by Dave Caracci, director, Car Care Professionals Network
I’ve been an automotive guy my whole life. About 10 years as a certified technician, then about six as a shop owner, followed by 32 years as a marketing guy in the aftermarket. During that varied career I’ve gone through four recessions.
So, why am I telling you this and why should you care? Because I have learned one absolute about recessions, and for those of us who keep this absolute in mind and act on it, this recession can help us succeed.
For the smart, hard-working business person a recession is the best time to grow your business.
Let me explain. In a recession, what do most business people do? Cut budgets, cut expenses and reduce service.
When your local new car dealership service department does the above, disappointing their good customers, YOU can grow your business. By making sure the dealerships customers think of you as the best and most personal alternative to that new car guy who just let them down. Promote your business by targeting the dealerships customers now, during the recession and when the good times bounce back, you will have a lot more market share. Instead of cutting expenses to the point of cutting sales, you will have grown your business during this recession.
Of course, when business is down, we should all watch expenses as carefully as possible. If you can eliminate or reduce an expense, you should. But, NEVER reduce an expense that might reduce sales. That move is the beginning of the end.
I know you’ll agree, because I know that you are seeing companies do this already.
For example, how about the parts supplier that cuts expenses to the point that they can’t ship you what you need, when you need it?
What do you do for the part? You go to his competitor! In fact, I’ll bet you have suppliers calling on you right now that are saying “Hey, give me a chance at your business when the other guy lets you down.” Smart guys! Instead of cutting and hiding until the recession ends, they are growing their business.
How about the check-out lane at Wal-Mart? I stopped going there for anything, after they cut so many check-out lanes that it took three times longer to check out than it did to find what I needed to begin with. I don’t care how cheap they price stuff, I’m not going back in there. Bet you’ve heard that same comment about the service writers at your local dealership. Sound like an opportunity to you?
Now for the point of this entire article: We all keep hearing about dealerships closing or at least being in trouble. Sure they may be trying to keep their service business by cutting prices, but if the service stinks or the dealership closes, what good was a cheap price?
Many independents are happily waiting for ‘some’ of the dealership customers to drive into their shops. But, for the smart independent repair shops, this recession is the opportunity of lifetime to grow your business at the expense of the new car dealers.
Let’s go after the vehicle owners who have been using that car dealership for service, before the vehicle owner chooses a shop other than yours.
I’ll bet you are up for this market share attack. I’ll bet you are ready to grow your business during this recession instead of cutting and running.
But how do you do it? What kind of marketing methods and tools can you use?
Some of you are already doing it. Some of you have already begun to take market share form failing or weakened car dealer service bays.
How about helping each other? How about sharing promotion or sales ideas with the other shop owners on Car Care Professionals (CCPN) website?
Click here [must login or become a CCPN member] to share with us what you are doing to take business away from the car dealer.
If we act now by sharing marketing and sales ideas, you can all grow your business, at the expense of the new car dealer, during this recession,
It’s your move.