Solution selling is a methodology that was developed in the business to business environment primarily focused on technology sales. It’s a natural fit for the auto repair business as much of what takes place is solution oriented. However, in recent times people have come to view the term ‘solution’ as an overused, watered down term with negative connotations. So the most effective implementation of solution based strategies is to employ them without calling them ‘solutions’. Solution based strategies involve understanding the customer perspective and developing service offerings that satisfy the customer’s vision of an optimal experience in auto repair. Solution based marketing involves promoting the relationship that provides that experience. Following are steps to developing solution based marketing strategies for auto repair:
- Recognize the Customer Perspective – The essence of solution based marketing is to understand the perspective of the target market. What are the challenges the customer faces in achieving a positive experience in vehicle ownership? Solutions in auto repair should support the customer’s vision.
- Define a Solution Based Strategy – An understanding of what the customer perceives to be a positive experience in auto repair will identify what must be done to provide service that supports that idea. A solution based strategy defines what will be done to accomplish this.
- Make Sure the Strategy Encompasses the Customer Experience – Once a strategy has been identified evaluate it to determine if it will address the customer’s vision in full. If any parts of the customer experience are not addressed the strategy should be refined as necessary.
- Identify Service Offerings to Support the Solution Strategy – In auto repair the service offered starts with the customer contact, continues through vehicle repair and delivery on to customer follow up. Matching the customer vision of a positive experience should be supported in each segment of the overall process.
- Put the Solution Based Service Offerings into Practice – To utilize solution based marketing strategies solution based offerings must be the basis of services provided. Procedures and/or customer engagement policies may need to be modified or formulated.
- Create Solution Based Marketing Messages – Marketing messages can be the most significant part of solution based strategies. The text and images utilized must enforce solution based service without being directly referred to as solutions. An idea of what the customer envisions as their ideal auto repair experience should be elicited by the message conveyed.
- Base Marketing Programs on Solution Based Messages – Campaigns and advertisements should promote the defined solution based strategy. If properly developed – customers will recognize the value of the offering even if their need is not immediate. The objective is to present an image that conveys the customer’s vision of a positive auto repair experience.
- Evaluate and Modify as Required – People’s perceptions evolve over time and so do other factors in auto repair. Thus the concept of solution based strategies will need to be refreshed as time goes on. Continuous improvement in solution strategies will lead to continued success.