Too Many Choices. So Little Time.

It’s springtime and the sales bears are coming out of hibernation to sell their wares. Trade shows are filled with new goods, services and equipment for your consideration. I’ll be at them all showcasing my new products, as well. Stop by and say hi, win prizes, meet celebrities, save money, pick up free stuff and eat some grub. The peddlers all seem nice, but you can’t buy everything. How do you choose the best, new thing?

First, spring cleaning means fixing up or throwing things out. This includes your menu. The following guidelines will help you identify the things worth saving and the ones that should go to the curb:

• A fresh coat of paint (training) can bring things back to life.
• Time and technology may have made some things dusty and obsolete. Get rid of them.

Consider the following questions:

How big is the opportunity? How many customers need/want this service? Many market reports can help you. NOLN surveys, Car Care Council reports and others are easily found. The new item might be great for the vehicle you’re looking at, but if it only helps German cars with rainbow paint jobs, the market isn’t worth your time or the trouble. How often is the service or item needed?
Time is everything for you and your guests. How long does it take to perform? Is that acceptable for you and your guests? How much time does it take to sell? How do customers know they need the service? Is it lengthy to explain?

Operationally, what impact will it bring? What is the inventory investment, both initially and ongoing? What are the equipment costs, initially and when considering maintenance? Where will it be done? How much training time is needed for both sales and performing the service itself?

Finally, network with others. The convention is the perfect place. Automotive Oil Change Association Talknet is great for non-branded, non-price discussions. Look for new technologies. Gasoline direct injection fuel systems and vehicles consuming oil both bring big opportunities. Poll your vendors; they know what’s new.

I look forward to seeing you all soon. Come meet my new spokesmodel.