Charles Tandy of Radio Shack fame once said, “Your most likely customer is the customer who just bought something from you.”
With that in mind, I held weekend events twice a year where customers could come in and retrieve their own auto parts. Twenty dollars would provide my customer with all he could carry. Some of my competitors had done that type of promotion quite successfully by creating $40,000 plus on a 2000-visitor turnout for a weekend.
But I thought I could do even better. I took a little different tack on the idea. Calling it a liability waiver, I made everyone sign in on a log with a full name and address. If they didn’t provide all the information, I wouldn’t let them in the event.
I invested a lot of money marketing my weekend sales events, sometimes spending as much as $20,000 to generate the necessary turnout. The way I thought about it, if I took in $50,000, I was still far ahead. The difference was in what I did with the mailing list I generated from the sign-in logs.
Six months later when I did the next All You Can Carry event, I spent only $10,000, which included the mailing to those same people. Six months later, I spent only $5,000. Each time the sales increased. Once they’ve been there, your customers will return if they know you’re having the sale. The key is finding a cost effective way to let them know.
Remember: “Your most likely customer is the customer who just bought something from you.” That’s marketing, but only if you go after it! Create mailing lists any way you can. Use post cards to promote special events. Increase your mailing lists every time you host a special event. Tell them on the postcard that if they will bring the postcard with them, you will give them a discount off their next purchase. That provides them with an incentive to hold onto the postcard. The postcard then becomes a reminder of the upcoming event.
Sometimes I even ran All You Can Carry events two weekends in a row. The All You Can Carry parts generally came from cars I was going to crush anyway, not from high-end inventory; so everything I sold at these events was cash I’d otherwise never have received. And of course, you will want to always remind those customers you are still ready to serve them, while you troll for new customers, using a publication like Recycler’s Source. (Especially if you want to reach other recyclers!)
Remember, only you can make BUSINESS GREAT!
Please visit our web site www.autosalvageconsultant.com to see the last 5 years’ articles posted.
AutoSalvageconsultant.com was formed in 2001 to help recyclers improve their businesses. With over fifty years of experience in three staff members, the group is THE definitive source for recyclers’ management and training needs. The founder, Ron Sturgeon, is past owner of AAA Small Car World. You can review his resume, with skills and experience, at our website. In 2002, his book How to Salvage Millions From Your Small Business was published to help small business owners achieve significant success. It was recently reprinted in the U.S. and published in China, Korea and the Czech Republic. You can learn more about how to help your business at www.autosalvageconsultant.com. You can reach us at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.