• October 2, 2008 at 6:06 pm#63429
    bayauto
    Member

    I wondered if anybody is using there website for customers to request an estimate. Much response? Do you see a different “caliber” of client? Do you ask for the vin #? Do you say anything like “This is only a preliminary quote” & not an estimate until looked at? Thanks!

    October 2, 2008 at 7:32 pm#69298
    Tom Ham
    Participant

    Kevin Sessink wrote:

    > I wondered if anybody is using there website for customers to request an estimate. Much response? Do you see a different “caliber” of client? Do you ask for the vin #? Do you say anything like “This is only a preliminary quote” & not an estimate until looked at? Thanks!

    Here is ours:

    http://www.hamsauto.com/v4/go.gnf?session=ce796f5425f9a72800248cc5cf7ed08d&s=hamsauto&t=&product=1987&n=default&d=products&listTemplate=

    It’s similar to anyone else who calls or stops by, except that we get a lot more customer and vehicle information right from the start and we have more time to reply. We have the option of emailing or calling them. We save new customer info, like emails, in our database.

    People are starting to take advantage more of the convenience of email instead of calling or stopping. The type of customer is likely a bit more sophistiacted. If all of our estimate requests were via email, we might actually be ahead.

    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    October 2, 2008 at 9:18 pm#69299
    HLAC-Steve
    Member

    Tom Ham wrote:

    >

    > Here is ours:

    >

    > http://www.hamsauto.com/v4/go.gnf?session=ce796f5425f9a72800248cc5cf7ed08d&s=hamsauto&t=&product=1987&n=default&d=products&listTemplate=

    >

    > People are starting to take advantage more of the convenience of email instead of calling or stopping. The type of customer is likely a bit more sophistiacted. If all of our estimate requests were via email, we might actually be ahead.

    I agree with everything that you said, I would like to add my concern or comments

    Yes, I do get a few bites off my website, but also as they contact me they could also be contacting many other repair shops shopping my price. I’m not the cheapest here in town, but I am one of the best in town. I can show or emphasize that I am the best on the phone and or in person, just harder in an email quote.

    But you are correct in the fact that the caliber of customer from the Internet is a little younger and more willing to buy.

    Steve

    October 13, 2008 at 11:48 am#69320
    Anonymous

    It’s great to have options on your website, just dont forget your website’s job is not to provide estimates… your website’s main purpose is to make the phone ring. I gurantee you’ll have a better chance of landing the customer over a phone call then with an email.

    Unless your the cheapest place in town, providing estimates without being able to provide the reasons why your the best choice in town is a shot in the dark.

    Encourage new customers to call from your website, it’s your best marketing tool!

    Danny Sanchez, AMI Accredited Instructor

    Auto Shop Solutions

    (919) 342-6024

    http://www.autowebsolutions.com

    October 24, 2008 at 2:41 am#69344
    lexur
    Member

    We also got some inquries via email, and it proved to be just the window shopping of the new technology era. However, a website is a good tool to do part one, explain the customer why your shop is the right pick.

    I agree with Danny, but I also think Ham’s form can be a great tool to collect some data and feed your shop management software database with the info you need to quickly write the actual estimate if the customer shows up.

    Good luck with marketing

    June 1, 2012 at 4:33 am#72764

    An old thread but worth revisiting.

    The point that many shops miss is that your website is just a way to get people to contact you. Whether it is by phone, email, or estimate form, the goal is getting the prospect to contact you – in ANY way possible.

    However, I don’t recommend shops provide estimates through email. It is impossible to properly “sell” a service as complex as auto repair without speaking to the person. On the estimate forms I build for our auto repair websites I make entering a phone number mandatory. If prospects can’t (won’t) speak to you on the phone there is a high likelihood you are wasting your time.

    Some prospects will try to avoid providing a phone number by bypassing the estimate form and using the website contact form or email. Testing has shown that almost 100% of these direct email inquiries who won’t provide a phone number result in no sale or a lot time spent “educating” them why you need to speak to them…

    But don’t write the difficult ones off too soon. If you are patient and friendly you often can win them over by explaining why you don’t provide email estimates. And to speed the email communication process up you can write some common response messages ahead of time and cut and paste into your emails.

    Even if you don’t get the chance to provide an estimate or make a sale use the opportunity to build your service reputation. They may come back in the future or recommend you to a friend. There is no excuse for being rude because they won’t do what ‘you’ want…

    I have also been doing some testing on ‘long’ versus ‘short’ estimate forms. Even though there is a minimum amount of information required to create an accurate estimate, people are very impatient and don’t like entering a bunch of vehicle info. Forms that ask for a bunch of details are generally viewed as a big turn off.

    Form submissions numbers were shown to increase when the number of mandatory questions were decreased. Submission numbers went up even more when the total number of questions was decreased. But then the people who preferred the shorter form became annoyed when asked the same questions during further communications. The conclusion was that difficult people were difficult to deal with regardless of how they were dealt with…

    Generally the shorter the form resulted in greater form submission rate (contact info only was best). Also, the short estimate form gave a slightly better total estimate sales completion rate, but that may have been due to greater overall number of leads and the superior sales skills of the shops tested.

    So the take away is if you want to pre-screen prospects use the long form. But you must be willing to accept the possibility of loosing some good prospects. Alternatively, if you have good sales skills, use a short form to capture the maximum number of prospects to which you can make your best pitch…

    Hope this helps,

    September 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm#72851
    Tom Ham
    Participant

    We’ve found the biggest thing is simply speed if you want to solicit

    estimate requests on the shop website.

    The typical situation goes like this: Car owner submits requests to

    maybe three shop websites. One replies promptly. The other two reply

    days later or not at all.

    Estimate requests submitted during shop open hours which are replied

    to within minutes have a fairly high chance of turning into an

    appointment.

    If no one is assigned to constantly monitor and reply to all forms of

    website contact, a shop is probably better off not even offering it.

    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    September 25, 2012 at 2:42 am#72867

    We are selling ourselves not automotive service. The top shelf service is expected. Salesmanship rules over a blind email. Quoting price over the phone or email is tough unless they are used to New car dealer prices.

    In a book tom reccomended” Selling the invisible” the author speaks of this point often.

    http://www.amazon.com/Selling-Invisible-Field-Modern-Marketing/dp/0446672319

    June 30, 2016 at 7:45 am#74443
    I need help with adding an instant quote/estimate form on our website. I’ve seen a lot of cleaning sites with this (DenverConc.) for example. I’ve advertised this on Google, Overture, etc… on PPC ads and visitors are expecting to be able to receive an instant quote. Does anyone know how to put one of these “estimate calculators” on a website (or have the code for this)? Thanks 

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