The 10 Minute Money Making Strategy.

This article was first published in Vehicle Service Pros website blog

I had a previous client whose auto shop layout was interesting. You had to go through the shop to get to the customer lounge. At first, I thought this was a safety hazard and a lawsuit waiting to happen. But then I saw the power of this layout and what it meant to the customer experience.

Assumptions will tell you that auto shop layouts are – the mechanics, lifts and toolboxes all hidden behind steel doors marked “Employees Only.” They are a secret place where Mechanics can get their work done without prying eyes watching their every move. Even though we take customers in the back to discuss their vehicle, the thought of giving a customer a tour of our shop is asking for trouble.

Why would anyone want a tour of a room full of hoists, loud air tools, and the smell of exhaust fumes? It’s a boring tour because once you have seen one shop, you have seen them all. I beg to differ. Maybe it’s boring for you, but not for your new customers.

A shop tour is a great way to build trust with your customers. In as little as 10-minutes, you create a relationship that could last a lifetime. Your new customers get one-on-one time with you, the business owner, and you get the same one-on-one time with a customer you just acquired.

If you structure your shop tours correctly, you can use this opportunity to capture valuable customer data that your competitors would die to get!

Here’s what I mean.

The moment you introduce yourself, pay attention to your customer’s appearance. What are they wearing? What brands are they wearing? Do they have accessories? Take notes.

After you introduce yourself and get your customer’s name, ask them about their career – “What do you do for a living?” Take notes.

As you take your customer on a journey through your shop, use this opportunity to share your company mission, vision and values. Be ready for them to interject and ask a question. This is your time to be quiet and let your customers talk because their questions, comments, or stories they share are essential to remember. Every time they open their mouth – take notes.

The intent of a shop tour is to get them to open up and share a piece of their personal life with you. Every piece they share gives you valuable customer data you can exploit for future marketing tactics.

Take notes. Record everything you hear and see from every customer shop tour. Your notes will reveal patterns like repetitive careers, marital statuses, core values, residence and work locations, consumer buying behaviours, hobbies, interests, pains and joys. All of this collected data is valuable intellectual property that no one else has but you!

A shop tour is a clever way to get intimate knowledge of your customers. All of the data you collect may pave the way to new ideas, sales, promotions, processes, or additional revenue streams for your auto shop.

Accelerate your knowledge of your customer. Spending 10 minutes with your customer could launch millions of dollars in additional revenue.