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Joe Marconi

Winter Car Counts Good, Sales Off

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Usually the winter drops off in sales, but along with car counts.  This year is different.  Customers seem consumed with debt and worried about thier finances, and putting off needed vehicle maintenance.  Not good.  In the long run this leads to breakdowns and larger repair bills. 

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  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      First, I would be the last person to tell anyone that car counts is not a measurable and important KPI.  Every shop needs to know their needed car count and what their sweet spot is. And then use that KPI to understand other important KPI's - ARO, Labor margin, part margins, etc.
      Now, with that said, the industry in general, has and will see, a decline in the amount of times your customers will visit your shop. It was not that long ago when we had customers bring their cars in 4 to 5 times per year. That has changed.  Plus with COVID and many people not using their cars as they used to, we cannot rely on trying increasing car counts. We should, rather, making sure that we make every vehicle visit...COUNT.  
      Here is my strategy to drive up sales per visit, while promoting the right culture with your customers: 
      Ensure that the customer experience is the best on the planet! - Give every customer a reason to return back to you. Perform a complete MPI on each vehicle, but find out the particular needs of customers. What is their car used for?  Get your entire staff to understand that the customer is everything and their safety and their car care needs are most important.  Promote your Culture of taking care of people, not sales - Believe me, sales will come and so will the profits.  Promote vehicle maintenance, safety, and reducing the overall cost of owning their car.  NOW HERE'S THE TOUGH ONE:  PLEASE BOOK THE NEXT APPOINTMENT AT CAR DELIVERY!  Doctors do it, dentists do it, boiler service companies do it, hair dressers do it, nail salons do it, ..even chimney cleaning companies do it! It's not hard, just do it.  Hope this helps. Thoughts???
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and the very best in 2017!
       
      I also want to take this time to thank all of our amazing members for making AutoShopOwner.com the number 1 go-to auto shop business forums website on the planet!
       
      Joe Marconi
    • By Joe Marconi
      Got your attention? Good.  That's the power of advertising and marketing.  I know many of you are affected by COVID and experiencing a downturn economically.   Studies have shown that the businesses that maintain advertising during downturns do better with market share and sales when the economy returns to normal. 
      Maintaining your marketing presence is a lot easier and less expensive than playing catch up when things get better. 
      I know the reality of tough times.  Do your best to maintain your advertising during tough times.  You will get back what you invest. 
    • By CAautogroup
      Hello all,
       
      We have a rather small waiting room and have removed a few chairs to aid in social distancing (we now have only 4 chairs total). I wanted to know if your shop is requiring customers to wear a mask while they are inside the waiting area?  How is your experience? Do you have a sign up on the front door stating they must wear a mask?
       
      Stay safe and healthy!
       
      Nick 
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      In my 40 years as a shop owner, I have battled the age old dilemma: Is it my car count, my customer count or some other reason why some weeks I find it hard to hit my sales goal.  
      It always comes down to production.  Now that's really simplifying it, I know.   But, when you look at the numbers, with the right jobs and a balanced schedule, the ARO goes way up and car counts become not as important as we thought. 
      Another thing to consider, this is not 1995. Cars do not come in 5 to 6 times a year for an Oil Change Service.   You are lucky to see some customers every 10,000 miles as they wait for that Oil Change Percentage light on their dashboard to tell them...NOW IT"S OK TO GO TO YOUR REPAIR SHOP. Isn't it funny how so many people will listen to the dash board light, and not you!
      Anyway, what are your thoughts.  How do you reach your weekly sales goals and what KPI's are important to you? 


  • Similar Tagged Content

    • By Joe Marconi
      First, I would be the last person to tell anyone that car counts is not a measurable and important KPI.  Every shop needs to know their needed car count and what their sweet spot is. And then use that KPI to understand other important KPI's - ARO, Labor margin, part margins, etc.
      Now, with that said, the industry in general, has and will see, a decline in the amount of times your customers will visit your shop. It was not that long ago when we had customers bring their cars in 4 to 5 times per year. That has changed.  Plus with COVID and many people not using their cars as they used to, we cannot rely on trying increasing car counts. We should, rather, making sure that we make every vehicle visit...COUNT.  
      Here is my strategy to drive up sales per visit, while promoting the right culture with your customers: 
      Ensure that the customer experience is the best on the planet! - Give every customer a reason to return back to you. Perform a complete MPI on each vehicle, but find out the particular needs of customers. What is their car used for?  Get your entire staff to understand that the customer is everything and their safety and their car care needs are most important.  Promote your Culture of taking care of people, not sales - Believe me, sales will come and so will the profits.  Promote vehicle maintenance, safety, and reducing the overall cost of owning their car.  NOW HERE'S THE TOUGH ONE:  PLEASE BOOK THE NEXT APPOINTMENT AT CAR DELIVERY!  Doctors do it, dentists do it, boiler service companies do it, hair dressers do it, nail salons do it, ..even chimney cleaning companies do it! It's not hard, just do it.  Hope this helps. Thoughts???
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      Got your attention? Good.  That's the power of advertising and marketing.  I know many of you are affected by COVID and experiencing a downturn economically.   Studies have shown that the businesses that maintain advertising during downturns do better with market share and sales when the economy returns to normal. 
      Maintaining your marketing presence is a lot easier and less expensive than playing catch up when things get better. 
      I know the reality of tough times.  Do your best to maintain your advertising during tough times.  You will get back what you invest. 
    • By Joe Marconi
      We all survive by and need healthy car counts. That's a given. But all too often I see auto repair shops with "steady" but not "growing" car counts, but with new customers coming in each week.
      So, the question is, "If a shop has steady car counts and has new customers each week, then why are car counts not growing?"  
      This is a topic that's complicated for a post but here are a few things to consider:
      Is your marketing attracting the right customer that matches your key profile customer? If not, the wrong customer may be a one-timer and that does not help your car count.  Or, if you are promoting too much discounting, you may be attracting the wrong customer, and that's not a long-term strategy either.  Are you making every effort to WOW all new customers and create an amazing experience that gives the new customer a compelling reason to return? All too often we are too transactional and don't spend enough time establishing relationships.  Make every effort to spend time with each customer and ESPECIALLY with first time customers. Its the relationship not salesmanship that builds a company! Are you booking your customer’s next vehicle appointment?  Please don’t tell me this does not work. It does!  Hairdressers do it, doctors do it, dentists do it, nail salons do it. My chimney cleaning service company evens books the next chimney cleaning!  If you are not booking your customer’s next visit, trust me, someone else will. I hope this makes sense. What are your thoughts? 
    • By Joe Marconi
      This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry. 
      For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business.  If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now.
      Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over.  Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy.
      Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair.  Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment.   Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment.  Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.
       
       
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      Back in the late 1990’s, I began to get concerned about car counts and customer retention. Around that time, cars were beginning to become more reliable and many of the services and tune up components we once counted on, were going away.
      I also started to notice that many customers were going to the quick lubes for their oil changes.  To be honest, I couldn’t blame them.  There was a time when I did not offer any “wait” service and I was never concerned about the oil change business.
      That all changed.  I began an all-out blitz to get my customers coming back to me for their next oil change.  I especially made it a point to inform customers of their next appointment when we did not due their last oil change.  I just informed them of their next service date and made sure they received a service reminder. 
      The plan took time, but it worked. It increased car counts and customer retention improved. We still use this strategy to this day.
      Make sure you speak to all customers at car delivery about their next service. Book it in your calendar.  And if the car was not in for an oil change, check the oil sticker, enter the date in your CRM reminder system, and assume that the customer wants to return to you.
      We need to be proactive these days. We cannot wait for the phone to ring, we have to make it ring!
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