Delivering a Verbal Business Pitch

Aug. 1, 2019
A body shop can stand out in a crowd to potential employees and customers with an engaging, short and meaningful business speech.

“Do you want to be part of a team?”

If the answer is yes, then you will fit in at Morrow Collision Center, a collision repair MSO with two locations in Lincoln, Neb . If someone wants to apply to the body shop, he or she will be part of a small, 10-person team atmosphere.

Steph Terry, community impact director, starts out every marketing pitch with that question. She asks, “Do you want to be part of a team that is always moving forward?”At the end of the day, grabbing the attention of an audience or a group of listeners is about enticing them with the pitch.

While most collision repair shop operators still carry around a trusty business card, nowadays, potential recruits are more impressed by how well the shop personnel can present their operation verbally. In other words, to stay in front of potential business or employees, the shop owners need to present a verbal business card that is similar to giving an “elevator pitch.”

An elevator pitch is a statement or short description (typically 15 to 30 seconds) of an idea, product or company that explains the concept in a way that any listener can understand it in a short period of time. This typically covers what the thing is, why it is needed and how it works. 

Johnny Kloeckes has seen marketing success. In fact, he’s grown his one CARSTAR location into a business with six total locations in Canada. He attributes his success to not only taking advantage of the CARSTAR national brand in his marketing approach, but also focusing on how he presents his business to others, whether that be while he is out and about in town or at a collision repair industry event.

So, keep your physical business cards, but also place importance on the words coming out of your mouth.

Here are Terry and Kloecke’s steps to creating a verbal business card. 

Step One: Find your shop’s differentiator and focus on that.

Terry says that she caters her verbal business pitch to the fact that her shop is a local and small family-run shop in Lincoln, Neb.

She says that body shop operators should think about what is unique about their business that will attract someone’s attention.

“There’s nothing wrong with corporate but we’re not corporate,” Terry says. “There’s something to be said about the local body shop.”    

Morrow Collision Center is located in a town that has less than 300,000 people, and is a small big town located in the Midwest, she says. 

Kloeckes says he has focused on creating a brand that people affiliate with him and know they can come to him with any issues. For instance, Kloeckes typically goes by Johnny K in order to have a catchy name for new customers to remember.

Step Two: Decide where you’re going to pitch your brand.

Terry goes to community college events and career fairs to pitch the business. In fact, she gets the most responses when she is stationed at a booth at a career fair and can present her verbal business card to anyone walking by.

Then, she caters her pitch to her audience. She starts off talking about how it’s a team atmosphere and then mentions something about the training the collision center offers. For teenagers, they want to know that someone is going to invest in them and their future, she says.

“I’d tell everyone that we had new technology and we perform the most modern type of repairs,” Terry says. “That’s what resonated the most with the students.”

Kloeckes goes to CARSTAR events and every couple of year will attend industry events like the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF). At these events, he makes sure to relay his message and include his shop’s mission, vision and values.

Step Three: Pay attention to your voice and body language.

Tone of voice, body language and even arm movements can have an effect on the verbal message being delivered, Kloeckes says. The shop operator should go into an event and pump him or herself up mentality so he or she is happy when presenting his or her pitch.

“Honestly, you have to go into those events with a flamboyant attitude or else you’re not going to stand out or meet anyone,” he says.

Step Four: Accompany your speech with a physical business card.

Terry and Kloeckes both still use physical business cards.

Terry says she has a goal to give out her business card to five people and make those face-to-face connections with them before an event is over. Often, she’ll pass out her business card during her local business group meetings. That way, she can follow up with other community businesses and help each other out.

Kloeckes says he gives 10 business cards out per event. Mainly, he hands out the card to show people that his shop has expanded its locations because the card lists all the locations. He also makes sure to give it to anyone new that he meets because his card has his name and number on it.

Example of a Verbal Business Pitch.

Johnny Kloeckes, owner of six CARSTAR locations in Canada, shares an example of his verbal business card. 

Customer: “Hey, what do you do?”

Kloeckes: “I own collision repair stores.”

Customer: “What is a collision repair store?”

Kloeckes: “It’s like the old-school body shops but in a new era. We provide a stress-free experience for every customer in my area. We perform collision repairs with compassion for everyone. Our strengths include being innovative and thinking outside the box to provide you with quality service.

“We want to make lemonade but we also want to celebrate the little things we do when we repair vehicles and that’s our driving force.

“We have six collision repair shops, including a small damage repair facility and a mechanical shop, so we’re able to give our customers more options and offer more touchpoints for them.”


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