Welcome back, everybody. This is the first of a two-part series on how Motor Works markets it’s programming services. Today, I’m offering three strategies we’ve implemented. Currently, Motor Works has 100% domestic, and 80% or better import factory programming coverage. We are still J2534 on imports like Mitsubishi, Mercedes, Saab, Subaru, and Suzuki, but the biggies are all covered from Acura to Volvo.

If you’d like to learn more about OEM Programming and/or need technical support, click here.

Before we get down to business a few notes are necessary:

  • I’ve been marketing Motor Work’s abilities for over 30 years. Having taken dozens of marketing classes, I’ve developed some proficiency with the tools of the trade. I have also played a large part in designing Motor Work’s website and Facebook page. *Everything you see following was designed and printed in house. The good news is this means you can do it too, because I’m no genius. “Slow and wobbly”, is my motto. *The business cards proved such a hassle in-house, we eventually outsourced the printing.
  • If time does not permit you to design and print your own marketing materials, you can outsource the work to a local design and print shop. Hint: pick a printing shop that mails fliers you like. Or you can explore some online options (e.g. www.fiverr.com and www.99designs.com for design and www.gotprint.net and www.4over.com for print).
  • Motor Works is only two years into selling its programming services to the public and other shops, including dealers. We are not yet turning a profit on this expensive proposition. Indeed, we may never turn a profit, as we are selling into a small, already saturated market. However, there is terrific value to the shop in terms of added sales through inspections, an additional income stream, increased production, positioning, impressing customers, and never having to say, “No, I’m sorry. We don’t do that here.” If given a second chance, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
  • Ok, now for the fun part!

Author’s note: This article will be available on AE Tool’s Facebook page:

I would consider it an honor to hear from the readers of Marty’s Corner about any similar marketing experiences they have had.   


The Start– A Parts Store Display

Two years ago, I visited every parts store within 5 miles and asked if I could put a display on their counter demonstrating Motor Works programming capabilities. I talked to each manager, and discussed how having programming “at the ready” might increase computer sales. Corporate policy prevented placement with some suppliers, but we managed to place our displays in the largest two stores.   

That early effort had J2534 and in-house programming only limitations, but it was a start.

 Our first parts store counter display. Perhaps just a tad busy. We will correct this on the follow-up visit.

Our first parts store counter display. Perhaps just a tad busy. We will correct this on the follow-up visit (click images to enlarge).

A quick trip to the office supply store and voila. All we needed for our parts store display.

A quick trip to the office supply store and voila. All we needed for our parts store display.


Looking Inward – Service Writers And Internal Marketing

Leslie, our Head Service Writer, seldom misses a chance to tell our customers about Motor Works’ dealership programming and diagnostic services. The average customer response is a big grin with the pleasant remark, “Oh really!” One can easily sense the increased confidence such a statement creates in our patrons.

We are also aware our programming services have become a passing topic of conversation between customers, families, and friends. However fleeting, a little good PR never hurt anybody.


Expanding Our Reach – Shoe Leather

This is a biggie. I compiled a list of every mechanical shop, body shop, and used car sales store, both dealer and independent, within 5 miles. In short, anybody who might need programming or key replacement services. This list totaled 50 establishments.

Dealers are key here. A Chevy Dealer’s used car lot and body shop is filled with Nissan’s, VW’s and dozens of other brands of vehicle, their techs are not equipped to repair or program.

I designed and printed a professional looking package that included an envelope, price guide, business card, filing cabinet magnet and brochure, describing our services.

  • The envelope: Thinking it was important for the entire package to have a home, I designed and printed an attractive envelope.

    (Photo 2) Our programming package needed a home. This customized envelope was a perfect solution.

    Our programming package needed a home. This customized envelope was a perfect solution. 

     

  • The price guide: This was critical. It was often the first question owners and managers asked. The price guide was determined by pricing the same service from two dealers for each brand of vehicle we intended to program. We then matched or beat each dealer’s established rate. 
    (Photo 3) Front and backside of our price list.

    The highly requested pricing list. Front and backside.

     

  • A similar-themed business card: A no-brainer. 
(Photo 4) Heavy weight, high gloss business cards with QR code and website referral on the back.

Heavy weight, high gloss business cards with QR code and website referral on the back.

 

  • The filing cabinet magnet: Much thought went into this. It seemed a novel and semi- permanent way to keep our name in front of every potential customer. I researched companies that sold bulk printable magnetic 8.5” by 11” stock. It required a minimum order of $800, but I have used these magnets for all sorts of marketing ever since. Some Online printers offer marketing magnets for as little as $.25-$.50 each, with minimum orders of 250. 
(Photo 5.1) Filing cabinet magnet. We print 8 to a sheet.

Filing cabinet magnet. We print 8 to a sheet.

 

  • The brochure: Perhaps overkill. Managers and owners seemed more interested in the price list, business card, and filing cabinet magnet. However, I still can’t imagine not including a brochure. Thick glossy paper made this puppy pop!
(Photo 6) Motor Work's Programming Brochure (Outside).

Motor Work’s Programming Brochure (Outside).

(Photo 6.1) Motor Works Programming Brochure (Inside)

Motor Works Programming Brochure (Inside)

Getting ready for sales calls, I had my Motor Works monogrammed dress shirt cleaned and pressed. With marketing materials at the ready, I am headed out to shake hands with 50 managers over the next two days. 

Marketing packages in hand, I'm "hitting the pavement." Faded jeans may not be the best approach. Next time, I'll probably wear khakis. Either way, nothing beats a good old fashioned handshake and face to face meeting.

Marketing packages in hand, I’m “hitting the pavement.” Faded jeans may not be the best approach. Next time, I’ll probably wear khakis. Either way, nothing beats a good old-fashioned handshake and face to face meeting.

With each visit to a repair center, body shop, or car sales facility,  I discussed our ability to program keys, program modules, and service and repair cars. Gratifyingly, there was significant enthusiasm for Motor Work’s program, especially our ability to offer coverage on specific makes not commonly serviced by the establishments we visted (e.g. Volkswagen, BMW, etc.). My visits were short out of respect for my potential customer’s time, often under two minutes.

Well, Rats! Time goes quick when you’re having fun. Constraints dictate I draw to a close here. I hope this first part of 3 Strategies For Marketing Your Programming Services has been interesting.

Next month’s topics:  

  • The website connection — a “sticky” place to hang our programming hat.
  • Keeping in Touch – the follow-up: Phone calls, email, parts store display Déjà vu
  • Facebook limitations
  • A value-centric approach- deliver more than expected.
  • Going mobile

Thanks for stopping by.

See you soon,

Marty, out-

 

P.S. Try to watch this and not laugh–Redneck GoCart.

Visit Motor Works website at www.motorw.com