Modern Tire Dealer

NOV 2018

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 8 90 F o c u s O n I n d u s t r y D oug Beamer isn't a "numbers" guy, at least not when it comes to sales at Beamer Tire & Auto Repair Inc. "If you ask me what we did in sales yesterday, I couldn't tell you," he says. "I have never been one of those guys. I was an accounting and business major in college, but it's funny how the numbers are not my point of emphasis. My guys have no sales goals that they have to hit." e 59-year-old owner of two namesake tire dealerships in North Carolina instead prefers to focus on another very important number — his overall rating on Google. With an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars at Beamer's High Point, N.C., location and 4.6 stars at the Greensboro location, Beamer Tire's online reputation is realistically about as good as you can get for a small business. But Beamer wants more. IT'S A DIGITAL WORLD Gone are the days when customers would look you up in the Yellow Pages. In today's digital world, customers are Googling and reading reviews about your company before they come in. "We have polled people coming in the door, and we have found that about nine out of 10 of them found us online," Beamer says. "I couldn't tell you the dollars I've spent on direct mail and advertising, but it doesn't return the results that I get from people walking in and saying they came here because of our reviews." In addition to Google, Beamer maintains a strong presence on multiple online platforms including Facebook and Yelp. "It's like your footprint. You have to have your footprint everywhere, and the more places you have it, then the more people can find you. You have to be part of the keyword search. If you have your information out there, you'll be included." Beamer Tire has received hundreds of reviews, and the company takes time to respond to every single one, even the negative ones. "You have to be careful how you respond, but I try to be posi- tive about it," Beamer says. "We learn from everything. Even the ones that give you four stars out of five, we want to know how we can get that fih star." Beamer is usually the one who responds to reviews. "It just came naturally to me," he says. "I enjoy doing it and I can do it quickly. "Responding is important. It can make you or break you. You don't want to give customers one reason not to come back." He says the review information is invaluable because it helps him learn what the customers liked or didn't like about their experience. "I turn around and I give that information to the guys at the counter and reward them for good performance," he says. "I tell them all the time to mention their name. I want the customers to know them. Yes, my name is on the sign but they don't deal with me every day. "If they get mentioned in a review I'll give them $20 and thank them for helping that customer." Beamer also uses his online channels to promote coupons and deals from time to time to build traffic. He's not interested in attracting too many coupon customers, however. "ey're not looking for a relationship, they're looking for a deal," he says. "If you have a $17 oil change customer, then the next time they need an oil change they're going to find the $15 guy, and that's who they're going to go to." EARNING A REVIEW While customers love reading reviews, getting a customer to take the time to write one can be a challenge. Beamer does not offer discounts or incentives in exchange for customer reviews. Instead, he says the best way to get a review is simply to ask. "If a customer says, 'Hey you guys have been great,' then that's the time when we'll ask them for a review," he says. "We explain that we work off reviews and we really value them." He also uses an automated email service to follow up with customers aer their service has been completed and makes phone calls to customers who have spent a certain dollar amount. "at usually prompts another time to ask them to leave a review," he says. If a customer leaves an unfavorable review, Beamer will do whatever he can to make it right. "Our question to a lot of customers is, 'What are your expecta- tions?' And once the customer tells us what they're expecting, then we can respond in the manner we need to, and we can meet or exceed their expectations." He says in many cases, the customer will delete the negative Striving for 5 stars EARNING RAVE REVIEWS ONLINE IS A TOP PRIORITY FOR BEAMER TIRE Shana O'Malley-Smith By Beamer Tire services 20 to 30 vehicles per day at each of its two locations in North Carolina, says owner Doug Beamer. COURTESY OF TODD TURNER PHOTOGRAPHY

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