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Believe it or not, price advertising is a good thing. I am sure you will agree, everyone likes to find a good value, and price advertising lets people in your community know that you are looking for ways to help them save money. The problem most shop owners come across is that they’re unsure of exactly how to “price advertise.”

When you advertise something like a performance upgrade service at a discounted price, a number of predictable things will occur. First of all, unless you use a media that specifically targets your ideal customer, you’re going to get a lot of the wrong people coming into your shop. If you’ve been in business for any period of time, I am sure you have experienced this in the past. Ironically, at the same time that you’re bringing in the wrong people, your advertising is sending the wrong message to your ideal customer, who you haven’t had the chance to meet yet.  This method of price advertising is telling your ideal customers that you’re looking to entice them with a low price.

As you can imagine, this will often make your ideal customers anxious because the “What’s the catch?” question comes into play, and they’ll be wondering if you’ll try to compensate for the discount by recommending other repairs and services. Pretty much a lose-lose situation, right? That is, unless you do what your competitors would never dream to do, and make your ideal customers an offer that is hard to refuse; an offer that also reassures them that you’re not just trying to bring them into your shop with hopes of an up-sell. So here’s the most effective way to approach price advertising for your engine building  shop …

The first thing you’ll need to do is pick a social cause that a good percentage of your targeted, ideal customers will believe in, which will of course have to be a cause that you believe in as well.

Organizations like the Fallen Soldiers Fund, the American Cancer Society, Humane Societies and organizations that are focused on the health and well-being of children are all good examples. Then you’ll need to put together a limited-time promotion that supports your particular cause.

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When you put together your ad, you should lead with an image that is relative to the cause, such as a silhouette of a mourning soldier on his knees (using the Fallen Soldiers Fund example).  You’ll also need to have a captivating headline like, “Help Us Help Them.” Your ad should then go on to tell your readers that for a limited time, if they bring in a check for any amount payable to your cause, you will perform a complete XXX service for only $XX.XX.

If you run this kind of ad then a number of positive things are certainly going to occur. First of all, you are going to be sending a strong message to your community that you care about others. This in itself is a powerful statement that no amount of ad money will ever be able to buy. Secondly, your target customers will be influenced by the ad because they more than likely have a charitable side to them, and will appreciate seeing this compassion in others. Not only will this kind of price advertising eliminate the anxiety that comes with suspicion of a low price bait and switch, but it will separate you from your competitors, it will help you showcase the culture of your company, and it will get people in your community talking about you.

You also need to consider that when your targeted customer does comes in, there’s going to be a conversation between your advisor and the customer about the charitable cause you are promoting. This is when you and your advisors have the opportunity to build relationships with your customers that can last for a lifetime.

One of the questions I often hear is whether or performance/engine rebuilder shop owner should rotate through different charitable causes in order to reach a wider range of potential customers. For example, someone who is not influenced by an offer that’s tied to a particular disease may very well be drawn to a cause that’s related to children. Here at Elite, we feel that you should choose one cause and then stick with it. Not only will sticking to one cause prevent your charitable drives from looking like nothing more than marketing schemes, but it will help send a message to your community that you really do care about the cause that you have chosen.

Lastly, you have my promise: If you take my recommendations and put this plan in place, you’ll make a lot of new friends through the charity that you support, you’ll create a lot of new customers, and you’ll be serving as a role model to your entire staff by demonstrating that you really do care … about people in need.

For additional help building a more profitable, successful auto repair business, learn more about Elite’s auto repair shop management solutions.

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Bob Cooper
Bob Cooper has functioned as a business developer, owner and operator of some of the most successful auto repair shops in North America. Since then, he has become the founder and president of Elite, an international company that specializes in supporting those in the auto service industry. He has been nominated for entry into “Who’s Who in American Business,” he is a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association and he is one of the nation’s leading authorities on both personal and career success. In addition to lending his expertise to automotive industry training and coaching, he has also spoken worldwide to many Fortune 500 companies, private banking groups, school districts, the United States Army and to some of the wealthiest people on earth.