A very select list of books that are MUST read for automotive repair shop or service managers and owners. I have read all books listed here and highly recommend them.
Selling the Invisible: a Field Guide to Modern Marketing
by Harry Beckwith
THE marketing book EVERY shop owner must read. A classic! Unlike most business books you will keep this one and read over and over – and gain something each time. Practical, down-to-earth, easy to apply advice. This is a book that will provide chunks of everyday, usable advice. A treasure chest of hundreds of quick, easy-to-read strategies - almost all are shorter than a page long. --D. Fentiman--
The transformation from a manufacturing-based economy to one that's all about service has been well documented. Today it's estimated that nearly 75 percent of Americans work in the service sector. Instead of producing tangibles--automobiles, clothes, and tools--more and more of us are in the business of providing intangibles--health care, entertainment, tourism, legal services, and so on. However, according to Harry Beckwith, most of these intangibles are still being marketed like products were 20 years ago.
In Selling the Invisible, Beckwith argues that what consumers are primarily interested in today are not features, but relationships. Even companies who think that they sell only tangible products should rethink their approach to product development and marketing and sales. For example, when a customer buys a Saturn automobile, what they're really buying is not the car, but the way that Saturn does business. Beckwith provides an excellent forum for thinking differently about the nature of services and how they can be effectively marketed.
Discovering The Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success
by Leonard L. Berry
Here is another MUST read for any service business! Full of fabulous real world examples of Berry's nine drivers of service excellence. And written so that anyone can understand and use the information.
Leonard L. Berry examines some of America's great service companies and finds "nine drivers of excellence" that are behind them all. Discovering the Soul of Service looks at 14 diverse businesses, including the St. Paul Saints minor-league baseball team, Dial-A-Mattress, Midwest Express Airlines, and two of the world's fastest-growing service companies--Charles Schwab and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. "The lessons they teach are clear indeed," writes Berry, a marketing professor and director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A & M University. "Although the companies differ on the outside--the nature, size and structure of their businesses--to a remarkable degree they are the same on the inside, sharing the drivers of their ongoing success." The "nine drivers" that Berry uncovers are the following: Leading with Values, Strategic Focus, Executional Excellence, Control of Destiny, Trust-Based Relationships, Investment in Employee Success, Acting Small, Brand Cultivation, and Generosity. Berry, whose previous books include On Great Service: A Framework for Action and Delivering Quality Service, writes that the basis of a successful service organization is value-driven leadership and "building a humane community that humanely serves customers and the broader community in which they live." Discovering the Soul of Service is inspiring--and potentially profitable--reading for anyone in business today. --Dan Ring--
Loyalty Rules: How Today's Leaders Build Lasting Relationships
by Frederick F. Reichheld
It's trendy these days to decry a lack of loyalty among employers, employees, customers, and even investors, and blame it for everything from drops in business profitability to the decline of civilized society. But Frederick F. Reichheld, a Bain & Company director emeritus, insists that loyalty lives--and, in fact, remains a major reason for the success enjoyed by some of the leading names in both the Old and New Economies. Loyalty Rules, his follow-up to 1996's The Loyalty Effect, shows how practices that built such relationships in organizations like Harley-Davidson, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Cisco Systems, and the U.S. Marine Corps help improve the atmosphere for all concerned and aid in producing better bottom-line results. The bulk of the book focuses on specific, real-world applications of Reichheld's Six Principles of Loyalty: in "Preach What You Practice," for example, he outlines various ways that "loyalty leaders" can articulate relevant concepts while clarifying "how these same philosophical foundations are ... not just feel-good platitudes." Reichheld also includes sample questionnaires from his Acid Test Survey, a critical part of the prescribed diagnosis-and-remedy program that is freely available on the author's Web site. --Howard Rothman -- This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Publishers Weekly Review:
Reichheld (The Loyalty Effect), director emeritus of Bain & Company, believes that companies today over-emphasize short-term profits at the expense of employees and customers. Reichheld offers six loyalty principles (employed by top-shelf companies such as Enterprise-Rent-a-Car and Dell Computer), including: "reward the right results"; "listen hard and talk straight"; "preach what you practice." Company profiles with comments from executives are particularly useful, though some examples have already been studied extensively (Southwest, Cisco). Nonetheless, the book makes a solid contribution. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers
by Seth Godin
Seth Godin, one of the world's foremost online promoters, offers his best advice for advertising in Permission Marketing. Godin argues that businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional forms of "interruption advertising" in magazines, mailings, or radio and television commercials. He writes that today consumers are bombarded by marketing messages almost everywhere they go. If you want to grab someone's attention, you first need to get his or her permission with some kind of bait--a free sample, a big discount, a contest, an 800 number, or even just an opinion survey. Once a customer volunteers his or her time, you're on your way to establishing a long-term relationship and making a sale. "By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message," he writes. "It serves both customers and marketers in a symbiotic exchange."
Godin knows his stuff. He created Internet marketer Yoyodyne and sold it in 1998 to Yahoo!, where he [was] a vice president. Godin delves into the strategies of several companies that successfully practice permission marketing, including Amazon.com, American Airlines, Bell Atlantic, and American Express. Permission marketing works best on the Internet, he writes, because the medium eliminates costs such as envelopes, printing, and stamps. Instead of advertising with a plain banner ad on the Internet, you should focus on discovering the customer's problem and getting permission to follow up with e-mail, he writes. Permission Marketing is an important and valuable book for businesses seeking better results from their advertising. --Dan Ring--
A New Brand World
by Scott Bedbury
Amazon.com Editorial Reviews:
What does it really take to succeed in business today? In A New Brand World, Scott Bedbury, who helped make Nike and Starbucks two of the most successful brands of recent years, explains this often mysterious process by setting out the principles that helped these companies become leaders in their respective industries. With illuminating anecdotes from his own in-the-trenches experiences and dozens of case studies of other winning-and failed-branding efforts (including Harley-Davidson, Guinness, The Gap, and Disney), Bedbury offers practical, battle-tested advice for keeping any business at the top of its game.