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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. Your thoughts?
Got your attention? Good! This past Sunday I took a booth at the local Business EXPO in my town. I like doing these things for the obvious reason - It helps to promote my company's brand in my community. But the other reason I do it is to speak with the average consumer to gain information. One of questions I ask is this: "What model car do you drive and where do you go for service?" It is amazing to me how many people go back to the dealer for service work. And here are some of the reasons: It's a lease car, I didn't know you could take my car to you for service It's a new car, don't you HAVE to go back to the dealer? I don't know where to take my car, so I stayed with the dealer I have free maintenance (we all what "free" means) I don't want problems if I need warranty work My salesman told me when I bought the car that I had to used dealer parts and service Aren't the dealer mechanics better trained? By the way, when I asked about the level of service and convenience, all of them rolled their eyes and said something like this, "Well, it's the dealer, you know what you get." MAN! I can't help thinking that if they came to YOUR shop you would win them over just on your level of customer service! So, as you can see, we are in a fight with the dealers. The great news is that we are still the number one choice of the motoring public. Let's fight to stay that way. We, as independent aftermarket shops, do not aggressively market ourselves against the dealer. Maybe we should start? Your thoughts?
Yodle calls me at least once a day. Has anyone used this, or heard of it, or can provide any feedback? I would appreciate it. Here's a link to the Yodle site. http://www.yodle.com/?utm_source=google-paid-search&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=yodel&utm_content=Yodle%20-%20Core%20-%20General&utm_campaign=Branded%20Yodle%20-%20Exact