Your auto shop waiting room can be an enormous marketing opportunity for you. Customers can become repeat customers. Friends of these customers can convert into future sales. If you dress up your waiting room the right way, you might find it to be your best return on investment.
Always remember show don't tell
We'll say it over and over again, but we can't emphasize enough the show-don't-tell mantra. Mechanics love to talk in detail about the work they have to perform on a car. It's nice to demonstrate your knowledge and outline the plan of attack. But chances are your customers have no idea what you're talking about. They may be impressed with your attention to detail, but your words aren't resonating with them.
They need something more obvious.
Your waiting room provides this opportunity.
1. Show them old parts
Make sure that you have a selection of old parts on hand for show and tell. Now you obviously need to do this in a way that is classy, so we recommend having a nice display case. Inside of that case have things such as a worn out brake pad next to a brand new brake pad, a shredded timing belt next to a new timing belt (display one of the bent valves for extra effect), and a filthy cabin filter next to a new cabin filter. Display old fluids in chemical vials next to their new counterparts. That way your customers can compare and contrast, and you can use these examples as you explain why a car needs a particular service.
One mistake auto shops do is to display these items haphazardly throughout the waiting room. Make sure there is some order to how you show these parts. Keep them out of the way of the counter, so that your customers don't feel inundated and cluttered. But at the same time, make them accessible and easily viewable, so that they don't go overlooked.
Multimedia is a great way to garner attention. A slideshow or video can help retain the attention of customers as they wait for their car to be serviced. In a nice curio cabinet, consider having a TV with a professionally done PowerPoint that scrolls through special services, announcements, and new products (like headlight restoration, fuel injection cleanings, add-on heated seats, etc.). You can also subscribe to ready-made products/services like AutoNetTV.com, designed to help you promote your offerings.
To show your clients problems that you have found on their vehicle, video or take pictures of the problem and display them using an AppleTV. This keeps your clients from having to walk into the shop and impresses them with your use of technology.
3. Make the most of your email lists
How are you doing with your email lists? Be sure that you take advantage of the "join our mailing list" options in Constant Contact to grow your list. Constant Contact allows you to grow your list in a variety of unique ways, many of which you can incorporate into your waiting room. For example, you can make it possible for customers to text or scan a QR code to join your list. Somewhere in your waiting room display a promo, such as "Save 10% on today's service by joining our mailing list. Here's how."
Most people will join without thought, because they'll save money and because you made it easy for them to make the conversion (subscribe).
Take advantage of the access to customers you have in your waiting room
Businesses spend tons of money in advertising in the hopes of winning the attention of viewers and web surfers. But inside your waiting room, you have that coveted attention. Now you need to know how to make the most of it. Using your waiting room as a marketing opportunity is one of the best ways to create long-term customers who rely on you for all of their automotive needs.