Competing for Customers

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I love competition. I live for it.

Maybe I am just wired this way, but I love it. From a simple game of chess to beating my best lap time in a video game, I’m always looking to get faster and better at what I do. Let’s talk about how it applies to your business.

The old school method of thinking in the automotive repair industry was to focus on and surpass that other shop down the street. Let’s imagine that you just spent 30 minutes selling a repair to a new client. You brought them into the shop and went over every line on the estimate. You physically showed them the loose suspension components to gain their trust. They told you that they wanted to go home and talk it over with their spouse and get back to you. They take the written estimate, and a few days later, while you are on a test drive, that car is sitting outside your competitor’s shop. You just sold that job for your competition. If only that shop would go out of business and then you could dominate and make tons of money. I’m telling you, that’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works!

Let me explain. How much money do you think your biggest competitor is really taking off your plate? Let’s say it is $100,000 per year or $2000 per week to simplify the numbers. I base my year off 50 weeks to take holidays and snow days into consideration. Plus, it evens out the math for simplicity. Let’s say your ARO is $670 per car. That $2000 is roughly 3 cars per week.

Now let’s pretend that it happens. Your competitor closes his shop, and you are guaranteed to have $100,000 coming to you this year. No, clients aren’t kittens. They don’t just show up at your door. There is advertising to do and money to spend to acquire those clients. Plus, you are going to have your business placed under a microscope with each of those clients. Are you different? Are you better? How do your prices compare between you and the other shop? What can you offer them to retain them as clients other than the fact you are within a few miles of that other shop? Is it worth the effort, or can you place your focus on a larger, more straightforward objective with vast possibilities of revenue?

I asked my staff who they believe our competition is and how much money they are potentially taking from us and at first, they all thought about the small shops in the area. One mentioned that the shop down the street has a BMW in their parking lot right now. I said, “That’s one car. It could be their friends, neighbors, relatives, or they just did a great job of repairing that car in the past, and that client is loyal to them.” Is it worth the effort to try and gain one client that may already be very happy with their repair shop?

I said there is a dealership a few miles down the street. They have nearly one hundred cars waiting for service. The most common things clients think of with the dealership are high prices. Days to get an appointment. No loaner car unless they purchased the vehicle new from that dealership. Pushy service advisors. Lack of transparency and disbelief in what the dealer is trying to sell them. Do you think you could get three clients every week that are tired of the dealership atmosphere? Do you think the dealership is going to even notice three clients missing? 

My last question…How many dealerships are in your local area? Five? Ten? I know that the light bulb just clicked on in your head. You no longer are thinking of your competitor. You are thinking of building a huge client base that is used to overpaying, being mistreated, and is already looking to leave their dealership. You just went from fishing with a pole to fishing with a net.

You can thank me later.

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