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What you can learn from the movies

What if your competition made more of an effort?

People are expected to view the 2006 movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, starring Will Ferrell as a comedy about motor sports. From the characters to the cars, everything is a parody. The movie is categorized as a comedy.

When you watch the movies, ‘Fifty First Dates’, and ‘Groundhog Day’, they are also categorized as comedies. There is a similar story line in these two as each has an event that repeats itself every day.

With ‘Fifty First Dates’, the female lead is unable to remember anyone so the romantic interest has to develop a way to reintroduce himself to her every day. With ‘Groundhog Day’, Bill Murray is a television weathercaster who has gone to report on Punxsutawney Phil and finds himself in a time loop as the events of one day repeat on the next day.

In the ‘Fifty First Dates’ movie, Adam Sandler finds a way to get the young woman who can’t remember him to finally be able to know him each day. Bill Murray determines what is important to him and is able to free himself from doing the same thing over and over.

All three of the movies are comedies. Unfortunately, too many people in this industry only see the Ricky Bobby movie as a comedy; they live the other two out, over and over each week during the racing season.
How so?

During the season, you are likely to be seeing your customers every week. They are busy repairing, rebuilding and improving their race car. On the weekend, many of you also see your customers at the track because you have a portable at the track so that you can take care of your customers on race night. The scenario repeats itself week after week until the season is over.

The scenario repeats itself week after week throughout the season.. When the season is over, you may see your customers depending how much time, effort, and money they are putting into their car during the winter months. When the next season rolls around, there is the expectation that your customer will be back at your door step ready to again be your customer in the next season.

Unfortunately, it is that expectation that the customer is going to remember you that can get you and your business in trouble.

What if one night at the track there is something your customer needs and you don’t have it on your trailer? Your customer is probably going to go looking for your competition’s trailer or at least another racer that might just have that spare part.

A similar situation can happen during the week with the expectation that because this person has done business with you before, he or she is going to continue to do business with you.

This is the similarity to the movies; it is an expectation that the event that has previously happened is going to happen again. Realistically, the shop that is approaching the customer with this attitude is taking their relationship with the customer for granted.

What if the situation happened where the customer had to go to the competition’s trailer on race night? Regardless of the price, better or worse, what if that shop owner made a point to write down that customer’s name. With only a couple of questions, the competition is going to know who is on his race team and where their shop is. He will know if they race in any additional brackets or race at any other tracks.
What if the competition then made a point to drop by that racer’s shop late on the following Monday afternoon; just a courtesy call but never the less, one in which the customer is told his business is appreciated and that the parts house is going to welcome the opportunity to again have their business.

But the competition might not stop there. The competition might ask the racer and his team which nights and how late they are working on their cars. What if the competition gave that racer his cell phone number and told him that if he was working late on his car, the parts house would be glad to send someone to get the part late at night and deliver it to the race team so they wouldn’t have to wait until another evening to work on that specific part of the car.

The parts house might even ask the racer what parts he is getting from out of town or on the Internet. It might cause the parts house to rethink what they are stocking and make some additions to their product offering.

On race night, someone from the parts house might make a special effort to stop by to talk to this racer and his team to ask if there was anything they forgot to bring or anything they may suddenly find themselves in need of. This parts house might even tell the racer that if they did not have the necessary part on their trailer, they could send someone back to the parts house and have the part back in time for the racer to repair his car for the feature race.

At the end of the season, this parts house might throw a party to congratulate all of the racers and their teams for their season, and to thank them for their business, no matter how much or how little they spent with the parts house.

Once the season is over, this competing parts house might make a point to stay in touch with all the race teams they have done business with over the year. They might even find relevant articles in the trade magazines, make photo copies of these articles, and send them to the race teams as a means to help them but also a way to stay in touch.
When these trade magazines have advertisements about new products, this competing parts house might make copies of these ads and send them to these race teams along with a note to tell them that they are stocking the new product.

During the off season, this competing parts house might be making the rounds to visit all of these racers to see what they are going to do different for next year. Perhaps they are adding a car because the racer’s son or daughter is getting into the sport. The racer may decide to sell a car, or move into a new classification. After all, having information about each of the race teams could go a long way toward helping this parts house determine what needs to be stocked for the next season.

All of this could happen; all of this could have started with a competing parts house just being in the right place at the right time. It would be a competing parts house that simply started a relationship by reaching out to a racer after a race and what you had thought/expected was a simple one time purchase.

The Legend of Ricky Bobby is still a comedy. In the other two movies, one person found a way to get someone to think about them the first thing every morning. In the other movie, a person figured out what was important and made a change.

The question that many parts houses have to answer is whether you can trust your customer to remember you every time they need something and continue to do business with you every time they need something. If not, you may want to change the way you market to racers.

If you leave it the way it is, the legend may not be Ricky Bobby; the legend may be a competing parts house that gives an unbelievable amount of attention to racers and does what it takes to be the place the racer gets all their parts because the parts house doesn’t wait for the customer – they reach out to their customers first.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.
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