A Series On Marketing For A PDR Technician Part VI

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This relationship development could and probably should take a long time. You need to finesse your way into their lives without appearing desperate or needy. You don’t want to be thought of as ‘that thorn in their side’, be confident and brief. Don’t impose yourself into their lives, gently enter as a fact gatherer. Learn their likes and dislikes which would also include things like do they drink coffee, if so what do they take in it? Are they family men, and what are the names of their family members? Do their children play sports and if so, which sports? All of this is done in a way that your fleet manager is unaware. This takes practice and it takes a change of attitude. You must take the dollar bills out of your head and be willing to jump in with both feet having compassion lose weight quickly. Another option, once you know how many people are a part of the fleet maintenance team, order a couple of pizzas. Have the pizza’s delivered, give it five minutes, then appear out of nowhere. Trust me, they will be both thankful and never forget your kindness. It’s unfortunate that this is a viable way to gain positive attention, but in truth, it’s really not that hard to do. Do you know of any body shops that will go the distance like this? No, not me either. Being a mobile PDR business has its advantages, you’re not strapped within the confines of the walls of a body shop. This means that you have more time to work angles that the body shop cannot.

Just like your friendships, these relationships take time and effort. However, unlike with your friends, you will need to be cognizant of your language, both body and vocal. These are professional alliances that you are striving for, there is no place for shucking and jiving.




A Series On Marketing For A PDR Technician Part V

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The idea is not to sell anything but to send a letter with a handwritten signature, asking if they are still satisfied with your work, reminding them of their warranty if they should have any issues. You will catch the customer completely off guard and will help you to stand out in their minds. You might also send a magnetic business card. If you offer this card on the day of completion, the paperwork and your card may end up in their glove box. Doing these things lets them know that you care about the quality of your work and that you care about them. This my friend is going to be your answer to getting referrals.

After long and careful proof and consideration, this is the absolute number one way to get new customers to come back and to get referrals from those customers. You have to work hard to put a process in place, especially if you haven’t go anyone at home that can help you with this. You will need to set up reminders for each customer and even write and save your letters that you will snail mail out to them. This personal touch is the very thing that collision repair shops are not doing and the one thing that will absolutely set you apart.

Marketing to Insurance Agents and Fleet Company’s

Yet another source for marketing is to work diligently with insurance agents and businesses that have fleet accounts. These are often the first place people will go when they need your services. The insurance agent is an obvious next step for a customer following a collision but the fleet managers can not only lead their own fleet to you but also fleets from other company’s and employees of the company’s they represent.

A Series On Marketing For A PDR Technician Part IV

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Your customer does not want to be kept in the dark. At the very least, check in at the end of the day giving simple and quick updates regarding your progress. Keep your customer in the loop but don’t resort to psycho dialing them. Once a day is fine unless you have something that needs to be done that was not originally spoken about and could cause the total job to be higher.

This is effectively a part of your marketing strategy. Your customers should have been wooed enough that their need for your services last for the next three to five years. Also, the referral given to their friends and family should last well beyond that. How do you do that? Leave an impression, not just in the immediate work but by using other long lasting strategies.

First you will want to send a handwritten thank-you note just days after the service is complete. Next, you could give a phone call asking if they are still satisfied with your work. This is hard but important. You need to be willing to listen to the customer if they are dissatisfied and be prepared to offer a solution. These two should be done within the first week of completed service. You could use the next week to deliver their warranty but I would suggest that being a part of your final signing off on the job. Finally, you will need to send non-promotional follow-up letters to each customer at the three month, six month, one year, 18 month, two year, three year, four year and five year anniversary of the repair.

A Series On Marketing For A PDR Technician Part III

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In the latest of surveys, 4,000 customers from several different shops, were contacted by phone and asked three very simple questions: 1) was the customer still satisfied with the repair? 2) Did they have friends or family that would also need these same type of services in the next year (which I feel is pretty objective, who knows if they will get in an accident or crash into or back up into a pole?) 3) Would they refer your PDR services to those people?

The very real and telling results were that 87.6 percent were still satisfied, of those people, nearly 100 percent knew of others that could also use those services. What was quite scary is that, with the third question, there was an overwhelming amount of those that answered no, they would not refer.

So why do you think they said no? They are saying that the service was ‘average’ and certainly not memorable. You will never get a referral on average service. Would you refer a restaurant or any public service type business, if the service was average? Of course not. You would never tell your mom or best friend “Hey, you should go down to that new restaurant, they had average service.” Your customers today are far more demanding than they used to be. They want to be wowed, they want to be catered to and they want to be thanked in ways that impress. This is the answer to getting referrals.

This doesn’t have to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, it’s really quite simple. You need to start with customer service; this starts with being friendly in your greeting, using proper phone etiquette and using solid updating procedures. The latter is probably one of the biggest pet peeves that customers using any industry complain about.

A Series On Marketing For A PDR Technician Part II

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You need to tackle a mindset change and learn to use different marketing tactics to effectively reach out to your potential customer’s. Your industry is not an impulse-buy industry so your marketing needs to reflect those limitations. This is exactly what trips up the average collision repair shop or PDR technician, you simply can’t use blanket marketing tactics, and you must hone your marketing to reflect the reality that is your industry and its options.

Following will be ideas for marketing and tips for new customer acquisition and how you as a PDR technician can implement them immediately:

Referrals: Creating a Plan

In traditional and collision repair marketing, the simplest yet most effective way to gain new customers has been by referrals from friends and family. You can never overlook the value found in referrals, but plan beyond friends and family is what I am advocating for. Word of mouth is still King and perhaps always will be. People find value in the endorsements of those that they respect, even if misguided or misleading. In your case of course, you would hope that your friends and family will have your back and speak highly of your work ethics and collision repair talents.

You Must Offer a Warranty

Even though you don’t have a shop that you work from, you are a shop. Your warranty speaks volumes about you and your work. You should use your Warranty as a marketing tool.

There have been surveys done just recently (2013) that will serve to help you with how and to who you market your mobile PDR business.

A Series On Marketing For A PDR Technician Part I

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Collision repair is just as strong, if not stronger, than ever and is in high demand. This would be the first thing that a PDR Technician needs to understand. Leave the negativity at the door and get ready to delve into how to get your information out to the public so that you can grow your business instead of just existing. Just like life, your business will only grow if you move forward, if you stay stationary and become complacent, so will your business and your life.

In collision repair, you’re only popular when the customer needs your services, like after an accident. So reaching out and attempting to drum up business may not pay dividends in the immediate but will in the long run. You need to keep your eye on the big picture and not get tripped up on the little. It takes tenacity and perseverance to get to Gold, any athlete will tell you that.

Keep in mind that when the customer does need you, while they leave with the satisfaction of returning their previously owned product to its original luster, they aren’t walking away with something new, just something fixed.  So you have to keep in mind, while you are excited with the success that you have had with the restoration to factory release, your customer may be just mildly impressed. On the other hand, you may get a customer who is a true car enthusiast who completely appreciates the beauty and art form in the work that you do. In fact, they may be just darn impressed. I mention this so that you will have realistic expectations, you know how crafty you are, let that be enough. Because of this, how you market your collision repair business will be more challenging.




Google’s Cute-As-A-Bug Electric Buggy Released In California Part IV

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Update: Governor Jerry Brown has signed the bill into law, making Google’s driverless cars street legal in the state of California.

Google’s fleet of self-driving Toyota Prius hybrids have now logged more than 300,000 miles on California public roadways without so much as a fender-bender, the company says. Now California Gov. Jerry Brown is poised to sign a piece of legislation, SB 1298 , that would pave the way for self-driving cars for consumers.

Following the example of Nevada and Florida, which have already legalized automated cars for public roadway use, the bill would require the California DMV to draft regulations for automakers and motorists to follow when adopting this new technology.

The Technology

What Google has achieved is nothing short of amazing. Using a complex array of radar, cameras, sensors and GPS navigation, the modified Prius Hybrid creates a 3D image of its surroundings. The car’s brain knows traffic laws better than you do, but any intervention by the person sitting behind the wheel disables the automated system and returns control to the driver.

Since the computer can make decisions like slowing down for a stoplight you will not catch and using the optimum throttle and brake input for any given situation, Google’s Prius is also more efficient than even the most green-friendly drivers can manage. We envision “driverless” toll lanes where traffic can cruise smoothly and evenly at 70 mph in the heart of rush hour traffic.

Driverless Cars: Privacy Concerns

Consumer advocate groups, including the influential Consumer Watchdog non-profit, have urged Brown to veto the bill–it already has passed the State Senate–because it does not contain any language regulating or addressing collection of private personal data, like when and where you drive and what establishments you frequent. Google does not exactly have a sterling record for privacy practices, so this is a real area of concern.

Would you consent to Google tracking your whereabouts and your private information while you drive, then sharing it with advertisers? These are the questions we need to ask as the industry moves into a new era of automation technology.

Google’s Cute-As-A-Bug Electric Buggy Released In California Part III

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Autonomous, that is, within certain human-defined limits. Google’s custom-built prototypes will be electronically limited to 25 mph and will never go on highways. They will be designed as “neighborhood” vehicles under U.S. regulations, exempting them from many crash-safety standards. And they will have emergency buttons for pulling over and shutting down.

“We’ve built in occupant protection and pedestrian protection and tried to tailor it to the environment we’ll actually be operating in,” said Ron Medford, the project’s safety director, who was deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before joining Google in 2013.

Kara Kockelman, a transportation engineering professor at the University of Texas, said Google’s decision to contain its experiment to cities makes sense. The risk of injuries there is lower because traffic moves slowly, she said, and the higher population density means self-driving vehicles could spend more time carrying passengers and less time sitting idle. “In many ways,” Kockelman said, “cities are where we expect to see them first.” Again, this is an excellent resource for the elderly, blind or otherwise handicapped passengers. How freeing would it be to one of these types of passengers to be able to travel without having to use the busing system which is inconvenient at best but dangerous at worse.

Rather than partnering with a major automaker, Google signed up Roush Enterprises of suburban Detroit to build its prototypes, according to a report last week by Crain’s Detroit Business, a sibling publication of Automotive News.

That’s largely in line with Google’s corporate ethos. Brin, the company’s co-founder, acknowledged last week in an interview with The New York Times that car companies are working on partially autonomous driving features, but he suggested that the pace of change was too gradual for Google. “That stuff,” Brin said, “seems not entirely in keeping with our mission of being transformative.” Information gathered in whole or part by Automotive News.

Google’s Cute-As-A-Bug Electric Buggy Released In California Part II

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Google ultimately may try supplying its software and maps to the mainstream auto industry, but car-sharing could offer the company and its technology a more direct route to the marketplace.

“All along, we’ve all been speculating about Google,” said consultant Richard Bishop, who led the U.S. Department of Transportation’s vehicle automation program in the 1990s. “We’ve known they’re building very capable technology, but the question has been: What are they going to do with it? Here’s a concrete use case — the autonomous taxi — that has significant potential, whether Google is the one who does it or not.”

To prepare its autonomous cars to handle all sorts of urban driving scenarios, Google has commissioned a fleet of about 100 custom-built prototypes, which Urmson said will appear on California’s public roads by year end.

Though current testing regulations require that a driver sit behind the wheel, Google’s vision — as depicted in its publicity materials — is for the cars eventually to have no steering wheel or pedals.

Automakers such as Daimler AG and Volvo also are aggressively pursuing autonomous vehicles to make cars safer, improve mobility for blind and elderly people and make traffic jams and commutes less tiresome. However, none of those automakers envisions eliminating the role of the driver altogether.

Google does. It says it isn’t confident enough about the handoff of controls to maintain a role for the driver in a self-driving car. Human factors research suggests that once people gave up control of a vehicle, they would be too trusting, Urmson said, and wouldn’t be prepared to retake the controls quickly when they were needed. Rather than taking a shot at “debugging the human,” Google decided to go for a fully autonomous car, makes sense.

Google’s Cute-As-A-Bug Electric Buggy Released In California Part I

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Google, after 700,000 miles of testing, has released its first true driverless vehicle to be driven on surface streets and not highways just yet. The body they put it into was an electric buggy, I’m sure as time goes on that there will be at least a few choices of body types, but for now, we have this cute as a bug buggy.

Everything about the new test program that Google co-founder Sergey Brin revealed last week, from the design of its two-seat prototypes to the decision to test them on city streets instead of highways, points toward a personal transportation system that directly challenges the driver-centered, ownership-based business model the auto industry has relied on for a century.

“If you look at a vehicle purchase today, it’s the second largest purchase most people in America make, and it’s a resource that basically sits idle for 95 percent of the time,” Christopher Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving cars project, told reporters. “It’s kind of a poor capital investment, in some senses.”

Google’s idea of this app, is not a more accurate map or sensor to assist the driver but rather a vehicle that targets a pressing need for urban mobility without the need for a driver or driving at all. It envisions a network of self-guided, battery-powered vehicles standing ready in urban areas, able to be summoned with a tap on a smartphone and capable of taking their passengers to any destination.

Last year, Google led a $258 million investment in the on-demand taxi service through its Google Ventures capital arm.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick acknowledged the connection at a conference last week in California. “When there’s no other dude in the car,” the blog TechCrunch quoted him as saying, in reference to the driver, “the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.”