So the craziness continues, the world as we know it is changing and we must roll with the punches. Now is the perfect time to engage, connect, strengthen and diversify your businesses. But before we do that, we must be mentally ready to take on these different plans and actions. We have to accept the fact that this is happening and start moving in your businesses.
Accept it, plan it and act on it.
I have been on the phone with a lot of repair and auto body shop owners and managers asking them what they are doing to keep their repair shops afloat and I have gathered tons of tips on what they are doing to thrive during these times. A crisis is only a crisis if you look at it that way, but it can also be an OPPORTUNITY. It's all about perspective guys, so without further ado, I want to share the best tips that I have gathered from all the successful repair shops that I have spoken to.
1. Don't be a salesperson, be a service person.
I know as auto repair shops managers and owners you must sell in order to keep the doors open. I get that, and of course, any business survives of sales, but now more than ever we need to help everyone around us.
The businesses that will survive and thrive from what is happening right now are the ones that are helping others and that actually show that they CARE about what is going on in their communities.
I been following coaches and successful business men and women in every industry and the first thing they talk about is helping others. Because the people that you help today, will be lifelong friends and clients for the rest of your life.
And please, please, please, don't do it just because you are going to get a client out of it, do it because you actually care. The intention and energy will be different and will be full of positive energy.
So, how can I be of service to my community? Well, I am glad you asked.
First of all, being of service means being a leader, and as a leader, you must be well informed of different opportunities that can help out your community. Stuff such as:
- Updates on the virus and how it’s affecting your local area.
- Which stores are open/closed and where to find certain essentials not found on big-box retail stores.
- Authoritative information & personal perspectives on how this pandemic is affecting your community.
- How people can take advantage of government assistance loans and programs.
- Sincere offers for practical help (such as buying groceries) and/or information on how the elderly or those with special needs can be connected with those who can help them.
- And last but not least, how to maintain your car during this time. I am sure most people are not driving their cars, how can you keep their car in good shape while it's sitting in their garage for maybe months on end.
So right now, you have the opportunity to be a leader in your area and to show that you care. Don't let this opportunity go to waste.
2. Call every client that has ever stepped foot in your shop
Right now, is the time to connect and engage with every one in your client list.
Now that you have done the research necessary and are equipped with the correct information, start calling every person that has stepped foot in your shop. Ask them how they are doing, have a conversation with them, let them know the things that you did research on and provide value to them.
Trust me, they will appreciate it.
I am doing the same thing, I am calling every client that we have and just asking how they are doing. We would regularly do this every 6 months or so and sometimes people didn't even have the time of day to talk to us before.
But now, most people are actually staying on the phone with us. And the reason they are talking to us for longer is because we are actually giving them information that will be of value to them, and also because we are showing that we care, not just as a client, but also as a human being.
We are asking, how they are doing, how their family is doing, how their business is doing. These are questions people never get asked, and it shows that we care.
So please, connect with your clients, spread positivism and provide value to them, you will create a long lasting relationship and most importantly, they will remember you after all this is said and done.
I heard a quote from a billionaire, he said, "I rather have a million friends than a million dollars in the bank", this is because with a million friends you can create anything and you will have an incredible support system.
So go ahead, start calling, even if you call 100 people a day, that's all it takes.
3. If you guys are at your shop, make sure you keep a "We are Open" sign outside.
I spoke to another shop owner, and I asked what I usually ask every one, "Hey, how's business", he said "it's slow, but I am still at my shop. I put a sign out letting everyone know that we are still open, and people are coming inside. And of course, we are being EXTRA careful."
It's as simple as that, put a "We are Open Sign" at your door with your phone number and people will come to you. A lot of repair shops are closed unfortunately, but people still need their cars fixed and maintained. So if they are all closed and you are one of the few that are remaining open, then put that sign up and people will come to you.
Of course, BE EXTRA CAREFUL when doing this, make sure you have gloves, masks, antibacterial and a bottle of 70% antiseptic alcohol with you. So when a client comes to you, you can help him and you'll be safe.
Remember, you are still an essential business and people will need you.
4. Diversify your product and services
Now is the time to start thinking how to diversify your products and services that you have.
I had a client called me up a couple of days ago and he wanted to buy not one but two motorcycle lifts. When I asked him how business was going, of course he said slow, but he also said that needed to diversify his product offering and he wanted to start fixing motorcycles and not just cars.
This is what we need to be doing as well, don't just stand still and continue offering the same products and services that you were offering before. It's time to diversify. Now, if you can't upgrade your shop, then look for other things you can sell and maybe sell them online.
I have a client that started selling all his products that he sold on his shop on eBay and amazon. He said it's moving the needle, it's not making him rich but this is doing two things. One, it is bringing cash into the business and he is learning a new skill. A skill that he can continue implementing once this is all over.
Learn how to use technology, open up an eCommerce website, sell stuff on eBay and amazon, start a podcast, a YouTube channel, maybe even learn about digital marketing.
Right now is the time to equip yourself with as much useful knowledge that will help you NOW and will help you once this is all over.
4. Optimize your Website
Yes!!! Now is the perfect time to start working on your website. Fix those things that needed fixing. Add helpful content to your site.
Don't forget, most of the stuff that we are talking about in this article can also be added to your website.
Make sure you change the message on your website to something current. Make sure you let people know that you are still in business. Add all that valuable information to your website so you can also reach other people and not just the clients that are coming to you but also the people that are looking for local information online. And guess what, EVERYONE is looking online right now.
So update the website right now, if you don't have one, call us! We can help you out with one.
5. Double down on social media
If you weren't putting out content on social media, now is the time to start doing so. What kind of content?
- Relevant content that will help your followers
- Positive information - right now the world is flooded by bad news all around us. Stay positive
- And most importantly. Make quick videos teaching people how to maintain their cars during this time.
The reason the last one is extremely important is because you are teaching people how to do something, and they will remember you.
It's the same reason why most successful people put out FREE content on YouTube on a daily basis. Because they are helping people, and they will be remembered. All it takes is a phone camera and your willingness to do it.
Have someone record you talking about how to change your oil, or how to perform simple things to their car that will keep their cars in good shape during these times.
The people that you reach that watch your videos will remember you and will come to you when they need to fix their cars.
So start putting out content to on your social media accounts, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, even TikTok. Your audience will love you for it and will remember you.
Everything we spoke about in this article is about helping people out, staying relevant in your client's minds and being remembered.
So please guys, don't think about surviving during these times. Think about thriving during these times and get your mind ready to tackle these actionable steps we just went over. You don't have to them all at once, do them one at a time, but don't waste time and most importantly, don't be afraid to ask for help.
With that said guys, stay positive, stay healthy and blessings to you and the family.
Thank you for being a part of the JMC Family.
What other actionable steps are you working on right now that are helping you thrive during these times?? Let us know!