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Part 2: How Can I Pay For Advertising to Higher End Customers When I Don’t Have the Money?

This is part 2 of an article Terry posted earlier.  To read part one and learn more about inflation and how it will affect your shop, click here!

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 (no matter how much they understand how 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, they'll destroy EVERYTHING you worked so hard for.

The Answer

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 a 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!

Terry Keller is the CEO of Auto Profit Masters and the owner of Keller Bros. Auto Repair in Littleton, CO, rated the #1 Repair Shop in the Nation by CarQuest. In 2009, Keller Bros. was the winner of the Colorado Ethics in Business Award, named a 2009 Top-10 Shop by Motor Age Magazine, and a BBB Torch Award Top-3 Finalist in 2009 and 2010. Terry can be reached at contact@autoprofitmasters.com, toll-free at 1-866-520-3030, or online at www.KellerBros.com and www.AutoProfitMasters.com.

 

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    Eric, you're so right.  Your cheap suit and shoes don't just cost you money up front...they also cost money to repair when they fall apart, they take away room in your closet from nicer suits, and they never look as good as the high quality suits.  Cheap suits and cheap customers are never done sucking away your money until you give up and get rid of them.


    If you continue to focus on measurements and internals, you'll continue to find more and more success!  Your success with the RPM ToolKit so far has been rewarding to watch, and we're excited to help you become even more profitable!


    Thanks for the comment...we appreciate you!

    ShopFixer, 3 years ago | Flag
  • This is what I have found to be true over the last year or so, I try to do the cheap ads for 3 years and only a hand full (if that) come back for more repairs. Think about it this way if you buy a cheap pair of shoe, cheap suit or a cheap part how long is it going to last? Remember you get what you pay for. Smile

    eric, 3 years ago | Flag

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