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Best Advice No One Ever Gave You?


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Probably the first thing I learned as an ESO is not as prophetic as Joe and certainly not very fun, but here goes, If it is not in writing, it was NEVER said. Sad but if you want to rely on someone's word next month, 3 months or five years from now, get it in writing. Not flashy,not fun, but anytime I fail to live by this advice I come to regret it. Nothing serious (yet) but regret it still.

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Hi CARMandP,

 

Joe's advise is 'bang on' the money. "We need to understand what the customer thinks" I am new to this forum, but certainly not to the automotive service market. It' s been just over 30 years for me (so I can't tell you that I'm only 29 ;).

 

I help auto repair shops with their marketing. The biggest issue that I see is, like Joe said, you've got the know how, tools, equipment and talent. No doubt. Then when you advertise... you tell everybody about that.

 

Problem is, it's not about fixing cars. Nobody wants to spend money on doing that. (I don't have to tell you that, do I). It's about making an 'emotional connection'. The best example I can give you is this. Designer blue jeans sell for hundreds. Big box stores sell the blue jeans for $20, $30 or $40. The difference is.. the emotional connection to the label. People buy on emotion and justify it with logic AFTER.

 

The best advise I can give you is to not 'beat your chest' telling everyone how good you are. Make your first job marketing your shop. Getting more customers and more customer referrals. It does NOT have to be expensive.

 

To start, you should be using:

1- Bounce back coupons - Instead of giving discounts to people you DON'T know, give them to people who already know, trust and like you. Your CUSTOMERS!

 

2- Create a Customer Referral program. You don't get referrals by chance. You have to work at them. And DON'T Ask for them at the end of the job when you're collecting the money. That's like telling the person you're looking for new friends and would appreciate if he could help you. You know, introduce you to them. And oh, by the way... yeah... I'm going to try to sell them something. Don't work!

 

3- Continuity Program/ Loyalty Program - This is good because you can sell your services in advance and collect money today. Think of all the big box shopping type stores that charge a 'membership' fee for the promise of better prices in the future. You set up a card that you create a bunch of offers... and discount them. Keeps your customer coming back.

 

4- Not sure if you've been in business long enough... but you should be watching for lost customers. Haven't seen the person in 6 months - that's 2 oil change intervals - then they're going somewhere else.

 

There's a ton of real cheap things you can do. But you have to do them.

 

Listen, I am new on the forum here and I do not want to push my luck or bend (break) the rules. I wrote a book, "THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO AUTO SERVICE MARKETING" that gives you 44 No Cost or Low Cost marketing strategies that work. Right now, I still have copies available.

 

I don't know if I can post a link... sorry, didn't get to read the rules yet. I had a login problem and the boys here fixed me up real quick.. so I will get to the rules... I promise. In the mean time, if you want a copy, drop me a message and I will help you.

 

Matthew

Author - Auto Service Marketing Specialis

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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