The Best-Kept Secret to Generate More Referrals - Engine Builder Magazine

The Best-Kept Secret to Generate More Referrals

As we all know, the most powerful form of advertising always has been, and always will be, word of mouth. Although every shop owner would like to believe the majority of their customers are songbirds, the reality is, they’re not. Here are some tips to help spread word about your shop.

As we all know, the most powerful form of advertising always has been, and always will be, word of mouth. Although every shop owner would like to believe the majority of their customers are songbirds, the reality is, they’re not. I am not suggesting that you don’t have some customers who love to sing your song, but it’s safe to say that they’re a very small percentage of your overall customer base. I feel comfortable making such a strong statement because even if as little as 10% of your customers were telling their friends about you, and if those people were to come in to your shop, then within 90 days you would have to shut down all of your advertising programs, and you would be booking appointments 30 days out. The reality is that regardless of how well you treat your customers, and no matter how pleased they are with your service, when your customers walk out of your shop they’ll step back into their busy lives, and they will forget about you. Will there be a time when they think of you again? Of course, but it’ll only be when they have a need for your services, or when a friend engages them in a conversation about auto repair.

So here’s an easy-to-use procedure I created years ago that will turn your customers into salespeople, and fill up your service bays with customers who are presold on you.

Start the process by identifying the customers in your customer database who are your biggest boosters. Ideally they will be good communicators, and they will either work with a lot of other people, or their social lives will put them in constant contact with a lot of other people. Then when they are dropping off their vehicle, or at the time of car delivery, say something like this …

“Before you leave, Kevin, do you have just another minute? Great! We’re growing our company, Kevin, and in my perfect world, every customer would be just like you. You are always a pleasure to work with, and everyone here who knows you thinks the world of you. Now I know birds of a feather flock together, so here is what I would like to do …” While they are in front of you take two of your business cards, and on the back of each card write – “One complimentary service.” Hand the two cards to your customer and say: “What I’d like to do is give you these two cards. Each one of them entitles the bearer to a complimentary service, so when you go to work today, if you could be so kind as to take just a moment to give these two cards to a couple of people you work with, it would be very much appreciated. They’ll get a complete service at no charge, and we’ll be able to meet a friend of yours.”

This works so well because if you give the cards to the right people, they’ll be excited to pass them along to their friends, and since you gave them specific instructions on how and when to do it, there’s a good probability they’ll pass the two cards out the very same day. You know as well as I do that they will be singing your praises when they pass along those cards, and there is a good probability the cards will be used. Your cost? The potential cost of two services, and the cost of a service is meaningless when you consider that you are getting a new customer who is presold on you, and you are giving your best customers the opportunity to give something of value to two of their friends. If you are looking for an immediate increase in engine counts, then this is one way to not only bring in more new customers, but to turn your customers into salespeople at the same time.

You May Also Like

Utilizing Instagram

“When we started, we had no business at all… that’s when I started using Instagram,” Yaghoubian says. “Back then I didn’t know a lot about social media, but it works for business really well, and especially the automotive industry on Instagram.”

The Industry has changed, so should you.

“One picture I posted got 7,600 likes, it reached 112,000 people, I got 982 profile visits from that post, 758 people saved it, and 208 people sent it to other people,” says Aaron Yaghoubian, owner of Arlington Machine in Riverside, CA, talking about an Instagram photo he shared in August of an Evo 8 short block project. “You can’t beat it. Some engine builders are over here crying, but they don’t want to use something that’s free. They have the device in their hand, now download the app and do it.”

Higher Revving Education

We’ve all seen the ads in magazines and online for schools, classes and seminars on tuning an ever-increasing number of engines and even transmissions in today’s cars and trucks. The better ones will include the use of a chassis dyno to show real-time results of the step-by-step methods they teach.

Chassis vs Engine Dyno

We spoke with a couple shops that utilize both dyno types to get their take on the advantages, disadvantages and reasons to have one over the other or both.

Tradeshow Season

While the rest of the world tends to slow down in the fourth quarter, our industry is starting to rev up. That’s because it’s tradeshow season, and the excitement for next year is always palpable!

OE Parts vs. the Aftermarket

Many of your customers believe that OEM parts are better than aftermarket parts. We wanted to dispel some of the myths once and for all. Without getting into the mud about which brands are better. It is important to note that not all parts are created equal, and this includes both aftermarket and OE replacement parts.

Other Posts

Setting Up an Instagram Account

The old saying goes, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” Well, in the world of social media, that same picture is not just worth 1,000 words, but could also be worth thousands of dollars in new business for your engine shop. By now you’ve likely seen our features on setting up and utilizing Facebook for your business. Next on our ‘to-do list’ is an introduction to Instagram for those of you who haven’t started utilizing this social media platform.

The Potential in Differential

Is growth part of your business strategy? It comes in a lot of different forms, but when it’s adding a new service offering or product for your customers, it can be nerve-racking at the very least. The additional investment in tools, equipment, training or people weighed against the unknown outcome leaves you holding all the risk, unless there is something that’s a perfect fit.

How To Put Your Facebook Page To Work

A couple months ago, we walked you through the setup of a Facebook business page. Hopefully you’ve gone ahead and created that page and took some time over the last couple months to play around with ways to engage with an audience. If not, go back and check out the February issue. It’s worth your while to do so!

Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement

Once you’ve obtained your IPR, then what? What can you do when you find another person or business violating your patent, trademark, or trade dress? Below, we take a closer look at the steps you can take to enforce your IPR against unauthorized use.