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Auto Repair Shop Owners: Stay in GROW IT Mode


Stay in GROW IT Mode by Rick White, President 180BIZ

I have been talking a lot lately about the states starting to open and how you are going to see incredible business. You’ll be booking three to four weeks out. I told you that was going to happen. But, I have also been saying that it's going to slow down again. If you are one of the shops that hasn't slowed down yet, that's amazing. But there are some shops now that are starting to slow down.  Here lies the problem. Everyone is so focused on getting today done that they’re not thinking about the bigger picture. You must continually work on your business in two areas.

I've said this before, and it needs to be said again. You're either growing your business or you're doing your business. Most of us are very comfortable doing our business; we’re comfortable fixing the cars.  However, you must market your business.  Don’t think that you’re too busy. You need to market your business. You need to let other people know that you're there. Do not get stuck in “DO IT” mode. Do it mode doesn't mean you have to spend all day marketing. It means spending everyday marketing for some part of the day.

There's a lag between doing the marketing and when the business comes in because of that marketing. The worst thing you can do is wait until you're slow to begin marketing your business. The best time to market is while you're busy. Get in front of people while you're busy so that you can continue the cycle. Marketing is just like farming. If you either grew up on a farm or live in a farming community like I do you know that there's a basic rule to farming. You do not plant the seed and reap the harvest the same day.  You plant the seed, nurture it for a while, take care of it, and protect it.  Then you get to reap the harvest. So, the first thing to do is to start marketing.

The second thing to do is understand what triggers you to go decide you need to do something to drum up business.  For most shops, the trigger is when the shop has very little business, one to two days’ worth of work. For some, it’s when there is no work. They go into what I call “Reactive Marketing.” Reactive marketing is the most expensive and least effective marketing you will ever do.

Please listen to me now.  Jim Rohn said, “In the summer, think winter.” It’s not going to last forever.  When things are good and the appointment book is full, it will not last.  Jim Rohn also said, “In the winter, think summer.”  And the reason for that is it never stays the same. We go through seasons. We go through cycles. We need to manage those cycles.  Be in a constant state of marketing, of growing, of improving.

Change the trigger for when you really up your game. If you've been booking two weeks out and you're only booking out a week and a half now, that is not a good thing. Get those two days back. Increase your marketing efforts. Change your trigger from being slow, booking only a day or two to when your schedule begins to slow.  Stay tuned to how far out your appointments are booked and monitor it closely. Identify when your schedule drops from the normal.  It'll make all the difference in the world. Stupid, simple tips like these two things will make a big difference. (1) Start marketing now and (2) watch your trigger. Those two things will help you stay busy.

Your marketing needs to be aimed.  It is going to do different things for different people.

  1. Market to people who don’t know I’m here.  To people who you aren’t doing business with now. To gain new customers is the most common marketing.
  2. Market to existing customers.  People you are currently doing business with. Existing customers are five times less expensive in effort to get them back in.
  3. Market to people that used to be your customer but left.  Market to invite them back. Let them know:
  • You know they are no longer coming to you.
  • You care that they are no longer coming to you.
  • You want to fix it.
  • You want them to come back to you.
  • It’s safe for them to come back. 

When people leave you, they often think they're going to go someplace better, cheaper. You can't get better and cheaper together. That doesn't work. You get one or the other. When they go someplace else and it didn’t work out, they feel like they can’t come back to you. So, they start looking around. You should stay in touch with them occasionally, sending them something saying, “Hey, we haven't seen you in a while and would love to find out what happened. Please help us understand.”

Marketing is simply a matter of getting someone's attention, having something compelling to attract them to you, which is your authenticity, who you are, and then a call to action. That's all there is to it. Don't over-complicate marketing. Start marketing, please. This can be the beginning of the best decade you've ever had. Even all through this. If you're just willing to do the work now, to be uncomfortable.

God bless and go make some money!

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