Have you ever heard the story of the squirrel and the grasshopper?
The squirrel works hard all summer long in the sweltering heat, building and improving his house, gathering nuts and supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the squirrel is a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. When the winter comes, the squirrel is warm and has plenty to eat. The shivering grasshopper has neither food nor shelter; he eventually dies out in the cold.
This tale is not that dissimilar to a successful tire dealership, constantly working to improve the business. It’s easy to talk about the obvious ways, but so often we forget the business that is right in front of us.
How many times have you had a vehicle in the shop, performed a courtesy inspection, presented what was needed to the customer and had them decline the recommendations? This happens every day – it’s a part of business. What often separates the successful shops from those that struggle is a follow-up program to call the customer back. Much like the squirrel who is constantly gathering supplies, shops need to follow-up on business for the slower times that will inevitably come.
Maybe the customer had to discuss the issue with someone. Maybe they didn’t have the money, were pressed for time or just not in the mood to buy that day. But if we don’t follow-up, we let potential business slip away to a competitor.
Your 1-31 File
To manage the ones who might get away, set up a “1 – 31” file. Each folder or section is labeled 1 to 31 to correspond with the days of the month. Slip the declined/delayed estimate into tab for followup the next week. When you arrive in the morning, pull the estimates for that day and make your calls as a courtesy follow-up, stressing that you want to make sure they get the most out of their vehicle. You may add an incentive to sweeten the offer, then schedule the vehicle when you have open time in your shop.
Now is the time to get organized, gather your nuts and win back those declined services so you don’t risk being left out in the cold.