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The Best Way for Auto Repair Shops to Compete with Dealerships

Marketing

Joe Marconi

by Joe Marconi , Coach

I am a believer in “guerrilla marketing”, which is a strategy that allows us to compete with the big guys, without going head to head with them. It helped the colonies win their independence from the British. The British Army was more organized, larger, trained and better armed. Initially, unconventional warfare gave us an edge.

Most of us cannot compete on the same level as a large dealership or national account, and we shouldn’t. It’s actually more important to find what the competition is doing and do the opposite. To think that I can compete with the Lexus dealer and have available 30 loaner cars is insane. But where I can compete is by branding my company in my local community, which will give me lots of publicity, and which more times than not is actually more effective than advertising.

Let me give you an example. When I opened my new facility I started doing consumer clinics. Eventually people began asking me to do the seminars at the local libraries. This branched out to the local Rotary, Chamber of Commerce and recently at different local functions. Each time I do one of these, I get a lot of free press, which helps to boost my image and promote my brand.

Remember, we may be in the auto repair business, but that’s not who we are and why we are in business. We all have a story to tell. Find WHY you are in business and tell that story to the world. It will become your brand identity.

If you focus on the tools and equipment of your trade, you will reduce yourself to a commodity and become a “Me-Too” brand. Differentiate yourself from the pack. This will narrow your target audience, but will actually increase your market share. Give it a try, think about it. It works!

This article was contributed by Joe Marconi of Elite. Joe runs one of the top auto repair shops in the U.S., and is one of the 1-on-1 business coaches that helps shop owners through the Elite Coaching Program.

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