This is part 2 of an article Terry posted earlier. Click here to read part one!
Here’s the Problem
Deep discount ads can bring a high response, no doubt. They can flood your bays with cars. But if you stop there, you confuse activity with results (a whole different discussion for another day).
If there’s a downside to high quality advertising (and I’m stretching to find one), it’s that it takes repetition. It doesn’t usually reach its greatest potential response or get the best return on investment from one-off mailings done at random.
Some shop owners see this as a dilemma and make a false choice. They assume that they have to do cheap marketing now to get enough money to do high-quality marketing later.
This couldn’t be further from the truth!
No matter what the excuse, if you keep fooling yourself into believing that cheaper advertising and more low-quality customers can ever save your business, then your business model will fail when hyper-inflation kicks in!
Preaching to the Choir?
I believe that most of you reading this blog get it. I’ve seen the surveys. I know that there is no way that independent auto repair shops can provide better service than dealerships if most of them focus on attracting low-quality customers.
At the same time, however, some owners still don’t believe my argument about the true cost of coupon advertising and are using it as an excuse to avoid looking at the entire issue!
These shop owners see that they don’t have the money to do marketing and advertising correctly (even if they understand how much it will help their businesses and protect their families) and they lie to themselves or ignore the facts.
Here’s the problem: you may not want to hear it, and you may not want to listen, but sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the truth will be the end of your business. Shrinking car counts are coming. Inflation (and probably hyper-inflation) IS coming. And unless you take action NOW, it will destroy EVERYTHING you worked so hard for.
So if using cheap ads to make enough money to use high quality ads isn’t the answer, what is?
Take a look at my shop and what other successful shops around the country do: if you don’t have the money to advertise to the right kind of customers, you’ve got to find it!
How do you find money to advertise? By fixing your internals.
I have analyzed the internal numbers of hundreds of shops during my 38 years in business. Since developing the RPM ToolKit™ and utilizing it to benchmark and train in my own shop and many others, I can speak from personal knowledge: I have NEVER seen a SINGLE shop that was not leaving thousands of dollars per MONTH on the table.
Wrong personnel. Poor systems. Lack of training. Old-fashioned processes. There are any number of reasons why shops are missing out on thousands of dollars each month.
When implemented and followed, shop owners can not only improve their own cash flow, but for the first time can easily manage a reasonable ad budget and calendar.
Bottom line? Don’t use cheap ads to attract low-quality customers. Find the money to advertise by looking inside your own shop and making the necessary and most often, SIMPLE changes, and you’ll be able to invest in high quality customers within ONLY a FEW weeks! I DID, and so are many dozens of our shop-owning clients!
Originally published January 21, 2011.