Is your auto body shop getting hammered with sales calls from Yelp? Here is what I share with our auto body shop clients:

How To Stop Yelp Sales Calls

It’s easy to think of Yelp as just a free listing service that will also help with your web presence and tie into other services like Apple Maps. The important thing to remember is that Yelp is a business that depends on revenue just like you. Yelp has a very proactive sales team whose goal is to convert you from a free user to a paid user through various paid profile upgrade options.

That being said, if you are a business owner, on Yelp, and have a phone number, Yelp WILL phone you in a sales capacity. Some clients may find the sales calls disruptive and wish to stop them from being made.

Stopping Yelp’s sales calls

To stop Yelp’s sales calls there are 2 options you can take.

When Yelp phones you, direct them to speak to cPrax about your Yelp profile instead of your firm directly. Provide them with the following contact info:

Call cPrax at: (800) 937-2059 and ask for Bill Enross

Preferred: Ask to be added to Yelp’s internal Do not call list. (Which they should honor.)

Are you concerned that Yelp may genuinely have something of interest to your business that you may not be taking advantage of? If so, call cPrax and get the facts.

There are more women drivers on the road than there are men according to research by the University of Michigan. Every driver has to visit an auto body shop – an industry that has a reputation for being a boys club.

The best auto repair shop caters to all of its clients. It’s not about adding pink to your decor!

Not sure how to stand out from the traditional crowd? Here’s a few tips.

Be Trustworthy & Transparent

The number one thing you can do to cater to every car-owner who comes across your business, either in person or online, is to be trustworthy. The best way to build trust is to be honest and transparent about everything, including pricing and sharing vehicle safety and repair information.

Be Welcoming & Considerate

Think of your clients and their experience with you.

  • Hire female mechanics, LGBTQ mechanics, and mechanics of color.
  • Explain exactly what the repairs will entail and what they’ll cost.
  • Answer questions thoroughly.
  • All staff should be kind, considerate, and courteous to all customers.
  • Create a welcoming atmosphere for clients to wait.
  • Keep clean and well stocked bathrooms.
  • Consider safety and entertainment for children.
  • Offer courtesy rides.
  • Offer resources and information about car care, like the Jessican YouTube channel.

Offer Testimonials Online

Ask your clients for testimonials and post them online. You can have a tablet in the waiting area or email a link to collect testimonials on your website or Google. Building social proof of great service is one of the best ways to build an honest relationship with potential clients.

Get Certified offers a Female Friendly Certification to auto-repair businesses in the U.S. and Canada. All certified shops have gone through training to recognize and address the needs of female customers. The Ask Patty badge on your website can go a long way in building trust with female drivers.

Host Women-Only Events

Make women feel supported and welcome by hosting events that bring them into your business. Consider a ladies car-care clinic or even a breast cancer awareness event. Remember that the key to being a female friendly auto repair business is building trust and relationships.

Have Integrity

Always always always follow through with your promises. If you say you’re going to do something, do it!


Online reviews are important to any OEM Certified auto body shop whose potential customers research online, which today, is virtually any shop. Why? According to a 2016 survey by BrightLocal, 84 percent of consumers trust authentic online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation.

The survey found that while restaurants and cafes are the most common kinds of reviews respondents read, auto services was named as a key industry in which reviews are important to consumers, and 26 percent of respondents said they usually read auto service reviews before making a purchase.

So, what does this mean for automotive service providers?

Your online reputation matters.

With almost any information we want at our fingertips 24/7, it’s not surprising that the same survey shows that most people look at reviews of a business or product online before they make a purchase.

Online reputation matters! As a business, it should be important to maintain your reputation and make adjustments when necessary.

When asked for which kinds of businesses reviews mattered most, auto services came in fourth out of 26 categories, with 36 percent of consumers stating that auto services was the kind of local business in which reputation mattered most. It ranked higher than hair and beauty salons, builders/roofers, and attorneys.

Wanting to read reviews is understandable. Why would we, as consumers, trust a brand we don’t know anything about when its competitors have customers happy enough to take time to write about it on the internet?

Keep in mind: Online reviews are valuable when they’re honest.

According to WebRepublic, 20-30 percent of online company reviews are fake. Although most consumers trust online reviews, they are aware of fake reviews or purchased reviews intended to make a company look better than it is. The same survey stated that if a company has no negative reviews, 30 percent of consumers assume the company’s online reviews have been faked.

It has been shown that consumers read online reviews, especially in the automotive services industry, online reviews influence consumers purchasing habits, and that consumers mistrust reviews that seem inauthentic.

So, when you’re working on gathering reviews, it’s important to make sure that you’re not asking for positive reviews, but reviews in general.

Make a Habit of Gathering Online Reviews for Auto Service Businesses

Just because having honest online reviews is important doesn’t mean that convincing your customers to leave them is an easy task.

The BrightLocal survey also found that of those who read reviews, the most important review factors are the overall star rating and the sentiment of the reviews, closely followed by the recency and quantity of reviews. This shows your potential consumers do care that you’re consistently gathering more and more reviews the longer you’re in business.

In fact, 73 percent of consumers said that reviews older than three months are irrelevant.

When gathering reviews is a priority in your business, it can be incorporated into your employee workflow. The most important thing is to make it easy for customers to leave reviews!

Don’t assume incentivizing reviews is your best move.

Be careful with offering incentives: some customers might take it as a bribe for positive reviews and it is against the guidelines for some review sites.

Make sure you encourage all reviews, not just positive reviews.

As a general rule, customers won’t go out of their way to leave a positive review, but they are likely to leave a negative one if they have a bad experience with your business. So, in order to keep your reviews from skewing toward the negative, encourage every client to leave a review.

Plan where your reviews will be published.

The 2016 BrightLocal survey stated that 59 percent of people look at 2-3 review sites before making a decision, while 20 percent only look at one site. Where you ask for reviews is up to you, but remember that your website is not the only place people will look.

Consider listings on Google, Yelp, Bing, or Yellow Pages, especially as automotive service businesses like auto repair shops serve mostly local customers, and these sites are commonly used for location based searches.

Ideally, you’ll have a continuing flow of reviews.

How can you collect enough reviews to make a difference? The BrightLocal survey stated that 68 percent of consumers form an opinion about a business based on 1-6 reviews, and 90 percent have an opinion after 10 reviews or less.

If reviews are considered irrelevant after about three months, you should aim to have 10 reviews every three months per review site. The more recent, authentic reviews you have, the better your online reputation will be.

Our top suggestion – Get personal!

Hands down, the best way to get customers to leave online reviews is by asking them in person. Based on our testing, we’ve found that the number one most effective strategy to get great reviews is face to face. Here is what we suggest our Partner shops do:

When your customer is picking up the vehicle after a repair, have the appraiser, owner, or manager go over to the vehicle with the customer. When handing over the key, make eye contact and say the following:

“We’re very grateful for your business and would appreciate it if you’d take a minute and leave us an honest online review.”

Then, with their car key, hand the customer a business card with the URL for where to leave the review. We create a special page on the Partner shop’s website that makes it fast and easy for the customer to leave a review, and also share it on Google, Yelp and Facebook.

Full disclosure; probably less than 10% of the shops we work with take the time to do this, however many of the repair shops who do practice this strategy have hundreds of online reviews, mostly 5 stars.

The BrightLocal survey found that 50 percent of consumers stated that they have been asked to leave a review and did, while only 20 percent said they were asked, but did not leave a review.

Use your marketing software.

Although asking your clients in person is the preferred method, software solutions exist to automate many tasks – including collecting online reviews. They also have the added benefit of asking for an online review through email or by text message.

There are any number of software solutions that will get the job done, at cPrax we offer our Partner shops a proprietary system designed for the auto service industry.

Speak with, rather than to, your online audience.

Today’s consumer knows that any business is likely to screw up, and although negative reviews can turn them against you, reviews that aren’t negative can turn them against you too!

According to the online review survey by Web Republic, 72 percent of consumers will consider buying a service with a 3-star rating, but only 27 percent will consider it with a 2-star rating. We don’t necessarily need a study to show that higher and more positive ratings are better, but that doesn’t mean negative reviews don’t happen!

What you can do to manage negative reviews is make sure that you actually read the reviews your business gets and respond to both positive and negative reviews.

This way, you’re seen as someone who cares what your customers think, even when something goes wrong, and potential customers are likely to trust you more.


It’s impossible for a business to be successful without marketing, but sadly, budding entrepreneurs don’t always have time to promote their company. After all, building a successful business rarely leaves time for posting regularly to social media. Fortunately, there are a variety of marketing tips that business owners with no time can utilize.

Get Customers to Market for You

You might not have time to get online and promote your business, but your customers likely do. You can offer incentives to your patrons – such as discounts or free items – for leaving honest reviews about your company on sites like Yelp and Google. And since over 80 percent of people say honest reviews are the most credible form of advertising, you can rest assured that future clients will take these testimonials into consideration.

Bring in the Professionals

Potentially the best way to market when you don’t have time is to hire someone to handle the promotion of your company. Many local business owners feel they can handle marketing on their own, but in all honesty, this is like someone trying to perform surgery without medical training. Marketing isn’t something that just anyone can do. If it was, everyone would do it. Hiring a professional to handle your advertising will certainly pay for itself in the long run.

Market at Events

If you don’t have time to market, you certainly don’t have time to advertise at events for free. If you sign up for a booth at an event, though, you can sell your product or service while simultaneously marketing them. Hand out business cards, hold contests and provide samples at these events. You’ll still be making money while simultaneously getting the word out about your company.

Marketing is no doubt a time-consuming commitment, but it’s an important one if you hope to find success. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between doing your job and promoting your business. The aforementioned tips will go a long way in ensuring this.

We live in a digital world, and any budding entrepreneur who ignores this fact is bound for failure. This doesn’t mean, however, that offline marketing is a lost cause. In fact, some research shows that this type of marketing can boost your online campaigns by as much as 40 percent. With that in mind, you should always have these offline marketing tips in the back of your head.

Realize that Print Isn’t Dead

Sure, there are far more emails sent than letters each day. Like… far more. This doesn’t mean that printed mediums are dead. Whether it’s business cards, direct mail or even newspaper ads, printed material is still an effective way to market offline. Keep in mind, though, that not all of these strategies will work for every demographic or in every locale. Find what works and go with it, but always have a business card on hand.

Get Exposure in the Community

A newspaper ad might get you noticed by a few people, but sponsoring the local little league team will garner the attention of hundreds – if not more. You should take active measures to involve your business in the community. This could be anything from donating to charity to holding a back-to-school drive. While this may not seem like marketing, the fact is that people love philanthropic companies. Getting involved in your community will certainly attract new clients.

Visit Trade Shows

When it comes to local businesses, the owners either swear by trade shows or ignore them entirely. The fact is that these industry events can really get your product or service out there, and you can even make sales while onsite. Your specific offering might not perform well at a trade show, and if this is the case, you’ll know they’re either not right for you or your pitch needs tweaking. Either way, trade shows are an offline marketing technique worth taking a shot at.

Regardless of how prominent the digital world becomes, offline marketing is likely here to stay. Fortunately, these techniques can supplement what your online marketing pros are doing. In the end, the two combine for a great promotional strategy.

Online marketing strategies have become front stage in the promotional world. There are still, however, several offline marketing techniques that produce great results. In fact, offline tactics have been shown to increase online effectiveness by 40 percent. Additionally, many of these offline strategies have proven effective at creating positive online results. Here are just a few offline marketing tactics that equate to success on the internet.

Include Website on Business Card

One of the most overlooked methods of increasing online traffic through offline methods is including the website on business cards. While some budding entrepreneurs try to keep their business cards simple and to the point, printing a web address will provide people with an alternative means of learning more. While they may not be motivated enough to call and speak to a salesperson, they might just be willing to learn more on a website.

Send Out Direct Mailers

While sending direct mailers is more expensive than many types of online marketing, this type of offline marketing has consistently proven successful for local businesses. In fact, one in four Americans has made a purchase over the past year as a direct result of receiving marketing materials in the mail. Including a web address when sending these mailers is essential.

Get Involved in Speaking Engagements

Whether it’s an interview on a local radio show or a presentation at an industry event, giving a speaking engagement is a great way to promote a company’s online presence. The great thing about this tactic is that people will already view the business owner as an expert thanks to their knowledge. There are numerous opportunities to push a website or Facebook page during these engagements, so business owners should take advantage of them.

Offline marketing may not be as prevalent as it once was, but it’s still important in the grand scheme of things. By utilizing these offline methods for online success, business owners can assist their marketing professional’s efforts through on-the-ground strategies.

Being successful in business is all about strategy, and for a company to excel, it must have a great marketing strategy. There are tons of articles out there with “tips” and “how tos” that teach promotional tactics, but these don’t work for every business in every situation. Instead of specific strategies, learning basic ideas behind marketing can help regardless of the situation, and looking towards the game of chess to learn how to advertise can provide new insights that work within all industries.

Watch Your Competitor’s Next Move

One of the most important aspects of chess is paying attention to what your opponent is doing. You can’t win a game of chess by simply following a single strategy irrespective of what your opponent is doing. This is true in the marketing world as well. You should follow your competitors on social media and sign up for their email lists. If they’re doing something that works, maybe you should consider it too.

Successful Marketing Requires Several Tactics

The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, but it’s impossible to win with just this one piece. You’ll also need a variety of tactics with marketing. Social media promotions are great, but they can’t do the job alone. Using email, social platforms, SEO and a variety of other strategies will lead to success.

Sacrificing Pawns Actually Works

A chess player would be hard pressed to win a game without sacrificing pawns. Again, this holds true in the marketing world. To get new customers, you may have to sacrifice an initial profit. Maybe it takes a 50% off Groupon to get people in the door, but if they get hooked on a product thanks to your initial sacrifice, it’s well worth it in the long run. Since over 70,000 businesses use these types of deal sites to get new people through the doors, there’s little doubt that it works.

Chess has taught a variety of lessons over the centuries, and it’s obvious that it offers just as much insight into the marketing world. If you can master these basic chess skills, you’ll master the art of marketing.

Three out of every four businesses that use email marketing say it offers either a “good” or “excellent” return on investment. For the rest, they might be doing something wrong, so it wouldn’t hurt to bring in a third-party marketing professional to help. When doing so, however, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to help grow your email list. In fact, doing this will make the marketer’s endeavors even more fruitful.

1. Offer Something in Return

There’s no doubt that every company, band, actor or anyone else with a brand has devoted fans who would sign up for emails “just because.” In most instances, however, consumers will want some form of incentive to hand over their information. This could be anything from “One Free Entrée on Your Birthday!” to “Get Notified First When We Have Secret Sales.” As long as people feel they’re getting something out of it, they’re likely to sign up for your emails.

2. Create Useful Gateway Content

Gateway content is a video, white paper, or other form of content that consumers typically must sign up for to receive in their email. This type of content doesn’t work well in every industry, but for others, it’s a powerful marketing tool. It’s important to remember, though, that the content must be very useful. If consumers or other businesses can find the information free online – without signing up for anything – then it’s not a good idea to use a content gateway.

3. Run an Online Contest

Incentivizing an email signup doesn’t necessarily mean giving everyone something for free. Instead, many companies hold periodic online contests where the prizes are so impressive that people more than willingly give up their email information. While there may be an initial cost to such strategies, the return on investment thanks to new signups is typically worth it.

Unlike other aging technologies, email is still going strong, and it’s likely to continue that way well into the future. This is why budding entrepreneurs should never overlook their email marketing, and if they can keep their list growing, they’ll keep seeing success over the years.

The most trusted form of advertising in the world – with over 80 percent of consumers ranking it at the top – is word of mouth. Unlike social media, email and other forms of marketing, though, these referrals are contingent on people being motivated to make them. Luckily, there are ways to influence this type of behavior, but if you’re making the following customer referral mistakes, you’re hurting your business.

1. Not Offering Incentives

Word of mouth has long been a trusted form of marketing, but in many cases, people aren’t going to do it just out of the goodness of their hearts. Oftentimes, in fact, they never even give positive retail experiences a second thought.

This completely changes, though, if they’re incentivized to refer family and friends to a certain company. This could be a discount, free product or gift card for every person they refer to the business.

2. Not Utilizing Social Media

The term “word of mouth” seems to dictate one-on-one interactions in real-life situations. In the modern world, however, it’s simple for local businesses to progress their word of mouth via social media. This could be anything from asking followers to tag a friend who would “Love this meal” or “Needs this car” to offering incentives for honest online reviews. The internet is a huge part of our daily lives, and you should remember that when trying to get potential customers sent your way.

3. Not Going the Extra Mile

Whether an individual was seeking recommendations or just given one out of the blue by a friend, it typically makes them feel special. It’s as if they’re in on a secret because they “know somebody who knows somebody.” Business owners need to keep this feeling alive. It’s essential to go above and beyond for customers who have been referred. This will let them know that the recommendation was given in earnest, and they’ll be much more likely to return later.

Of course, the biggest word of mouth and referral marketing mistake is not having a strategy at all. Once you’re over that mountain, though, avoiding the aforementioned can go a long way in making you successful.

Get More Blog Traffic

How Local Businesses Can Bring More Traffic to Their Blogs

Center on Evergreen Content

It is fine to create blog posts based on current events, but this certainly ought not be your entire strategy. Evergreen posts are those that are just as useful in the future as they are right now. A blog titled “How to Clean a Catfish in 5 Steps,” for instance, would usually do a lot better than “Legislators Consider New Fishing Law.” Evergreen content stays applicable, and this means people could be sharing the blog years after its initial release.

Look at Titles and Great Images

A blog post could be packed with valuable information, but if the feature image and title does not catch a consumer’s attention, it will likely not be read. Scan through public domain and free of charge images online until something really jumps out at you. Moreover, go ahead and learn the skill of writing clickable headlines. These two changes could take a new blog and make it great.

Look at Doing Guest Blogs

If your organization only has 500 followers on Facebook, you have to hope for a viral sensation to get thousands of clicks. If a blog you write is featured on a Facebook page with 20,000 followers, though, you’ll end up with plenty of traffic. Look around for authoritative blogs in your trade with large followings. Pitch a number of ideas to these associations, and if one bites, you may just be days away from an important traffic uptick.

Blogging is a established resource that is never going out of style. It may not bring in as much revenue as a few other tactics, but if you are doing it right, sharing content via blogging can pay off with an enormous increase in ROI.