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Over 100 paint, body and equipment jobbers gathered in Phoenix, Ariz., April 28-29 for the annual Paint, Body & Equipment Specialists Spring Conference.
The theme this year was “Boosting Your Bottom Line.” Attendees were treated to special presentations such as:
“Sales Mastery: How to Dominate Your Market in Any Economy” Noah Rickun, BuyGitomer, Inc.
“Creative Compensation Alternatives” Bruce Katcher, Ph.D., Discovery Surveys, Inc.
“The Skilled Approach to Marketing: A Practical Guide to Getting Your Marketing in Gear” Rick Ashley, Octane VTM
“Getting Your Financial House in Order in the New World” Jonathan Carey, BB&T Capital Markets
“The Status of Highway Safety: Are We There Yet?” Kim Hazelbaker, Highway Loss Data Institute
“Current Events in the Collision Industry” Greg Horn, Mitchell International, Inc.
Some key points from the “Sales Mastery” presentation were:
It takes many years to build trust, but it can be destroyed in minutes.
Don’t hate the competition; make them hate you.
The economy is never coming back as it was.
Customer expectations are higher than ever.
Customers are guarding their cash more; the money will be spent judiciously
People don’t like to be sold but they love to buy.
People will like someone who helps them achieve something or become more profitable.
Spend time preparing questions and your customers will spent their dollars with you.
Four ways to eliminate price objection: 1) stop thinking of your product as a commodity; 2) take your last 10 sales and figure out how sale was completed, what went into the decision-making process and who pulled the trigger; 3) don’t focus on the sale, focus on the use of the service; 4) start your sales call at the right level.
There are plenty of good people out there; they’re just not working for you.
Memorable services make great word-of-mouth.
What things are you doing after the sale?
Negativity blocks creativity.
Rick Ashley of Octane VTM also made some interesting points in his presentation on marketing. They include:
If you lost a sale, you actually lost a battle of perception.
Inefficient planning, inadequate positioning and inconsistent messaging = results from poor planning.
The best product service doesn’t always win; the best perception usually always does.
The generalist is always susceptible to the specialist.
Establish your position, communicate it and defend it.
Kim Hazelbaker included some interesting statistics in his presentation on highway safety, including:
Population of U.S. = 302,869,285
Licensed drivers = 200,000,000
Registered vehicles = 240,000,000
Crashes (reported to police) = 6,159,000
Propery-damage only crashes = 4,304,000
Injury crashes = 1,816,000
Greg Horn, vice president of industry relations for Mitchell, Inc., based his presentation on Mitchell’s most recent industry trends report. Click HERE to access the report.
Roundtable discussions were also held at the conference, focusing on how PBE store owners can streamline their business operations. Topics included: “Technology for Efficiency and Effectiveness,” “Lean Practices: What Are You Doing to Cut Costs?” and “Cash Flow: What Are You Doing to Keep Cash Flowing?”
With the tough economy, many jobbers have been forced to take a hard look at their policies, processes and procedures in order to ensure they stay profitable.
Some talked about installing GPS in their trucks so that they could track their drivers’ whereabouts and route more efficiently to save on fuel costs. Some have also reduced the number of deliveries, implying the days of just picking up and delivering any time a customer calls are over.
Tighter inventory control was also discussed as part of getting lean, getting a read on what are the most popular products and what are the least and stocking accordingly. Also, reducing inventory so that they carry only what is needed at any given time, similar to collision repair facilities not having cars sitting around that aren’t being worked on.
There was even talk on somehow causing a behavior change among collision repairers to keep track themselves on what they’re running out of. One jobber said he doesn’t believe it will ever happen, while another said if repairers are given the right tools (such as a scanner) that are placed in a central location in the shop, it could become reality.
Other jobbers talked about having to revisit their payment arrangements with customers, perhaps even cutting off customers who take too long to pay or putting some customers on COD and upping the rewards for those who pay promptly.
To read about last year’s PBES Spring Conference, click HERE.