"Begin with the end in mind."
        -- Stephen R. Covey

I have often been surprised by the creative approaches used by some shop owners to increase business. While just about everyone says they want more insurance work, I still find shop after shop that relies strictly on previous customers, word-of-mouth, and a good sign out front to bring in a few additional drive-by customers. Nevertheless, many of these tell me their business is continually dwindling and ask, what should they be doing? 

Are you stressed out? It could be said that stress is simply mis-directed energy. One shop owner struggles to shape-up a poorly performing body man instead of directing his full energy to getting a really competent worker and paying him well. 

There's a new buzzword among marketing professionals these days: "integrated marketing." Like most "new" ideas, it's been around for a long time but the focus has often been elsewhere. McDonald's is probably the best known for completely "integrated marketing." Their "golden arches" identity, along with the Ronald McDonald character give them an instant focal point of identity. Advertisements, stationery, website and all of the rest of their P.R. efforts capitalize on these recognizable characteristics to arrive at an integrated marketing strategy. 

Saturday, 01 December 2001 17:00

Marketing strategies for an economic downturn

Economic indicators were already falling and a recession was looming when the catastrophe with the planes hitting New York's World Trade Center added to our economic pain. I'm already seeing a major slow-down in many shops in my area. "Business-as-usual" can be deadly at a time like this. What should a shop owner be doing to counteract the impact of these world events on his or her business profits?  

Monday, 31 December 2001 17:00

Two rules for successful marketing

Early in my marketing training I met a marketing genius who said there were only two rules for successful marketing: (1) Reach a large enough volume of prospective buyers to guarantee a steady flow of business; and (2) Crank out the work so fast that you impress the hell out of everyone including the critics!
Monday, 31 December 2001 17:00

Marketing is a full time job

There's an old saying: "When everyone is responsible for it, no one is." If everyone is responsible for seeing the door is locked at the end of the day and no one person is designated to do it, there's a fair chance it won't be done at all. The same thing is true of marketing. There must be a specific person designated to do the job and to follow each initiative all the way through to a satisfactory conclusion. 

Thursday, 31 January 2002 17:00

The power of repetition in marketing

It's been said that one of the most effective tortures of all time was the Chinese Water Torture. Supposedly interrogation using this technique was always effective. The person being interrogated was placed under dripping water that slowly drove the man mad while it gradually dripped a hole in his head.

Thursday, 28 February 2002 17:00

Everyone is slow is no excuse

Written by Tom Franklin

Around the holidays, I hear a common refrain in many body shops, and it's not a Christmas carol. You ask "How's business?" and the shop owner says, "It' s slow, but I hear everyone's slow." It's been said that "misery loves company." I could just hear this shop owner calling his buddy who owns a shop across town: "Yeah, it's slow over here, but I hear everyone's slow." 

Sunday, 31 March 2002 17:00

Build a powerful database

Effective marketing is controlling a profitable piece of market share in your community. In just about every aspect of life, having essential information is the key to maintaining control. Having information about interest rates is the key to getting a low-interest loan. Having information about where to post notices or make calls is the key to finding effective employees. Knowing your parts, labor and overhead costs is essential to making a profit in your business. Having information about decision makers in dealerships, fleet management companies and insurance companies is the key to taking control of business coming from the ones you're after for referrals.