By Jay Huh
Hey guys, should I buy the R+W conference videos now for $1k or buy the all access pass and get videos but wait until Sept??? This is killing me, I watched the intro teaser and I have a feeling it'll be helpful. Spent $33k this month (usually my expenses are around $20k.....) so I don't have money to throw around.
Anyone that seen the vids vouch for the $1k download price?
By Joe Marconi
Before you call me crazy, please read on. Last year was one of the toughest winters in history for many shops in the northern states. Records snow falls and frigid low temperatures caused many shops to lose days, and in some cases weeks’ worth of sales. Many shops are still struggling to eke out a profit for this year.
That’s the bad news, and the reality of what happened and what can happen again this winter. The good news is this: We all learned from it. And because of what happened we are better prepared, or should be better prepared for it.
He’s a rundown of the strategy most of us will implement. Please feel free to add to this list, so we can all share in each other’s knowledge:
· Create a Fall Promotion to get your customer’s car ready for the winter
· Have a meeting with the entire staff; key on the service areas that are winter-related and check these items at every vehicle visit:
o Battery testing
o Antifreeze testing
o Check wiper blades
o Check tire condition
o Suggest snow/winter tires
o Check all fluid condition
o Check operation of heater and fan speeds
· Make sure your service staff is proactive with regard to needed maintenance services
· Identify the next service for all customers, inform the customer.
· Book and flood your customer base with service reminders during the slower months to boost sales
· Implement a phone call system to call customer to remind them of recommended services, especially during the slow months
· Create another Winter-Related promotion and send out during the months of January, February and March.
o Flood your customer base with these promotions.
No one can predict the future, and no one can tell how any effect any marketing plan will be. But there is one thing I CAN guarantee; if you do nothing, expect nothing.
By Joe Marconi
This past Saturday, October 3, was the ASA of Pennsylvania’s Super Saturday Event. I had the chance to attend the key note breakfast meeting. Tony Molla, longtime industry veteran and Vice President of ASA (Automotive Service Association), gave the Key Note Speech. Tony projected an optimistic future, with big changes to come in the next decade. Here are a few highlights of his speech:
· The internal combustion engine will be the main power plant well into the future
· The average age of cars built today will still be on the roads 10 to 15 years from now, which means for the most part, there is a lot of potential work for the aftermarket
· The auto industry will continue to build and develop more Hybrids, electric cars, increase diesel engines and experiment with hydrogen cars. Although the internal combustion engine will dominate for the next few decades
· New technology and sophisticated electronics will increase and will be a main factor in new car models
· The need to understand the Y-Generation is important for our future success
· Training will become more important than ever, to keep pace with technology
· Customers will become more educated, which means we need to become better at understanding the needs of the consumer and learn how to market to them
· The aftermarket independent shops continue to dominate the auto service and repair landscape and is still the first choice by the motoring public
· Value and trust ranks higher in all consumer surveys over price
· Becoming involved with your local community will become a key part of your overall marketing strategy to attract the right kind of customer
· Becoming involved with Auto Part Company Programs, such NAPA Car Care and CARQUEST/Advance TECH NET should be considered. Partnering up with National Brands can be a viable way to remain competitive in the future
Tony Molla also may it a point to say that the auto aftermarket must put aside any differences it has and work together. He went on to say that we all need to get involved with the industry, attend trade shows and keep up to date with what’s going on in the auto industry.
By Joe Marconi
As I walked in the customer waiting room, I witnessed a customer yelling at one of my service advisors. Being a professional, she kept silent and let the man vent. He was complaining that the brakes we just installed were squealing and that this was unacceptable and wanted an answer to WHY this happened.
I stood back for a minute and usually do not get into the middle. It is better to let the advisor handle the situation. But this was different. As is voice increased in volume, my patience diminished.
Finally, I stepped in, and with my voice raised a few decibels, said, "Sir, why do you feel the need to yell. We are talking about a brake squeal. This is not a problem. A problem is when you are laying in a hospital bed with tubes down your throat and hooked up to life support. Put things into perspective. Just let me know when I can look at the brakes."
His entire mood changed. He said, "Yes, I guess you are right. I will check my schedule and get back to you."
I don't know if he will come back or not. But, in this situation, it was more important to let my service advisor feel that I had her back.
By Joe Marconi
Perhaps the worst time to look to hire a technician, is when we lose one. At that point we go into “Crisis Hire” mode. We most often settle for anyone, rather than taking our time to find the right person.
We need to take a lesson from large organizations and sports teams. Their strategy? They continually recruit. I did not say continually hire, I said continually recruit.
You need to be on the look out for the talent in your community. Find where the best of the best are working now. Reach out to these people, get to know them.
Make is part of your overall business plan to stay in touch with trade schools, the military for returning vets, and any other employee agencies. Identify key people in your local auto community and ask questions; where are the best technicians? How can I contact this person? Who knows this superstar tech?
In other words, allocate a significant portion of your time in the area of recruiting. Your goal is to have people in the pipe line. So when you lose an employee you have a list of contacts to reach out to.
In the book “Work Rules”, a book about Google and its employee strategies, the author states that Google follows this rule: “Hiring is the single most important activity in any organization"