Finding customers, or the art of getting noticed well and for a long time ! There isn't an entrepreneur in the world who doesn't think about this at some point in their day, whether it's in the morning while shaving or drinking their coffee. Attracting new customers, especially when you are just starting out in the business, is a delicate art. Aggressive and poorly targeted communication drives prospects away, a dull message condemns you to transparency and oblivion. Getting people to talk about you is expensive, especially if you entrust this task to a communications agency. Rest assured, you can already put in place some simple, but very effective actions. Here's a little overview of tips and good practices to stand out from the crowd. It's certain that people won't come to you by chance.
Word of mouth is a powerful weapon that you would be wrong to ignore, especially as it is free. Encourage people around you to talk about your repair garage in glowing terms to as many people as possible. Canvassing, yes, but not just any old way either ! As a fine strategist in this war of communication, you must take care of your battle plan:
You have just opened your garage, your family, friends and former colleagues are all behind you. They support you and encourage you. They are only too happy to do you a favour..
But you have to help them a little. Don't hesitate to give them some « language elements ». Nothing very formal, of course, but explain well, for example, how you are different from your competitors, how your garage is specialised, whether you give a welcome discount, etc. These are all elements that make a difference and encourage potential customers, who are bombarded daily with commercial offers, to change their habits and push the door of your sign.
Like your own, play out your own network, on LinkedIn or whatever. Communicate about your project, people love a good story. Not the ones that sell dreams, but the ones that are sincere and told from the gut. We don't doubt your skills as a speaker or improviser, but it's precisely NOT about improvising. On the contrary, you must prepare an effective pitch, that fits in a few lines and presents your value proposition clearly and immediately.
Not like a pushy salesman, sticking his foot in the front door, but naturally, by being yourself. Work on your message, following a very simple structure : you have a problem/I understand your problem/here's my unstoppable solution to your problem.
Repeat it and make it sound effortless. Do you honestly think that great Youtubers don't write video scripts ? You smile as you imagine yourself practicing in front of your mirror. That's a good start !
Are your first customers happy ? Congratulations, but don't let them cross the threshold of your garage without a little recommendation. People are always inclined to say they are not happy with their garage, but perhaps less so when they are happy with it. Motivate them to talk about you, why not with a small discount on the next visit to the workshop.
I grant you, we are on the basics of marketing and sales. Being aware of it is good, doing it is even better.
It's hard for an independent garage owner to differentiate himself from the others, the competition is tough. That's why you shouldn't miss the digitalization train. You can quite easily attract customers through the internet, using the right tools.
Google My Business is a free local directory. To be listed, you need to create an account and fill in a description of your business. Take the time to fill in each field, such as opening hours or phone number for example. Afterwards, make sure that the information you fill in is always accurate and up to date.
Choose your words carefully when describing your garage and your commercial offers. Put yourself in the shoes of a web surfer and imagine the words they will have to type to get to you.
Having a presence on social media is not a requirement and many businesses manage to generate leads without using social media. However, you can boost your presence in a targeted way with paid advertising, so that your page appears in the news feed of Internet users.
Building a community and providing it with quality content is difficult and time-consuming. As a young entrepreneur, you probably won't have the time to devote to it fully. Here are some tips to guide your thinking :
Select the social network where you want to appear. To each audience its own network, make according to your target and your offer. If you restore vintage cars, posting beautiful visuals on Instagram or Facebook will enhance your work. Internet users especially love the before/after.
Put up regular content, communicate about your offerings. Just like a personal profile, a company page must live and be dynamic if it is to generate lasting interest.
Don't confuse your personal profile with your company page. You can adopt a casual tone, but remain fairly neutral. Don't share your pet peeves (unless, possibly, they are related to your business), as you are committing the reputation of your garage, but also that of your employees.
A blog or website are the front door to your workshop. They allow a potential customer to form an opinion about you and your services. Woe betide you if your message gets through ! With a website, you can present your garage, your work, but also provide free advice. Video tutorials are proving to be a big hit. You create a physical link with the internet user and make a better impression.
Keep in mind that designing a site and maintaining it is a real job, which it is wiser to entrust to professionals. They will advise you on the architecture of the site, the choice of visuals and on the communication strategy to adopt, particularly through natural referencing. This is the set of technical elements (well-written texts, varied and quality content, site loading speed, structure, etc.) used to enable a site to be positioned in the first results of Google.
Out-of-home advertising provides an excellent way to develop your brand awareness. Depending on your objective and financial means, you can opt for a permanent or temporary campaign. The choice of format allows you to reach motorists or a population travelling on foot, by bike or on public transport.
Advertising for your repair shop can also take many forms, without blowing your budget :
- Displaying stickers on your company vehicles or courtesy vehicles for your customers.
- Putting a banner along the fence of your workshop, with your name, logo and some useful information. This is particularly useful if you are located on a motorway. For example, you can indicate the number of the exit and the route to you.
- The use of advertising banners to indicate the entrance to your garage. Independent garage owners do not necessarily have a street name or a brightly lit sign. You can order them online, it's very easy to do and very cheap.
Business networks are precious allies in your quest for notoriety. Very active in medium-sized towns, they play a concrete role in the dynamism of the local economic fabric. These entrepreneurial clubs encourage mutual aid between different companies and provide extensive support for business start-up and takeover initiatives.
They allow managers to meet each other, to advise each other and to get to know each other. There is no competition; these groups aim above all to support and accompany managers in their efforts.
According to the website Capital, join a business club allows :
- to increase your professional network ;
- to obtain funding more easily ;
- to develop their skills ;
- to improve the vision of its business.
As you can see, belonging to a network greatly contributes to the success of your business. There are many initiatives and you will have no difficulty in finding the group that suits you the best.