From the interviews I’ve conducted with hundreds of shop owners most auto repair advertising happens via word of mouth. In several other articles I’ve covered many reasons for this such as incorrect advertising strategies, miscommunication and general distaste for the concept.
“Word of mouth is the only thing that works”. – 90% of facility owners.
What is truly odd about this statement is how right they are, but how little they understand about why.
Auto Repair Advertising – Breaking Down Word Of Mouth
My favorite resource wikipedia.org says: Word of mouth, is a reference to the passing of information by verbal means, especially recommendations, but also general information, in an informal, person-to-person manner. Word of mouth is typically considered a face-to-face spoken communication, although phone conversations, text messages sent via SMS and web dialogue, such as online profile pages, blog posts, message board threads, instant messages and emails are often now included in the definition of word of mouth. There is some overlap in meaning between word of mouth and the following: rumor, gossip, innuendo, and hearsay; however word of mouth is more commonly used to describe positive information being spread rather than negative, although this is not always the case.
If you were to look this up on your own and scroll down the page you’d see a section called “Successful examples” and “Unsuccessful examples” of WoM.
Successful examples include the usage of scarcity. Unsuccessful examples highlight massive over abundance.
Auto Repair Advertising – WoM’s Backlash
Much of what is being done for auto repair advertising today has generated a massive glut of negative WoM. The reason for this is overabundance of locations and the sweeping belief by the general population all shops offer the same service and will rob them blind at every opportunity.
Not only large auto repair facilities have been hurt by this. Smaller shops, who have relied for years on positive WoM are suffering quietly from what I have been informed is sometimes called “the pretty girl syndrome”.
Auto Repair Advertising – Are You A Pretty Girl?
When shop has the pretty girl syndrome it means they’ve hit saturation point in their business and are now “booked solid for 3 solid weeks.” While this may appear no the surface to be a good thing, it is actually working against them in a very massive way.
I had the opportunity to speak with a shop owner in San Jose, CA who was suffering from this exact problem. During our conversation he reported being “booked at least 3-4 weeks in advance, but in the past few months business had dropped off significantly.”
The problem could be external, it could be market conditions, it could be any number of things, but the bottom line is this: people are still having car trouble and they’re taking them to a shop somewhere. It would seem that the mouths have stopped talking.
Or maybe they haven’t. What can happen when a shop falls prey to the pretty girl syndrome is WoM has changed from ‘You have to use Ace Auto Repair’ to ‘You know, don’t call them, they’re usually booked too far out. They’re really good, but why don’t you try this other place, they seem to get us in faster.’
After all, why would you want to approach the prettiest girl in the place when you already know you won’t be getting the date?
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