Editor's Notebook: Paving The Way To Profits and Increased Market Share

Editor’s Notebook: Paving The Way To Profits and Increased Market Share

With the year quickly winding down, as a shop owner in this business, there are likely certain strategies, policies, practices that you are really emphasizing now to ensure your shop finishes the year on a more solid note.

Certain things must come to light — especially areas that might need more emphasis. Things that relate to promoting your shop, customer service, special incentives, and the like.

With that said, provided below are words of wisdom from two shop owner veterans:

Chris Klinger, co-owner, Precision, Inc., Honda/Acura specialist in Tucson, AZ, and long-time ImportCar advisory board member.

“Our shop has been very successful so far this year and I am encouraging our employees to finish the year with the same vigor they have shown all year long, because I want them to see and to learn what they are capable of as a focused group. We will be emphasizing specials related to Thanksgiving Day travels in November, and we will then make special offerings in December for all of our student customers who return home for the holidays and for all of the snowbirds who begin to flock to our community.”

Vic Tarasik, owner, Vic’s Precision Automotive, The Woodlands, TX, and member of the AAIA’s Car Care Professionals Network (CCPN).

“We have a few things planned to wrap up 2010. Each one is thought out to target a specific demographic that fits our business model. As a shop owner, it is imperative to know what your customer looks like, who is going to buy your service and who is going to be your best long-term customer.

1. “Direct mail to our current customer base (by current I mean those who have had work done over the last 12 months). The piece we send out is designed to get the customer to call and set an appointment. Once the car is in, we ask if we can do a thorough inspection, address any issues with the customer and then apply the appropriate offer(s) from the flyer.

2. “Targeted direct mail to the neighborhood within 2.5 miles of our shop. Our best customer is female, married, 35-50 years of age and holds a job. In most cases, she is the prime decision maker. This is “our” best customer and other shops may have a totally different-looking customer.

3. “Networking in the local Chamber of Commerce and with the parents of our College Park High School girls’ basketball team. Getting out to meet and greet holds huge potential for our business, as most shops do not have a representative out there meeting others. When it comes right down to it, people do business with people they know and like. The automotive business is really a relationship business versus a transactional business. If you think about it, the automotive repair business is based on trust. And trust is built over time with each customer and each visit to our shop.”

In next month’s column, I’ll provide additional shop owner comments on this topic. If you’d like yours to be included, e-mail me at [email protected].

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