Business-Building Strategies That Work – Part Three

In our last two posts, we have shared some ways an auto repair shop like yours can step up its processes and efforts to acquire additional market share, improve efficiencies, increase sales, and attain better profitability.

This week, we’re going to wrap up that topic with a few more ideas, including how to increase your sales per transaction, increasing sales in a particular market segment, and creating additional business on slow days.

Increase Sales Per Transaction

Service wraps, if designed properly, can promote an overall increase of sales-per-repair order, and lead to increased technician earnings. Such a program is designed to increase sales in specific areas of maintenance and repair, increase the hours-per-repair-order (HPRO) figure, and create a “package” of products and services that are perceived to be a compelling offer.

An effective service wrap program should contain a carefully designed combination of products and services advertised as a “special offer.” The goal is a particular number of hours per repair order — for example, a tire rotation, wheel bearing repack, brake inspection, and one free gallon of windshield solvent for only X number of dollars.

This carefully designed “special” should also create an opportunity to up-sell products and services — with part of the work already included in the “wrap.” In the example above, the vehicle is already in the air with the wheels off, so selling shocks, struts, front end parts, etc., if priced out at the full rate, will lead to additional HPRO and be very profitable.

A service wrap can be designed to contain products and services that yield high gross profits and/or services technicians can perform with a high rate of efficiency. This practice is becoming routine with astute shop owners.

To increase sales per transaction, you also might take a look at an “At-the-Counter Closers” program. Here, customers at the counter may be debating about making a decision on whether to purchase a certain product or service. This Closers program is designed to push them into making the decision.

Some highly successful shop owners have helped “close” those sales by utilizing marketing materials containing coupons and special offers that are normally mailed to customers. Extra pieces are printed and placed under the counter. Then, when a customer is on the verge of making a purchase, they can use these “mailers” — outdated or not — to close the sale.

Often, customers will purchase additional products and services if a suggestion is made. That’s where the “For Only $10 More” program comes in.

In many instances, the amount suggested is perceived by the customer to be so small that they will immediately authorize the up-sell. Use this approach and continue to raise the dollar amount until you begin to experience regular resistance. There are a number of products and services that can be provided for between $10 and $25, which can easily be added to almost every repair order.

Some examples are servicing battery and cables, rotating tires, installing a set of wiper blades, blowing the bugs and dirt out of the front radiator, selling a windshield shade to protect the dash and upholstery, etc. In a shop that generates 200 repair orders monthly, a $10 average add-on sale could yield $24,000 in additional sales annually! What can you offer for only a few dollars more?

Increase in a Particular Market Segment

Another program that works well is called “Bring in Your 5-Year-Old Car and Receive (something of significant value).” This program is designed to attract the older vehicles that need more work, thus increasing the hours and dollars per repair order. Many shops have targeted specific makes and models for this program, with overwhelming results.

Products and services given as a reward for bringing in older vehicles have included a free loaner car for one or two days, tickets to a local theatre or sporting event, dinner for two at a nice local restaurant, and a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

This program has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional service and repair business for many shops. What would you give away to attract vehicles whose invoices can range from $500 to well over $1000?

Creating Business for a Slow Day

Almost every repair shop experiences slow days. Don’t accept these slow days; instead, develop a plan to minimize them. When the schedule is short, what’s your plan to get business in during the day to meet your projected sales goal? The following are examples of what a Slow Day plan could include:

  • Calling your tow vendors and advising them that you can provide their customers with priority service today.

  • Likewise, calling your fleet customers and advising them of your immediate availability to provide them with priority service.

  • Calling future appointments and presenting the benefits of why they should have the repair or service done today.

  • Identifying those customers in your database with outstanding recommended repairs, then calling them and advising that you can provide them with priority service today.

  • Identifying customers whose vehicles are either overdue or soon due to have the oil changed. Let them know you can do the job now.

  • Calling local collision shops and advising them that your top diagnostician and electrician are available to assist them with the mechanical/electrical portion of the repair of their customers’ vehicles.

  • Calling service and repair facilities that often refer customers to you, and advising them that you have some capacity available today.

Do not procrastinate! Sit down with your staff today and discuss what type of business-building strategies you want to implement in an effort to meet your sales, profit, and market share goals. And tomorrow, start implementing the ones that are right for you.

Looking for more solutions on how to market your shop and increase your profits? Marketing/Advertising is just one of the many topics covered in Guerrilla Shop Management, which begins March 10th. Enroll today by calling 800-755-0988.

Written by RLO Training