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Marketing and Advertising

5 ways to create winter growth

One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “The best way to predict the future is to create it,” spoken by Abraham Lincoln, our 16th U.S. president.

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With the impact of a pandemic, 2020 is going fast for some, and for others, it can’t leave soon enough. Either way, winter will be here before we know it. The holidays are a perfect time to maximize your controllables and make this your best winter season yet.

Related: Wash Wisdom: Enhancing holiday promotions

Bison vs. cow

It’s important as you go into the holiday season to have a champion mindset. To learn about how to have a champion mindset, you need to look no further than to Mother Nature.

Here is an excellent lesson about success and leadership from studying the way that bison and cows respond to storms in the wild. The bison has been around for over two million years, whereas the cow was domesticated around 10,500 years ago. When these similar animals see a storm approaching, cows will try to outrun it, which doesn’t work, and inevitably they get caught in it. Instead, bison run straight for it. They instinctively face the challenge head-on and pass through the storm quickly, rather than being caught in it.

This is a champion mindset. Run right into those challenges and face them. Not only will you get through them faster, but it also sets you up to outsmart the situation. When you look at how to maximize your winter sales programs, the champion mindset comes in handy, since you’ll be looking for different ways to sell to different people.

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Doctor Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, studies human motivation. She spends her days diving into why people succeed (or don’t) and what’s within our control to foster success. Her theory of the two mindsets and the difference they make in outcomes is a great study. Having a growth or a fixed mindset affects more than you think.

Along those lines, if you can adopt a growth versus a fixed mindset, it’s also handy as you go out there to promote your products. What’s the difference? It’s a difference between thinking you can sell an unlimited monthly plan in the winter and thinking that you can’t.

Consider the differences between Jack and Jill. Jack is trying to lose a few pounds. He tries one or two exercise classes and watches what he eats for a month. The weight doesn’t come off. He gives up, thinking he’s just destined to be overweight. Jack has a fixed mindset.

Now compare that to Jill, who is also trying to lose weight. She does the same thing — she joins a gym and starts walking a bit more along with altering her diet. The weight doesn’t come off for her, either. Instead, Jill isn’t defeated and comes up with a different plan. She hires a nutritionist and a trainer. She keeps a journal of her motivations for food choices. She gives it a couple more months, and the weight starts to finally come off, and she begins to put on muscle. Jill has a growth mindset.

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As you can see, when you have a growth mindset, you view challenges as a way to come up with a new plan. You think change is possible and that you aren’t going to just stay the way you are. Having a growth mindset will also help you market your winter promotions successfully.

Here are five ways you can promote your carwash service.

Automatic recharge monthly memberships

Presently, there are subscriptions to just about everything, as they create customer loyalty. Pet supplies, clothing, meal prep kits, makeup, etc. Have you ever heard of Amazon Prime or Netflix? Having a carwash subscription model is a perfect purchase decision and a requirement for this new world.

If you want to dress and look great, you also want your car to look clean and presentable. It helps to put your best foot forward and make a good impression. Simple question: How do you feel when your car is dirty compared to when it’s shining?

Related: PC&D Unscripted 1: The Effects of Subscription Services in the Carwash Market

When you’re a club member, you just pull up to the cashier or gate and automatically get scanned in, so it’s quick and easy. Everyone is usually in a hurry, so this is a great selling point — especially right now, when your customers want contactless options.

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The membership is a perfect benefit to market on social media. You could post short video clips from happy customers and an example of someone using the automatic gate for entry.

Here are some winter membership programs to lure new customers only:

  • Buy one month, get the second month free: Auto-renewals start on the third month.
  • Yearly membership: Year-end promotion or 2021 new year promotion.
  • $10 off first month’s membership: Auto-renewals thereafter.  

Gift cards

Gift cards are also a great gift because, again, most people own or drive cars. So, it makes an excellent gift for all drivers, and the recipients benefit from the great feeling of a clean car.

There is another reason gift cards are a great idea: They create brand awareness. Some people might not think of using the carwash service themselves, but when someone gives them a gift card, it comes as a recommendation. This is the best form of word-of-mouth advertising, as it is paid for by the existing customer.  

Gift cards have become inherently popular. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2019 October Holiday Consumer Survey, “For the 13th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 59% of those surveyed.” Also, based on the Blackhawk Network Branded Pay Holiday Shopping report, 76% of shoppers purchased at least one gift card or e-gift card in 2019. 

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Here are some winter promotions to help sell gift cards:

  • Free carwash for every $50 gift card purchase
  • Save 5% on $25 or 10% on $50 or greater gift card purchase 
  • $5 bonus with every $50 or greater gift card purchase. 

Prepaid cards

Customers can preload washes on this convenient card they can keep in their wallets, and the washes will never expire.

Not only is this a selling point, but the washes can also be used on multiple cars. Some will buy this as a gift; others will buy it to use themselves. Nonetheless, you create loyalty and more cash flow during the winter months selling these prepaid cards. Both these and the gift cards are great to promote on social media.

Here are some winter promotions to help sell prepaid cards:

  • Buy four washes and get one free (20% savings)
  • Buy eight washes and get three free (27% savings)
  • Buy 16 washes and get seven free (30% savings).

It’s great to offer multiple options, especially the higher-ticket ones. You’ll also create more customer loyalty with higher prepaid cards.

Cashier bonus incentive

Your cashiers are the frontline contact for your company. Make sure they are happy by providing incentives.

Bonuses are intended to encourage specific results, so a good incentive plan should be tied to larger business goals. The first thing to figure out is what kind of business goal you’re trying to incentivize. Is it a revenue or unit goal? Are you trying to grow your customer base? Do you need to increase production?

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Keep it simple and make a plan you can easily train your cashiers to use. Create two to three different programs and get your cashiers involved for feedback. Lay out the plans clearly and be transparent. Then ask the team to develop one program that is a win for them, a win for the customer and a win for the company. Leave the room and let your team work to create the program. 

When you get your team involved, they will own the results. 

Visual scoreboard

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. For all of your winter goals and programs, create a simple visual scoreboard to keep track of how everyone is performing. This will not only congratulate those who are doing well but also motivate those who are behind to pick it up and try a little harder. It will ignite your employees’ competitive sides. Displaying progress in a public manner drives results.

It’s not uncommon when working as a team in this manner to have resistors. That could be from a team member feeling a goal is unachievable or irrelevant, or that person may be an energy vampire. Provide three facts of how they are sucking the energy out of the team and address it head on. When you present facts, you’ll quickly see the resistor back down and become a team player again. If you let it go, the bad mojo will soon spread to others on the team.

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Don’t become one of those leaders that just catches your team doing things wrong. The magic in winning hearts and maximizing performance is when you begin to magnify the small wins. In the end, always stay positive and coach bottom performers.

For some people, winter months can be difficult when they are cold and dreary. A clean car can only cheer them up. So, remember that as you talk to customers about your products and promotions this winter. You’ll quickly see a challenging winter become a much more profitable one with your champion mindset.  


Hernani Alves is a carwash entrepreneur, business accountability expert, Amazon best-selling author and speaker that helps leaders build world-class teams. In his book, “Balanced Accountability,” Hernani reveals the framework needed to improve accountability in the workplace by winning hearts to maximize performance. Email [email protected] for the new, free eBook, “Champion Advantage — Creating A Powerful Mindset For YOU to Achieve Greatness.” To connect with Hernani, please visit his LinkedIn or Twitter (@hernanialves).

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