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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.
The Virginia Automotive Association lobbies the Virginia legislature continuously in defense of our industry. They are the ONLY organization that does so. They are able to do this only through the participation and membership of shops like yours statewide. The group's current initiative is to obtain a long overdue increase in the state inspection fee. Your help is needed on this and other issues that come up before the politicians in Richmond.
VAA has been supporting Virginia independent shops behind the scenes for 50 years. Today they need your support in return. You can sit around and grumble about only getting $15 to do a 30 minute inspection or you can work to change it.
I urge you to visit the Association website and learn more, then go to the membership page and sign up! The membership benefits alone more than cover the membership fee and think about how an inspection fee increase could impact your bottom line.
If you would like to actively participate in this effort, call or e-mail the association's Executive Director, Steve Akridge and volunteer or just join!
See how auto repair shop owners answer this question; “What are the most critical marketing strategies for auto repair shops, whether you’re starting out or have been in business for years?” Click here to read their answers: http://blog.repairpal-shops.com/marketing/5-critical-marketing-strategies-for-shops/
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.