It’s an inevitability that the anxiety level for drivers will be amped up when unexpected service comes into play. The only thing you and me really have any control over is our service. I am talking about a different kind of experience. As of this moment, people are accustomed to seeing the same old-school style of cut throat "coupon" marketing ROI. That message is not the best for our image.
I found the old-school coupons bring in the coupon cutters and price shoppers. Old-school coupons also set the platform for the "call-for-quote-shopper" and "auto shop hoppers." While some people really don't know better, others have been taught to shop for auto care based on the deal, and there will always be those people who just enjoy the experience of a good deal. Nothing's wrong with that. Unless you want a different kind of customer.
Serving your community is the best way to build a positive brand image. And being the business educating your customers about the 8 essentials of auto repair is the most effective way to serve your community. If you haven’t hosted an auto awareness workshop yet, and you’re looking to be customer centric, this column will convince you to do so:
1. You’ll get good press.
Newspapers and TV news shows are always looking for a story. Provide them with one! As long as you give reporters and editors a heads-up, they’ll be happy to cover your workshop.
Do a Google search for “newspapers (your city, state)” and “news stations (your city, state).” Open those pages and look for contact information. Send an email a month before your event. No response? Follow up two weeks later.
2. Drivers will talk about it.
Word-of-mouth is your best friend. It’s often more effective than the most expensive advertising. Recommendations from friends have more meaning than an expertly crafted TV or radio ad.
Hosting an auto awareness workshop is the easiest way to start conversations about your business to existing and new drivers in your community.
3. You can collect testimonials.
I don't recommend hiring a professional photographer or videographer. Get your team involved taking pictures. Ask drivers for their honest feedback. It doesn’t need to be complex. Just ask, “What was your biggest takeaway from the workshop? How will that benefit you later?” Document and share it. Google loves new content, especially pics and video.
At the end of your event, exchange email and social media handles. give your business card a big smile, thank them for coming and stay posted.
Upload the videos to your computer. Put one of their most glowing testimonials on your website. Share every video on social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter.
4. Teaching solidifies knowledge.
Hosting a workshop is a great way to sharpen your craft. Working on cars is one thing, but teaching people about cars is another. You’ll have to communicate in a way that resonates with everyday drivers who have never spent a day in a garage. Sharing all that great info you've been storing in your brain all these years is a great way to get unstuck.
5. You’ll be known as leader.
Host an auto awareness workshop for drivers and you’ll differentiate yourself from competitors. You’ll become known as the leader on all things automotive in your hometown. Why’s that? Because you’re the only one teaching people about it!
6. Workshops can be monetized later.
I recommend hosting a free auto awareness workshop. At my auto shop, we collected donations (accepted not expected) from sponsors. The money we raised was used to offset the cost of necessary auto repair for single moms.
It was during the recession when my shop changed from self serving, to being of service to our community. It's more important to me that the driver knows how to steer their car onto my parking lot. That said, you can always monetize workshops in the future. Maybe you could target specific demographics like seniors, scouts, teen drivers, PTA, new parents, busy professionals, or whoever you want.
7. Drivers will become proactive and responsible.
Let’s not forget the most important reason to host an auto awareness workshop. You’ll help drivers understand what it takes to protect their investment and their life.
Motor vehicle accidents kill more than 3,000 every day. We all know someone who was injured or died in an automobile accident. To be of service as professionals in our industry, it is our responsibility to educate and empower drivers and vehicle owners to be auto-aware drivers. You’ll prevent needless death and suffering.