommended unnecessary repairs. We also know that trustworthiness is one of the top factors in determining which auto repair shop they have chosen. Therefore, If these same prospective customers understand that your use of DVI can eliminate these concerns, it would undoubtedly give you a major advantage over your competition. For some thoughtful industry insight, we reached out to Chris Cloutier; DVI guru, successful multi-shop owner and founder of autotext.me, a leading auto repair shop technology software provider that offers DVI technology and many more digital features.
What Does Chris Have to Say?
“As a multi-shop owner, I can attest that many customers are indeed very wary about being charged for unnecessary repairs and have a need for trust to be established, which the DVI greatly helps to solve. For example, the Digital Vehicle Inspection service offered by autotext.me can include multiple pictures and short videos, which serve to educate customers on overall vehicle health and repair needs and recommendations.
Chris Cloutier Autotext.me
By pulling back the curtain and enabling customers to understand the “why” behind recommended repairs, repair shops are able to boost customer confidence as well as increase their Average Repair Order (ARO) if the DVI is properly executed.
A new feature we recently launched, Customer Insights, drills down even further to provide shops with helpful analytics on DVI customer engagement. Shops will be able to see if and when a picture or video was viewed along with whether a video was viewed in its entirety. autotext.me clients can leverage this data to determine how to communicate better with customers and establish best practices for DVI documentation by technicians.
Think about the power a service advisor will now have before talking to a customer. “Mrs Jones, I see you didn’t look at the pictures of your brake pads that are metal to metal. Could you please open those up for me?”
Vehicle inspections are not just a tool to increase your ARO. The ARO increase that shops might anticipate is from one thing only, and that is an informed client. If your client is not being fully informed by your inspection, wouldn’t you like to know?”
Now, the question becomes “what can you do to capitalize on your use of DVI technology to attract new customers?” The answer is, to deploy a strategic and aggressive multi-channel marketing approach.
Direct Mail + A Multi-Channel Marketing Approach is the Answer
First, let’s take a look at why Direct Mail is one of the most powerful tools you can use to promote DVI, followed up with some additional insight from Tony Mercury, Digital Marketing Expert from Auto Shop Solutions, for his perspective, thoughts, and suggestions to help you jump-start your shop’s digital marketing efforts in order to promote your DVI as part of your multi-channel marketing approach.
Why Should You Be Using Direct Mail to Promote DVI?
Direct Mail Is a Trusted Marketing Method
For starters, choosing to utilize direct mail as a marketing platform will ensure your message gets delivered in a method that is also trusted by consumers.
MarketingSherpa, a research and training institute and division of MECLABS, the largest independent research facility, asked 1,200 consumers: “In general, which type of advertising channels do you trust more when you want to make a purchase decision? Please sort the options into ‘Ads I trust’ and ‘Ads I don’t trust that much’ categories.” Below are the results for the “Ads I trust” category.
The results speak for themselves; 76% of the consumers involved in the survey trust direct mail when it comes to making a purchasing decision.
Now, let’s take a look at some important considerations when developing your Direct Mail Marketing strategy.
Consistency is Key
Being consistent with your message is going to be critical in order to educate your prospective customers on the benefits of DVI. We already know there is a lack of consumer awareness, which is why consistency is of utmost importance here. Ensure your message is delivered consistently and across all channels you are using to market your shop.
Don’t Just Say You Offer DVI, Explain the Features & Benefits
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to merely mention that you offer Digital Vehicle Inspections. It’s critical that the ad copy to support your DVI marketing Campaign gives customers a clear & concise explanation of what a DVI is and, most importantly, conveys how they will benefit from it. Just saying you offer Digital Video Inspections alone without additional context will mean nothing to a consumer and be a wasted effort.
Strategic Ad Copy
In addition to promoting DVI to create trust, you should also be thinking about what else you can include on your direct mail, plus all of your other marketing to support your initiative and on all of your other marketing for that matter, that will support your initiative to position your shop as Trustworthy.
One easy way to do this is by simply telling your targeted prospective customers that they can trust you. According to Roger Dooley, author and expert on the subject of Neuromarketing, “Researchers found that placing the following statement at the end of an ad for an auto service firm caused their trust scores to jump as much as 33%:
“You can trust us to do the job for you.”
This one simple phrase caused consumers to rate the auto service firm in this ad higher in all categories:
Tie It Together With a Strategic Testimonial
Ask one of your Happy Customers for a testimonial that includes their experience with your shop’s DVI process and how they trust your shop because of this process. This will add credibility and give your prospects feedback from a point of view they can relate to.
Choose The Correct Direct Mail Piece(s)
Choosing the right direct mail piece to convey your message is important. You may want to consider using a larger Jumbo 8.5″ × 10.5″ Postcard or even a 10.5″ × 17″ Tri-Fold Brochure to your direct mail program. These larger pieces will give you more space for strategic ad copy to promote DVI as well as other services that a smaller card may not allow for due to size constraints.
That said, you can still use a standard 5.5″ × 10.5″ or comparable size postcard to do the job for you as well. Just make sure that you have the right ad copy. You don’t want your card to be too cluttered with content that it makes the piece illegible or too busy that it becomes confusing.
A Multi-Channel Marketing Approach
Tony Mercury Autoshop Solutions
As we mentioned above, due to the lack of consumer awareness of DVI, the use of a multi-channel marketing approach is critical with this type of consumer education marketing campaign. To add some additional insight from a digital marketing perspective, we asked Tony Mercury from Autoshop Solutions, a premier digital marketing agency for auto repair shops, for his thoughts.
For an effective educational campaign, Tony suggests that you create a short but concise video to show the DVI in action to demonstrate its benefits and the value it provides to prospective clients.
Once you have that video, he recommends using that content on your website, Facebook page and, if you’re using it, Instagram. In addition to the video, Tony suggests accompanying it with a few paragraphs of strategic content to not only support your message, but also benefit from an SEO perspective, and you’ll be on your way to a successful campaign.
Using direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to drive prospects online to watch your informative DVI video, according to Tony. He suggests using a QR Code on your direct mail piece/s that, when scanned, immediately opens up your DVI video and allows prospective customers to view it on demand. Just make sure to instruct your prospects with a clear Call to Action if you want to ensure they scan the QR code or go to your website/social platforms to learn more.
You can also access by clicking the link below or downloading the attached PDF. https://www.themailshark.com/resources/articles/digital-vehicle-inspections-your-auto-repair-shops-marketing-secret-weapon/ Digital Vehicle Inspections Your Auto Repair Shops Marketing Secret Weapon.pdf
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It's that time of year again folks! VisionKC is coming up right around the corner.
And that means that the annual ASOG dinner is ramping up its registration efforts!
The dinner is open for all to attend, regardless of membership to ASOG and all proceeds go to the ASOG scholarship efforts!
ASOG will bring another lucky shop owner with 3 years or less in business to VisionKC. This will be the 3rd scholarship the group has provided, but it certainly won't be the last. We look forward to providing scholarships to events all over the country, and working to ensure scholarship winners are given the tools and paths needed to succeed.
Jacob and Lacey Bunyard were last year's winners - when we met Jacob and Lacey things were tough! It wasn't just the business that was suffering, through the suffering of the business, Jacob and Lacey's family...their children were paying the true price.
Today, Jacob and Lacey, through the connections and offerings presented at VisionKC have turned the business from a significant liability into a resource which provides a good life for their family.
We've also offered scholarships to the greatest automotive show in the south east, ASTE by The Independent Garage Owners Of NC and seen tremendous growth of that shop owner as well.
We ask that you, as shop owners, and part of the automotive family join us for dinner. We ask that you support our efforts to improve this industry, even if it's one shop at a time. And most of all, we ask that you join us in continuing to bring unity to shops nationwide, to continue to share a vision of something better for this industry - a higher potential, a better life for owners who haven't been given the opportunity to see there's a better, more profitable way.
Isn't it time that we stop seeing each other as competition, but as allies?
Please join us for dinner if you are able.
Information about the dinner is available at
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RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 22, 2019-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers, today announced a supply partnership with the Midwest Auto Care Alliance (MWACA), https://www.mwaca.org, to provide automotive parts and training support to its member facilities.
The newly formed MWACA, formerly known as ASA Midwest, is a nonprofit association led by independent shop owners. MWACA focuses on offering its members programs and benefits designed to help them more effectively run their businesses such as online resources and training, a mentor program and an Advance Auto Parts rebate program.
“MWACA has been a strong supporter of Advance Professional for many years and is well known for its outstanding advocacy of independent automotive repair facilities,” said Todd Sanders, Sr. Vice President, Professional Sales at Advance. “We look forward to continuing to enhance our already strong and productive partnership with MWACA, its members and its leadership team. We are eager to help its members through excellent service and programs designed to improve shop performance and profitability.”
Advance, a Platinum partner of MWACA, also announced a new mentorship and apprenticeship initiative designed to attract and support new technicians in the automotive service industry. The initiative will identify internal shop trainers and provide a structured on-the-job curriculum to improve technician knowledge and focus on productivity enhancements.
Advance also is a top-level sponsor of the VISION Hi Tech Training Expo, one of MWACA’s annual events, this year being held in Overland Park, Kan. Feb. 28 – March 3.
“The support of Advance Professional and Carquest goes back more than a quarter of a century to the earliest days of the VISION event,” said Sheri Hamilton, Executive Director of MWACA. “They continue to support the association, its events and members as we work together to support shop owners in this ever-changing industry. We are proud and thankful to take our partnership to the next level.”
About Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of October 6, 2018, Advance operated 4,981 stores and 139 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,229 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands and Pacific Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services, and online shopping for parts, accessories and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.
About Midwest Auto Care Alliance
MWACA is a 501(c)6 non-profit trade association led by independent automotive service professionals and serving the needs of service professionals throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Beginning as a seven-county Kansas City chapter in the late 1980’s, the progressive affiliate grew into ASA Missouri/Kansas, and continued to grow and expand into a six state affiliate known as ASA-Midwest. The affiliate separated from the national organization in September 2018 and became an independent regional association. As one of the premier and most active associations in the country, MWACA has chapters throughout their territory, as well as numerous Shop Owner Support (S.O.S.) Groups, a shop mentor program, and they are also the founder and host of the VISION HiTech Training & Expo event for 27 years. Information about MWACA and VISION can be found at www.mwaca.org and www.visionkc.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190122005571/en/
Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
What is your preferred brand of automotive batteries and why?
Who is the supplier of that brand to you?
What are the battery series that are available in that brand, and what are the warranties?
Who manufactures your choice of battery?
ROANOKE, Va. & DALLAS, Tex.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 12, 2017-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) and Interstate Batteries announce a strategic partnership to better serve the changing needs of the automotive aftermarket with premium quality products, expanded availability and enhanced customer service. Interstate Batteries, the leading replacement battery brand with the largest independent battery distribution system in North America, will become the exclusive automotive and specialty battery brand to Advance Auto Parts stores and customers in the spring of 2018.
ELIGIBILITY: The Advance Professional Availability Challenge (the “Promotion”) is open only to professional customers (not consumers) of Advance Auto Parts, who are legal residents of Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older at time of participation (“Participant”). All other individuals residing outside of the eligible area are ineligible to participate and will be disqualified if attempting to participate. Void outside of Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and where prohibited or restricted. Employees of Advance Auto Parts (“Promoter”), Genesco Sports Enterprises ("Administrator"), Advantage Hole In One, and their respective advertising and promotion agencies, parent companies and the members of their immediate families (spouses and parents, siblings, children and their spouses and in-laws) and persons living in the same household with such individuals (whether related or not) are not eligible to participate or win.
Visit website for more details: http://advanceauto.us/vroom/challenge/