Continuing recent discussions with ImportCar shop owner readers extolling the benefits of shop image as it relates to attracting new customers and retaining existing ones, Frank Scandura, owner of Frank’s Mercedes Service, with locations in Henderson and Las Vegas, NV, says that his customers are catered to even before any work is done on their vehicle.
A recent report from Lang Marketing Resources Inc. reported that in spite of the economic climate, service stations, independent garages, repair specialists and foreign car specialists generated about 2.6 billion more in service revenue in the U.S. car and light truck aftermarket in 2011 vs. 2010. This revenue increase is coming primarily from the Do It For Me (DIFM) sector. In striking contrast, the same report projects that new car dealerships will lose more than $750 million in service market products. Service stations and independent garages now account for 29 percent of the total aftermarket DIFM market.
I had the opportunity to interview more than 40 people for a panel of customers I moderated in Dallas, TX. In many cases, I spent well over an hour with each of these prospective panelists, so I had the opportunity to learn some amazing things. Here’s one you don’t want to miss.
Anyone who has been selling service for any length of time will agree that there are two kinds of customers. The first is the customer who has a history of making good decisions, not just with auto repair, but with most decisions. And then we have the other type of customer: the kind of person who more often than not makes the wrong decisions.
One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face in running your own business is staying on top of your numerous obligations to federal, state and local tax agencies. Tax codes seem to be in a constant state of flux, making the Internal Revenue Code barely understandable to most people.
Usually the reason your customers get angry is because they feel they’ve been taken advantage of, or they’ve made the wrong decision in choosing you. That’s also when, just like you and I, they’ll begin to feel either stupid or foolish, and their emotions of fear and anger will begin to take over.
It’s only natural that most of your employees would like to take their vacations during the summer. Unfortunately, that’s typically your busiest time, right?
Far too many shop owners are failing when it comes to properly branding their shops. In the world of advertising, unless the name of your company is a household name, your name means nothing to the general public. No matter how great your business is, the name itself isn’t going to make people want to learn more about you or your company.
You need to understand the products you sell, the features and benefits of the service, and the importance of being honest. But if you really want to go to the top, you need to build relationships with your clientele. Customers must be greeted and treated as close friends or a family member.
Most shop owners and dealerships provide their service advisors with some flexibility in pricing. The objective is to give them the ability to adjust prices in order to ensure customer satisfaction, close sales that would otherwise be lost, and reward loyal customers. All good reasons. The problem is … it becomes easy for your employees to give away money when it’s not theirs, and these discounts can become sales crutches.
In order to prevent maintenance service sales objections, you need to make sure that your customers fully understand the benefits of these valuable services.
It was decades ago when I stopped thanking my customers for their business, and here’s why …