Growing your detailing business
Expansion is essential in every business; it’s survival. For car wash or detailing business, it’s no exception. In Malaysia, the number one contributing cause of a car wash or detailing business unable to compete is due the lack of capacity in generating new customers.
In our earlier blog, we have shared on how important it is to retain a pool of marketing fund prior to setting up, as no business would thrive without exposure to their intended market. If you have not read our earlier blog posts, here you will find a complete guide about social selling and other tips to improve your business with the last technologies at https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2017/08/guide-to-social-selling. The idea of this blog is to help you to identify your strength in developing a marketing strategy and expand your pool of customers.
No business is competition free.
With that said, we cannot stress the importance of how necessary it is to market and capture your market audience. Being able to generate figures is not a direct avenue. It is a process; sale is a process that involves several steps and considerations.
It involves making an impression to the right target audience, having engaged or engaging them, and converting the audience in becoming a customer. While it may sound easy, the reality of why it is perceived as difficult is that it requires understanding, perseverance and dedication.
The 4P’s of marketing mix isn’t something we should scoff at, and it may still be relevant in our learning and devising of marketing strategy for detailing businesses today. We will be discussing the 4P’s that should be mindful of in this blog and hope it enlightens on how to tailor a suitable strategy for your business.
Understanding The Product
For car wash outlets or detailing centers, the core offering (or rather service offering) is to restore confidence of the customer.
A car is an extension of the driver and it is also a statement of who the person behind the wheel is, therefore a clean or shiny car is the end result of what every detailers should deliver unfailingly. Detailing service is a prolonged subscription, and should not be a one-off dealing. Hence, it is the customer who should be convinced. After all, if you are constantly restoring or polishing the paint rather than focusing on building customer confidence, something is terribly wrong with your service.
When the attention is directed to your customer, this means being able to connect and to recommend a personalised service that is suitable for his/her needs or budget. Personalised service equals to better customer retention. As cars in Malaysia are generally loaned for 5-9 years, this means over the course of ownership, cars will need restoration and maintenance repeatedly.
How do your services help to establish a continuous relationship and support for your customer?
Workshops have records of past services, why should it be different for detailing centers?
Investing in a customer relationship management system is a good way to strategise in managing and storing information about your customer.
Do your services come in variety?
Having flexible packages is also another way of providing personalised service. For example, a customer who wants the glossiness of a coating but not willing to pay for full price of coating, the 03 fluorine coating can be an alternative to a lasting paint enhancer.
Offering an alternate approach also helps to block price objection. Customer will have to choose between option A (quality) or option B. (economical).
How is your product or service “dressed” to impress or give a glimpse of what your service can deliver?
“The way you are dressed is the way you’ll be addressed”
Clean and organised place is a must for detailing centers. A tidy place signifies a detailer’s approach in cleanliness.
Where Do You Place Your Product (Placement)?
Living in a digital age, it’s impossible to ignore the wonders of technology and digital space these days. Delivering a detailing service is impossible on digital space, however, presence can be felt at digital space and can be taken advantage of.
For example: Using waze to make an impression on nearby residences or passerby to attract prospects for a quick visit.
Or to use facebook voucher to entice nearby residence or passerby to try out or visit your service.
So how do you know if your channel is the right channel or medium?
The more complicated a product or service is, the more complexity of a channel of distribution should be. Generally, a full detailing service is considered a more intricate service, therefore, the choice of distribution channel should be able to convey more complexity.
Car cleaning is a straightforward service and the flyers/e-flyers is an effective tool to promote.
Even though social media and other digital spaces may create awareness, the physicality of a business venue should not be ignored, especially in the detailing industry. The bulk of the business still relies on a conventional walk-in approach.
What are you doing to promote your business presence offline, and how can you increase traffic?
One of the more effective methods to promote your service to walk-in customers is to demonstrate the importance of keeping their car in pristine condition. Do check out our bunting(s) that are available for business owners.
What Are The Considerations Of Promotion?
In every promotion, there should be a primary purpose of why promotion is being campaigned.
Is it to boost sales figures?
Is it meant to promote a new service and have existing customers to try it out?
Is it meant to test demand for a new market segment?
Is it for branding purposes?
Is it intended to grow more customers?
Is it to grow awareness of your service?
Not every promotion will result in generated income in short term period, you will not be able to recover in a short term basis. For example, running a branding campaign would not see an increase in revenue compared to running a promotion of boosting sales figures. With digital media / social media marketing, your ultimate goal is to observe the engagement, reach or conversion from your campaign, and these are all made easy.
In terms of running a promotion to boost sales figures, the general rule is that a discount of 10% from actual price should boost the total sales figure to 110% or more from your average figures in order for it to be considered effective.
Running a promotion for the sake of having a promotion is futile as it does not achieve any purpose.
A jacked up price marked lower is not a promotion. It is a marketing gimmick, and does not fair well when customers are aware of the marketplace charges. It also establishes a falsehood on your business conduct.
Food for thought: Is the price paid for value for money, and how what is being understood by your customer in terms of value?
It’s not the discount. It’s the pricing strategy that should allow customers to feel that it is value for money. When priced strategically, the promotion or discount should be a nudge for customers to move forward with the decision.
How Do You Determine Pricing?
Price is often the last process of the 4P’s as price should envelop the values of your service. Without values, price cannot be justified.
Apart from excellent service and craftsmanship, what are the other values or unique selling points that are being offered by your company? How does it contribute to your pricing and are your customer able to relate your value?
The fixture of price should factor the cost, time, expenses, profit margin, and most importantly the demand and supply of such service in your particular location.
For areas that are more competitive, it is a usual practice in the industry to bundle several services to keep it relevant and value for money. For instance, bundling the service of: wash, vacuum, clay, wax and interior fogging.
A common mispractice of setting prices in detailing industry is that most would prefer to run a discount campaign rather than adding value.
Discounting takes a toll on profit and margin while adding value means not giving up on your profits. Discount is not the only way to convince for sales, and definitely not the major reason why people would put their money down.
Competing solely on price means struggling with a never-ending price war with your competitors. This means whoever has more reserve will eventually eliminate the other party with less on hand. A good business should not rely only on a singular strategy and should build values in each consideration of their 4P’s.
The most important element of marketing is never about having a huge pool of fund to market and expose your business. It is to have a fitting strategy.
Money can be squandered and yield no results if the strategy does not resonate with your business and customers.
A good strategy expands your customers, retains them and prolong their lifetime value.