How to Purge Your Business of Motor Clubs.
If you’re finished with the madness and are ready to purge your business of motor clubs, here are three things you can do that will help. While there may be pockets where motor club rates, policies, and treatment of tow company owners are tolerable, for the most part, they are not worth the effort. With market rates at 40% to 60% above what the clubs are willing to pay and the damage they can do to your online reputation, why submit your business to such treatment?
The good news is there’s something you can do about it. And that’s what we’re going to get into here today. But first, I want to tell you a story that’s analogous to the trouble you can get into playing around with the clubs. If you’ve read my articles, most likely you’ve heard me talk about the fly and the Pitcher plant. It’s a metaphor that illustrates how ego, desire, and ignorance can cause good people to stumble. Anyway, here goes.
So, the Pitcher plant is a plant that’s shaped like a pitcher, or maybe a better visual is a flower vase, and it eats flies. The flies are attracted by the smell the plant produces, and once they land on it, they start eating its nectar. Flies are cocky, and believe they can fly away at any moment. They think they’re too smart to fall for any tricks. But as they go further and further into the plant, the walls begin to get imperceptibly steeper.
The flies are so content as they consume the nectar that they don’t even notice the tiny hairs pointing downward as they go deeper into the plant. They can see other dead flies at the bottom but think that will never happen to them because they’re too smart. Unable to pass on such a delicious and free meal, their weight almost doubles in just a few minutes. Now fully engorged, they attempt to fly away or climb out but struggle and grow weary. And finally, resigned to their plight, they fall into the sticky sludge below and are consumed by the plant.
Purge your business of motor clubs by becoming established.
In the Pitcher plant story above, the fly is the tower who believes he can continue working for the clubs without establishing his business in the community. Rather than doing what any other serious business owner would do if they wanted to grow their business, the cocky tower doesn’t see the need to spend any money or put forth any effort establishing himself in his market. The way he sees it, that’s the old, outdated way of doing business. He’s making money, and things are going well because all his calls are coming from clubs located outside of the area. So why should he establish his business here?
Because it’s going to rain one day.
Motor club work is sporadic, the pay is barely enough to keep your tires on, let alone feed your family. So, what most newbies do is load up on multiple motor clubs and work their assess off. But when you become dependent on 3, 4, or 5 or more clubs for your livelihood when one or more loses a contract or decides that your quality score isn’t deserving of the number of calls you’re receiving, then how are you going to pay the bills?
Rather than working exclusively for the motor clubs, you want to have multiple streams of income from a wide variety of customer types. To do this, you need to establish your business in your market the way that an attorney would. Think about an attorney when he’s just getting started in the business. He’s young and most likely has a lot of school loan debt, so he’ll take on almost anyone as a client. Because he knows he’s at the bottom rung of the ladder. That’s why smart attorneys quickly begin the process of establishing themselves in the community.
For you, you don’t need to be bar certified or have a diploma on the wall to impress clients. Heck, you don’t even need to have a commercial location when just starting out. But what you do need is to be established in the community. And every piece of information about your business should be identical everywhere. You need to register with the Secretary of State, you’ll need to obtain a business license from your city, county, or both. Depending on where you operate, you may even need to be certified to operate a tow truck.
Again, everywhere there’s any record of your business, every credit card statement, insurance certificate, online business registration, bank account, etc., ¬¬¬¬– needs to have the exact same information. The same business name and tagline, the same address, the same phone number, the same hours of operation, the same logo, and the same photos (if any). Once you have these exactly the same everywhere, then you can begin the process of establishing your business online.
Establishing your business online first.
After you have every account of your business listed properly with the vendors, businesses, and government agencies you work with, then you should establish yourself online. To establish your business online, you’ll need to create and verify a Google Page, create a Facebook Business Page, create an optimized website, and enlist your business in a directory management service.
The reason for establishing your business online first is because doing so makes establishing your business in your market offline much easier. Besides the fact that you’ll be available via search, allowing those who need your services to find you, you’ll also be searchable by name so that the shops and other clients you work with can easily Google you.
Of course, there’s a lot that goes into showing up on the first page of Google for multiple keywords related to the services you provide, which I’ve addressed in other articles. The key here is that your business name and number should be visible everywhere motorists look when they need towing services.
Stop complaining about your problems.
We all know providing services to motor club customers can be challenging, to say the least. But complaining about these challenges keeps you focused on them. Rather than working toward your goals of getting a consistent influx of new and better customers, complaining focuses the mind on what it doesn’t want. And, since you get more of what you focus on, you’re going to have more to complain about.
Here’s part of my daily mantra. Successful people don’t waste their time complaining that the game isn’t fair. I say this every day. Because it reminds me that complaining redirects the mind away from productive thoughts.
When you complain, not only does it focus your attention on negative thoughts, but you’re also feeding a negative habit that will inevitably spill over into other areas of your life. And it’s especially harmful when you’re talking to customers. Little off-the-cuff phrases that you think nothing of are like a blue-light-special that may, unfortunately, cause them to steer clear, “cause this guy’s got issues.”
I’m not saying that you should be robotic and let everything go. No. What I’m saying is when you begin to feel angry about something that you consider to be a slight against you, recognize it and then replace that angry thought with how you intend to fix the problem. Concentrate on solutions rather than the problems themselves.
Here’s how giving in to anger and fixating on your problems can do more harm than good. Let’s say a motor club customer gives you a 1-star review because it took you 1.5 hours to get to them. Well, you might be angry, especially if it wasn’t your fault. Maybe the motor club gave them a 30-minute eta., after you clearly told the dispatcher two hours. Operating out of anger, you may be motivated to respond by writing something nasty online.
Well, when you respond angrily to negative reviews, it may have the effect of repelling potential customers. Remember, people read reviews when making buying decisions. However, if you catch yourself getting angry after seeing the review and responding with empathy and understanding, as I suggest you do, it can have the effect of attracting customers. And, without anger, you can recognize that the genesis of the problem is that you’re working for motor clubs. This can lead you to think about how to get more cash-paying customers, which should be on your mind throughout the day.
Get the highest best return from your marketing.
As you know, I’m a staunch advocate of using search engine optimization and Google Ads to market your business. Of course, I suggest you stay away from Google’s “Smart Campaigns.” They’re anything but smart. When spending money on ads and SEO, you need to ensure you’re getting the best return on investment. Of course, you’ll want to choose a marketing agency that knows your industry and your market. My biased opinion is that you should contact The Tow Academy for marketing services. But that’s not what this section is about.
Wherever you put your ad dollars, you need to stop thinking about the calls you receive as single, one-off transactions with people you’ll never see again. When you stop worrying about click-through rates and cost per click and treat every customer with the respect they deserve, these things won’t matter. Every tire change, gas delivery, lockout, and tow service is an opportunity to attract a human being into your business.
Think about the service you get on the daily. Unless you’re the outlier, for the most part, it’s sub-par. But I bet you remember the times when you were treated with great customer service. When you treat people with respect, you become the outlier. And when you’re nice to people, they tend to refer you to other people. They’ll probably call you again when they need your services in the future, making them a repeat customer. And, if you ask for it, they may even leave you an online review. There’s no way to calculate how much business can be generated from a one-off transaction.
I did a video on this, and tower made a comment that backed up my contentions. He said he gave a lady a break towing a Mercedes because she didn’t have the cash to pay the full rate. Turned out she was an attorney who represented a lot of businesses in town. She referred them to a client who owned a dealership and a repair shop, and a lot of other businesses became their customers because of his kind gesture.
Now, I’m not saying that you must give the farm away on every call. You must continue to be discerning. I’m suggesting that you keep an open mind and treat each customer as a human being. Help them in any reasonable way possible to get them through whatever problem they’re having with dignity and respect. When you do, you exponentially increase the return on investment from your marketing. Seek the three Rs. Referrals, Reviews, and Repeat Customers.
So, there you have it, a three-step plan for purging your business of motor clubs. When you establish your business in your market, both online and off, and make a consistent effort to improve your search engine optimization, you’ll get more cash customers. When you stop complaining and treat those cash customers right and look to them as potential sources of reviews, referrals, and repeat business, your business will grow like an inverted pyramid. One satisfied customer can turn into one thousand, and your business can grow exponentially without reliance on the clubs.