By Bob Cooper of Elite
A number of years ago, the hockey great Wayne Gretzky was interviewed by Newsweek Magazine. The reporter asked him how he was able to score so well, when so many other talented hockey players weren’t nearly as successful as he was. He said his secret was that rather than skating to the puck, he would always skate to where the puck would be going. Although it was a lesson in sports, I looked at it as a lesson in business as well, and here’s why: If you want to build a great auto repair business in the coming years, you’ll need to look into the future, and then make sure your business is on track with offering the right services, at the right time. So consider this …
First of all, for those of you here in the states, you need to embrace the fact that regardless of how much we Americans love our big cars, the ongoing uncertainly in fuel prices, the uncertainty of our economy, and the inevitable inflation that we are bound to see will cause us to continue the trend towards buying smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. This is something that you need to consider in space planning, equipment decisions, technical training programs and marketing strategies.
Secondly, as I have mentioned in the past, with vehicles being built better than ever before, and with service intervals constantly being extended by the manufacturers, you will inevitably be seeing your customers less frequently. This means that you will need to do two things: You will need to bring in more first-time customers, and you will need to discover other profitable services that you can offer to your customers. When it comes to optional services, one of the things I am going to encourage you to do is consider the trend in IVI (In Vehicle Infotainment) integration. This category includes accessories such as navigational systems, cell phone integration, MP3 integration and communication systems.
What I find most interesting is that it seems like the technology is well ahead of the auto industry at this time. However, you can rest assured that in the coming years you will see more of this type of technology on vehicles, not less. The reason being, it is an integral part of the lives of our emerging market (the Y Gens), and there is no doubt in my mind that they are going to have an expectation that new vehicles will be able to provide these types of features. I am very confident that the manufacturers are going to find themselves in a position where in order to be competitive in the coming years, they will be forced to incorporate more IVI features into their vehicles.
So, where does this leave you? The shops that have the ability to install aftermarket IVI equipment, service this type of equipment, and provide unique and exclusive add-ons, will certainly have some amazing opportunities in the coming years. So, rather than trying to play catch-up, you should be leading. All that you’ll need to do is look into the future, and start your journey to where the puck is inevitably going to go. Planning on being in the right place at the right time worked wonders for Wayne Gretzky. The good news is, it will work wonders for you as well.
For additional help building a more profitable auto repair business, learn more about the 1-on-1 coaching and customized action plan offered through the Elite Coaching Program.