What is your difference? It is important to know your difference because that is what makes you stand out among competitors. I was recently talking with a customer about their website, comparing it to another dealership collision center in the same market. Through our discussion I found that my customer was certified and the other shop was not. Looking at their websites, I saw both had a collision tab on their dealer websites, which on the surface made them look the same. However, the difference was my customer was certified. Promoting this difference on the tab by adding the word “certified” to collision might direct more customers to my client’s shop.
Maximizing your difference could result in someone driving past a competitor to go to your collision center. So, I ask again, what is your difference? Drive by a competitor’s facility to see what stands out to you. Signage and building appearance makes a difference to customers; they must feel comfortable walking up to your facility. Look at their website to see what you notice in comparison to yours. There might only be subtle differences, but customers only need to recognize one thing better about you for them to choose you. It could be as simple as adding the word “Certified” to your webpage or adding an attractive picture. You just need to be different from your competitor. A friend of mine in the website business told me that wording on a website is a key factor when potential customers are making a decision, so it is important to check how your website is worded in comparison to your competitors.
Where you advertise can be your difference, too. On a business trip, my hotel was next to a little league ball field. Since I had been in a car and shops all day, I thought it would be good to watch some baseball and get some fresh air. When I walked up to the snack bar to get a bottle of water I saw a sign that said, “This snack bar is maintained by XXX collision repair shop”. It was an average-size sign, but it was right next to the food pick-up window, exactly where people stand to wait. When I got back to the hotel I Googled the shop and found that the snack bar was painted exactly like his building. Not only did he draw attention to himself with the sign, but created immediate recognition by painting the snack bar exactly like his building and all the signage on the snack bar matched the signage on his shop in color and font.
How you market can also be your difference. I had the opportunity while attending a conference to listen to Kelly McDonald, president of McDonald Marketing, talk about her book “How to Market to People Not Like You.” Through her presentation she gave insight on how to market to those areas you are not reaching with your current methods. In her book she explains how to get to know the customer you’re not getting but should be in chapter two. In chapter five she describes how to communicate in their ‘‘language’’ by developing marketing messages based on their values. She continues to discuss Gen Ys, Xs and Zs and how to approach them. There are a variety of marketing books available; I enjoyed Kelly’s and believe you will, too. You can find out who you are reaching and who you are not by simply using a zip code map. Identify the zip codes your work is coming from through your management system and compare those to a zip code map of your area.
I hope you step back and take a look at your business to find that little difference you have in our industry and capitalize on it through your marketing techniques. Remember, it does not need to be anything big, just something people will notice as better, and in most cases just different.
I saw a commercial for a funeral home, and the closing statement was “We don’t want you now, we just want you to know we are here when you need us.” I think if you follow that idea in reviewing your marketing you will find a message that will help you showcase your difference.