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Keith Cosentino: I’m Keith Cosentino, he’s Shane Jacks and this is the PDR College podcast where we are coming at you every week to talk everything we know about PDR business with you, tools, techniques, business techniques. We’re gonna talk about everything. So quite honestly we are gonna spend the majority of our time talking about business techniques for the PDR business. Shane, why we gonna spend so much time on the business techniques?
Shane Jacks: Simply because Benjamins fold a lot better than avocadoes.
Keith Cosentino: Folding avocadoes? What are we talking about? Folding avocadoes?
Shane Jacks: Well, in some parts of the country people get paid in fruit, vegetable because of the –
Keith Cosentino: Parts of what country?
Shane Jacks: Believe it or not the good old America.
Keith Cosentino: Americans?
Shane Jacks: Americans. It’s a west coast thing.
Keith Cosentino: All right. Well, what is the topic for today? I’m glad you asked.
Shane Jacks: What is the topic for today, Keith?
Keith Cosentino: Today we are gonna talk about online strategies for your local dent removal business.
Shane Jacks: Nice.
Keith Cosentino: A lot of guys don’t know this stuff or they screw it up or, you know, they do just a little bit of it. I guess screw it up is not quite accurate. You can screw up by not doing enough or not doing anything with this stuff.
So over the years I’ve developed, I guess some strategies and some techniques – I guess developed is a dumb word to say. I didn’t develop anything. I developed my response, my strategy to the online conditions which are dictated by giant companies. They say, this is what we’re doing and I say, okay, I’ve gotta go and find out how to work through that system.
And I’ve been, I guess, fortunate with it. I figured it out and I’ve been really relevant on the local searches. And that’s really what started driving my retail traffic in the beginning was competent local listings and relevant terms. So getting the local search results is really, really important. I mean, it’s probably the most important thing you can do for your website because people can’t just find you easily, especially if you first launch. It takes a while for Google to be able to find your site.
And I’m no expert in search engine optimization so if there’s some of you out there who think you’re really good at it, I’m sure you know ten times what I know. But I figured out that I don’t really need to know that stuff because of two reasons. One, I have the money to hire people who know it and secondly, people who are looking for a local PDR company, the search by definition is already really, really refined.
They’re not doing dent removal and searching Google. They’re doing dent removal and chicken lips. And if your website is just relevant to that, if you have ChickenLipsDentRemoval.com they’re gonna find you without any fancy search engine optimization tricks and techniques and all that stuff. You know what I mean?
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I wonder though, you and I both live in an area where there are 20, 30 techs. I wonder if they place – and I’m just guessing out loud here or asking – I don’t know what I’m trying to say – I’m wondering out loud here if a place like Wichita, Kansas or Oklahoma City where there’re 500 techs, if it’s the same deal.
Keith Cosentino: Well, we can talk about some of the stuff that I think influences that without having SEO because I’m pretty relevant in my market and I’ve never paid anyone for specific SEO work. I’ve come up with strategies that I wanna use and implemented them with the help of a web developer. I have never made any websites myself for me or anybody else. But I know what I want them to say and I know where I want them to be listed because I do some research and try to make some changes.
Not to say that I think spending money on – it’s not a badge of honor to me that I didn’t spend any money on SEO because I’m sure there’s guys that can pop you to the top of those listings easier and faster but it just costs money and I didn’t think it was really necessary and it hasn’t been. But if you wanna cut a check, I’m sure it’s cool, as long as you get a reputable company.
But I figured I’d share the stuff that I did and what’s worked well for me and it’s almost all free with the exception of paying a web guy, which I would recommend by the way. So many guys wanna make their own website and it’s the dumbest thing ever. I mean, it’s like why don’t you draw your own business cards and cut them out or get those ones you print yourself and tear them.
Shane Jacks: Those things are terrible.
Keith Cosentino: Why would you do that? If you’re so good at making websites, why don’t you make websites for a living? But if you fix cars for a living, don’t make your freaking website. I mean, just think of other things. If you fix dents for a living then why don’t you also sew your fiancé’s wedding dress yourself? Why don’t you make the wedding cake? Why don’t you make the website, I mean, why don’t you design your own videogame?
You don’t know this stuff and if you know it just enough, you suck at it. You suck super bad at it. And if you don’t then do that for a living and give up your dent tools because you could probably make more money making nice websites for people all over the world. So hire somebody. It doesn’t have to cost 5 grand or even 3 grand or 2 grand. You have to find somebody who knows what they’re doing and have them build you a nice site. It doesn’t have to be super fancy either. It doesn’t have to have dancing chickens all over it and special animation and all that. It just has to be basic.
Shane Jacks: It just needs to be clean, basic and to the point.
Keith Cosentino: Right. Most importantly, it’s gotta have a way for somebody to get a hold of you several different ways. For me, obviously the phone number is number one. Secondly, I get a lot of leads from the contact form on my website that says schedule a repair. It doesn’t say find out more information, and that’s important to me.
People who take the time to fill that out are attempting to schedule a repair. They’re not allowed to pick a time or anything. I don’t like that aspect but when they click schedule a repair they’re committing in their mind to me that they want me to come out and work for them. It’s not just, tell me more about PDR. I don’t want those guys. Call me if you wanna learn more, if my website didn’t teach you enough already.
Shane Jacks: Right. Back to the SEO thing, when you hire a competent web developer to create your web page, there’s a lot of SEO right there in a web page that’s relevant and that’s well made.
Keith Cosentino: You’re right, just because [inaudible] [00:07:20] –[Crosstalk]
Shane Jacks: It’s built in.
Keith Cosentino: — he’s not an expert but he does understand the basics about where your name needs to be listed and all that kinda stuff. And I can just say all that kinda stuff because I don’t know what it is, I don’t wanna know and I don’t need to know.
I make my money fixing cars. I don’t need to spend time learning about what root directory my name needs to be in in the website. That’s his world, so I can say dumb stuff like, he knows that stuff. It’s fine. Most things I really feel like I need to know a lot about or it bugs me if I don’t know about them but how a radio turns electricity into music, I don’t need to know that. And I don’t need to know how my website is programmed.
I do need to know what happens to gas after you pour it into a car, why it makes you go. One of my best friends, he’s not a gearhead at all, at all. I mean, he doesn’t even wanna hold a screwdriver. And I said, “When you pour the gas in your car, do you know what happens, like why does it make you go?” He’s like, “No, I have no idea.” I said, “Doesn’t that bother you?” He said, “No, it doesn’t bother me at all. Why do I need to know that?”
And then he said, “Does it bother you that when you plug your radio in the wall and electricity comes into it, why does sound come out the other side besides a speaker moving? How does that electricity get turned in the radio into a sound?”
Shane Jacks: And you said, “I don’t care.”
Keith Cosentino: I said, “I don’t know.” And he said, “Doesn’t that bother you?” Like, all right, point taken. No, it doesn’t bother me.” So you don’t have to know everything but you have to know the things you wanna know.
So let’s talk about the stuff that I’ve done that a lot of people – it’s not common knowledge. And a lot of this stuff you can figure it out if you just go digging and looking for it. But if you don’t know that you’re supposed to be looking for it, you’re never gonna find it.
Shane Jacks: Right.
Keith Cosentino: I mean, it’s all – I won’t say it’s commonsense. It’s information that’s there to find if you give yourself a part time job of figuring it out. But if you just rely on your web guy to get you listed in the local searches, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure because stuff changes a lot.
So way back when, I guess 2010-ish, maybe a little before that, my first move after I built my website to get people to find it and to find me easily, not just my site but to find me and find my phone number was listing with Google. And not for their website – or not for their search results just for websites, but for the maps. And right now that’s called Google Places but back in the day it was called Google Local. They changed the name a couple times I think, but it was Google Local when I started.
And it was free to post your listing on Google Local. I think it still is free but they had a couple of different options and it changed over the years. I mean, everybody knows Google changes stuff all the time to try and be better. But initially for a mobile business you couldn’t pick just a geographical area that you service. You had to pick a specific location.
So in the town that I wanted to be most relevant in I picked a location and that was an address right between two places. It wasn’t an actual address, but it was right where I wanted to be found. So I claimed that address. This has all since been gone and changed so it’s all right talking about it because it seems kinda shady when you talk about it like this. But to me it’s like this is the situation. You can choose to manipulate it if you want to or you can just let it be. So I chose to manipulate it for my benefit and for my customers’ benefit because people were looking for me but I was invisible. And I was there like standing on a street corner screaming, “I wanna help you,” but nobody could find me.
So I picked this fictitious address and listed it with Google. And all of a sudden when you typed in that town and dent removal, boom, there I was, top of the results for a local search. And I’m sure if you looked from another state you couldn’t find me, but if you were searching in this area with those specific search terms, there I was in the little map with a little plotter point with a link to my website and my phone number right there.
So that was amazing. That was the biggest thing I did for my website and my retail business. So from there what I did was duplicate that same strategy in the adjoining towns. So I think I had four or five of those listings. And I made sure in the listing, I was really clear that it was a mobile service. I didn’t want people driving to those places looking for me. And once in a while it happened and I was really apologetic to them and told them what I could do to come and meet them or tried to be really accommodating. I never had anybody really get upset. I mean, it’s a dent removal. At the end of the day it’s not like I was a fake hospital.
Shane Jacks: Fake hospital of the Tyson chicken factory in Chicken Lips, Arkansas.
Keith Cosentino: We been driving up and down the street, man. Where you at?
Shane Jacks: I need heart surgery. Just had a pork chop.
Keith Cosentino: In that order, I need the pork chop and heart surgery. So as the years went on Google changed that strategy, or that requirement for having a physical address listing. And they changed it so you could say I service a geographical area because there’s a lot of companies like ours, pool guys and lawnmower guys and everything. So you no longer have to do that. You can just pick a geographical area that you service and then it’s pretty relevant for that. So that’s what I did, I switched to that because I wanted to be on the up and up and I didn’t want my stuff to disappear.
So I switched to that and then a big thing happened. The native map application on the Apple IOS devices changed from Google Maps to Apple Maps. And some people might not even realize that because they have a similar look to them. But Apple Maps gets all its information from different places. And those places are not Google. It’s like everything but Google.
So overnight I went from being in everybody’s pocket who had an iPhone in my part of the state to being straight up invisible in a map search. If they were still doing a web search, I was all over the place but I look for a lot of stuff in the map environment. And when I started, that wasn’t that popular. It was almost like a trick. People said, “You could search for things in the maps? Can you just enter addresses?” Like, “Yeah, you can search for businesses and all kinds of stuff.”
But now that’s common knowledge. But when they first made that listing I didn’t know about it. One of my friends told me and sure enough I thought, wow, this is cool. So I kinda felt like, at least in our little part of the country, I was a pioneer in that department, not because I’m some genius but I met the right guy who told me about it.
So anyways when Apple Maps took over, boom, I’m invisible. Even when I entered my straight up proper name and dent removal and the town, no results found. So I started to get nervous and I had to figure out what the heck’s going on. So I did some research and I figured out how to fix that.
So, one of the main sources for Apple Maps and their map data was Yelp.com. Now I had a Yelp listing that had a ton of momentum already but I was not coming up in Apple Maps and that was due to something called the NAP. Do you know what the NAP is, Shane?
Shane Jacks: The what?
Keith Cosentino: The nap.
Shane Jacks: I have no idea.
Keith Cosentino: That is the N-A-P name, address, phone number.
Shane Jacks: Okay.
Keith Cosentino: When you’re making your website and you’re in the Yelp listing and your map listings, everything needs a consistent NAP. They all have to match. When they all match, magical things happen because Google understands that you’re a legit place and everything goes together and all of a sudden everything is more relevant. But if the name, address and phone numbers are not consistent, you will not show up as consistently.
Like early on when I had different [inaudible] [00:16:21] listings –[Crosstalk]
Shane Jacks: They have to be consistent through what now, through what –
Keith Cosentino: Through everything.
Shane Jacks: Through everything, okay. Oh, this is just for SEO. This is for everything meshing together, is that what you’re talking about?
Keith Cosentino: Yes, but it was most – in this instance it was most important for Yelp because I had this great Yelp listing but it just had a general geographical area because that’s what I do –[Crosstalk]
Shane Jacks: Now before you get any further, Keith, there are possibly, believe it or not, it may seem crazy to you that this is possible, there are probably some guys that have no idea what Yelp is.
Keith Cosentino: You’re right about that. I think it’s stronger here because it was started in San Francisco and we’re just a few hours from there. So it’s really popular around here. But I know you and I have talked and in your neck of the woods, at least for now, it’s not that popular.
Shane Jacks: Not very popular at all. It’s hard for me to – I keep asking customers, what is that?
Keith Cosentino: Well, now that it’s native on the iPhones, more than half the people that carry them, you can point them in that direction and say, “You know, when you click that map and it shows little stars? That’s Yelp. And that’s where you can make those stars appear or disappear. So Yelp.com, if you’ve never heard of it, is a review site all by itself where you can search any business and you can review local businesses for free.
It’s a really powerful tool. You have to create your own listing. It doesn’t happen automatically. You gotta go in there and create your business. Customers can add you if you’re not in there. They can create your listing but you can go in there if they’ve done that and claim it and correct it and list the proper attributes. But if it’s not popular in your area, it’s going to be popular because of the fact that it’s on the devices. That’s my personal opinion and I think I’m right about that. It’s in everybody’s pocket so you gotta pay attention to it even if people, your local customers, like yours, Shane, aren’t really talking about it and not using it, it’s just a matter of time. It’s gonna happen.
Shane Jacks: Right now it’s a little bit frustrating for me just trying to get them to – trying to educate. Some know what it is. Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that. I’ve seen the stickers on restaurants in downtown Greenville or whatever but I’ve never used it. And that is something that is actually good about Yelp is you can’t just – I can’t just tell them, go create a Yelp account and give me a good review. It’ll kick it off if they do that.
Keith Cosentino: Sure will.
Shane Jacks: So that’s a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a bad thing because I can’t just point people to my desktop computer here and tell them to put me a review in on Yelp after creating an account. That’s the bad thing, but the good thing is it keeps people from doing exactly that so it’s more genuine, more organic so –
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, and you could still do that if you wanted to, give them something to do while they’re waiting around there. And the worst thing that’s gonna happen is that they’re gonna write the review and it’s gonna get thrown in a bucket. That’s the worst thing. If you know where to look you can still read those.
And Yelp recently changed its verbiage. To make people understand what we’re talking about when we say it’ll disappear, it’ll be kicked out, if you just bounce into Yelp, create a user ID and password, log in, go straight to Shane’s business, write a five-star review, submit it, log out and never come back, they think, well, obviously that’s fake. You did not searching, you didn’t review any other companies. You just did one, you five stars and you left. That’s fake.
So they filter it and they take it off the main page. And there used to be just one little link down at the very bottom of your listing in gray letters that said a number like 15 and then filtered, meaning 15 filtered reviews. Click that, enter the squiggly letters and then you can see all these what they used to call filtered reviews. And they’re frustrating because I’ve got like 50 or 60 in there and they’re all legit. I remember all the cars, but they’re not Yelpers. They’re not active in the Yelp community. They don’t review more than one thing so their reviews are dormant for now.
They since changed the term to unrecommended reviews, so you can still see them but they’re unrecommended which sounds even worse, I think, than filtered. But it’s a two-way street. If somebody slams you and it seems fake, they’ll filter that too, which is good but you can’t bring them back to your page if they’re filtered by anything you can do. If that user comes back at a later date and updates their Yelp profile with a photo, reviews other companies, those reviews will sometimes come back. So all’s not lost.
And one strategy I use for some of the filter reviews – if you remember the cars and the people, I don’t care what Yelp says, that’s a legit review. So I took screenshots of all those. I mean, if Yelp doesn’t wanna list them on their site, fine but I’ve images of them all and I can put them wherever I want in my site in promotional material or whatever. So capture the images at least so you can put them on your website.
Shane Jacks: Yeah.
Keith Cosentino: There’s nothing wrong with that.
Shane Jacks: That’s a good idea.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, so, man, we could talk for an hour about Yelp.com. There’s a lot to it.
Shane Jacks: Well, you could. I could talk about my one review.
Keith Cosentino: Well, so let’s just hit some key points with Yelp, okay? Make sure you mention it in the first place. That’s step one to your – well, okay, backwards. Step one is create your listing. Oh, I didn’t finish telling my story. I got off on a tangent. The reason I was talking about my Yelp listing was because I didn’t have a consistent name, address, phone number.
So with Yelp I was – or with Apple Maps I was invisible. So they grab a lot of their information from Yelp. Well, I was in Yelp but no name, address, phone number. So I had to go into my Yelp account and edit my listing but I didn’t have a brick and mortar address and I didn’t wanna do anything kinky.
So what I did was, you know, being in this business for long enough you make a lot of friends in the car business. So I have a lot of friends with body shops and independent garages. And one of my buddies I went to and I said, “Hey, I really wanna use your location for my company. And I know you already upsell a lot of dents for me. This probably will drive a couple extra people just showing up to your door and asking about dent repair. Can I use your address as my Yelp address?” He said, “Yeah, sure, that’s cool. If you get mail here I’ll know it’s for you.
So that was it. Maybe I owed him a favor here or there and now I had a Yelp address for my listing. I updated that with Yelp, they took a day or two to review it and make it live and all of a sudden stars aligned. If you looked in my town for dent removal, and especially for me, there I was. And I was back in the game. And a lot of guys still weren’t. And so it actually helped me at that point.
But in that search for information on how to get into Apple Maps I realized a couple other things, some I’ve taken advantage of and some I haven’t. But the one thing I did was another place that feeds Apple Maps was TomTom, like the navigation systems.
Shane Jacks: Right.
Keith Cosentino: So you can go and submit your business information to TomTom. So not only will people in Apple Maps be able to find you but the seven 58-year-old dudes left in your town who are using TomTom to find things they want, they can find you. So you’re listed on Tom-Tom devices. Who cares because that thing’s gonna disappear, but the data is feeding Apple Maps and that’s what I wanted. So go and list your business in TomTom.
Now one of the things I did not take advantage of, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness, is a website called Localeze. L-O-C-A-L-E-Z-E I think they spell it. And apparently this is a pretty prominent company when it comes to local search results for businesses. And at one point in the past it was free to list your business there but they were requiring so many bogus listings that they switched to a paid model. And it’s an annual recurring cost. So I’ve never done it. I haven’t needed to but –
Shane Jacks: How much is it Keith?
Keith Cosentino: It’s like $25 a month billed once a year, so it’s just under 300 bucks a month. It’s 297 I think. So it’s less than 25 bucks but apparently they publish to like 150 different locations that helps you get found. And if you do a little reading around the internet it seems like they have a really good reputation and it’s not a scam and it’s not garbage. It’s a legit place to list your business that will get it in front of all the places that aren’t Google to be able to be found, including getting you into Apple Maps via like three or four other partners like TomTom and some other things.
Shane Jacks: TomTom being one of them.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, it’s like they all kinda feed each other in different dimensions. Some goes here and here but not there and other things go there and there but not here. But it’s like a big web of data and you gotta get all your information in the right places so that it ends up where you want it.
So if I was starting right now I would definitely do that. That’d be 300 bucks a year well spent. I’m not willing to do it at this point and I just found out about that recently so it was just a curious thing for me. I don’t really need to improve my local results anymore right now. And some days I wish the phone would stop ringing, to be honest. It’s really tough to keep it all going but, I mean, that’s half an hour on Yelp.com.
Shane Jacks: How many more do we have?
Keith Cosentino: Oh, I got a lot of stuff. I mean, this is really important stuff for local. This is like the most important stuff. People got to be able to find you. I mean, your referral base is great, your body shops and your dealers and all your repeat customers or previous customers, I should say. People are gonna find you through that stuff but there’s a lot of people that don’t know anybody and they’re just looking online and you gotta find those people too.
Shane Jacks: And Yelp is free so that’s a good reason for us to spend that much time on Yelp.
Keith Cosentino: Okay. So here’s just a quick few strategies that you can use tomorrow for your Yelp listing to help improve it. Once you’ve got everything where you need it to be in your Yelp listing and somebody’s written a review, a lot of people don’t know this but Yelp has a friending system like Facebook. The more Yelp friends you have the more Yelp is gonna consider you a relevant Yelper. That’s their term Yelper.
So when one of your customers writes you a review, go on there and request their friendship. That will help them have a better chance of having their review stay up. Also you can go to the review and you can vote it useful, cool or funny. Vote it one of those things. So the more people are interacting with that review, the better chance it has of staying up as well.
And of course make sure your profile is complete with all the information you’d like to have on there, whether you have a photo or not. The more information you can put, the better. And make sure you go and review a couple of businesses with legit reviews. Don’t make them up. Review places that you like and encourage your friends to do so.
And when you have a friend list in Yelp, when they review something, you get a notification and vice-versa. So you could review companies that you like, like your friends’ businesses that’re complimentary to yours or guys that refer you, you could go back and refer them – or review them rather.
And lastly, when you have a customer and you’re saying goodbye to them and they’re really ecstatic and they’re thankful and they wanna give you a tip, ask them to keep their tip and go to Yelp.com and write you a great review. Or I don’t even say, write a great review. I say, just share your opinion. Like I’m not coaching them to write the review but saying, just share your opinion on Yelp. It’s worth more than money to me. And it really is because you can’t buy those. You gotta earn them.
Shane Jacks: For sure.
Keith Cosentino: And it’s super cool. It’s a little sketchy that you’re sending them off to some other place and Yelp could take them up or take them down. Oh, I guess you gotta mention this. Yelp are kind of gangsters when it comes to selling their advertisement.
Shane Jacks: Just don’t answer the freaking phone or open an email.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, it kinda sucks. I wish they had something better because I would spend money with them if there was something they were offering me. But all they offer you for like 300 bucks a month, give or take, is when someone searches for dent removal Greenville or whatever, when someone searches for dent removal chicken lips, they’ll put you in front of your competitors at the top.
Shane Jacks: We don’t really need that.
Keith Cosentino: We don’t. If we were a muffler shop, maybe you’d need that because there’s 20 of them and there’s no clear advantage to one of the other. But if you’ve got a bunch of Yelp reviews and none of your competitors do, why in the world would you wanna be listed at the top of their results? You’re already at the top. So it’s just like it doesn’t make any sense. There’s not enough there. And they’re like, well, we’ll put you in front of, you know –
Shane Jacks: They keep telling me 10,000 more people. That’s their number. I don’t know why that is around here, 10,000 more people.
Keith Cosentino: Because they’re putting you in front of tire shops and smog shops and that’s not – we’re not after the same thing. It’s not like I sell tacos and they’re putting me in front of a burrito shop. That might make some sense but there’s just nothing there. It’s not worth it.
But there’s a lot of horror stories about people advertising with them and then canceling their advertisement and getting harassed and/or making it – and it seems after the fact when you cancel that your reviews are manipulated for the worst, like your bad reviews go to the top and your good reviews go in the filter. And they’ve been sued countless times over this and everybody loses because the information all belongs to Yelp. It’s not yours. It’s people interacting with the Yelp site.
But I found the best strategy so far is just not to engage them. I feel like now that they’re partnered with Apple, they’re probably a little more cautious about manipulating stuff, that’s my personal opinion. Because they’ve got – they could really screw up big time if they turn out to be gangsters and are prosecuted of it. Apple would probably sever their ties with them to some degree.
Shane Jacks: That’s exactly what they’re being accused of, gangster. A lot of people are calling them gangsters.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, so don’t take the calls, don’t engage them, don’t spend money with them. And I’m not saying because I think it’s a bad company. It’s a great company for the reviews but the business is that they’re natural organic reviews, not that you pay for stuff.
So if they had some kinda really neat offering for me, I probably would consider spending money with them because they do drive a lot of traffic to me. But right now what they’re offering is just garbage. I don’t need what they’re selling. I mean, there’s a hundred different things they could offer me that would make me interested but not what they’re currently offering.
So, my recommendation for you if you don’t wanna spend money with them is don’t engage them at all. Don’t take the calls, don’t take emails, just let them go. And if you’re getting a lot of results on Yelp, those calls come. They have a really aggressive sales team and they’re on the ball, man. You’re gonna get a lot of calls. Luckily they don’t screen the phone numbers so you can see where they’re coming from.
Shane Jacks: All right. What’s next?
Keith Cosentino: If you haven’t done it already you gotta be in Google Maps.
Shane Jacks: Correct.
Keith Cosentino: Really basic. Gotta be in Google Maps, make sure you’re –
Shane Jacks: It takes five minutes to get on Google Maps tops.
Keith Cosentino: Um-hum. Wait Google Places.
Shane Jacks: Yes, sorry, Places, correct.
Keith Cosentino: I know, Google Maps is a thing, it’s the program but –
Shane Jacks: Right. But signing up is Google Places.
Keith Cosentino: — business listings are Google Places, which what I said before it used to be called Google Local. But it used to be people who’d review you in there, and I think in some places that still works but I had like 30 Google local reviews. And I don’t know where those are now. They’re stuck on a server somewhere but they don’t show so that’s kind of a bummer. But that was a really – in fact, before Yelp I was steering people to that, Google Local reviews and it was the same thing, a star system in the map. It was a killer but it’s gone.
You gotta be ready to adapt with all this online stuff. You gotta stay on it to some degree. You don’t have to eat, sleep and breath it but you gotta pay attention and make new strategies when it changes. So that’s a lot to chew on. If you haven’t done anything yet, you’ve got a couple weeks’ worth of work to do there. But you’ll hug me when you see me next if you haven’t done any of the stuff and then you do it. Six months from now you’re gonna be real happy with me. So take the time to do it. If you’re serious about your local retail business, that’s the biggest door to it right there.
Shane Jacks: What’re some other review services that you think work well?
Keith Cosentino: I don’t have any.
Shane Jacks: One that is – one that comes up for different – and I believe different areas of the country, Yelp, for example, it’s huge where you’re at because it was born there. There’s one called Customer Lobby. I have not really – I was searching – the reason I ask, again, I’m pretty much at the top – well, I am at the top –
Keith Cosentino: Wait a second; didn’t we talk about that before?
Shane Jacks: Customer Lobby? You and I spoke about it just in –
Keith Cosentino: I think we talked about it on the podcast.
Shane Jacks: On the podcast?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah.
Shane Jacks: Maybe we did. No, I think we just spoke about, you and I, on the phone, Keith, because – yeah, I know it was. I know it was just you and I on the phone.
Keith Cosentino: No, no, no, we talked about it because my wife’s carpet cleaner uses it and we just mentioned it. I said that I hadn’t looked into it too far. And to be honest, I’d forget about it since we talked about that because I got a lot going on. But we did talk about it just briefly. This is cool. It looks promising and it looks pretty neat but go ahead and talk about it.
Shane Jacks: Well, that’s what I – there’s nothing for me to talk about. I’ve done the same thing you have. What I was gonna say is I was looking up just – I was just goofing around just trying to see because Yelp is, again, so strong where you’re at and it’s just – I’ve getting very few reviews here on Yelp where I’m at.
So I’m looking at – I just typed in plumber reviews Greenville, South Carolina. I was just looking at other service businesses in the area just to see what kind of – and again, this is something y’all can do also. You can just go and do an organic search for another service business in your area and see what the reviews are on those. And maybe it’s Angie’s List, maybe it’s Customer Lobby, I don’t know, depending on your area.
So I pulled up plumbers and like the first ten results are different plumbers and they have reviews on Customer Lobby.com and I’m like, huh, what is that? And then I literally clicked off of it and I was on my cell phone and then completely left my mind until about ten minutes ago.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, and it looks really promising. Basically they’re reviews and they’re yours on your site. And with their review system you have customer follow-up, some type of referral marketing program that people can help review you and they publish your reviews to Facebook, Twitter, Google – I’m looking at their website now – Google Plus, which we didn’t even talk about because I don’t know anything about it. I’m behind the ball or behind the game rather on Google Plus. But MapQuest, City Search, City Grid, Judy’s Book, Yelp, Kudzu.com – which Kudzu’s a big deal in some places. Not here but I know in other parts of the country that’s a big, big deal. I think I have a listing in Kudzu – Google, Bing Local and Yahoo.
Bing Local and Yahoo Local both have local search and review capabilities that you can take advantage of as well. Because not everybody uses Google. It’s like 60 or 70 percent of people but there’s still people using Bing and Yahoo too. So you ought to go create those local listings as well.
All this stuff is easy but it takes time but Customer Lobby looks promising. If anybody decides to go forward with it, post some reviews on PDR College about it and tell us how it’s working out for you. It costs – I asked my carpet cleaner buddy – I think it’s like 100 bucks a month or something like that. It’s not outrageous and he loved it. He really thought it was fantastic and he’s a relatively savvy guy so I take his word for it that it’s worth it. But I just never dug any deeper into it.
Shane Jacks: Right. If you’re at the top of your local search engines, some of this may not be relevant. It may not be something you wanna pay for anyway, let me state it that way.
Keith Cosentino: So that’s one opinion which I happen to personally have but I can’t deny the fact that if you stay with my opinion you’re gonna end up at the bottom of the results because everything’s constantly changing. So you gotta keep chipping away at this stuff and making a forward push or else you’re gonna be left behind. And I’ve kinda been stagnant for a year or two and I probably need to get some new stuff going just to make sure I’m relevant.
So I’m glad you brought that up, Customer Lobby so maybe you or I will move forward with that. And if we do we’ll share our results.
Shane Jacks: What else?
Keith Cosentino: I know you got Benjies coming out of your back pockets. You could afford one of them a month just to try out some – I mean, instead of wiping your nose with the next one, just throw it down on Customer Lobby.
Remember that story you told me when you took your –
Shane Jacks: I’ve got avocado pits coming out of my back pocket but –
Keith Cosentino: Remember that story you told me when you took your kids to that fountain and nobody had any coins. You were giving them 100s and they were throwing them in and making wishes?
Shane Jacks: Yeah, man, that was supposed to be between you and I though. One of the guys yelled out, my wish is that you won’t stop throwing those 100s in.
Keith Cosentino: That’s what I was gonna say, your wish was that your kids didn’t see you go in the fountain and get them all back in after they’re in the car. So here’s something – a strategy I came up with and I’m getting ready to implement this myself. I’m really excited about it. And it’s a way to use Facebook to grow your wholesale business and not in a manner that you might be thinking about.
Remember in episodes past we’ve talked about your job at these accounts, at these big dealerships and body shops is to know as many people as possible. To make friends with as many people there as possible.
Shane Jacks: Relationships.
Keith Cosentino: And – right, and you do that by going in and shaking hands and talking to them. Well, it’s like a brick fell out of the sky and hit me in the head and I was like, why haven’t I requested all these people as Facebook friends? I’m an idiot. There’s 30 people at each dealership and I’m friends with some of them because they are my actual friends, thanks to my business relationships. But there’s a lot of them that I’m acquaintances with that are not Facebook friends of mine.
So I’m in the process of requesting friendship with everybody I know at every one of my wholesale accounts. So what’s gonna happen here is I’m all of a sudden gonna start getting their status updates. And if I’m paying attention, I’m gonna know the things that are going on in their lives. And when I pop into those stores, I’m gonna be able to ask them, how was the kid’s ballgame? Sorry to hear about your dog dying. Whatever they’re posting on Facebook you’re gonna be connected. And you have these little mini icebreakers all the time and it’s gonna foster relationships that otherwise wouldn’t be given the circumstances to grow normally like they would.
Shane Jacks: How’s that hangover? Do you have any ones left in your pocket?
Keith Cosentino: So I think that’s the most exciting thing for me with Facebook and my business, my local business that I’ve come up with. And maybe some guys are already doing that. If you’re already doing it, props to you, you’re a step ahead of me but my instinct is that most are not.
To me I wanna make sure it’s my personal Facebook account. And I don’t even think you can Friend somebody if you go to business listing. It’s just a page, right. But if you have goofy stuff on your profile and you’re hesitant to share it with other people, maybe create a different account that’s just you and a little bit about what you do. And just post your fun stuff for everybody to hear and see on there.
But me, my Facebook listing is really clean and proper. I don’t put anything stupid on there. So I don’t care who looks at it. I’m happy to have people see it. So I’m excited about that. I’m gonna do that and encourage my guys to do it as well and really use that tool to grow our personal relationships and our business with those accounts.
And remember what I said about organic wholesale account growth. Those 25, 30 people that know you on a first-name basis, in a span of two years, five of them are gonna leave and go work at another store in the same industry. And this is gonna help you maintain those relationships and help you leap frog to those other stores. Trust me on that. That’s a promise right there.
It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad at what they do. Do not discriminate. They could suck. The guys who suck are probably some of the best if they’re your friends because they move around a lot because they can’t hold a job. But throw that out the window and just be friends with them. Be friends and do a good job for them.
Shane Jacks: Great tip.
Keith Cosentino: I’m telling you, and this stuff is free, both the advice and all these things we’re talking about.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, for sure. What else? Do you have anything else there?
Keith Cosentino: I’m not sharing everything all at once.
Shane Jacks: So we’re gonna end it here?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, that’s enough. Honestly, if you really want the advice – that’s something that we can talk about for a minute. So many people ask me for advice when their intention is to do nothing.
Shane Jacks: They want validation, they don’t want advice.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, you’re right. A lot of them do it – they want us to say or me to say, hey, you’re doing everything you can, man. If you’re not getting business it’s like people are idiots. That’s what’s up.
Shane Jacks: It’s not you, it’s everyone else.
Keith Cosentino: And some people say, well, what do I do for this and for that. Well here, I can tell you a thousand things to do but if you don’t do any of them, they’re just neat ideas to you. So you gotta implement. Pick one or two things that we talked about today and do it, implement it. Most of this stuff is free. You should get at a computer and plug it in. Instead of playing Candy Crush you can go on and change your business life. Quit being lazy about it. Don’t ask for information and then just sit on it.
One of my friends told me no matter what you tell somebody, doing nothing is more popular and much easier than doing whatever you talked about. Nothing always trumps something. And sadly he’s right, most people will choose nothing. So it’s really fun to get motivated by information and then turn the program off and not make any notes and go back to your life. And then listen to the next podcast and go, oh, that’s a really good idea too. That’s cool, man. And then turn it off and listen to the next one. You gotta do something, actually do it.
So that’s a challenge to all you guys that’re – you know who you are. You’re not implementers. Be an implementer for a week or two. Make yourself a goal of doing one or two things and just do it. It’s not that hard, it really isn’t, especially when you sit down and start. It’s harder to start than it is to do it.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, on the same vein of this discussion, Keith and I started yesterday – yeah, yesterday about the topic today. And it sparked an idea that we had for another internet-based something to up your business, AdWords And we’re going to be doing a little bit of a trial on AdWords. And this is just kind of a teaser. This won’t come for a few months now but we’re going to implement something that we’re gonna try out on AdWords and report back to you guys. So that’s another avenue to use is AdWords.
And it will cost you. That will cost you some but I just wanted to plug that that I use AdWords. I know several other guys that do use AdWords but in a few months we’re gonna report back to you on our findings on a little, I guess you’d call it a trial we’re gonna do with AdWords with my business.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, and I currently don’t use AdWords because frankly I’m having a hard time keeping up with the workflow that I’ve got now. I have a technician-shortage problem versus a workflow problem so I have not focused on any of this stuff for a couple years because I’m tapped out. I’m running the red line all the time already. So that’s kind of a lame thing to say if you’re gonna grow a business, which I am, but that’s the truth of the matter.
But I know a lot of guys that Shane and I both know that do use AdWords for PDR business with great success. And I wanna remind you that when we say it’ll cost you, a good advertisement –
Shane Jacks: Yeah, that’s a misnomer.
Keith Cosentino: — doesn’t cost you. Yeah, it makes you. So there’s a guy I like to listen to a lot when it comes to advertising and marketing information. And he brings up this really cool point. He says, you know, you’re talking about people who are starting a business and they don’t really know what they’re doing. And they’re saying, well, my advertising budget is $500 a month. You think, you’re advertising budget.
If you found a way to advertise and for every dollar you spent you got $5 in revenue back, why would you have a budget? You would be spending – you should be spending every single dollar you can on that ad to try to get as many dollars back. It’s not money that you just dump into a pit and then hopefully something good happens like a sacrifice. You don’t lay your money on a stone tablet and then stab it in the heart.
You hopefully pay attention to what you’re advertising with and how much you’re spending and track your results and find out if it’s returning. And if it’s not you change it and try something else. But when it is and you hit on something that’s working, why would you cap yourself to only spending X on it? So that’s a really good point to think about.
Shane Jacks: Right. Yep, and that AdWords does not cost me, by the way. It does well. It does well but you’ve gotta set it up right so –
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, and there’s a lot to it and we’re excited to see how that works out and hopefully share some quality tips on that specific to PDR. There’s a lot of people that always tell you how to use AdWords but not many specific to our little niche so stick with us.
All right, Shane. We’ve got a tool today that I currently do not own but you do.
Shane Jacks: Yes, we do. It is something that I use pretty much every single day. It’s a mini buffer. The one that I have is a Matco mini buffer. It comes as a kit with battery charger. It’s a cordless power electric – runs on a 12-volt battery buffer. The one I have is not variable speed but the ones that they have out now that they come out with about a year ago is a variable speed buffer. And these things are – the one that I have is not variable speed and it’s awesome. But the new variable speed buffers, these things are absolutely awesome. Matco –
Keith Cosentino: Now if you’ve never seen it tell us – describe what it looks like because it’s different than like a big [inaudible] [00:50:50] buffer you see normally.
Shane Jacks: Oh yeah, it’s kind of – it’s one-handed operation. It does have – the new ones – the Delcos actually have another handle on them like a big buffer but it’s kind of stupid. It’s really not needed. This thing is – it uses a 3” pad, foam or wool, whatever you wanna use, Velcro-backed pad, and it fits in the palm of one of your hands. It’s kind of like one of your small screw guns. It’s kind of like that.
Keith Cosentino: Oh, okay.
Shane Jacks: It’s a right-angle buffer. And these things are absolutely awesome. You used the tow cut that we talked about. Was that last week, Keith, that we talked about tow cut?
Keith Cosentino: I believe it was.
Shane Jacks: Okay. Use the tow cut or any other sandpaper but I use that tow cut, the 2000 grit, then the 3000 grit tow cut. It’s dry, then you just hit it with this variable speed cordless – that’s the big thing it’s cordless. Man, being cordless [inaudible] –
Keith Cosentino: How long does it last on a charge/
Shane Jacks: A long time. I haven’t tested it. Mine will – if you’re – you could buff 40 different small spots out in one charge at least.
Keith Cosentino: So you can do at least half a wholesale car.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, if you suck at hail you’ll get a quarter of a hail car done. But these things are absolutely awesome. The Matco and the AC Delco buffers, I believe they’re the same exact buffer. They just have different badges on them. Guess which one’s cheaper?
Keith Cosentino: We don’t need no stinking badges.
Shane Jacks: The AC Delco is a lot cheaper. I think you can get one for under 160 bucks. If you look online the part number is ARS1207. So look that bad boy up, that variable speed buffer and make things easy on yourself.
Keith Cosentino: See, I don’t even have that yet. I bought one of those Random Orbital polishers at the Mobile Tech Expo and I’ve just been goofing around with that a little bit. But it’s kinda cumbersome and big just to whip out and do a small spot.
Shane Jacks: Right. And I would imagine that that Random Orbital is not gonna get the scuff mark out as quickly as this buffer is. And it’s all about speed.
Keith Cosentino: They say it does. They developed a system – this is what sold me on it was their –
Shane Jacks: [Inaudible] [00:53:27] –
Keith Cosentino: McGuires.
Shane Jacks: Don’t believe anything the guy’s selling you.
Keith Cosentino: I don’t even believe what you’re telling me on this AC Delco buffer.
Shane Jacks: Except me. Believe me. I’m trying to help you here. I’m not making a dime off of this buffer, okay, not one dime so you can believe me.
Keith Cosentino: All right. Did you buy it online?
Shane Jacks: No. I bought it off the Matco truck three years ago I think.
Keith Cosentino: Paid 250 bucks or something?
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I paid close to 300 actually. Now you can get them for 160 or less online, the AC Delco that’re variable. And that is huge because mine’s not variable.
Keith Cosentino: But when you get it off the truck you get that big old sticker to put on your face that says sucker. You don’t get that when you get it online.
Shane Jacks: Well, you get the – I financed it for eight years with zero interest. I got it on there with my $70,000 toolbox.
Keith Cosentino: Man, I tell you, when those kids that come out of, like, YO Tech and UTI and all that and they start working at these mechanic shops and they have to spend their 20, 30, 40, 50 grand on tools to make 40, 50 grand, I feel so bad for them. Without making a joke it sucks. It is a bad deal for these guys. They’re making their tool – truck payments, they’re making their school payments. And there’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. All you get is a broken back and a ponytail and an addiction to Mountain Dew.
Shane Jacks: And a tattoo or 20.
Keith Cosentino: Oh man, if you’re just thinking about going to one of those schools, think twice. Go talk to some – find the oldest mechanics at the shop and talk to them.
Shane Jacks: Bring me 30 grand and I’ll teach you PDR.
Keith Cosentino: — in an afternoon.
Shane Jacks: Right.
Keith Cosentino: You wanna come back tomorrow it’s another 30. All right. So to recap, get on the Yelp train. Make sure your business has a good listing with them, relevant address, photos. When people review your business, make sure you go in and request their friendship. Load up their reviews. Make sure you are in the Google environment for their map results.
If you wanna spend 300 bucks a year, I think that’s probably a good choice if you haven’t done any of this stuff with that Localeze company. Although I can’t personally vouch for the results it seems reputable. Make sure you do that. And we talked about adding all of your wholesale buddies to your Facebook. Common, commonsense but I never thought of it. I think it’s fantastic. I would recommend you guys all do it.
And when you start thinking about everybody in all those buildings from the GM on down, that’s a lot of people that already know what you do and they know you’re good at it. And now you’re gonna connect with them and they’re gonna help you grow. I’m excited about that.
Shane Jacks: Good show.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, lots of actionable items. Get yourself a mini buffer too. Polish some stuff up.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, don’t buy the one Keith bought. He won’t admit that he’s wrong but he is.
Keith Cosentino: No, I’ll admit, for doing what I do it really – it’s too big and it’s kinda two-handed. I like to be speedy and fast and reaching for something that already had a pad on it and is just hanging on the edge of a bucket with no cord or anything would be way more convenient. I would do it more. I’m still buffing a lot of stuff by hand on little tiny spots because I don’t wanna dig that thing out. So I was wrong. Good thing I stole it instead of actually bought it.
All right, fellas, until next time, get better.
Shane Jacks: Get better.[End of Audio]
Duration: 58 minutes