Are You Prepared to Compete? — Marketing & Training
This is the third part of our series of articles on setting you up to succeed against all your competition out there. In the first part, we talked about how important it is to train your technicians and service advisors, so that your shop can compete and succeed during tough times. In the second part, we covered the importance of setting up standard operating procedures in all aspects of your shop, particularly when it comes to crucial workflow processes. Click the links here for Part One and Part Two of this article.
Today, we’re going to address a couple more important elements in getting your shop to be as successful as possible – Marketing, and Business Training & Coaching.
Our company reviews the marketing efforts of thousands of repair shops each year. Our observations indicate that a lack of marketing success can be attributed mainly to the absence of a formal marketing plan, reactive rather than proactive marketing efforts, poorly designed or shoddy advertising, poor distribution choices, and poor timing.
Many shop owners have not instituted a formal follow-up process either. This includes mailing out “Thank You” letters or cards, routine maintenance reminders, and/or recommended repair reminders. There are a number of computer systems designed specifically to assist shop owners in this area.
When developing flyers and other printed advertising materials, shop owners should carefully think through what they’re trying to accomplish with the advertising piece. Is it designed to increase:
- Vehicle count?
- New customer count gross profit?
- Traffic for a specific service or make, model, or year of vehicle?
In addition, when using pricing as an incentive in advertising materials, shop owners should make sure they have determined technician time allowances to complete the work, and have calculated the required gross profit in the offer.
When selecting a vendor to prepare mailing pieces, shop owners should make sure that the vendor has the capability to handle the job, and has a reputation for competence. We suggest shop owners take the time to source a company that services the automotive service industry, and creates eye-catching materials that achieve the desired results. Shop owners should also review marketing efforts in other industries, and call a company whose materials they like, in order to get the name of the company that prepared those materials.
Most shop owners don’t have the time or expertise to handle all the marketing tasks that may need improving. We suggest getting help from outside sources. Also, go for improvements that are easy to implement and that generate revenue, improve gross profits, or reduce expenses. That should generate enough additional dollars to allow a shop owner to afford more outside assistance.
Business Training and Coaching
The first step in locating competent and reliable business management assistance and training is to contact the Automotive Management Institute (AMI). There are more than a hundred instructors and companies that have been reviewed and their content approved for credit by the Institute. In addition, AMI offers hundreds of courses covering all phases of business management. By attending enough AMI courses, shop owners can earn the prestigious Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation.
In addition to AMI, many parts distributors and other aftermarket companies offer training, coaching, follow-up programs, garage management software, estimating software, and a host of other valuable support services. Contact your suppliers and vendors to see how they can help you compete in today’s service environment.
Are you looking for marketing help? How about management training or coaching? We can help! Guerrilla Shop Management is the perfect course for you. Designed for shop owners and managers, Guerrilla Shop Management is a 12-week training course that consists of the following five elements:
- Business Planning
- Labor Inventory
- Financial & Operations
- Staffing & Compensation
- Marketing & Advertising
Guerrilla Shop Management begins September 29th. Click here or call 800-755-0988 to enroll!