It’s that time of year again for most of the country. Leaves are falling from the trees, and snow will begin falling from the skies. Winter can be particularly harsh on vehicles. Many consumers are unaware of potential problems that can arise from failing to prepare their vehicles for the months ahead.
There are many ways to position your service department to take advantage of this rush. You can run big promotions in an attempt to attract more customers, or you can rely on the natural rush of customers. If you do choose to run a special promotion, focus on ways that you can educate your customers on the service they need and encourage them to spend money on their vehicles now before winter gets into full swing.
Here are some promotion ideas to consider:
- Winter preparation clinic.Customer clinics can be very effective at educating and building trust. However, they can also be a waste of time, if nobody shows up. Time is valuable for anyone attends your clinic, so they expect a high amount of value return. Your clinic needs to be packed with useful information.Use your clinic as an opportunity to build trust without trying to sell anything. Your customers will appreciate the actionable information they receive and will be more likely to spend money with you on service if you take the time to build trust.Topic suggestions for your clinic might include: 1) Ways to prepare for winter driving conditions, or 2) Getting your vehicle ready for extreme conditions. As an added value for attendees, you could also give away a free gift such as a winter vehicle survival starter kit (i.e. any combo of a blanket, gloves, ice scraper, flashlight, radio, snack foods, emergency flares, or a first aid kit).
- Host a Big eventConsumers will be spending a lot of money this time of year on things like snow tire swaps, cooling system checks, and wiper blade changes. You may want to host a big winter prep event (i.e. 1 day, 3 days, or 1 week, etc…) with special discounts or free offerings on winter prep services.Services could include: 1) Free labor to swap out snow tires, 2) Free cooling system check, or 3) a highly discounted winter prep package deal. The event should focus on getting customers into your service drive where you can better educate them on other services they may need to be ready for winter. Free food, radio remotes, and other promotions would be ideal for such an event.
- Discounts on Popular Winter Prep ServicesIn place of a Big Event (or in conjunction with), you can offer substantial discounts, and package deals on popular winter prep services. Services that will appeal to customers might include: Snow tire installation, wiper blade installation, belts and hose check, radiator flush, heater/defroster check, battery check and brake check.
- Free DiagnosisAs with any of the services already discussed, it is important to communicate to your customers that extreme cold, snow, and ice can exacerbate any existing problems with their vehicle. Customers will not want to ignore any potential problems that could strand them on the side of an icy, snow-banked road.By offering a free diagnosis for any warning lights, you will create a great opportunity to sell more service to customers wishing to be well prepared for the winter driving season.
As with any, your success this season will depend greatly on the trust you build with customers, and your reputation for delivering on promises. Big promotions and specials could always come across as gimmicky and could potentially hurt your image if not done right. Focus on delivering value with integrity and you will never be too far away from success.