By Joe Marconi
A few weeks back I had a problem with my refrigerator. I got a referral and called an appliance repair company. I called three times and each time I called this is what happened: "C and E appliance, please hold." I was put on hold three times for about 5 minutes. After being put on hold each time, a women would say, "What's the problem?" No engagement, no sign of interest for me the customer, no signs of caring. I gave the women a brief description of the problem and each time she told me someone would call me back. Well, no one did.
So, I called for the 4th time, and as the person answered the phone I said, "DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD." There was silence, so I continued. I explained to her that she has spoken to me three times, I left messages three times and three times you told me that someone would call me back. She replied, "You are talking to the wrong person, if you have any complaints, write a letter to my boss, after all he won't listen to me anyway." I hung up the phone and called another company.
The lesson and takeaway here is simple: Who's answering your phone? The wrong people on the phone in your shop can kill your business. Have meetings with your people. Make sure you review your phone skills policy. If you don't have one, create one. Empower your people to people to handle issues. And make sure you log every phone call. If you feel you have a problem, start recording phone calls.
Your phone is your lifeline to future business. So, please ask yourself....Who's answering your phone?
By Stevens Automotive Service
You are a entrepreneur and your business is Automotive Repair. Run your business like a business and become more profitable.
You have a tool box just like your techs in the shop do and the ones with the correct tools , good work ethics and knowledge are the best at what they do. So can you in the shop management area just use your TOOL BOX!
A few things to get cleared up. I have read a lot of post , forums etc, dealing with car count, advertising, us against the dealerships etc. WELL ! First you have to concentrate on your business not what someone else is doing, what works for you and makes you money should be what matters to you and your business.
1) Concentrate on what your doing right if it needs refined ..REFINE IT.. DIAL IT IN... GET THE PERCENTAGES CORRECT.
2) Do you have enough work flow and are you getting the max out of what you already have ?
3) IF you don't have a good even flow of car count, advertise, but do it in a way that it comes back to you to show what your business has to offer that the others don't.
4) REPUTATION, CUSTOMER SERVICE, FIXING THE CONCERN and BEING A SMART BUSINESS OWNER are the only steps to winning.
5) Last but not least .. PEOPLE BUY GOODS AND SERVICES FROM PEOPLE PERIOD !!
Look at it in this perspective for a moment. Your advisors are problem solvers, customer comes in with a problem or just for a service and they let them know what it will take to repair it or what the car may be in need of if not now then soon. They are solving problems if not right now then later, building trust and reputation for your business. I always say if you solve there problem the rest SELLS itself. And for those of you that think and have been programmed to think that getting new customers, keeping the good ones you have to spend crazy money to get them and keep them is just that "crazy".
I will be glad to speak with anyone that wants to have less stress and make there shop profitable. Send me a message, email, phone call and we will go over what you have and what you are wanting to achieve and the consultation is always free. IT COST NOTHING TO ASK BUT IT COULD COST A LOT IF YOU DON'T !!
"LOAD YOUR TOOL BOX WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS"
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 Ron Ipach
You might be thinking I'm going crazy, right? Talking about advertising in the Yellow Pages in this day and age, but for some shops, advertising in the Yellow Page still makes sense. Now, bear with me. Don't stop and think I've gone off my rockers. Let me explain what I'm talking about:
Everybody's clientele is different. What is the average age of your clientele, of your better clientele? You want the people that are coming in and spending money with you. If you're finding that you have an older clientele, chances are, most likely, they're still using the Yellow Pages. Admittedly, I had to go over mom and dad's house to get a Yellow Pages because I don't have one at my home, but look, I'm not of the age demographic that is off of the internet.
A lot of people are on the internet but quite a few people are still intimidated by the internet, and they're more likely to grab a Yellow Pages and search for a business to do business with. We don't want to alienate them, and if you're staying out of the Yellow Pages, you have a 0% chance of them ever calling your shop. This isn't for everybody. I mean, All I've been doing recently is broadcasting the importance of getting found online and getting referrals. Look, I get it, and I can't wait to hear the comments down below the post after this. For some, as a matter fact, for a lot of auto repair shops, advertising in the Yellow Pages still makes sense.
If you recall, if you go way back depending on how long you've been in business, when I first started working with auto repair shops about 20 years ago, Yellow Pages was the dominant place where everybody advertised. If you remember what it was, it was very expensive and there was just page after page after page after page of display ads, and your chances of getting noticed amongst all that noise were pretty slim and none.
Everybody hated the Yellow Pages because it was so expensive, but I found a way, and a lot of my clients found a great way to put in a really good ad and get a lot of business from the Yellow Pages. If you've been with me for a while, you know my style of advertising is a lot different than what most other people will do. The ads that we put in the Yellow Pages actually got a ton, and I do mean a ton, of phone calls, from perspective clients. If you put together a kick-butt ad now you could get the same results.
I currently have a Greater Cincinnati Yellow Pages book here with me. I'm in a suburb just north of Cincinnati. There is an entire auto repair section. It starts on one page and it ends on the very next page, and that's it. A front and back of one page is all it is. Remember, this used to be pages and pages and pages of display ads. Right now, display ads, this one has one, two, three, four, five. Five display ads on this side, and we've got a small ad right here and an even smaller little in-column ad, a couple over there, and that's it.
That's for all the auto repair shops that are in this area, and there are quite a few of them, by the way. Everybody else has decided to stay out of the Yellow Pages. Remember the problems with the Yellow Pages before. They were busy. There were too many, too much competition. They were expensive. Right now, that's not the case, so that's the reason why I would encourage shop owners to maybe look at using the Yellow Pages if you're trying to attract an older clientele.
Again, if you find your older clientele are not the demographic that you're going for, then the Yellow Pages is the wrong idea, but if you're in a retirement community, if there's a lot of elderly people around you and you want to attract them to your shop, this could be a really good place because they still use this. They're not walking around with their mobile phones looking for a shop to do business with. They're actually still using the Yellow Pages.
There's a lot less competition. The ads have gotten extremely cheap compared to what they used to be. The Yellow Page reps, the reality is since everybody's shying away from the Yellow Pages, they're giving great deals. I mean, they're giving away everything possible to get you to advertise in the Yellow Pages.
Leave no stone unturned. Investigate the possibility. Look at the clientele that you have. You might even start asking people, "Hey, do you still use the Yellow Page, Pages?" and if a lot of them do, that might be a really good place for you to start advertising again.
-- Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count)
President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.
By Ron Ipach
Somebody recently sent an email to me asking the same question that I get dozens of times every single month. Basically, it says, "Ron, how much should I budget for my marketing?"
I have a very simple answer to that. One that actually a lot of people are gonna totally disagree with me...
My answer is, throw out the marketing budget. You do not need a marketing budget, and here's the reason why: A lot of times, I've heard five, six, or even three percent of your growth sales should be used towards advertising.
Now, that might be a good number for some months, but it's a horrible number for other months. But if you're budgeting and you're only gonna have a certain amount of money for marketing every single month, your business is gonna be going to be heading on a downward slope.
For a lot of our clients, the summer months tend to be their busiest month. They don't need to be spending a lot of money on marketing at all during those months because they're just naturally busy. But then when the kids go back to school in August and September, everything screeches to a halt.
So I'm gonna say throw out the marketing budget and spend it where and if you need it. You don't need to spend a lot of money on marketing if you're naturally busy. You do need to spend a lot of money on marketing if you're gonna be slow.
Now, this goes to ... I guess I should mention, it's not a matter of just throwing a bunch of money out there on marketing. You have to do good quality marketing. You have to have the right message sent to the right market at the right time using the right media. In other words, a way that they're actually gonna see your marketing. You have to get all of those things straight.
So I'm going to probably guess that if you follow me and participate in my Car Count Daily campaign by watching my videos, you're getting a good idea, a good sense of what good quality marketing is. I'll assume that you're doing good quality marketing.
Now, if you're spending money on good quality marketing, you're gonna get good results. If you don't need it during the summer months, slow it down. If you're gonna need it in the fall, you need to raise it up. I don't like marketing budgets for that reason, because everybody gets used to spending the same amount of money every single month, whether they need to or not.
Pay attention to your numbers. Pay attention to what your shop is telling you. Pay attention to what your car count's telling you and spend the money when needed.
Also, if you're running short of your numbers, you may need to spend a lot more money and put in a lot more effort on your marketing for those specific months. Don't look at marketing as an expense. Look at it as an investment. A marketing budget is something to be spent. Marketing investment, your marketing dollars if it's done right, is actually an investment. It's not taking money, it's actually attracting more money to your shop.