The first thing that surprised me as the woman introduced all of us in the room was how many different industries were represented. Here I thought I would be surrounded by collision repairers. It about blew me over that people from the banking, media and recreation industries had come to seek marketing, sales and operation training from a body shop owner.
The woman who so kindly introduced us all is Natalie Kessler, co-owner and director of education at Masters Educational Services. The body shop owner is Dave Dunn, managing director and co-founder of Masters. The event was a one-day training class held in Galesburg, Ill., where Dunn owns Dave’s Autobody.
Dunn has carved quite a niche from himself with his $4 million shop by offering a Detail for Life to any customer that gets $2,000 or more of collision work performed on his or her car. Dunn’s huge success over 30 years in the collision business has allowed him to share his business acumen by consulting to other industries.
As I sat listening to Dunn, I thought this is what everyone needs at some point in their professional career. It’s nice to be able to call a timeout, unplug from the hustle and bustle of your everyday work activities, and actually think about how you currently operate and whether it’s the best way to operate.
Some of the golden nuggets Dunn handed to us were:
Good advertising might make a bad business go out of business faster.
You can be an effective marketer without advertising.
If you keep doing things the same way, how can you expect better results?
If mediocrity is the perception of what you do, then price is the only differentiator.
Dunn emphasized that a business must decide what it wants to be, for example: the king of service, the low-cost provider, or the high-price-but-worth-it business. He also cautioned that if you try to appeal to people on a cognitive level in a need-based business like collision repair, you’ll fail.
“Some shops tout their state-of-the-art equipment,” Dunn says. “But no one remembers that. It is emotion that drives memory.”
If you’ve never taken a Masters training course, I highly recommend that you do. Also, stop by Dave’s Autobody for a tour. You might feel that stepping away from your business for a day or two could create catastrophe, but I think staying buried in it is worse.