Auto Service World
Feature   June 1, 2000   by CARS Magazine

Planning for Profit

To maximize profitability with diagnostic test equipment, follow the "Four C's"


Whether you’re operating an independent auto service business, running a dealership or managing a fleet maintenance facility, an investment in shop and sophisticated diagnostic equipment is a must today.

There’s no question that it’s a major investment, but it’s one that can help increase business and profitability, and one that can reduce vehicle maintenance and diagnostics time, effort and “comeback” costs.

Investing in equipment requires planning, and should always involve the four Cs of planning for profit: co-operation, communication, consulting and customer satisfaction.

Co-operation

Planning your equipment purchases and investments should involve everyone on your team, as well as all the representatives of your tool and equipment provider whom you see regularly.

Let’s assume that you deal with a single-source supplier for both tools and equipment. You may see only an industrial representative who looks after all your needs; or you may have both an automotive tool and a technical equipment representative who visit your business on a regular basis.

To help all of your representatives target the right equipment for your needs, speak with them all and make sure they all know as much as possible about your specific situation.

Your mobile tool dealer, for example, may visit weekly while your technical equipment representative may visit only once a month. If you communicate your needs to your tool dealer, he can take that knowledge and work with your technical equipment rep to provide an equipment solution. Make the effort to establish a strong relationship with all of your representatives – this will help you understand all of their capabilities, and will help them understand all of your needs. Each person involved in the equipment sale and equipment purchase has a different perspective, so sharing information and coordinating plans means your needs will be met more effectively and efficiently.

Communication

This is another key. Tell your reps your needs. Ask questions and voice your concerns. Find out about the latest equipment that’s available, and its capabilities.

A well-informed sales team demonstrates its respect for your time by showing you equipment that suits your needs, listening to your concerns and answering your questions quickly and accurately.

Ask for a demo – your technical equipment representative will be happy to show you the capabilities of the newest solutions for your auto service business or fleet maintenance facility. Consider their suggestions. Open communication will help your reps provide the right solutions, and help you be a satisfied customer.

Consulting

A company’s success is built on more than excellent products. It’s also built on good planning, solid customer relationships and your respect for the company’s expertise.

Think of your tool and equipment representatives as consultants, pooling their expertise to provide you with the benefit of their knowledge.

A meeting with your representatives is time well spent when everyone recognizes that you’re all planning for your future success.

Keep notes of discussions and your inquiries, and remind your reps about your inquiries the next time they visit.

Make sure your inquiries are being followed up in a timely fashion. A representative who values your business and wishes to have you as a long-term customer isn’t just interested in closing the next sale.

He or she will strive to get answers for you as soon as possible and meet your needs even when there is no immediate sale.

Customer Satisfaction

This fourth “C” is in many ways a result of the first three. If both you and your supplier representatives have co-operated, communicated and consulted effectively, then you’ve all gone a long way towards making sure that you, the customer, are satisfied.

If your representatives understand your business vision, and help you achieve your goals, then you’ll consider them a welcome addition to your team – and you’ll turn to them first the next time you’re planning an equipment investment.

This article was supplied by Snap-on Tools of Canada Ltd.


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