The Art and Science of Selling Auto Service

Definitions:

Coupon Customer: (Not Our Target) The customer with a fair to poor car, who has no money to even think about regular maintenance or about keeping it running perfectly.

A car repair to them is a major financial disaster. All they want, is to pay as close to nothing as possible to keep the wheels turning so they can get to work and back. They are willing to go to the worst part of town, drive through broken glass and fend off vicious guard dogs if they can get the right price. (Yes this is a little tongue-in-cheek, but I’ll bet you smiled!)

They are always the largest number of potential customers in your geographic area and are the easiest to attract. They are easily brought in by freebies and cheap coupon offers. But once you give up the offer, you won’t see them again until you run another cheap offer. They do not give you referral business.

If your customer base is a majority of Coupon Customers, your daily life is smothered in problems, whining, complaints, the word “NO” and you are making no money. The attitude of you and your employees is poor.

This person will usually make up about 2/3 of your available customer base in most geographic market areas. The average general service shop will have 70% to 80% Coupon Customers.

Prime Customer: (This Is Our Target) The customer with a nice vehicle who has the money and desire to keep it running perfectly. They are motivated by great service, both mechanical and personal. Some of them may be picky and arrogant, but this is where the money is in the auto service business. This is your Full Price Customer. Regular maintenance is a way of life with them because they want their fine car running to perfection and looking good – and don’t what to breakdown in the middle of nowhere.

They usually make up the smallest number of potential customers in your geographic area and are the hardest to attract. They are brought in by an image of trust, honesty, friendly service and professionalism. And, if treated right, will be loyal and send you referral customers.

If your current customer list is filled with a majority of Prime Customers, life is sweet, you hear the word “YES”, you are making very good money, and the attitude in your shop is wonderful.

This person usually makes up one third of the available customer base in most geographic market areas.

The average general service shop will have 20% to 30% Prime Customers.

First, Let’s Call A Spade A Spade

Everyone hates advertising. Primarily because there are a million companies who call themselves “Advertising” companies now – from anyone who puts a name on a pen or a poster over a urinal – to – the back of a cash register receipt or thousands of spam e-mails on your computer.

Most advertising companies (including my own) have changed their names to reflect something to do with Marketing because it sounds so much more sophisticated and important, even though advertising is what we primarily do.

Why? The minute you use the word advertising on the phone, even the shop owner who takes pride in always being there, is somehow never there when you call.

Marketing, however, involves so much more than just advertising, but in auto service marketing, it has become an interchangeable word for advertising.

But it is your advertising that brings new customers in your door, and that is what we will discuss here, even though we call it auto service marketing.