Recently, I signed up for a car wash service at Cobblestone Auto Spa in Phoenix and have been very pleased. I pay a monthly fee for unlimited car washes. I’m usually hesitant with any kind of recurring charge, but there’s more to explain because all businesses could benefit from my overall prospect-to-customer experience. Read on…
This was the first time I ventured into a service like this. Since I was 15, I’ve been one of those pay-and-spray kind of guys who cleans his cars himself. Last year, I got used to using the credit card-based car washes. I discovered that I’d typically spend $40 a month, but was only moderately satisfied with the results. I was receptive to a better solution that would work for me. I had no idea what to Google for because it seemed like such a specific, luxury type of service. Detailing sounds expensive, yet “car washes” seemed way too broad of a term. I went about my way with this desire to discover a better solution to wash my car regularly.
A couple months ago at a social media conference in Tempe, Social Media AZ, I introduced myself to Robert Minson, who I became very interested in his expertise. With a moniker of “@MyCarWashGuy,” I told him what I was looking for and wondered if he had any pointers. (I explained to him that one of our rockstar customers uses Infusionsoft to sell car detailing subscriptions in Maryland, but I wanted to find a similar service here in Arizona.) He was hip to this idea and suggested his place of business. I followed him on Twitter and was even more curious what he’s like online versus offline. Believe it or not, he actually published interesting Tweets – sometimes work related, sometimes not.
I was a bit hesitant to buy a subscription car wash service at first. I pondered how many times I would use it. I mulled this thought for a few days while I moved from Gilbert to Tempe. It didn’t take long for me to make a decision. (I was mostly convincing myself, but also debating myself over it.)
A couple weeks later, there was a car show in downtown Chandler. I had one task I had to do that day and his Tweet informed me about the car show that morning. It was a picture of chrome on a ’57 Chevy. I genuinely did want to meet up with him again and figured I’d admire some American Muscle for a bit and then find him. I asked him about it, he told me where it was and I was there just moments later, once he told me that he was there all day.
The car show had a sponsors area. From a custom car shop, a tire shop to even a demonstration of the bomb squad robot belonging to Chandler Police, I couldn’t pass it up. Wandering around and observing the local businesses, guess who I ran into there?
Robert from Cobblestone Auto Spa, of course! He was representing the company in his booth just kickin’ it. He had some lead-gen pieces, brochures and a prize wheel. It was a good time to catch up and talk shop. I asked him questions that I presumed he gets all the time:
Me: “How many car washes can I get with this plan?”
Robert: “As many as you want. Really.”
Me: “… And this plan?” (It was a cheaper plan)
Me: “Any other strings attached?”
Me: “Am I confined to one location?”
Robert: “Nope. We have seven locations across Phoenix.”
Me: “How does the ‘EasyPass’ work?”
[... I think you get the idea ...]
Then he hooked me up. He gave me a voucher 30 days of car washes – one that normally people would spin and win on the prize wheel. He said in an assuring, calming manner to go ahead and try it out and see if it’s for me.
Maybe this was his hustle, but it certainly didn’t feel like it. I mean, he took the time to understand my needs, was approachable and was a pretty chill guy. Through doing this, he addressed all my objections and built trust with me beyond the customer relationship.
I had to get back to moving out my old apartment, so I thanked him and he gave me discount cards for friends. I still have these in my trunk, but I’ll give them out to friends at work. Then I left, very pleased with hanging out with him, shooting the breeze and seeing all the beautiful cars at the car show.
I was thoroughly satisfied that I could actually find a car detailing company I can trust. He was eager to help, not to sell. I know my paint job isn’t perfect, but I want to keep it clean and shiny. But I must also keep my finances in check — my car loves Premium gasoline.
He may have grinned after I left knowing that he was going to close me down as a customer for life — I wouldn’t have blamed him. He knew his stuff and is a great guy to chat with.
I signed up with Cobblestone Auto Spa the following weekend. Today, I had my fifth car wash and I’ve only paid the $26 monthly. How freakin’ cool is that? I’m actually saving money choosing Cobblestone over the no-name $9 car washes.
It doesn’t end there. Being completely satisfied with this company and the summer months approaching, I need a buff and wax. (I am capable of doing it myself, but you have no idea how many crevices are on my car — it would actually infuriate me trying to get the wax off later.)
I talked with the sales guy at my local car wash. It was close to closing time. He was doing a little hustle – talking up the services, you know, his job. He offered me a sweet deal and bundled a few other detailing services. He offered that I could pre-pay and have a receipt so I can come in anytime I want to get it done. Another $110 later, I was still a happy customer.
Why am I sharing this story?
It shows that when you invest time to help people, people trust you. When people trust you, they buy from you. When they buy from you once, they are much more likely buy from you again. Also, I wanted to thank Robert and the gang at Cobblestone Auto Spa for treating my car right and delivering consistent, speedy service every time.
It boggles my mind why businesses don’t act this way in social media. Just because it’s on the web or confined to 140 characters doesn’t mean the practice isn’t building relationships.
And remember: I met the guy, followed the guy, read his tweets, talked with him some more, and eventually purchased from him. Yes, Twitter can close deals if you do it right. It was a four-week sales cycle … who would have guessed for a car washing service?