25 Feb 2024

Six key marketing questions

I have worked with Mike Schlup, Kalimex MD for 19 years. As you would imagine, the brand started from humble beginnings. In the early years I worked in what was a glorified stationery cupboard but nevertheless we were focused on world domination, one sale at a time.
In the last 19 years Kalimex has really taken off and is now the top performing distributor of the JLM Lubricants’ product range; A position they have occupied for 10 years – pretty much from when they started selling JLM products. This is no mean feat, given JLM have 45 distributors scattered in all corners of the globe and a thriving business at their home base in the Netherlands.  
With this in mind, I thought you would find it useful if I share some of the marketing tips that have contributed to the success of Kalimex because they can be applied in your workshop. As with anything, talking about marketing and planning marketing is great, but you must move swiftly onto actually doing it.
Here are six cut-to-the-chase questions you need to answer and action:

#1: Do we have an end target for 2023 in terms of sales?
I am reminded of this quote from Seneca: “If one does not know to which port one is sailing then no wind is favourable.” Set realistic targets, ones you can reach at a stretch with some elbow grease; Tough, but within your grasp. Every month monitor how close you are to reaching them. Discuss the targets with team members so they are aware you are not standing still and they have a part to play in your success. Sales are the lifeblood of any business, whether the sales are from existing customers, new ones or as is more likely a mix of both. If you are not setting targets, you risk settling for second best, which benefits no one. Worse still, there is the risk of realising mid-way through the year that sales are not even covering your overheads, let alone making a profit.

#2: Will you sell (more) products to customers?
Aftermarket shared some fascinating research from Castrol a few issues ago, looking at the opportunities workshops have to generate additional income from repeat sales of high-quality lubricants and additives. Here are two key take outs:

Workshops are missing out on upselling opportunities. Over a third of motorists say they are ‘never’ offered a choice of consumables alongside a vehicle service; Just over a quarter say ‘sometimes;’ and only a fifth say ‘always.

A majority (51%) said they would be happy for their workshop to upsell more expensive, premium-quality consumables if the benefits were explained to them.
Barry Lawson, a member of Darren Darling’s DPF Doctor Network is a technician renowned for building a growing channel of repeat sales from selling JLM Lubricants’ products to his customers. With motorists keen to cut repair bills, the market is right for superior quality lubricants and additives. And you are in pole position to recommend them and use them.

#3: Are you willing to commit more resources – human and financial to growing your business?
For any workshop there comes a time when the next stage of growth can only be accomplished with an injection of money, and/or an additional person supporting the sales effort. Are you trying to do everything on your own? Will you reach your sales targets if you bring another person into the team? A part time person working a few days a week can be the key that unlocks the growth potential in your business.

#4: What must change for us to grow?
Be honest; Is the growth potential of your business affected by problems that need addressing now? Are you not investing enough time working on your business because you’re working in it and can’t see the wood for the trees? Are you allowing yourself to be distracted by non-income generating activities? Is your marketing scattergun rather than targeted? Only you can see what must change within your business to unlock the door to more sales.

#5: What are market conditions now and how do they affect our workshop?
We know from research conducted by the Motor Ombudsman that in a bid to save money some motorists are cutting back on servicing and repairs. It’s a false economy of course. So, make sure you keep in regular contact with customers, sharing top tips on vehicle maintenance and reminding them of the importance of booking the next service and the benefits of doing so. Customers may not have made the connection with regular vehicle servicing and fuel optimisation/long term reduced running costs. It’s your job to educate them.

#6: Do we have a marketing plan?
Far from being a document to be filed away and forgotten, look upon it as a useful plan of action that saves time, provides clarity, and focus and, that enables you to take the next steps in growing your business. Here are the key headers.

  •  Who do we want to reach – every target audience
  •  Why – compelling reasons why we want to target them
  •  What – our messages and the services/products we will use
  •  Barriers to a sale – demonstrating we understand objections and can address them
  •  Tactics – the materials we will use
  •  When – the start of each campaign
  •  How long – aim for at least three communications within a month and build three-month campaigns.

Good luck!

If you want to find out more about JLM Lubricants’ products please  visit www.jlmlubricants.com