On a day-to-day basis, you’re focused on fixing cars, changing tires, and ordering parts. There's very little time left over to think about sales, marketing, and revenue.
But if you want to increase sales and grow your auto shop, it pays to take steps that will help you make more money. If that's not your forte, here are some easy things you can do to make more $ by attracting new business, retaining customers, or increasing average order values. The ideas in this list seriously won’t take you much time or require much expertise, but they’ll make a difference to your bottom line.
1. Book the next appointment now
You’ve probably heard of this one before, but we’re just easing you in! Every time a customer brings in their vehicle, make sure you don’t let them leave without reminding them of the services that are due next. If possible, book their next appointment before they walk out the door. This will help ensure they keep coming to your shop and you keep bringing in revenue.
2. Send service reminders
If the customer isn’t ready to commit to booking the next maintenance appointment, make sure you have an email address or phone number on file, so you can send service reminders that’ll get them thinking about their vehicles and calling you up to book more work.
3. Keep good records
It’s going to be a lot easier for you to upsell maintenance services if you keep good records. You should request your customer’s vehicle service history and keep track of the work you do for every vehicle, so you can always stay up to date on when the next services and repairs may be due and then remind the customer.
4. Learn how to expertly justify maintenance costs
Selling maintenance can be tough. Some people just don’t see the value in the services you recommend. You can boost sales by convincing them of the necessity of maintenance for the health, reliability, and longevity of their vehicle.
How do you do that? Speak in financial terms. Learn how to justify the cost of maintenance services in a way that convinces customers it’s a great investment. For example, explain the cost difference between a service you recommend and the potential cost incurred if the vehicle were to break down should the customer opt out of the service.
How much can they potentially save by footing the bill? You don’t want the price of your work to be the only number they hear.
5. Commit to same-day service
When it comes to auto repairs, one day can make all the difference. Customers don’t want to hear that you can take their car in 5 days from now. Even 3 days might be too long of a wait. You’re going to lose business (and money) quickly and often if you’re not meeting your customers’ needs.
You have to commit to same-day (or at the very least next-day) appointments if you’re looking to get more customers. Otherwise, people will hang up and call your competitors until they find someone that can take them in right away.
6. Hire more techs
You might be delaying service because your technicians are already booked solid. This is a good problem to have. But if this is the case, it might make sense to hire more workers to increase shop productivity. This will allow you to book more appointments, speed up service, improve the customer experience, and keep clients coming back to you time and time again because you’re fast.
The net new revenue should outweigh the cost of the new hire.
7. Reschedule no-show appointments
It happens. Customers don’t show up at their pre-established appointments. They likely forgot. If you don’t send out reminders, this is a real issue that could be reducing your productivity and ultimately costing you money.
It will only take a few minutes a day to call up your no-shows to offer to reschedule, so you can still get that revenue.
8. Connect with other businesses in your area
If you’re struggling to get enough customers through your doors, then creating mutually beneficial partnerships in your community can definitely help. An oil change shop can team up with a local tire shop to share discounts and referrals, for example.
Think wider, too. The local gym, restaurant, or grocery store can also be a good partner, helping you advertise your services and bring in more revenue.
9. Create referral incentives
People trust word-of-mouth marketing above all else. When their friends or family members recommend an auto shop, they trust them. That’s why it’s a great idea to create an incentive program for customer referrals. Give existing customers a Visa gift card, a free oil change, or another attractive incentive for every new customer they bring in.
10. Build relationships
This one doesn’t cost a dollar. People will want to come back to your shop and tell their friends about your awesome business if they’ve had a positive experience there. Interacting with your customers, making them feel special, and creating relationships with them can not only improve customer retention but also help you improve word-of-mouth marketing and get more customers at the end of the day.
11. Build trust
Many people inherently distrust auto shops. And that’s a tough obstacle to overcome. The second you recommend a service or repair, you might be hit with a firm NO because you don’t have much credibility with the customer. They might think it’s an unnecessary upsell.
You can boost sales by turning that no into a yes by giving customers proof to back up what you’re saying. That means using the customer’s owner’s manual or service records to explain your recommendation. It could also mean sharing maintenance brochures or industry best practices to get customers to trust what you’re saying. Even showing the customer a printout of a repair estimate and explaining all the itemized costs can help put their mind at ease.
12. Offer point-of-sale financing
Repair services often come with a high price tag. New tires, window tinting, and other services can also be expensive. You might not have to convince the customer that they want or need these services, but they might still hold off on the purchase because they can’t afford the bill. Alternatively, they might settle for less.
One great way to eliminate this hesitation at the checkout and increase your average order value is to offer instant customer financing. This allows customers to apply for financing up to $15,000 in as little as 2-3 minutes directly on a Poynt payment terminal. Once approved, they can purchase the products or services they need and pay later over equal monthly installments. And you get paid right away with no credit risk.
13. Instead of asking for the sale, use an assumptive close
This is a classic sales technique that all auto repair and service shops should use to book more appointments. Instead of asking the customer if they want to book their next appointment or go ahead with the quoted repairs, just assume that they do, and instead say something like “I just need your say so, and I’ll go ahead and get started,” or “Does November 5th work for your next appointment?”
You’ll be less likely to get a no when using the assumptive close technique.
14. Ask for online reviews
If you’re like most auto shop owners, you probably don’t pay attention to your online presence. Who has the time for that? If you’re going to do any digital marketing at all, though, it should be asking for online reviews.
This is a great way to get new customers into your shop. Vehicle owners are often overwhelmed and unsure which repair shop to choose. Comparing online reviews is often what helps them make up their mind to go with one instead of another.
Ask your loyal customers to take some time out of their day to write a glowing review of your services. It can make a big difference and doesn’t take much effort on your part.
15. Create a mobile app
This one takes a bit more resources than the rest of the ideas on this list, but given where the world is heading, we thought it was important to mention the importance of apps in the auto service and repair industry.
Especially if you’re a bigger outfit, it might make sense to create your very own mobile app where customers can book appointments, receive notifications when their vehicles are ready, receive reminders when their next maintenance services are due, and even pay their invoices, access coupons, and view their service history. It could be the point of differentiation that sets you apart from the competition, especially with the younger generations of drivers.
There you have it, 15 easy revenue-boosting strategies that will help you increase average order values, attract new business, retain customers, and boost sales.