Even though it's important to go after getting new customers, when most auto repair shop owners do so, they end up not spending much time on their existing customers.
If you've read anything about marketing, you'll know that it's a proven fact that it's ten times
easier and 75% cheaper to make a "sale" to an existing customer who knows and trusts
you, than it is to convert a new auto repair prospect into a customer.
So, if most auto repair shop owners know these facts, a legitimate question you might want
to consider asking is why don't the majority concentrate more on their existing customers than on getting new customers? The honest answer is that it's a mystery. My best guess is that
they have no professional marketing advice and therefore simply do what comes naturally, and what all the advertising media representatives tell them they should do, and that is to advertise and try to attract new customers.
In this article I'm going to give you 2 simple things you can start doing tomorrow that will
significantly boost your profits from existing customers, and it won't be anything that will take advantage of them. To the contrary, they will benefit.
1) Reward your best customers for their loyalty.
One of the most effective ways to keep customers coming back and to refer new auto
repair customers to your shop is to reward them for heir loyalty.
This does not mean that you have to set up the typical "loyalty program", because it'll
probably bog you down with too much record keeping and paperwork, and will take up too much of your time. In any case, giving your customer a free oil change after "X" number of
visits or after a certain repair volume has been reached, will not build any greater customer loyalty or motivate them to refer new auto repair customers to you.
The first thing you really need to figure out is what exactly does your customer want, and
that's very easy to do. You simply ask them. Spend a few minutes and ask your auto repair
customers what you're doing right and what you could do better. You'll be surprised how
valuable that information can be, plus it gives them a sense that they "belong" and that you
And equally important, inform them that you're setting up a customer appreciation program
and you want to collect some suggestions on what to give customers for their loyalty and
and for referring other auto repair customers to your shop. Ask them what they themselves
would like to receive so you can add it to the list for consideration.
This will give you a clear picture of what will motivate your customers and make them
happy and appreciative for having received a gift form you. Once you have decide on
what gift, of different gifts you'll be giving, you can implement the program by offering those
gifts to your loyal customers for each new auto repair customer that he refer to your shop.
2) Spend 75% of your auto repair marketing budget on your existing customers.
Existing customers have already done business with you have built up a bond of trust,
assuming that you did professional, expert work at a reasonable price. From that
relationship you now have the platform to introduce other products and services to them.
As was mentioned at the beginning of the article, it's it's ten times easier and 75% cheaper
to make a "sale" to an existing customer who knows and trusts you, than it is to convert a
new auto repair prospect into a customer. So why do most auto repair shop owners insist
on spending almost all of their auto repair marketing budget on yellow page listings, direct mailing, and newspaper ads?
It's mainly because they have been conditioned to seek out new customers even though
all of the data supports the fact that their ROI (return on investment) of time and money
spent would yield much higher profits if they were to instead concentrate on their existing
customers, retaining their business, up-selling them other products and services, and
keeping them happy.
Studies have shown that simple acts that do not cost any money, or very little, can dramatically
increase profits. For example, call your customers the next day to inquire if everything is
alright with their vehicle, or send then a short one sentence, hand written thank you card
expressing to them at you appreciate their business. And of course, you can implement
marketing that actually costs money also, as long as you track the results to make sure
that it is effective and profitable.
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