Michael and I were talking yesterday about the need to get our car in for its yearly oil check (yes, yearly — we use AMSOIL and only need to change the oil every 25,000 miles or once a year — but that’s a different post!) Some folks are very loyal to where they go for their oil changes or service needs. Other folks look for the first place they see when they are driving down the road or the best deal they can find that day.
When that type of scenario presents itself, I can’t help but ask myself how an auto shop can really stand out from the competition. Could they use greeting cards, postcards and gifts to build customer loyalty and increase referrals? After all, don’t most auto shops build their customer base from word of mouth referrals?
Here are 9 ways any auto shop/quick change shop, etc., could use greeting cards, postcards and gifts to build their business!
- New Customer Thank You! You will be amazed at the positive impression your business will make by taking the time (mere minutes with our system) to send a personalized thank you! Include your contact information and the customer won’t have to search for your name, address and phone number when scheduling their next appointment! Want to make a REALLY big impression? Take a quick photo of their vehicle and include it on the front of the Thank You card! I bet that card gets displayed or put on their refrigerator!
- Thank You for your Business – Don’t forget to say thank you whenever someone spends their money at your business! Recognize that you know they have choices and how much you appreciate that they chose you!
- Referral Thank You’s – Do you want to encourage more referrals? Then you best make sure you THANK the referrers! Send a personalized thank you card! This card could include a “coupon” (bring this card back with you for $xx off your next service), a gift card or even a box of gourmet brownies! Let all your customers know that you appreciate (and reward) referrals. After all, a referral is truly the highest compliment someone can give your business.
- Holiday Cards – When was the last time you received a holiday card from your mechanic/auto shop? I’m betting never! Be the one that stands out and send your customers a personalized holiday card this year! Have fun with it! Take a photo of everyone who works at the shop wearing Santa hats, reindeer antlers, etc. (you get the idea) and put it on the front of the card! People love (and, more importantly, DISPLAY) funny cards!
- Promote Seasonal Specials like a Springtime A/C Service Special – This could be as simple as a postcard* with a “Don’t wait until it’s too late” type or graphic/picture on the front and the offer on the back. “Temperatures are rising! Avoid the mad rush! Beat the heat! Come in now and receive..[Insert your special here].” Perhaps it’s a free A/C checkup with a “coupon” for $xx off any A/C service!
- Oil Change Reminder – When you are providing an oil change service to your customers, let them know that you appreciate their business and, as a service to them, you’ll be sending them a reminder when it’s time to change their oil. Since this won’t be one of those mass mailer postcard fliers (that get tossed in the trash), folks will notice it and know that you took the time to send it!
- Birthday Cards – Send them a birthday card that includes a “Good for the month of your birthday” offer! Perhaps a free car wash, free vehicle safety check, $xx off any service….use your imagination! People love free gifts!
- Special Promotion with a Give Away – “Bring your car in for an oil change [or specify a different service] between the dates of _______ – _______ and your name will be entered into a drawing for [tickets to an event? gift card? use your imagination!]” Who doesn’t love a give away?
- A “Specific Month” Special Promotion – Do you have a month that is typically slower than others? Create your own special promotion! For example, September could become “Check Your Brakes” month! Send out a card to all your current customers in mid-August announcing this promotion, and tell them to bring that card in and receive a free brake inspection and $xx off any brake service!
*Important Note – if you are going to use postcards (rather than greeting cards) I ALWAYS recommend you include some type of coupon on the postcard. If you don’t, postcards are far more likely to be thrown away. Greeting cards are opened 98% of the time, however, folks will just flip over a postcard, glance at it and then toss it away unless it contains something of value to them.
These are just a few of the ways you can use greeting cards, postcards and gifts to build your business! Concerned about the time it would take you to do all these things? Don’t be!! Our system gives you the ability to set these cards up to be sent automatically, on a schedule and to the customers you determine! You’ll get a complete contact manager that will contain all your customers’ contact information and important dates at NO COST. You’ll get even reminders for important dates! Our system is free – you only pay for the cards (and those are about 1/4 of the cost you’d pay in the store)!
Please comment below with your ideas on how to use greeting cards, post cards and gifts to build your auto shop business!!! Help us build this into a “Top 20 Ideas” list!!
What are you waiting for? Contact me TODAY for a free tour of the system. You can send a free card to really check it out and see just how easy this system is to use!
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