Brakes off! It’s time to accelerate…

Six top marketing tips for garages from Kalimex’ retained marketeer and the international #1 bestselling marketing-on-a-shoestring business author, Dee Blick

Published:  07 September, 2020

With the country gradually emerging from lockdown, now is the time to forge ahead with your marketing. What should the message be though, and how should you deliver it?

1: Let customers know you are open for business
Your commercial customers and motorists alike should be aware of your opening hours, the PPE you are using and the new measures you are adopting in line with government social distancing guidelines. Have you enhanced your customer service to offer safe contactless pick up and drop off? If you have, explain how it works. This will instil confidence in those customers in self isolation, and commercial customers looking for a smooth, safe, and streamlined service – to contact you.
    
What steps have you taken to ensure your unit is a safe, clean, disinfected, and welcoming space? Manage the expectations of all customers with regards to how long it will take to complete a repair, service, MOT etc. Is it likely to be longer than usual because of the new guidelines or you have (as is more likely) been swamped with work? Have you had to change any aspects of your service? For example, all customers must now contact you by telephone or email rather than calling in which is currently on hold. Inform customers, answer their most common questions and make it clear you are looking forward to welcoming them back and making their experience with you as good, reliable, and friendly as ever.

2: Say what new services are you now offering
Vehicles have been stuck on driveways for weeks only taken out for short runs. DPFs are likely to need cleaning and attention. Services are overdue. MOTs delayed. The list goes on. Make a list of your new services/additional vehicle checks with any corresponding offers. You will naturally distinguish between commercial customers for whom vehicle downtime means lost business and motorists keen to keep their vehicle in good working condition for longer than anticipated as they return to work. What are the specific vehicle problems each group may be facing? When you have your list of services and special offers plan the dates for releasing them, so you have a steady stream of enticing campaigns running over a 12- week period. Be sure to pull out all the stops for commercial customers. Can you offer them guaranteed early booking dates?
    
Stuck for what to say to commercial customers by way of an introduction?  Try this: “As one of our VIP commercial customers we are welcoming you back with an exclusive VIP offer this month… plus an important update on the new services we have launched to keep your fleet safe and, on the road.”

3: Use the phone
You should contact commercial customers by telephone to let them know you are open. Be organised though. Rather than just asking a team member to make the odd call here and there, treat this as a campaign – the goal being you want to ensure that every one of these customers has been contacted personally within the first five days of you opening. Make the call as much about listening as well as informing, letting them know of your services, your welcome back offers and the changes you have made in line with the new guidelines. Use the call to update details and make corrections. What is the email address of the person you should be sending information to?  Is the trading address on your system still accurate? (Do not assume anything given the pandemic and the effect it may have had on a customer’s business).

4: Get flyering
Create an A5 flyer, or flyers,  combining the details of a new service, or services, and any corresponding special offers together with the information I shared in the first tip. Printing costs are at an all-time low so take advantage of this. Put the leaflets through the doors of homes in the postcode areas where most of your non-commercial business comes from now. Do likewise for your commercial customers with a different wording to reflect their needs and the services you have launched specifically for them.

5: Get vocal on social media
Promote your activities and offers on social media. Take some nice photos of your workshop with the message ‘Open for business.’ A picture of your team will go down well too. Add some human interest to your posts to encourage sharing and support.  Send the picture to your local paper. They are looking for good news stories so an accompanying message along the lines of the following will go down well: “The team at John Smith’s Motors are open for business with a freshly decorated workshop, full PPE and offering new services including contactless drop off and collection of vehicles plus a range of pre-service vehicle checks.”

6: Use your calendar well
Ensure campaigns are scheduled in your calendar so at a glance you can see: who the audience is (i.e. our VIP commercial customers), what you are offering (i.e. special offers on Kalimex six workshop products), what your message is (book your vehicles in for pre-service checks including a DPF check) how you are going to promote this campaign ( telephone call and two emails; one email to launch the campaign and one as a follow up) When it starts and ends (1 July – 31 July), and finally who is responsible for ensuring this happens (i.e. Colin our apprentice). If you can plan in this simple but effective way, workshop bookings will increase. Not only are you leaving nothing to chance, you are ensuring that shoestring marketing is driving those enquiries and bookings on a consistent basis – week in and week out.

Good luck!

Please do not hesitate to contact us at Kalimex if you want to know more about our Accelerate campaign for professional motor mechanics and the details of your nearest stockist. We are here to help and support you. Email colin@kalimex.co.uk or call free on 0800 783 3717.

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