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Yesterday, went for a drive through North Jersey, was very concerned to see that independent shops are putting permanent signs with the $19.95 oil change offers, the $59 A/C recharge, and the $5 dollar flat fix. This reeks of desperation, clearly the industry is coming due for a strong correction. At my shops this month we are starting to see price resistance from the lower income segment, we are having to exert price flexibility for price discovery which we are finding to be 10% to 20% from list pricing. The mid to upper segments are still going strong.
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?
After looking at the ICCU shop in Mumbai India, it made me wonder how the Indians deal with Indian negotiation tactics? I need a good strategy. My shop is among a large Indian population and it seems that they all want to negotiate pricing. So much so that if one doesn't try to negotiate, it throws us off our game! There are few ways to deal with this: 1) Stand firm, 2) Have a pre-made coupon that we can use to move the price a fixed amount, 3) Negotiate, 4) Prepare for the negotiation with inflated pricing, then negotiate and settle on a job price (that is often more than the non-negotiated price).
We do #2 and #4 regularly, with a little #1 and no unprepared negotiations (#3). When we are negotiating, it's always out on the shop floor so that it can be a private conversation. They always seem to feel better when they "get a deal"!
Any better methods or practices?
I started a business idea & funded everything to get the business going. It has boomed faster then I expected, i still own & run the shop from the outside but I have 2 family members that have grown the shop from the sales & service from the inside & have been paid a weekly check plus sales bonus checks above any local shop. I have the idea that over the long haul I will recoop my investment & time. I have told them the more we grow the more you will earn pretty simple plan. The company continues to grow every month so I'm not worried about location & all the other things that go into what is my business worth. My question is if I would sell to 1 of them how would I figure a fair price. Mind you I personally have yet to gain a profit from the business myself. I draw a small check but it goes toward bills that it took to get the company started that came out of my own pocket. My quick simple thought was Equipment+Inventory+ (Net profitx3)= Selling price to walk away. I would like to know others I feel I should gain on taking the risk & putting my personal family finaces on hold, but also feel I don't want to cause family issues that I was trying to cheat a family member that would say the business would be nothing without them.