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How do you market against a local competitor who has a terrific web and review presence, great repairs and is DIRT CHEAP??!!
We lay out the answers for you here!


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 from the velvet lined studio of PDR College recording area within the 30,000 square foot house built of gold and silver, thanks to the merits of our PDR businesses.

Shane Jacks: But we’re not quite there, yet because we don’t have the cashmere, the mahogany and the gold flake hanging on the walls, yet. So we’re gonna keep coming at you.

Keith Cosentino: We’re gonna keep working on it. I had some gold flake, but it wasn’t enough.

Shane Jacks: I had some gold flake on my dessert the other night.

Keith Cosentino: Wow, one of those gold cakes, those gross me out.

Shane Jacks: Why do they gross you out?

Keith Cosentino: I don’t want to eat gold. I wanna stack it up and save it. But I don’t – there’s a lot of things I want to do to it, but I don’t want to eat it, though, what a waste.

Shane Jacks: It’s kinda tasty.

Keith Cosentino: I would expect a forty-niner style gold miner to be sifting through my excrement if I ate a gold cake.

Shane Jacks: I have people that do that for me.

Keith Cosentino: Hey, make sure there wasn’t anything valuable in there.

Shane Jacks: Would you like my people to get in touch with your people, so they can go through your poop?

Keith Cosentino: Not physically. All right, so today we have been getting a ton of questions through the website, thank you guys all for sharing those questions with us. And we picked one that we think is really relevant right now, and we’re gonna answer that one. So this comes from our friend, Daryl, out in the San Francisco Bay area. And here he is for you.

Daryl: I just got off the phone with one of my competitors. We do business together. He’s been really busy, but over the last couple of months, he told me that his retail portion of his business actually was really slow. Another company in our area has well over 150 five star [inaudible] and high web presence. He said he’s been killing them. The guy offers really low rates. His prices actually start at $39.00.

Living here in the San Francisco Bay area, the average retail price is anywhere from $100.00 to $150.00. So he’s starting at $39.00. That’s pretty low. And like I said, we’re in the San Francisco Bay area, and this is pretty wealthy people. A ding repair for $100.00, $150.00 is pretty average.

It’s hard to compete with somebody like this. They guy’s actually a really good technician. He has really low rates, and he has a high web presence, and great Yelp reviews. I would appreciate hearing back from you guys. I’ve been enjoying listening to PDR College podcast, and look forward to every new one. Thank you.

Keith Cosentino: Okay, so his question is, how do I market against somebody with fantastic Yelp reviews, who’s advertising $39.00 dent removal. And supposedly, the guy’s a good technician. So he’s good, he’s cheap and people love him, which is not hard to believe if he’s really good and really cheap. What do you think about that Shane? What’s going on here?

Shane Jacks: Well, if the guy’s really good, and is indeed, really cheap. There’s still ways we can combat that, Keith. I believe we may have a question of as to whether he’s really at $39.00.

Keith Cosentino: Yes, that’s a big question. Yeah, you’re not actually working with him. He might be the world’s best bait and switch artist. And $39.00 is just a hook. And once you get there – no, it’s $39.00 for the second dent. You know, the first one is $125.00, and then the second one $39.00, and the third one’s $25.00. So yeah, we do $39.00 and $25.00 dent removal.

Shane Jacks: Right, and maybe the $39.00 is another way to look at it, $39.00 is a pinky fingernail sized dent. And if you’ve ever seen my pinky fingernails, there is no such thing as a pinky fingernail sized dent. I bite mine pretty bad, the thing is maybe 2 mm long. So I’m always nervous about what Keith is gonna say to or about me next. And maybe $39.00 is you know, X sized dent that is just not out there. And if he does run into it, he’s making $39.00 in less than 12 seconds.

Keith Cosentino: It’s possible, now we’ve actually done what I wanna talk about you not doing to combat this. And that is, worry too much about what he’s doing. See, the way you market against somebody else, is you actually market. Staying home and saying, my business is bad because someone else is good, is a pretty easy sword to fall on. But it’s not the real deal. He may be doing well, but just like Daryl said in the call, there’s a lot of people there, there’s a lot of money down there. There are people, I can promise you that absolutely would not consider calling a $39.00 dent repair guy.

Shane Jacks: Are you one of those guys, Keith?

Keith Cosentino: No, I’m pretty cheap.

Shane Jacks: As am I, there are areas in my life, thought – the reason you say no is because you work with this crap every day, day in and day out.

Keith Cosentino: No, I’m goofing around. I would not call the cheapest guy.

Shane Jacks: What about food, Keith? You – this is an analogy, and I think it’s because I love it so much, food. This is an analogy that you all have heard me use, or seen me use online, time and time again. I can guarantee you, 100 percent, I can guarantee you that Fuddruckers’s, Five Guys, they do not care what McDonald’s does. They have zero interest in it, whatsoever.

Keith Cosentino: And you know, sometimes you want McDonalds, if you’re in a hurry, and it’s right there. And sometimes you want to go out and enjoy the meal. And just because they’re both selling something similar, it doesn’t mean they’re the same. You know, the McDonald’s argument is the one everybody falls back on when we’re talking about business, so I get tired of talking about it.

But the $39.00 dent removal is not going to appeal to someone who just spent $115,000.00 on a new car. And that 115 is not that crazy anymore. Now the really nice cars are a quarter million. They’re not 100 anymore. You can spend 100 at a Lexus dealership, practically now. And you can get to 80, or something like that, without any of the real exotic stuff.

So to think that just because this guy has a really good Yelp presence, which he does, I looked at it, he’s all over the place online. The guy’s a good marketer. But to say that he’s everywhere, and he has good Yelp presence that he’s the reason that your phone’s aren’t ringing – take a look at your own stuff, is what I want you to do. And all you guys who think that your competitor is the reason you’re not doing well, well, I want you to take a look at your stuff, and ask yourself, are you marketing as well as you could be?

We talked in the last episode, 14, about your unique selling proposition, or your unique selling position. What is yours? Do you have one? What is your hook? Why should somebody call you? Is your web site just a walking business card that says, hey, we’ve been doing this so many years, and we’re super good. And call for free estimate.

Is there anything compelling about your site that gets someone to pick up the phone? $39.00 dent removal has a compelling, unique position. They are the cheapest dent removal you could possibly get. That’s gonna make a lot of people pick up the phone. But there’s still a lot of people that that would make absolutely not pick up the phone, the opposite.

So one thing I would suggest, if you had to market against him. If you said, Keith, now you’re going into business tomorrow from scratch. You’re gonna be in this guy’s market. He’s killing it. Let’s just assume he is, for the purposes of this conversation. He has all the Yelp reviews. He’s super cheap. He’s a great technician. He’s a nice guy. And everybody loves him. You’re gonna market against him tomorrow. What are you gonna do? Okay, so here’s what I would do. Well, first, Shane, do you have a strategy, or do you wanna hear mine first?

Shane Jacks: Go ahead.

Keith Cosentino: Okay, here’s what I would do. In that particular market, which isn’t that far from where I live. I know it fairly well. I know it better than the market in Ohio or Texas because I don’t live there. But it’s an affluent area. I think everybody knows that. There’s lots of tech startup up there. There’s lots of money crammed into a tiny place. The weather’s nice.

So what I would do is extremely niche myself in the opposite of $39.00 dent removal. I am going to be the high-end guy. I’m gonna be the guy that – I won’t even really work on your Hyundai. I will only work on your German car. And a lot of people would say, oh, man, I’m only doing German cars. I’m not gonna be very busy. And you would think that, initially because all of us, almost all of us do every car that comes in front of us, myself included. But if I’m trying to market away from the $39.00 dent removal guy, what I want to be is the high-end guy.

So I’m gonna build a specific website just for my BMW dent removal. And I’m gonna spend a lot of time educating the customer on that homepage about why I know BMWs so well, what I know about them, history on the cars. I’m gonna go crazy BMW. And that’s gonna be a site all by itself.

And then, I’m gonna do the same thing with Porsche, and the same thing with Audi. I’m gonna have four or five websites with completely different names, and different phone numbers, all leading back to me. And I’m gonna specialize – maybe I’m just busy with the one of them. But I’ll probably move on to two, or three, or four, depending on the workload.

But I want somebody with a nice car to get online and say, okay, here’s the $39.00 dent removal. Here’s generic dent removal, he does everything. Oh, hey, here’s the guy who does just German cars. That’s what I need because the reason I drive a 5-series is because I think it’s better than anything else. If I didn’t, I would drive a Genesis, or a Sonata. But I don’t, I like a BMW because I think it’s better. So I need the service guy, or the dent removal guy, who also is better and specialized.

That’s the angle I would take. I would go hard in the opposite direction of him, if he really is taking business from you, and crushing you, like everybody who calls you, hangs up, and calls him. Or nobody calls you at all. That’s what I would do tomorrow if you plopped me in that market. What would you do, Shane?

Shane Jacks: Yeah, Keith, to follow up on that, you could – I really like what you said about being the niche guy for German cars. You could – we’ve spoken about this a little bit before. Make a video of that, explaining that hey, these German cars, this is the kind of care we have to take to put into repairing these German cars. These are some things you’ve gotta look out for on a BMW. These are the things –

Keith Cosentino: Yeah, you could even talk about your European tools that you use.

Shane Jacks: Yeah, yeah, my tools are European specific. It doesn’t – you can make it sound – you guys know me, I like to try to be as truthful as possible. So I would say, European specific, instead of European tools. And somehow stamp it on there, European specific.

Keith Cosentino: You could buy a couple of French tools, or a couple of German tools.

Shane Jacks: There you go, yeah you can. I’ve actually had several of those, some German tools designed and built in Germany. But yeah, Keith, I really like that being specific. As far as how to market that directly to, you can – I’ll have to admit something here, I was looking at the population of San Francisco area, while Keith was talking. You can also combat – do what he’s doing.

Keith Cosentino: Yeah that’s another angle, isn’t it?

Shane Jacks: Yeah, you could – why not become the $38.00 guy. And again, stipulations being it be the size of your thumbnail or smaller. Or that’s your second dent, or, or, or, or, or. Okay, get a little bit creative. And also, just make sure your website, your web presence – did you talk about this Keith, the website being – make sure yours is a thing of beauty and a thing of information. Clean, especially if you’re going the route of a niche market, where you’re doing just European cars, dude that thing needs to look European. It needs to look really, really, really clean. And do you agree with that, Keith?

Keith Cosentino: Absolutely I agree, yeah, 100 percent. It needs to be nice, and clean and pretty. I mean, any website for PDR needs to be pretty and clean.

Shane Jacks: But there’s a difference. When I say clean, I think you can – if you were to market to the masses in marketing to just German, or European cars, there’s gonna be a different look there. And I don’t know that I can describe it, just to be honest with you.

Keith Cosentino: No, I don’t care to try to describe it either because it’s gonna be like we talked about before. It’s gonna be a representation of that personal technician. But again, I want to repeat that you need to remember when you’re making your site, or redoing your site, what is the purpose of this site? What is the purpose of it? I want them to pick up the phone and call me. Or I want them to fill out my form. But figure out the purpose of it, and do everything you can to set them down that path. Put those things in front of them, so they make their way right to the end line, where they’re gonna pick up the phone, or where they’re gonna call you.

Shane Jacks: And we don’t know that –

Keith Cosentino: Or rather, pick up the phone, or they’re gonna fill out your form.

Shane Jacks: Yeah, we do not know that the $39.00 dent repair that this other tech has in this area, we do not know that that’s not just something to get a customer to pick up the phone. We don’t know that. Now, we’re taking word from local techs, there. Something that struck me, and I’m gonna be a little – Daryl, thanks for the call. And it shows you’re willingness to change. And you’re willingness to reach out to us, and reach out to others, and figure out what’s going on and how to get better.

But we really, one thing you said was, this friend of yours, another PDR tech said he’s killing him. How do you know that he’s killing you? Are you just going off what this friend’s saying? Is the guy that’s doing the $39.00 dent repairs in your area, is he telling you that he’s doing 100 repairs a week? Dent guys are notorious for not truth that’s a – so how do you know?

I mean, again, I was looking up the population of San Francisco. It’s the second most densely populated city in the country, behind New York City. So there’s a lot of people in a small area. There’s over 840,000 people in the city. And then, the combined statistical area of San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco is well over 4 million people. That is a fricking butt ton of people to be servicing.

It’s really hard for me, something that I have a hard time grasping, and I’m preaching this, half of this that I preach. Keith knows everything. When I get on here, I’m learning a lot of this stuff. And that was sarcasm, by the way that Keith knows everything.

Keith Cosentino: No, it wasn’t, but I knew that.

Shane Jacks: And again, just as a side note, Keith and I argue quite a bit. Don’t think we’re always on the same page on everything. He’s a lot uglier than I am. We argue about that.

Keith Cosentino: No, it’s true. Sometimes Shane is wrong, and we gotta work through that. But otherwise, we see eye to eye.

Shane Jacks: Sometimes Shane is wrong about Keith being right, and knowing everything. But anyway, I had a problem, I still have this huge problem realizing numbers, and the magnitude of numbers. Here, in my city we have over 800,000 people in the statistical area – I’m sorry, in the metropolitan area, and then, 1.4 million in the combined statistical area of this county and three others around it. That’s a lot of freaking people that have dents in their cars.

And I live in a – compared to San Francisco, quote, unquote, I’m not an affluent area. We have affluent areas here, we’re doing fine economically. But it’s not as – the amount of money made here is nowhere close to what is made in San Francisco. The cost of living’s a lot lower, also.

But there are plenty, plenty – I’ve said this, I believe I said it on a show, if ten more PDR guys were to move into the area, there would still be work. It’s just a fact. There are a ton, ton, ton of people. You just gotta reach them. This $39.00 guy, apparently he’s reaching them somehow. And we’ve gotta figure out a way to reach them, also.

Keith Cosentino: And the credibility I give him because I don’t know anything about his company, but obviously, you gotta do something right to have 158 five star yelp reviews. That’s a lot. That takes a lot. But let’s keep a couple things in mind. One, he’s in the birthplace of Yelp. And people are crazy wired to tech down there. So more people, as a percentage, I’m sure, are going to review his site versus somebody in Shane’s area, or in chicken lips. They don’t even have – they have flip phones over there, still.

Shane Jacks: If I could count on that. The percentage wise of people that come in here, retail customers that I have, I ask – I’ve actually become kind of defeated the last around month about it. I ask, and honestly, I’m not exaggerating here, 75 percent of people go, what? What is Yelp? It’s just not really well, it’s not used here very often.

Keith Cosentino: So, I’m stumbling for a second because you made me think of something as a side note, if your people are completely off of Yelp. And they’re not gonna do that, or at least at this point in time, they’re not. They don’t know what it is. It’s not popular in your area. What’s plan B to get them to do a review. Maybe they’re so old school that if you said, hey, I’m going to mail you a piece of paper. I’m gonna send this self-addressed stamped envelope and form with you. Would you mind filling it out, and popping it in the mail, to tell me about your experience because I want to share with other people?

If you could get bunch of handwritten notes that you could put on your website, and/or in a binder in the waiting room, or something like that. You can send that as a copy out with other people. If you’re gonna send estimates away that aren’t closed yet, you can send them with a copy of your reviews. At least, you know, personal ones. And at least, can you capture some feedback?

If you’re not gonna get it through Yelp, or Google or something. Go old school, get it on paper. That works, too, like that car dealership we were talking about with all the happy people on the walls. Capture something from them.

So as far as the $39.00 dent guy goes, you have to remember something, if you’ve been doing dents a long time, when you started, you were one of the only guys. In a trade that many people, even still to this day, don’t even know exists, or know how it works. That’s going away, guys. That is going away, and it’s turning into a real business, a real market that’s competitive.

So you’re walking business card website may have been enough before. But guess what, it’s not enough anymore. You need more. You need to work harder on it. You can’t set it up, and leave it. And think that the phone’s gonna keep ringing off the hook. You have to stay on top of it. You have to keep looking, keep searching in your market, and seeing what the results are, and tweaking your results to fit that.

We’re not talking about any website specific, but if you do a Google search, and you’re on the first or second page. And you see your line there, okay, there I am. And then, the little snippet underneath the website is what people are reading a little bit to decide whether they’re gonna click on it or not, in addition to the name of the domain. Well, if that’s some jarbled sentence from your website. And it doesn’t make any sense. Go in there and fix it. Put what you want to come up in Google in that same place on your website.

Fix these things, you have to work on them. You have to come up with unique proposition, you need YouTube videos to support that. Your $39.00 dent guy has a video on the front page of Google that’s the worst video you’ve ever seen. But guess what, it has his name, and he’s on the front page of Google with it. And it’s free, and he did it two years ago.

What did you do? You gotta do something. Your business is not bad out there, your business is bad in here, in your house, the things you’re doing. You have control over a lot more than you think you do. And I’m not beating up on Daryl. I’m talking to myself, and everyone else, as much as I am to him.

But it’s really easy to say I’ve done everything perfect, but someone else is taking my business from me. What have you done in the last six months, in the last year to level up your business, to level up your marketing, to level up your website? What have you done? If you’re busy, you probably haven’t done anything. I haven’t done much, to be honest. But I don’t have a work problem. I have plenty of work. I want my phone to stop ringing sometimes. When it starts to change, I will be working harder, and changing my stuff. But honestly, I don’t have that problem.

But if you have that problem, you’ve got to make some changes. You can’t expect something to change on the outside, and you’re not making any changes on the inside to affect it. Shane talks about not worrying about if ten guys came into his market. And I believe that he’s telling the truth. However, if ten guys came into his market tomorrow, I can promise you one thing, Shane’s gonna be working on his website.

Shane Jacks: Yup, I would change – I’m working on it right now. I’m as busy as I can possibly be. I don’t know that I can get any more busy.

Keith Cosentino: He’s telling the truth, when I call him during the week, if he takes my call, he’s like, what?

Shane Jacks: And that is nothing personal. Keith understands that is nothing personal, it is really – and he’s the same way, he just deals with it a lot better than I do. Answering that phone becomes a chore. You know, when you’re picking it up 60 times a day, it really gets old. But again, going back to what I was saying. I’m tweaking my website right now. Do I need more work, Keith?

Keith Cosentino: No.

Shane Jacks: You know what I need, though. I’m tweaking it to justify – if I get more work. Okay, one of these guys, a lot of these guys talk about pricing. You’re evil either way. Either you’re too high, or you’re too low. I’ve told Keith he’s too high, on occasion, and just joking, of course. You’re either too high, or you’re too low. You’re evil in the eyes of other dent guys, either way. What I’m trying to do with – if I can get X amount of calls during the day, I’m kind of – Keith and I both do some really high-level repairs on some really crushed stuff, right Keith, every day, correct?

Keith Cosentino: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Shane Jacks: Do you enjoy it, Keith?

Keith Cosentino: Crush dents, no, I mean, I can’t stand it.

Shane Jacks: Every now and then it’s okay because I’m a prideful person. But I’m losing that pride rather quickly. You give me 45 quarter sized dents in a day, and you give me those bad boys. Holy crap, you could give them to me at $50.00 a piece, and let me do 30 of them. And I’ll go home at 1:00, okay. Now, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to come down to $50.00.

My point is this, I want my website – I’m changing my website because I want – although answering the phone has become a pain in the butt, I wanna answer the phone, and I wanna start narrowing – why not narrow the work down? Not only that, if I can narrow the work down to what I wanna do, I’m not only doing that, but I’m also setting up my website for the future, like Keith said, instead of resting on my laurels. Continuously change and adapt, so either you don’t have to work as hard now, or you’ll have work in the future.

Keith Cosentino: You brought up something that I want to talk about for just a couple more minutes. We’re gonna keep this episode a little shorter than others. But, we’re talking about combating this specific situation. If you wanted to match, or even beat his price, you could do it and still stay competitive.

Maybe you have a $30.00 dent day. It takes place at this place, at this time, and you have to come to me. And the dents have to fit in this criteria. And if you’re here between this time and this time, we’re only taking 20 people, but if you’re there we’re gonna fix your dent for $30.00. And you’ll have an opportunity to upsell. And you’ll get some dents in front of you. And if they’re easy, you can knock them out for $30.00. I wouldn’t do that, but it’s a viable strategy, if you’re trying to beat this guy at his own game, or make something a little more interesting, or test if that really is the market.

Maybe people do think they’re gonna get things fixed for $39.00, or $30.00, or $25.00, I think it said somewhere. But keep in mind that you’ve got to sell. You’ve got to get in front of people. You’re not gonna close these people on the phone, in this market. You need to be in front of them.

So if you’re slow, and you’re phone’s not ringing as much as you want it to be, when you get a call, and you’ve asked a few questions. Do you think it’s a dent you can probably fix, you don’t even answer the price question. You get in front of them. You make an appointment, and you go. And you get out there. And then, you talk about it. And you’re gonna get burned a couple times. But if you keep doing it, your sales, if they’re not good already, they’re gonna get better. And if they’re good already, they’re gonna get much better because you’re going to learn how to overcome objections and make that deal right on the spot.

And I have a feeling that’s what your competitor’s doing that you’re worried about because it’s really hard to make a living doing $39.00 dents. I mean, you guys – everybody who does this for a living knows that some dents take you three hours. Nobody’s doing that for $39.00. I don’t care what you think. He’s not doing that. If he was, he would be out of business, and his car would be broke because he’d be making $10.00 an hour and trying to run a business. He’s not doing that.

But he is enticing people to pick up the phone. And he’s getting in front of them, and he’s making repairs. The guy’s a pretty good marketer. Like I said, I looked at his website. One of the things that he does that I think is cool that I’ve never done is, he has a photo of him working on a car in a street, or a parking lot or something. And he has a white A-frame sign that says, dent removal taking place here, or something like that.

I’m sure people stop, see the sign, and ask him for a quote on their car. Those aren’t always the best customers, but he’s getting in front of more people, shaking more hands, and talking to more people. And when you’re in business, that’s the name of the game, is to get in front of the most eyeballs. So that you can pare it down like Shane was talking about, and work with the people who you choose to work with, not who the people who have just chosen you.

So in closing, stop looking outside, and look inside. If somebody’s beating you out there, you can’t affect his business. But you can affect yours. Go to your site, and ask yourself, can it be better? What am I selling? What’s exciting about this? Why would somebody call me?

Ask some of your friends or people you respect, and who will give you a real, honest opinion, why would you call this? Why wouldn’t you call this? What here is unique and exciting? And if you don’t have any answers to that question, you better come up with something and redo, and redo, and redo, and keep working on it. Fix your own business, inside, where you can make changes, where you can affects happen. And you won’t have to worry about your competitors so much.

Shane Jacks: There are plenty of people out there, you just gotta get in front of them.

Keith Cosentino: Until next time –

Shane Jacks: Get better.

[End of Audio]

Duration: 31 minutes

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