In ideal circumstances, you will not find yourself in the position of needing to bring in more business to your auto repair shop quickly. But right now we are in unprecedented times as far as all the things that are happening in the American economy.
So whether you are in need now, or want to put a plan in place in case you need to bring in new business during a slowdown or dry spell, the following eight ideas can help. The ideas are mostly low cost, with the cost really going into the time for somebody to execute on them.
If you’ve got plenty of cash to spend to increase your car count, then you may also want to consider Google Ads. But I’m going to assume that if you are reading this article you probably don’t have a trunk of cash in the back room that you can put into additional marketing.
Here are eight ideas to help you get more business into your auto repair shop quickly without spending a lot of money, listed in order from what would likely produce the quickest results to those that we’d expect to take longer:
Call on customers, especially those who opted to not get work done that you recommended and those that should be due for maintenance services
Let’s get some appointments on the schedule! It’s always easier and less expensive to bring current customers back than to obtain a new customer. Leverage your shop management system to see who should be due for maintenance and who put off recommended work until their next appointment.
Call those customers and ask them if now is a good time for them to come into the shop for their next maintenance service or for the repair or service that they put off. If they scheduled an appointment previously that is still a month or so out, still call them and ask if it would be more convenient if they came this week or next week. People’s schedules change all the time and you may be able to give them a better alternative sooner.
Post a special offer on social media
Utilize Facebook, Instagram and your Google Business Profile to post a special offer. And by special, I don’t mean deep discount, but a good offer that will attract customers. Again, make it expire in a couple weeks.
Don’t post a link to your website with the offer on Facebook though. If you do, it won’t show up your followers’ news feeds. Ask them to call you or Facebook Message you to set up an appointment.
Participate in a local event
Often times the cost to have a small table or some other role in connecting with the community at a local event is really low. This gives you an opportunity to talk to potential customers and share information about your shop. More than anything though, remember that people want to take their vehicles to somebody they trust. Build credibility and trust by building genuine connections. If you want to get people into your shop quickly, provide an offer that expires within a couple weeks.
Ask a loyal, happy customer to recommend you on Nextdoor
Nextdoor is the online platform that many people get their hyper local news and recommendations from – everything from local road closures to home service businesses to new restaurants to auto repair shops. If there is a Nextdoor neighborhood forum in your area, ask a happy customer if they’d be willing to post a recommendation for you on there. It’s frowned on for businesses to make their own post to promote themselves but encouraged for individuals to post about a great experience they had at a business.
Give customers who come into the shop a flyer or card to hand to a referral with a special deal
This is a great way to keep your excellent service top of mind and to give a customer a chance to help out a family member, friend or neighbor. People like to make recommendations to others and if they can provide an incentive, then they are even more likely to talk about that auto repair shop that always takes good care of them. The deal you offer doesn’t even have to be huge savings for them, as long as you make a big deal out of it. And make sure you knock it out of the park when the referral comes in.
Partner with a complimentary business in town (or multiples)
An obvious one would be a car wash and detail facility. We also have customers who are strictly service that will work with strictly tire shops. By working together they can keep all the customer’s business within their two facilities. Roadside assistance or towing companies could also be a good partner. There are many other businesses that could work beyond this. The more you get involved with your community the more likely you are to find partners.
Join a local business/referral group
There are several different types of groups that may be operating in your area. Or perhaps there is an organically grown group. Join the group. Try to help out as many of the members as you can by providing leads to them. As soon as the group sees you are helping others, they’ll quickly do their best to feed you business too.
Partner with large businesses in the area to see if you can offer your services to their employees
Depending on the area you serve this may or may not apply to your shop. But if you have a few large businesses around you it wouldn’t hurt to ask them if they’d be willing to allow you to offer your services to their employees as a perk with free pick up and delivery of their vehicle. For most people there is nothing more important than time these days. Providing this service while they are working with minimal disruption to them is a great time saver.
The key to getting customers in the door quickly is to diversify the ways that you are trying to connect with the vehicle owners in your community. There are likely to be additional high touch, low cost opportunities beyond the eight mentioned here. It’s also important to provide an offer with a call to action and an expiration date.
To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your business perform well in challenging times, call us at 866-665-1605 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you.