Can You Drive New Business With Discount Oil Programs?

James Burchill

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This one’s a doozy. I get into heated discussions about this quite often. I’m told that discount oil programs just attract ‘bottom feeders’, ‘cheap skates’ and ‘bargain hunters’.

I say bring it on because I almost get as much flack about this as I do when I suggest a ‘FREEBIE’ promotion to my clients. They wriggle and squirm and tell me that ‘management courses’ they’ve attended say they should always charge for their services and that ‘I’m wrong’ to suggest a premium or freebie to encourage new business.

Hmmm, a challenge. I think by now (if you’ve read any of my columns for a while) you’d have seen my explanations about Freebies and what I think of these ‘Nay-Sayers’ and their protestations. It all comes to down to how you judge ‘paying for their services’, whether you are taking a short or long term viewpoint, and whether you really think “you’re all that” as my 12 year old daughter would say.

Are You A Big Fish In A Small Pond?

Seriously, most businesses have not carved out a significant enough niche to dominate it, so they’re left competing with the others in the same arena: general statements of quality, service, value and so forth… Nothing unique, nothing special.

Now, think of this - and suspend that critical little inner voice for just a few moments – what would happen if you could get a stream of new customers coming to your place of business? Now I never said they were there because you were the greatest or the cheapest of the fastest, just that they were there. Waiting to be impressed.

Side Bar: Most of my clients tell me that they can “sell” their clients once they get a chance to speak with them in person. Are you the same? Can you sell and close a deal if a ‘warm body’ was standing before you with a vehicle related issue? I’m betting you can… Hold that thought.

So if you had a stream of clients coming to your place of business on a regular basis, don’t you think you could convert a few of them into long term, high-quality, bigger ticket paying customers? Sure you could.

Are You ‘In The Flow’ Or Drifting By?

So how can you get that stream of clients – leads they’re called at this stage, or prospects? Easy, give them a darn good reason to come to you. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

When all else fails and you can’t think of anything better to say - appeal to the ‘greed gland’. Offer a monetary incentive - a discount. And if you can get creative and add more value then do so.

Just remember, in any population or group of people, there will be bottom feeders, premium clients and everything in between. Just because a person accepts a discount doesn’t make them cheap – it might mean they’re smart and are using this as the opportunity (that it really is) to check you out. Remember, people are skeptical of hyperbole, fluff and overly glitzy claims of being #1

Support The Discount With A Reason…

If you simply explain to these prospects (leads) that you understand their skepticism (this in turn validates their concerns) and go on to explain you are confident in your companies abilities so you’re offering them a safe way (limit their risk) to experience you and your companies promise – or in this case, a discounted oil change, you’ll win them over.

Closing Arguments…

So go ahead, make them an offer they can’t refuse. Be brave and carve up the price of your oil change service and see what happens… You’ll have a steady stream of clients coming through the door. Now all you have to do is convert some of them into higher paying clients – after all… you said you could sell them if you were speaking face to face.

Here’s a final thought for you… If discount oil change programs were so bad, why are there so many businesses that do just that?

AUTHOR BIO: James Burchill is a freelance marketing consultant and author. He's also the editor and associate publisher for two of the automotive aftermarket industry's leading print publications and he's the publisher of - a new Internet publication for the automotive aftermarket in Canada.

In between all that, James helps people ‘Sell more stuff, and make more money!’ and publishes a series of informational and Internet products about advertising and marketing. His main website is


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