Best Way to Market Your Collision Centre?

Robert Karbaum
I have been involved in discussions surrounding the marketing of a collision center. The problem appears, that consumers themselves do not shop collision centers like they do dealerships. At least, that appears to be the case based on search traffic for our area. So the question is, if customers really aren't doing research on their collision centers, what options do you have? Is it as simple as becoming "preferred" partners with all the insurance companies in your area? If so, what is the best way to tackle this task?
Joel Trout
I ran the customer/Insurance aspect of a body shop for a while. I helped them grow their business by getting on board with several companies and establishing an internet presence in the community. Your creative thinking will get you far in that area. Advertise that you do all sorts of repairs, customization, glass, tires, hot rods, RV's, Boats, hail damage, and detailing. You will get their attention and business. Getting in touch with area representatives for some of the larger automotive insurance and fleet leasing companies is also a great place to start. They seemed to be willing to give collision shops a try. And once you prove you can provide excellent service, they will send you more and more business. Meeting their criteria seemed to be the hardest part. Once we had about 10 insurance providers calling us, we never had empty bays! And, let your customers know that they can choose where they get their vehicles repaired. It is their vehicle, and even if you are not one of the "preferred" vendors of their insurance company, they are entitled to having their vehicle repaired by someone they trust. If they come to you for service and sales, they may want to have repair work done there also. Another source of business was walk in estimates. I turned those estimates into sales the same way we turn leads into appointments. Make it easy for the customer, send the estimate right to their insurance company with photos and schedule the repair right then.
Shaun Weissman
It's all about the Internet. You are not going to gain "severe accidents" unless you have relationships with the towing companies. All other services a customer is going to go to the Internet and see who appears and your reviews.
Ali Salman
Building a loyalty program to drive clients who will spend at your dealership through the years they live in that area, will be the long term solution. Reputation, reviews, SEO and other things should be part of your marketing mix in order yto get solid results. I have also seen very few collision centers taking a educational or information driven route.
Robert Karbaum
Thanks for all the great responses!
Ricky Wood
We have an insurance product that we sell in F&I that pays for customers deductible's if they bring the car to our collision centers. We also have information in our service & sales departments about why doing business with us is the best idea. What manufacturer are you with? Sometimes they have "preferred" status that can be achieved for any "onstar" programs.

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