5 Reasons Customers Are Choosing Your Competitors

Your marketing, call analytics, data that you generate – and how you keep in touch with your customers – can determine whether a customer chooses your shop or a competitor’s.

Recently I was speaking with the owner of a two-location automotive repair business. He felt he was losing an increasing amount of market share. He was losing customers to his competitors. He called LogMyCalls because he thought that getting data about which ads and campaigns are generating calls could save his marketing budget and help him get more customers. (He’s certainly right about that.) But his concern raises an important question: Why do your potential customers choose your competitors? Whether that happens a lot, or not very much, the question is still important. When your customers choose someone else, what’s the reason?

The Assumptions

Most of us assume that when a customer decides to go somewhere else it is because our prices are too high. That generally isn’t the case. Usually it’s because of a marketing- or sales-related activity. This article will address the real reasons why customers choose your competitors.

Reality – Your Marketing Isn’t Effective

If two companies are created equally, the service is the same, the pricing is the same, the location is similar, how come one company makes more money than the other? There are many answers to this question, but part of the answer, at least, is that one company knows how to market and the other company doesn’t.

At our company, we talk with automotive service, collision and repair companies all day long and we have learned one single rule: companies with higher marketing budgets generally have higher revenue. In other words, you have to market if
you want to get customers. And you have to market effectively. Marketing without measuring is like throwing money in the trash. There are many tools available that can help you determine which ads, campaigns and keywords are generating calls and which aren’t.

Your Website Isn’t Good Enough

Last year I needed a new dentist. I asked a few friends who they’d recommend, and then I started Googling. There were three dentists I had heard good things about. I went to each of their websites and then I made a decision. I called a dentist and set up an appointment.

What did I base my decision on?

At the time I didn’t even realize it, but I made my decision on how modern and clean the website looked. I chose the dentist who had the best website.

Research shows that when we see a good-looking website, we assume that the business is run efficiently and that they take care of their customers. We assume that they will be fair, honest and quick. We are immediately comfortable with a business when we see their website. Long story short: websites matter. If you are losing customers to your competitors it might be because you don’t have a very good website.

You Aren’t Gathering Enough Data

There is a direct correlation between data and revenue. A recent study from IBM found that companies that say they gather “a lot” of marketing and sales data (web traffic, lead source, customer demographics, etc.) have 40 percent higher revenue than companies that said they only gather “some” marketing and sales data. If you’re using Google Analytics and other marketing analytics tools, you’re going to make more money than your competitors who aren’t gathering data.

You Don’t Sell Effectively

There are several call tracking companies that can actually track if your employees sell effectively on the phone. They can determine if they ask for the business, if they are persistent on the call, if they’re nice, and ultimately if they make the sale. And here’s a few things we found:

Asking a caller to bring their car in at a specific time makes the caller 4.4 times more likely to purchase. This could include using phrases like “Why don’t we get you in later today?” or “We have some time this afternoon. How’s 2 o’clock?” This is a direct invitation to do something. How­ever, in about 78 percent of the calls we analyze in the industry, the employee doesn’t ask for the business.

Most employees in the automotive industry only book appointments on about 20 percent of the calls they receive. Remember this: the caller needs what you’re selling. They need to get their car fixed. No one just calls an auto repair business for fun. So, if they don’t buy from you, they are buying from your competition. You should never let a caller get off the phone without getting an appointment set. Your ability to sell is directly related to the number of customers you lose to your clients.

Nurturing

How well do you stay in touch with the clients you have? Do you send them weekly emails? Do you send them direct mail pieces? Are they on a text message marketing campaign? Remember that it costs eight times more to get a new customer than to keep a current customer. Constantly stay in touch with your customer base. Make sure that you are top-of-mind for them. That way the next time they need something fixed on their car, vehicle maintenance, etc., they will call you first.

Research from Hubspot and IBM found that companies that stay in touch with their customers at least once every two weeks make more money than companies that only stay in touch with their customers every six weeks. Long story short: you’ll lose fewer customers to your competitors if you stay in touch with them.

Editor’s Note: This article is one in a series of management articles contributed to AutoInc. by Automotive Management Institute (AMI) instructors. To learn more about AMI, its courses and instructors, visit www.AMIonline.org. AMI administers the distinguished Accredited Automo­tive Manager (AAM) program.

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