Most auto upholstery shops have front offices that double as waiting rooms. Some of the most successful shops also use these spaces as sales rooms. They do this by hanging promotional materials on their walls that explain the products and services they offer, as well as feature examples of their best work. What these shop owners are doing is putting their walls to work for them – selling their customers on new ideas while they wait.
Below is a list of five promotional items that every auto upholstery shop should hang on its walls. If these aren’t already on display in your office/waiting room, hang them up today. They’ve helped generate more income for my business, and will hopefully do the same for yours.
Proudly display photographs of your best work. Some shops like to have photo albums, but if you have the space I recommend posting the photos directly on your wall. This way there’s no chance that your customers will overlook examples of what you do best.
My customers have dubbed my office the “Wall of Fame” (see photo above). Those with pictures of their vehicles posted carry a sense of pride, as if they were awarded a trophy. Others have requested pictures of their interiors to be taken and hung.
What’s more, photographs also work as great visual aids to help you better explain your design ideas to customers.
2. Awards and Recognitions
Nothing establishes credibility and consumer confidence more than awards that your shop has won; positive articles that have been written about it in newspapers and magazines; and thank you cards and testimonials received from satisfied customers.
Hang these items on your office wall. It’s nice to feel appreciated, but it’s even nicer to parlay that appreciation into sales.
3. Inside signs
Inside signs are silent salespeople that do your job for you. People may know you fix seats, but have no clue that you also install convertible tops and pickup-truck bed covers. Hang signs around your office listing all of your services and you’ll be surprised by how many times you hear: “Oh, I didn’t know you do that!”
4. Product displays
Product displays are marketing materials that describe the products you sell and install. These include posters, banners, brochures and product samples. Best of all, they’re free – just request them from manufacturers. Companies like Katzkin, Roadwire, Robbins Tops, and Snap E Top Tonneau Covers are happy to ship them to you.
5. Fabric Swatches
No upholstery shop can operate without fabric swatches. The trick, however, is not only use them as tools for yourself, but also to draw in more business.
Display books and sample posters on your walls for customers to browse through and come up with ideas. Being known for your vast selection of materials is great for your reputation.
Just be careful not to overwhelm customers with the many options you offer. Instead, ask them what they’re looking for and point them in the right direction – ultimately narrowing the selection.
How about your shop? What sorts of promotional items do you hang on your office walls to help boost sales? Is there anything that you do different than most other shops? Tell us in the comments section below.
Clayton Jacobs says
I have collected a wall of fame with hot wheels cars. Given that the paints dont match, we match up to year, make and model. Its pretty cool, keeps the customers engaged in almost any sale automotive or other to ask what the story is behind them. It also is a nice way to bring yourself back to why we like this industry, because we had such a passion for cars as kids!
That’s a really great idea Clayton. I bet it keeps your shop memorable too. It would be hard to forget that auto upholstery shop with the huge wall of Hot Wheels.
We do something similar, but with miniature model seats that we build.
On slow days, we craft mini bucket and bench seats out of wood. They’re no bigger than 2 feet. We then sew and install covers for them – each showcasing a different design pattern or material. It really helps customers to visualize what we’re talking about when trying to sell them on a new seat cover. Plus, like your Hot Wheels wall, it keeps customers engaged and makes for great conversation.
working class says
Nadeem, can you post photos of your demo seats? I love this idea!
Definitely! In fact, I think my brother Naseem is working on an article about this. It should be up on the site this weekend.
Colin Rouse says
Hi just joined the site….keep up the good work…
Naseem Muaddi says
Welcome aboard Colin, thanks for joining The Hog Ring.
EDWARD MUNDAY says
RETIRED… DONT HAVE A SHOP ANYMORE, BUT A GOOD IDEA WOULD BE TO PLAY A TAPE OF RECENT CAR SHOWS SHOWING ANY INTERIOR AND OR PAINT SCHEME. AND OF COARSE HOTROD MAGAZINES OR EVEN OUT OF DATE ONES ALWAYS CATCH MY EYE AT GARAGES . BEST ONE I THINK IS A BRAG BOOK WELL PROTECTED AND ABLE TO BE HANDELED MANY TIMES EVEN BT CHILDREN WHO WILL TEAR UP A FREIGHT TRAIN.
As a small local business, I have a cork board of business cards of other locals I do business with. It’s a great networking aspect to my marketing that’s free to boot! Other customers know I spend my money locally, and can stop in to find a recommendation when they need one. I had to get a separate board for non car related business cards.
we have a 40inch tv with a usb of jobs , some fund stuff and what we do and specials all playing on a loop , doesn’t take up a lot of space and easy to change round to suit needs at different times of year
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