Success Stories

Relationship Marketing Weekly: Collision Shop Edition

Andre Perdue manages Red Rock Collision in Cottonwood, AZ and he has been in the business for over 26 years… Over the years Andre tried many ways to connect with his customers in a more personal manner, however, in August 2015, he found a relationship marketing system allowed him to make things much more personal, it was easy to use, and quite cost effective!

Kody will get the details on how Andre’s business exploded by 60% over 15 months since incorporating his relationship marketing strategy and system within his company.

Kody Bateman: Hey everybody. This is Kody Bateman coming to you live from a cabin in Island Park, Idaho. Welcome to our weekly relationship marketing show.

I have a very special guest on with us today. I’m really excited about this. He has actually been a guest once before with other people. This time, we get him solo.

So without further ado, we have Andre Perdue from Red Rock Collision out of Cottonwood, Arizona. Andre, welcome to our show.

Andre Perdue: Thank you, thank you. Good morning.

Kody Bateman: Yeah, it’s great. It’s great to have you on with us. We get you solo this time. You’ve got so many incredible concepts. I really want to get to those. You have had an opportunity to share those at live events we’ve done before as well as on one of these shows once before. But I really want to jump in and spend some time.

You do some really neat, cool and unique things in the car collision business and hopefully, if you’re in the car collision business, you have a chance to view this show today because Andre has got a wealth of information for you and what you apply in the car collision business can be applied in any business.

So I want to really jump right in. In fact, it’s cool. We are coming out – I’m coming out – we’re pre-launching right now the new book The Power of Human Connection: How Relationship Marketing is Transforming the Way People Succeed. So here’s a copy of it right here and I’ve got it opened to page 67 which is chapter four. In fact let me go back a page here.

Chapter four is titled “Fiver Secrets to Relationship Marketing Success,” and Andre, you will be happy to know that the first secret is all about you brother.

The first secret is the three-legged stool, which comes to us from none other than Andre Perdue. He talks about a three-legged stool and how he utilizes that in his car collision business. So that is featured in the book on page 67. We’re real excited about that. So thank you very much for your contribution.

So what I would like to do is start with that. Let’s have you talk about what the three-legged stool is and how you apply it in your business. Go ahead.

Andre Perdue: Well, basically the three-legged stool has to do with three things. Naturally if you don’t have one, it’s not – you’re not going to stand, at least not stand very long.

The first one is giving and either sometimes there’s a product, sometimes it’s a service, sometimes it’s both. But giving a great service or a great product. Even if you do have a product, you still want to give them a great service. So giving them a stellar product and service and making sure that it’s consistent and sustainable through whatever your business model is.

The second leg of that stool has to do with communication. In fact if you talk to any business, usually that’s where they – everybody seems to fall down. They seem to think that’s their biggest problem is communication, whether it be with their people or whether it be with their clients or customers.

So having great, not just good communication but great communication, and then using all the modems that are out there. You know, email is one of them. Of course using good, old-fashioned telephone, text. Sometimes people are texting. I even get people that want to communicate over Facebook messenger.

What modem is going to cater to your client or customer is good. So that’s the second one. The third one is the one that really goes kind of unnoticed by a lot of businesses and a lot of people in general and that is that appreciation piece.

Appreciating your customers, appreciating your clients and sometimes people forget about just appreciating the people that are within their own organization, their own employees. So when you think about – so many customers, so many businesses are thinking about – in our business, they call it CSI, customer service index. But nobody really thinks about ESI, which is employee service index.

In other words, how are your employees feeling? You know, because we’ve all heard this before. Sometimes things stand, sometimes it doesn’t. But if we don’t have our employees on board and really feeling appreciated and feeling the mission, whatever you’re accomplishing in your business, then you’re not going to be able to really relay that to your customer.

Kody Bateman: Boy, that’s powerful. It’s really good. So let’s recap the three-legged stool. Impeccable service is one. Over-the-top communication is two and then appreciation is three. So here you go, the three – I don’t know, three-legged stool.

So let’s talk specifically. You’re in the car collision business. Go through a scenario where somebody comes in. You’re dealing with the emotional people. I mean they just wrecked a car. I mean they just wrecked a car.

So they come in and they call on you to help them fix their car. So they’re in kind of a higher emotional state anyway because they’ve been through a – probably a traumatic experience or what not.

So probably more important than ever that those three things happen, that you have the impeccable service. But I want to talk about the communication part because I’ve had cars that I’ve had to have fixed before. There’s a lot of detail. I mean there’s a lot of detail that goes in to getting your car fixed and how much it’s going to cost and what the insurance will do and all that.

So just kind of walk us through that a little bit. What kind of things do you do to make sure that all of their questions are answered in a good way?

Andre Perdue: So when they come in, you’re right. It’s – they didn’t lose a pen. They wrecked their – probably for most people, their second biggest investment that they have next to their home.

So it’s a big deal. So you want to make sure that you really listen to them and part of that communication piece is just listening, finding out what’s going on with them, where they need to go, what they need and at what speed they’re going to need that.

So when they come in, I don’t even really write them an estimate yet. I want to listen to them first and find out what’s going on with them and what they need. Then as part of the formality of the estimating process, we will go out there and take our photos and write them an initial estimate and find out what – a lot of times people are trying to figure out whether we will use insurance or not. But really they’re shopping for a shop.

They’re looking to see if they can trust you to do the repair on their vehicle. So when they come in, we just – it’s a process. We do the same thing pretty much through – with every customer because we want to have the same good results. So we will listen to them, get them levitated out of the situation as best as we possibly can and schedule them in and get them into the repair process, not just the estimating process, so that they can be taken care of soon thereafter within a week or so.

Kody Bateman: And you communicate them through the process. I mean that – I think that’s real important too is that all the way through the process, they’re being communicated with all the time.

I think – don’t you – I know like you do all four of them. There are phone calls, emails, all kinds of different ways to stay in touch with them through the process.

Andre Perdue: Right. That initial one – and I do want to say Kody that initial one is probably the most important because you’re – like we’re having right now, we can see each other. I can pick up on the nuances of what’s going on and their facial expressions. We can really connect with them and that’s really the key to this is, is having that initial connectivity with that person or that customer.

Then later on, as an ancillary or auxiliary or extra, you know, we call them. I will call them if they’re call kind of people. If they’re text kind of people, then I will text them. If they’re email – some of these folks don’t even have computers. So sometimes you do have to call them and that’s OK too. But also with a follow-up card, that is such a big piece of it because nobody else does that and I’m telling you, in this business, most businesses do not do that because they don’t think of it and they think, “Well, I will just send them an email.” I’ve been to several dealerships and man, those emails go out right away and they’re canned and just not personal. But we just try to really personalize the experience.

Kody Bateman: So one of the things you talk about, that I cover in the book on chapter four there is you talk about the third leg is appreciation. So you got impeccable service, impeccable communication and over-the-top appreciation. Those are the three legs. You talk a lot about the appreciation part, which you just brought up and you talk about the importance of the tangible touch and you just touched on that. It’s that instead of an email, it’s a physical – it’s a tangible touch. It shows up in the mail and how important that is.

Can you share with us what kinds of – so you use our relationship marketing system. You send out these real physical greeting cards. Sometimes you attach gifts. Can you just walk us through the time – when do you do that? Just share with us the type of cards you send?

Andre Perdue: So when a person comes in to get an estimate – because that’s usually what they’re doing when you first meet them is sometimes they just show up and then you get a chance to talk to them. A lot of times people are skeptical because they’re just not sure yet or maybe they need to get with their insurance company.

They may not schedule at the time. So for us, that’s an uncaptured repair. So what I do is I send out a “Thank you for coming in” card. That’s it. Nothing about referrals, nothing about hey, hope we can do business with you. Just, “Hey, thank you for coming in,” because they did. They took the time to come see us. They drove down here. They came in the office. It’s hot, blah, blah, blah. They spent the time and I think it’s always important to – whether you’ve captured that business or not, we usually do anyway, but whether you capture it or not, you should still thank them.

Just like whether someone thanks you for opening up a door, you should still open up the door and hold the door for somebody. It’s just that simple and so we will thank them if they do schedule. I still thank them for coming in because I appreciate that they chose us and they came in.

So I will send them a “Thank you for coming in.” “Thank you for choosing Red Rock Collision,” is another way of communicating with them and many times, depending on the schedule, sometimes the car – they will just drop the car right away and I will send that card out. Hey, thanks for choosing Red Rock Collision.

So they will get that card while the car is in the shop. So at that point, I’m not soliciting them for business. I’m just thanking them genuinely for choosing us.

Also at the end of the repair Kody, what we love to do is we love to wow them with – after the repair and the car is gone, I will usually take a picture of them if they’re OK with that. Sometimes they’re not.

So we will just send them a card either way, thanking them for their business, how we appreciate their business, how we appreciate how they chose us and how we appreciate that they allowed us or they trusted us to fix their vehicle.

We kind of integrate that into the wording in the card and we send out the card along with a fine gift and that gift is usually a thing of brownies. It’s something they can actually – talk about tangible. Something they can actually eat and enjoy and I – nothing impresses upon people the remembrance of you when you give them a gift of something you can eat.

It’s one thing you give them a gift and they put it in the drawer. But something that they can put in their belly, that really makes a huge impression. So we think that’s half the process and after the repair –

Kody Bateman: I love that line you just used. We use that line all the time in all the trainings we do. This line is probably in this new book. Yeah, it’s probably in there 40 or 50 times, what we call “thanking through the process.”

You thank people through the process and it’s fascinating to me how many people don’t do that. Like how many people don’t – like there are stats that show that less than three percent of salespeople ever send out a thank you card. Yet the thank you card is the most effective touch you can send to generate referral business.

The other part is less than one percent of salespeople actually send a thank-you card before they get the business, which is mind-boggling to me because like you said, somebody takes the time to call on you to get an estimate.

I mean you should thank them for that, whether you have the business or not. A lot of times people wait until they get the business. They do the business then they say thank you. But you say thank you all the way through the process, which I think is really powerful and important.

Now let’s talk about what that has done for your business since you – you’ve always implemented the three-legged stool. That’s just the kind of business guy you are. Red Rock Collision, you guys are stellar, at the top shelf service people. You really take good care of people which is really important.

You communicate very well. You started that third-legged stool with tangible touches at least, I don’t know, a couple of years ago. What has happened to your referral business since the full three-legged stool has been in place?

Andre Perdue: Well, I have to say that it has exploded and in fact, there’s times when we have to tell people, “Hey, we can’t get you in for a couple of weeks,” because we’re just so busy with taking care of other customers. So we – when I came to the shop two and a half years ago, we were doing – they were doing pretty good. I mean they were doing some things right and the cool thing is their intention was there. I just don’t think they have the tools.

So when I was able to join the organization and help them with that, we were able to increase the gross sales by 60 percent in like 15 months. From zero to 15 months, we had more than doubled and that was pretty cool to see the needle move that quickly just by appreciating people and the other thing is one thing I mentioned – wanted to mention to you before was – is our vendors, that’s such an important – in the body shop business, it’s so important to take care of your vendors because they’re kind of like your people, your employees because if you don’t take care of your vendors, then again it makes it more difficult to take care of your clients.

So whenever you – like when a new vendor comes in, we had a PDR guy come in, a guy that pushes up dents. PDR stands for “painless dent removal” and this guy comes in and I just send him a “Nice to meet you” card and next thing you know, this guy is coming in and we have a relationship and we’re doing very well with PDR right now because there has been a lot of hail across the nation.

So a lot of that work gets back through to us. We wouldn’t be able to be as profitable and be as efficient without a guy like him and because we had started a relationship with him just by saying, “Hey man, it was nice to meet you.” So that’s what I love about being able to reach out to people through these cards and really touch people, through human connectivity.

Kody Bateman: Wow, great story Andre. Appreciate all that you’ve shared with us today. In closing, you have a card story. We talked about – a little bit before the show. Guy by the name of Leo Martinez. This is a great story. This might be a great way to kind of close out our show today. Could you share that with us?

Andre Perdue: Yeah. Leo Martinez, he came in. He had a little charger that we did a repair for him and again, ran him through the same process where he was communicated with and he got a great product. His car was repaired and then we thanked him. Well, later on during their – past the repair, I mean it had been about, oh, six weeks, four to six weeks later. This – of all things, this young man – when I say young, he’s probably a millennial if you will under the age of 30. He had just graduated a trade school for body shop, which was kind of near and dear to my heart.

So came up on my Facebook feed and I thought, “Oh, that’s pretty cool.” So I – and he had a picture of all his buddies graduating and so anyway, I captured that picture and I sent him a, “Hey, man. Congrats for graduating,” and he calls me up and he says, “Man, I got to tell you. First of all, nobody else did that for me. My parent, my own parents didn’t even do that for me,” because they couldn’t capture the picture of him with his buddies. He goes, “I really want to tell you that you guys are obviously more than just a body shop,” and I thought, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.” We have not just done him a service. Yeah, we fixed his car before. But we reached his heart. We were able to connect with him on the level that no other shop would be able to do because of reaching out to him with these cards.

So that’s the story and every time I tell the story, I feel so good about that because it’s just a cool thing because we’re not just in business – yeah, we’re here to make money and we do that as well. But because of the human connectivity part where we can give people the ultimate experience even after the sale, that’s pretty awesome. I love to show people how they can do that and other businesses through just reaching out to people and when you do that, man, it just feels good.

So it kind of reminds me of something that we had talked about earlier and that is that it takes being in business to another level because you’re just feeling so good about what you’re doing.

Kody Bateman: Well, we’ve heard a lot of people we’ve interviewed on these shows and we talk a lot about it in this book here is the importance of – when it comes right down to it and you just said it, all of us regardless of what business we’re in, we’re actually in the “taking care of people” business. Everybody is. We are in the “taking care of people” business and it just so happens that you do that through car collision. But people come to you for a service. Your real job is to take care of people and you do that with a service you provide and let’s see. It’s Leo Martinez who shared that with you in a message back to you. That’s a real payday. It’s a real payday when you hear those kinds of things.

So there you have it my friends. Andre Perdue. He’s always one of our best producers out there as far as teaching relationship marketing principles. Anytime I see Andre in one of our audiences, I got to bring him up on stage. You know why? Because he just has a great humble way of sharing golden nuggets that really help you in your business.

So Andre, appreciate you spending the time brother for being on the show today and those of you who are listening in, if you want to find out how Andre does it, just get back with the person that shared this show with you today. I’m sure they could share with you systems that will help you do that. Stay tuned for another version of the RM Weekly Show next week. Thank you Andre. Appreciate you. Take care everybody.

Andre Perdue: My pleasure. Thank you. Bye everybody.


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