Call to action: let’s get on with it and get it done!
By Bob Greenwood
The Atlantic region has so many incredible opportunities in front of it but it appears most of the aftermarket owners are sitting on there laurels and just watching time go by. Enough sitting, it is time for action and get it done. Let’s move on with reformatting the aftermarket sector. Let’s embrace the new aftermarket and acknowledge a “re-set” has taken place. The following is a short list for the jobber and shop owner to review with their respective businesses:
1. Have you completed a review of which shop customers you want to enhance your business relationship with and turn into first call clients? Let’s face it: You require monthly volume at the right margin with full payment each month, not a pile of receivables from shops that just talk low price and are so slow to pay. Measure each shop client’s parts purchase potential and then compare against what you’re actually getting. If you are not achieving 80% first call loyalty, examine what your business is doing wrong with that client. Don’t blame the client. Look at yourself in critical format first. Schedule a sit down meeting with the chosen shop owner and find out what is required to obtain first call status at the right margin with full monthly payment from that shop with your store?
2. What makes your jobber business unique? I’m not talking about “added value” as that is a worn out phrase which just means “I will provide more for the same price,” which in turn is just another way of discounting what you are doing. Ask yourself what makes your jobber business “unique” from others so that shop owners would then say, “Wow, do I ever need that”? What can you bring to the table that other jobbers won’t or cannot match that benefits the independent shop owner’s business? If you don’t bring “unique” offerings with a long term game plan to the marketplace then you are virtually the same as everyone else.
3. Ever notice how a jobber business mirrors the shops they sell to? If the shops only talk price, you go to market with them based on price. If the shops you sell to think everything is a cost and they don’t talk investment, the jobber looks at every dollar going out of their store as a cost and does not think in terms of investment. Change that.
1. Have you completed a review of your shop’s data base to see where the customers that you can turn into clients are? Do you have your entire clients’ business with all their vehicles? If not, why not? Do you manage the vehicles for your client or are you waiting for them to come back to you? If you don’t change your business thinking and processes you will buy yourself a job for life or go broke and only you, Mr. Shop Owner, can change that: No one else.
2. What makes your shop “unique” in terms of why clients would want to give you all their business and become loyal to you? I’m not talking price, I’m talking about how do you differentiate yourself from the dealership world? The opportunity to take back business from the dealer arena is huge, but do you see and understand the opportunity?
3. Ever notice how a shop business mirrors the customers they sell to? Price-focused customers create a price-focused shop. Service-and-quality orientated customers create a client-strategic shop with unique offerings at the right price. If you are not happy with your current market position and customer base, start the process to change it. Now obviously you can see the similarity with the jobber and shop questions but the fact is, both businesses parallel each other in our industry and reflect their business practices based on whom they do business with. If a jobber sells to a majority of poor and broke shops I can assure you, the jobber is poor and broke too. If a shop is selling to a majority of old broken down vehicles driven by people who are focused on the cheapest fix at the time, I can assure you that shop is a mess and the owner has bought him/herself a job. The aftermarket “out there” is starting to re-set itself and the Atlantic region must get caught up. It’s not about price; it’s about quality and service level and how we deliver it. We are the independent sector of the aftermarket and it’s time for every business owner to step up to the plate and become the professionals that we are capable of being.
Let me define ‘Professional’ . . .
“As a true professional, your life ceases to exist when you are in front of a client”. It’s not at all about you and what job or how many parts you can sell this client today. It is all about the client and how we, the professional, can solve their problem(s). This definition applies to both levels of the aftermarket: the jobber and shop owner. Both are in the same business. Consider that when a jobber can resolve a shop’s true business problems and bring solutions that enhance bottom-line profitability, this is unique and builds trust that leads to the right business relationship. Consider that when a shop can resolve customer/client problems by providing long term solutions that allow the client to realize maximum value from their vehicle(s) investment and those vehicles are always performing safely and reliably, this is unique and trust is built leading to the right business relationship.
People today are screaming for trust. People want to deal with people they know and understand. People are fed up with the “games” that businesses use to try to lure them in and take their hard-earned cash. We in the aftermarket can achieve the right level of business and market image, but we must get off our rear ends and start the transitions required inside our businesses to achieve consumer confidence and create strategic business that builds net income and shareholder wealth. If you are one of the businesses that does not want to embrace this new era of change, then share something with me: What is your game plan that guarantees longevity?...... and by the way, prove the bottom-line math results are right!
Much, much more in the print addition of Auto Atlantic.
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