Everyone knows the advantages of anchor stores. But have you heard of locating your cell phone repair shop close to carrier stores in particular?
I recently had a chat with a cell phone repair shop owner on choosing the right repair tracking software. One thing led to another and we ended up discussing the location of his store.
So, I asked him, “What is the most important thing you considered before finalizing the location for your cell phone repair shop?”
He said carrier stores!
I know anchor stores around your cell phone repair shop are quite beneficial. But why carrier stores in particular?
Here is what he had to say.
Benefits of Having Carrier Shops Around Your Shops
Carrier Stores are Credible
The first benefit he pointed out was that carrier stores are a credible source of referrals. For instance, if a customer buys a phone from AT&T or Verizon, they’ll come back to the carrier store whenever they break it or have an issue with the phone. But barely any carrier stores offer repair services.
Considering these carrier stores are all big, reliable brands, so, when a customer comes to you and says, “AT&T referred me to you,” you know that the customer is legit.
You Get Referrals for Trade-Ins
The second benefit was that of getting trade-ins. Since carrier stores do not generally buy in previous phones or do trade-ins, they can refer you for it. This means trade-ins become an active and consistent income stream for you.
Organic Referral Base
One of the best things about collaborating with a carrier store according to that cell phone repair shop owner is that you’re not really paying much to get a lot of foot traffic from the carrier store. The carrier shop refers to you without having any ulterior motives. Moreover, once you prove to be a reliable partner, the sales reps at the carrier shop can refer you confidently, keeping their customers and making you new ones along the way.
Who Should You Approach in a Carrier Store?
Once you’ve opened your new shop, visit the carrier stores close by. Meet with the manager of the carrier shop but more importantly, meet with the sales representatives there. You may think that the manager calls the shots so they are the right person to contact. But the sales reps are equally important. They are the ones who will be referring your shop to the customers.
How to Leverage Carrier Shops
The way to leveraging carrier stores is quite traditional. You visit the shop and introduce yourself and your business. Physically meeting the staff of the carrier shop is important.
Give Business Cards
Most people will tell you to take your business cards along and remember to leave them at the shop. And I’ll tell you that’s important. Because the carrier store sales reps will give those to their customers so they can find you.
Create a Campaign Budget
But, breaking bread with the carrier store personnel is more important. Because people get excited when you give them food. And they will remember you. So take a pizza or a box of doughnuts during lunch hour.
But before you do that, consider this activity as a campaign and allocate a budget towards it. So, let’s suppose you have allocated $200 per month for this campaign, leaving your business card and feeding them pizza falls right within the budget.
However, you can take the entire team out for lunch or dinner. Again, that depends on your budget. Another aspect to look into is the number of carrier stores you collaborating with. Because if there are too many, sending a pizza every month can drain your pocket. So, maybe just do it once in two months.
Later, you can look into your repair tracking software for clues as to how much you’re earning from carrier stores and then revise your campaign budget accordingly.
Also, you may decide to distribute branded gear, like mugs, pens, sticky notes, etc. but that would be a bad idea. You don’t want to give something that they can easily lose. Unless of course, you can send it to them again. Which can become quite expensive in the long term.
Another way to leverage a carrier shop is to offer the personnel huge discounts, almost at cost price. If your repair shop can afford it, you can even offer the repairs for free. This goes a long way in building your relationship with them.
To make it easier for you to offer discounts, you can make a special group for the employees on your repair tracking software. This way you won’t have to manually add a discount every time.
To reap the fruits of your efforts, you have to be consistent. Visit the carrier store every month. Make sure the same person is visiting them. Preferably, it should be you, the shop owner, so you can build a rapport with them.
Drop by every now and then. Ask them if they need more business cards.
Focus on Sales Reps
You would think to target the manager because he is the one in charge. But it is really the sales representatives that you need to build a relationship with. Because they are the ones working on the floor and dealing with customers.
Are You Doing Business With Them?
They’re sending in a lot of business to you. But are you going there to get your activation? If you aren’t, you should now. Because it is a two-way street.
The Secret Sauce
Get the carrier shop to send their customers to you for data transfers.
Now you must be thinking, why would a customer come to your repair shop for data transfer when they can get it for free from the carrier shop? I’ll tell you why. Because you’re doing it for free as well.
Don’t call me crazy. I know what I’m talking about. Because when you offer free data transfer to customers who’ve just bought new phones, you can instantly up-sell a screen protector or a phone case. Even if you don’t make a sale, you’ve got so much more foot traffic and people who didn’t even know existed know where your shop is.
With most small shops, they want the money instantly. So offering a free data transfer might sound like a bad idea. But if you really see yourself scaling your business, you will offer it for free because it has long-term benefits.
Now you question why would a carrier shop sales rep send a customer to you for data transfer? For that, you need to understand that the sales representative at a carrier shop is paid hourly plus commission.
Aiding a customer with their data transfer means spending an extra hour or hour and a half with them, foregoing the commission they might earn from extra sales. Why would they want to lose that money?
So, it would actually help them earn more by sending their customers to you for data transfer and other troubleshooting problems.
If you don’t believe me, do it as an experiment. Keep a record of the business you do with these customers on your repair tracking software. I promise you won’t be disappointed with the results.
So, you should go to the manager and the sales representatives and telling them you care about their well-being. And that you want to take their worries by giving troubleshooting services to the customers.
How Much Business Should You Expect From A Carrier Store?
This is a tricky question because the actual figures will vary from area to area. But on average, you should expect at least a 5% to 10% increase in business from a carrier shop, considering they are not sending some of the business elsewhere.
To avoid that from happening, be consistent in your efforts. Also, try and form alliances with multiple carrier stores in your vicinity if possible. Because let’s be honest, they see a lot more customers than you do. And together, they can make a big difference in your business growth.
Which Carrier Stores Are Ideal?
Of all the carrier stores, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon clientele are perhaps the best. Most of them carry iPhone and Samsung phones. These are phones that you want to fix. A friend of mine who is a successful cell phone repair shop owner recently told me that through their repair tracking software, they found out that 70% of their customers are AT&T or Verizon customers.
That is not to say that other mobile carriers are bad. But for instance, MetroPCS or Boost Mobile customers usually have low-end phones that they are not interested in repairing. This means collaborating with these carriers will probably not reap the same benefits.
You want to target phones that are high-end and those that people want to be repaired.
So, if you have an AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon shop close by, you don’t need to think twice before approaching them.
How Close To A Carrier Shop Should You Be?
Finding the best location for your cell phone repair shop is a tricky business. Because the closer you are to a carrier shop, the higher the rent. However, the further away you are from a carrier shop, the harder it is to cash in on customers.
Ideally, you want to be as close to the carrier store as your pocket would allow. But generally, even if you are within a one-mile radius of a carrier store, that is good.
The best situation would be if your shop was in the same plaza as the carrier store. Because then they can easily just walk in without having to drive to your repair shop.