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By Jonathan Ganther
Hey guys. I'm new to the forum and was looking for this subject but couldn't find it. Sorry If I'm posted something that's already been discussed. I own a brake shop in Austin, TX. We do anywhere from 10-20 brake jobs a day. We only do brakes so I don't know how much full service auto shops deal with this problem but... Customers are constantly calling in claiming they've bought the best parts or they want to provide their own parts because they've done research and know what is best. This drives me crazy. First of all they don't know whats best. Then after being told no they get offended and act like tons of shops allow this. What is the best way to handle these customers? Just send them away? I'll quote them a price using our parts and they act as though its a rip off. What shops are doing this for their customers? I feel like I'm letting jobs get away from me. Any experience with this?
By Joe Marconi
We sell service, not products. Yes, we sell water pumps, brake pads and air filters. And yes, those are products. But it’s the service we sell, the customer experience, which lives on well beyond the customer leaves your shop.
Think of it this way; when you buy a watch, or a new cell phone, the experience of what you purchase continues after the sale. When we replace a customer’s water pump or air filter, there is very little about those items that lives on beyond the sale.
But, what does live on is the customer experience. The better the experience, the more likely the customer will return to you. So focus on the customer experience, not the products you install.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Elite Pro Service is a peer group made up of 90 of the most successful shop owners in North America, and is always full, but as of 11/14 we have a couple of rare openings! "Rare" isn't an exaggeration, as well over half of the 90 shop owners in this peer group have been members since Pro Service was started over 10 years ago.
In a world where information is everywhere, it is the quality of the information you have access to that will separate you from the competition, and at Elite we feel there's no equal to the quality of real-time data and best practices that come directly from 90 of the industry's top shop owners.
Pro Service is more than a “20 Group” process; it is a community. Not only do our Colleagues believe that 90 minds are better than the standard 10-20 that are most groups, but just about every colleague will tell you that Pro Service has connected them with lifelong friends. There have been several occasions where a Colleague was in trouble with their business, and other Colleagues would “jump on a plane” to help them in any way they could.
Pro Service is a caring culture. It’s not only about increasing profits, but about becoming better leaders who create better lives for their employees, take better care of their customers, and make more meaningful impacts on their communities. It’s about achieving personal and business success, but also about elevating our great industry and every life it touches. It is worth your time to visit the Pro Service web page to learn more.
Pro Service Benefits
90 successful, business savvy shop owners working with you to improve your shop’s performance One-on-one coaching from a nationally recognized business coach with over 20 years of coaching experience and over 40 years spent in the Automotive industry Comprehensive host shop meetings performed twice a year, including onsite shop visits, collaboration and training to provide immediate solutions to current issues Yearly Pro Service Conference with training from outside the industry addressing leadership, marketing, recruiting, employee retention, succession planning and more! Monthly online meetings to keep you tuned up Information-rich financial Dashboard with charting, trending and analytics to benchmark performance Extensive library of information resources developed for owners, service advisors, managers and technical staff Support 24/7 To learn more or to find out if you qualify, visit the Elite Pro Service web page: https://www.eliteworldwide.com/20-group.html
Anyone know or recommend a company that offers a 3-5 day workshop to train a service writer/manager to learn how to SELL and manage tech workflow? Not looking for a consulting firm wanting thousands of dollars. We have an awesome personable approachable person who was one of our techs and wants to move up front but needs help. Thanks so much for your input
By Joe Marconi
We all have our favorite customers. You know who there are. They’re the ones that throw their keys on the service counter in the morning and say, “Do what you need to do and I’ll see you at 5 p.m.” They never question your price, they trust you and they keep coming back. But does that person define your true profile customer? The answer is probably yes. But it’s not the only criteria. It’s a little more complicated than that.
Defining your true profile customer starts with you. It starts with who you are, why you are in business and the culture of your company. By the way, determining your true profile customer has nothing to do with excluding certain people due to their income level. The young 23-year-old college graduate who sets aside part of her paycheck to shop at Whole Foods does so because she believes in the company and for what they stand. It’s not about what she “supposedly” can or cannot afford. She is Whole Foods’ profile customer because she aligns herself with that brand. And Whole Foods welcomes her with open arms.
Many of my profile customers endured tough economic times during the Great Recession of 2008. They lost their ability to pay for some of the things they previously could afford. What they didn’t lose was their loyalty to my company. So, what did we do? We helped them through that difficult time. We helped them manage their car care needs better, offering services that would save on fuel, reduce repair costs, and reduce breakdowns. We showed them how to squeeze every mile out of their tires and brakes. We took care of them and we still do to this day. We consider them family and we don’t turn our backs on family. One thing we didn’t do, and will never do, is compromise on price to get a job. That would not be fair to all my customers, my employees or the company.
With regard to pricing your services and repairs, it’s a delicate balance between being profitable and competitive. But I don’t know of any shop that prefers a customer walk away or sends someone to another shop because he or she cannot afford a particular price. A smart service advisor will give options, prioritize the work needed, and offer finance options.
If you’re a startup company, your doors are wide open to everyone. You need customers and car counts, and you need them right away. But as your business matures, you begin to realize that not everyone is your customer. And there’s nothing wrong with this realization. As you build your customer base, you begin to see that there are customers that respect the work you do, align themselves with your culture and appreciate what you do for them and for the community. They become your profile customers.
Let’s say you sponsor a youth baseball team in your area, help out at community events and involved with local fundraisers. You will become known as the business person that cares about the community and children. That’s making your business stand out among the rest. As you define who you are, you also attract those that want to do business with you and support your brand.
While I do recommend treating everyone the same, I don’t recommend trying to be everything to everyone. That’s not a sound marketing strategy—that’s a recipe for failure. Defining your customer and targeting your market does not isolate consumers. It actually increases market share. Here’s an important fact: In your geographical area, automotive shops basically do the same thing; they repair and service automobiles. So, how is a consumer going to choose you over another? You need to stand out. You need to be different. You need to build a brand culture and establish a marketing position that will make people take notice. By the way, every successful company, large and small, understands its true profile customer and creates a marketing plan on attracting them.
One last thing: When you build a business around your culture, you put the focus on your brand and the value you provide. This strategy is one of your pathways to success. When you combine value with culture, you will have an enduring and profitable company.
If you want to build a great company, ask yourself these questions: Why are you in business? What’s your life’s purpose? Your culture? Build a marketing strategy and a brand message around the answers to these questions. Not all people will take notice, but your profile customers will.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on August 3, 2018
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