The 5 Landmines to Avoid When Reopening

The 5 Landmines to Avoid When Reopening

We weren’t prepared for Coronavirus. It’s true! Think of all the things that we, as a country, weren’t prepared for… New car sales shutting down indefinitely, Service Advisors and other staff furloughed, others working remotely from home (this one in particular was a big adjustment for my team). Think of all the businesses that couldn’t make such rapid changes to their structure, who won’t survive this…. 

And what happens if there’s a second wave? Will the economy shut down all over again? I don’t see how they could do it, but we’ll see. It’s happening right now in Korea and Japan….

…It’s tragic, but we can learn from this! You know me, I’m all about learning. So, as businesses begin to reopen across the U.S., we reviewed some of the reopening policies in California and created a list to help you reopen smoothly.

Speaking of reopening, Jeremy brought up an interesting story in this episode– He had a customer whose wife has been working from home for the past six weeks. She’s not a Service Advisor, she does clerical work, but working from home has worked out great for her. She can get an extra two or three hours of work done in a day, so not only does she like it, but she’s more effective! So when her boss started talking about reopening the office, she told him straight-up that she refused, and was going to work from home. 

Sure, maybe her boss can still downsize or lay her off…. But Jeremy is willing to bet that there’s probably an attorney somewhere who would take on her wrongful termination case. I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not going to get into that…. 

So let’s talk about the 5 Landmines to Avoid When Reopening:

Being too aggressive

So Jeremy had a client who wanted to buy a car right at the beginning of the shutdown, but when it came time for him to contact the dealer, they told him, “No. We can’t sell you a car. We’re closed.” So, what did that customer do? 

They bought a car at another dealership 200 miles away. 

What did the first dealership do? Well obviously, now that they’re reopening, they’ve been blowing up Jeremy’s phone every day.

Look, we get it. Anyone who shut down is going to have a lot of pent-up energy, and you’re going to want to be aggressive, and while that’s normally fine… Slow it down. You can still increase R.O. count without overwhelming the customer.

There is such a thing as too much, and you don’t want to overwhelm the customer. Be strategic.

Tsunami syndrome

What happens right before a tsunami hits?

The tide goes out, everybody lets their guard down, and people flock to the beach. Little do they know, that big wave is just collecting water…. and it’s gonna come crashing down when they least expect it.

That’s where we’re at right now. 

You can’t let your guard down and just go back to normal like nothing happened. Your Service Managers, Service Advisors, Technicians, and Sales team (anyone who touches a customer, basically) need to step up their game. Even if you think it’s safe, you need to make time for disinfecting the cars and common areas, wearing protective equipment, washing your hands, social distancing, etc.

What’s important right now is to be the shop, or the Service Advisor, that’s staying vigilant. That way, you’ll be prepared when the tsunami comes back. You don’t want to be the one in the news like, “Hey, we traced these 100 people getting Corona back to your business.”

Never forget: The customers will remember forever if you dropped the ball and got them sick. 

Not putting the customer first

What’s the most important thing you should be focused on right after you re-open? Your sales goal, or how you can help the customer?

It’s a rhetorical question, you should always put the customer first. 

Whether its Service Advisors social distancing during the walkaround, or Techs protecting the customer by sanitizing every step of the way…. Always serve the customer, because that’s what business is all about.

There is a real opportunity for Service Advisors to pet the dog right now. Show the customer that you’re still concerned about keeping them safe, and that you’re not gonna start slacking just because the curve is flattening. There are a lot of things we can and should still do right now.

Not reestablishing your systems

The best businesses have really good systems and processes in place, but now is the time to reevaluate your systems and make sure you still have a solid foundation.

There’s never been a better time in human history for reinventing yourself than right now. Look at your systems, find ways to get better, faster, more efficient, and connect on a deeper level.

The thing about systems is that you want to understand that it’s a feedback loop. What you have inside of a system is a process of doing things, then you have the outcome of that process.

Back when I was a Service Advisor we had these $29.95 oil changes on Cadillacs and it was 30 minutes or it’s free.

I thought about that as a feedback loop. We’re marketing and we get lots of customers coming in and off of this and so the 30 minutes started when we wrote the R.O…

So now what happens? When I would give it to the quick lube techs and they would give it back, there was never anything written on the inspection sheet!

Because they weren’t invested. They didn’t care. There was no upside for them to recommend work. The whole thing they were thinking about is, “I’m going to get in trouble if this isn’t done in 30 minutes,” because they would get yelled at if we had to give one away.

The point of that story is that their priority wasn’t inspecting the car, right? It’s a feedback loop where I’m writing oil changes but these cars leave here with 100,000 miles on them and needing work. Then they’re going to come in on a tow truck when we could have told them.

If a customer gets an oil change and then three days later they break down because a belt breaks or something happens, who do you think they’re going to blame?

Well, they’re going to blame the entire shop because they don’t know the difference between a quick lube tech and a team leader! All they know is that their car was broken and that they’re inconvenienced. It doesn’t matter who let it slide, to them it’s the whole shop’s fault!

So that’s how I would approach it as an advisor. I would look at everything you do as a process and ask yourself if the outcome of that process is what you want. If you’re writing 25 customers a day and you’re taking shortcuts, step back and look at that process.

Maybe you’d make more friends and take better care of your customers and have better retention if you only wrote 15 instead of 25. That’s a feedback loop.

Forgetting to have fun!

Understand that it is what it is. We can only control what we can control, so try to have some fun in the process. Go out of your way to make your fellow employees’ and your customer’s day.

Have a mindset of service and fun, and don’t be so buttoned up!

That’s all there is today that’s Corona-related. Now to move onto some pretty normal questions on what to do when everything opens back up. Remember, if you send us a question, whether that’s via email, social media, or over in the Vault new Service Drive Revolution website, and we answer your question on the big show, we’ll send you some free swag.

“Service department is always putting things into their policy. When it is a customer issue or an advisor didn’t make proper notes and the vehicle comes back. This does include marking down the parts to cost. Is this a normal practice, or am I just giving in to allow this to happen? Shouldn’t it be a cost plus 10-15%? I’ve been told that they don’t want to pay for the part twice, which is why this is being marked down to cost. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in making the customer happy for repeat business, but this is aggravating because it affects my CB or RO.”

Now, Jeremy has a perfect fable, or parable, or whatever you want to call it for this…

Some doctors are on a rafting trip, and they’re by this beautiful river. They’re around the campfire enjoying their coffee when all of a sudden, a body comes floating down the river.

So the guys rush in, they pull the body out and they start CPR, and they manage to revive the person.

Two minutes later, another body comes down.

Then another.

Before you know it, it’s like the ER. There’s bodies on the shore, bodies everywhere, and they’re working their tails off like, “Man, we came out here for a vacation, not to work.”

All of a sudden, one of the doctors gets up and just walks away. His buddies are like, “Hey, where are you going?! Get back here! You gotta help us save these people!”

He says, “Nope. I’m going to go find the guy throwing the bodies down the river and stop this madness.”

I love that story. It’s perfect.

The problem is you’re focused on the wrong thing. It’s not what management does with the comeback. It’s not what they’re selling the parts for. It’s not what they’re making you mark things down with…. It’s the fact that Service Advisor error is creating this problem!

If you forget to write things on the ticket, you rush, or you’re not genuinely concerned with taking care of the customer and documenting everything right the first time, you’re creating this issue and it doesn’t matter what management does!

The 10-15% markup is irrelevant if you do your job right from the beginning!

Also, it doesn’t make sense that you’re paying for the part twice. It would be under parts warranty unless you’re buying your parts from some backwoods.

“Good morning Chris and crew. I work at an extremely busy Toyota dealership in Southwest Florida. If I’m aggressive enough, I can easily clear 20 ROs a day. I’ve noticed that when I try to grab every car on the drive, my ELR suffers. But we are way too busy to spend an hour or more with each customer. I’m trying to find a balance of numbers of cars written per hour versus keeping my dollars per high. I finished last month at roughly $265 per copy, and I’m looking to increase that number. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.”

Well you shouldn’t have to spend an hour with each customer. You gotta get more efficient then that. Less is more.

But you definitely should spend like 15 minutes, right?

I have a recent scenario with somebody who was arrested and got a public defender. Guess how long a public defender in Los Angeles spends with their average client whether they’re accused of a drug deal, murder, whatever…

Six minutes.

The average public defender spends six minutes in preparation for something that could cost you your life. You could be innocent, or even if you’re not, I think the one thing that we hold true as a country is that you get a fair trial, right?

So less is more in the sense that I would rather connect with two or three customers on a deeper level and create a key thrower than write 20+ ROs.

That being said, work on shortening your transaction time per customer. If you’re smart, you could double your numbers.

“Hey Chris, when you talk about pet the dog on the drive, what would you do if your repair facility isn’t set up in a way where you can walk around the vehicle with the customer?”

I’ve never seen it. I’ve heard about it. I’ve had people tell me that they have a facility that they can’t walk around with customers…

… but when I’ve gone there, I’ve never seen it.

Customers are pulling into a parking spot somewhere. You don’t have to have a traditional drive in order to walk around with the customer. You just designate certain parking spots that they pull into and then you go out there and do it!

The only thing that I’ve ever seen that comes close to a facility where you can’t walk around is when it’s 40 below outside and the winds are going 60 miles an hour. Then maybe you don’t do it during that time, but eight months out of the year you can do it.

Go beyond the transaction and stop being stubborn. It’s not about you, it’s about how you can better serve the customer.

If it’s not about them, then you’re working the wrong job. You should probably go work at the DMV or TSA.

“Hey, I love the podcast and all the great info you guys give. One thing I miss is the Book Report. My question is what good books do you recommend for training?”

Training for what? To be a plumber?

Oh, Service Advisors. Right.

Read Millionaire Service Advisor or Irreplaceable Service Manager. If you read them two years ago, go back and reread them.

They’re still relevant, and oftentimes you’ll find you get more out of a book the third, fourth, and fifth time that you read it compared to the first time.

If you think this week’s episode was fun, next week is our 100th episode! We got some extra surprises in store that you will not want to miss, next time on Service Drive Revolution.

Should Service Managers Fire Advisors Who Do This?

Should Service Managers Fire Advisors Who Do This?

This Coronavirus quarantine is driving me crazy!! And I’m not alone, a lot of Advisors and Service Managers feel the same.

“So what,” you might think, “Everyone is going stir-crazy, we’re all cooped up inside with nowhere to go! Stop complaining!”

First of all, imaginary conversation partner: I know for a fact that some people are enjoying this quarantine more than they enjoy their “normal” daily routine (But more on that later).

Second of all: It isn’t because I’m going stir-crazy, and I don’t have cabin fever.  I’m talking about something else entirely that’s pissing me off, and I have to get it off my chest before I kill somebody!! (For legal reasons…. That was a joke)

Before I get to that though, we’re going to take you back in time to when we shot this week’s episode: Last Tuesday, Cinco de Mayo.

To anybody who’s reading this but hasn’t seen the show yet, you gotta go over to Chris Collins Inc on YouTube and check out the episode, because Jeremy’s outfit is… it’s a celebration. He’s got a sombrero, sunglasses with an American flag.

This is easily one of the most visually stunning episodes we’ve ever had.

Anyways, if you’ve ever read the book Win Forever by Pete Carroll, there’s a tool in there called the Pyramid of Performance, which was influenced by the late great Coach Wooden. 

Right in the middle of that pyramid it says, “BE EARLY.” Pete’s whole thing was: “If you’re on time, you’re late.” So that’s just always been a thing for me…. I’m early for everything. 

If I have a meeting somewhere, I’ll be an hour early for the meeting.

Now that we’re in quarantine, you start to understand something about human nature: Excuses are always excuses, regardless of the circumstance.

So for example, there were people that were late for work before the quarantine and they’d say, “Oh, it was traffic.” I get it. Here in Los Angeles, we have some of the worst traffic in the country (if not the world.) 

But here’s the thing…. If you’re always 10 minutes late because of traffic, what do you do? Do you complain about it, or do you start your day earlier to compensate for those 10 minutes?

Real-world example: One of Jeremy’s porters texted him at 7:57 that he had a flat tire… but he was supposed to start at 7:30. So, if he really left the house early to get to work on time, and he really popped a flat on the way to work… wouldn’t he have texted Jeremy sooner?

Yeah. That was his last day.

Another real-world example: Vicky, one of our coaches, was a Fixed Ops Director before she came to work for me. When I was visiting her shop, I watched her fire her top Service Advisor for being late to a shift meeting. 

At the time, I wasn’t for it… But now? Even though everyone is at home quarantined, and we’re doing all of our meetings over Zoom, what do you think is going on with those people who were habitually late to work before?

That’s right…. They’re still late to work!

So what’s your excuse there? Traffic Jam on your way to the living room? Dog ate your laptop?? Lost your phone in the couch cushions??? No matter the excuse, it’s just that… An excuse.

Rant over… And onto my next rant:

I’ve heard of people that were laid off that are making more money doing nothing than they were before the quarantine! How does our government pay for that?

That’s right: taxes are about to go up. 

You know where I’m thinking of moving? Wyoming. It’s the #1 state in the country for no income tax or business tax. It’s better than Texas or Nevada, and it’s also beautiful.

But hey, I’m still making money! And the harder I work, the more I make! How long do you think it’ll be until we’re living in a completely Socialist society and I’m sharing what I make with a bunch of people that don’t do anything?

I digress…. But what better segue into a new edition of Terms You Should Know: Rich Uncle.

In the beginning of my book, Millionaire Service Advisor, I say that you need to have a rich uncle. So what do I mean by that?

Well, when I was a Service Advisor, I had a Rich Uncle. He bought me houses, cars, and all kinds of cool clothes… I was the only Service Advisor wearing a Donna Karan suit to work.

But who was my Rich Uncle, really?  If you’ve read the book, you know the answer, but to make a long story short: 

The Rich Uncle represents your customer base. That’s your Rich Uncle. If you connect with two or three customers on a deeper level every day for two years, three years, five years, how many key-throwers will you have?

I’ll let you do the math while we answer some of your questions. Remember, if you send your questions to [email protected], or post them on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or post them in the comments in The Vault at servicedriverevolution.com, and we read them on the big show, we’ll send you some free Service Drive Revolution swag.

“Backstory is that I worked for Christian Lafferty a few years ago and I learned so many things as a Service Advisor. What should I do as a Service Manager if I have upper management that won’t listen to me because of my age versus what I can offer to help grow the service department even though my results in the service department speak for themselves?”

Obviously, Christian took the wheel with this question, and he thinks there’s a couple things: 

First, you hit the nail right on the head with the mindset– you’re really aware that you’re a young up-and-comer and all that. Listen; you need to use your youth as an advantage, and not a crutch. There are things you learned that you can use to make sure that you’re getting the ear of upper management by using your youth as an advantage.

This kid is around 28-29 according to Christian, so here’s my thought:

Enjoy being the kid! Coming up, I was called the kid, but now I’m knocking on 50 and nobody calls me that anymore. Enjoy that handicap while you can, because it’s fleeting.

Keep that youthful energy going, and keep your passion unbridled. If management won’t get on board with your dreams, save your money and go get your own store! Break the mold and find a new niche in this marketplace – use that passion and energy while it lasts! Save your money and find a dealership that’s going belly-up so you can go get your own store.

I think there’s another layer to this if you want to get really, really deep:

When I was 24, I started consulting in Service Departments. I was the kid, and it seemed like every time I would go into a dealership, II’d spend all day Monday in the service manager’s office with him asking me, “Well, what have you done, kid? What do you know?”

The whole time, I just wanted to be out in the Drive where the money was made! 

The thing I learned from that experience is that there’s another way to influence the situation without taking it head-on. It’s not fun, but you can create an outcome that is positive by controlling the narrative and creating momentum in a way that nobody can stop: Create a customer experience that nobody can compete with! This is something you can do right now! 

You’re going to have to learn one way or the other, but the thing that was great about my time as a consultant was learning how to influence people at a higher level. As a consultant, you’re going in and fixing Service Departments in such a way that you have no gun in the gun fight.

You’re an outsider. You can’t fire anybody, and you certainly can’t barge into the HR Department at the end of the day like, “This is the new advisor pay plan. ” You’re forced to find ways to influence the situation peripherally. 

So, my advice to you is: learn how to influence situations where you know you’re at a disadvantage, because that makes you think a different way. It makes you plan better ahead of time, and it makes every little thing that you say or do matter.

“I’m the Service Manager of a Kia dealership in St. Petersburg, Florida, and I was wondering your thoughts about doing mobile services like oil changes, filters, windows, recalls, and any other repairs we can do. We have a lot of retirees and families in our area.”

Jeremy had some great thoughts on this, and the first one is that you have to tailor it to the mobile environment. You don’t want to change oil at somebody’s house and risk getting everything messy, right?

Look for services you can do easily to expand your market, like diagnostic services and check-ins. If after the scan it turns out the car needs an oil change or something like that, provide a pickup service to get it into the shop so it’s not out on the street or making a mess at the customer’s house.

Why pick-up or tow-in? If you do the math on it in a Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, or Nissan dealership, it’s going to be more cost-effective to pick the car up and deliver it than it is to send a tech out there. Your techs are your highest cost here in this equation.

To be competitive in your pricing strategy, the math will work better if you have some younger college kids or kids that are paid lower bringing the cars in and delivering them back after the techs line them up in their stall and do the oil changes.

There isn’t a big difference to the customer because they’re like, “Hey, if you take it and bring it back by this afternoon, I’m okay.”

You’re taking away the inconvenience, and if you have your techs being very, very efficient, the math will work out much better

Now, it’s important in that scenario to have a process in place where the Advisors can call ahead of time, just like we’re doing in the quarantine here, and say, “Mr. O’Neal, this is Chris from Bulldog Kia here in beautiful, humid, unbearably hot Florida, and I’m sending out Tommy to pick up your car.”

Call ahead of time, build a little rapport, and then send Tommy out. Have him do a walk-around on-site at the customer’s place, bring it in, check history, and call the customer back to advise on anything they need. You could do the inspection, too. You’re going to find that your average per RO is going to be higher.

Go back and listen to the episode with Brian Benstock. His average I think is triple the national averages just because they pick up most of the cars. When you’re de-horsing the customers, psychologically they’re like, “Well, while you have it, do it.”

You’re much better off picking it up than having a tech out on the road trying to find the place and costing you a hundred and something an hour. You’re not going to be able to charge the customer that travel time!

This next one’s from New Jersey:

“Chris, great show! I heard you and Jeremy talking about a members-only shop. I’m curious and want to open one in New Jersey. Do you have any thoughts on it?”

Jeremy’s got a lot of thoughts on this one…

Basically what the customer would be doing is pre-paid maintenance. You can do a low monthly fee that would include a bunch of services or an annual fee.

Obviously, COVID changes everything from the way that we used to do business to the way we’re going to have to do it in the future, and when you look at some of the revenue streams from an independent automotive repair shop or even a dealership – the things that we generate revenue from – whether it’s parts and labor, those are typically the two biggest things.

The part becomes the commodity and in the future that’s going to be even more of a commodification, and customers are going to price shop a little bit more. We want to create something different and that is taking the traditional automotive repair experience – which most consumers absolutely hate – and not only do it better but make it an exclusive club where you have to gain entry into it.

You only need so many people in your marketplace to fund this and you can literally change and transform the entire way the automotive repair shop is done!

You don’t have to worry about creating a sale because it’s all going to be driven from the membership basis and it’s a different feeling for the consumer.

Thanks for tuning in. Christian had a joke that was too dirty for the show, but we’re going to put it up in the Vault on servicedriverevolution.com. Go over there and sign up; it’s free to join! Have a great week and we’ll see you next time on Service Drive RevolutioOOOOOONN!!!

3 Ways Service Advisors Can Sell More With Zero Sales Objections

3 Ways Service Advisors Can Sell More With Zero Sales Objections

Another week of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable! 

Times are tough, people are forced to choose between fixing their car or paying rent… but you can help make their decision a lot easier. Yes, you! And I’ll tell you exactly how, because today we’re going to talk about three ways a Service Advisor can sell more with zero sales objections. 

That’s right: ZERO.

Whenever rookie service advisors ask the question, “why are customer relationships important?” This episode is just one of many, many answers. So make sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or over at the Chris Collins YouTube channel

And remember– we have a new vault for you at servicedriverevolution.com, where we’re posting old episodes from the back catalog, along with some complementary training videos that are on us! Jeremy and I are also working on some other fun stuff that we’re going to put there for you, so go to the website and sign up to join our secret service society today!

During our morning group coaching call, I asked my coaching team, “Hey, we’re doing Service Drive Revolution today. What are you guys hearing? What’s going on in your coaching calls? Where’s everybody at?”

One thing I found interesting – and all of my coaches reported this on more than a couple calls – is that traffic is up! Our clients are even busier now than before the Coronavirus quarantine started because, like we’ve been saying, there’s pent up demand!

But, and this is where it gets really interesting,  they’re completing more R.O.’s with fewer people on staff– less than half of their usual staff in most cases! There’s a simple explanation for this: They’re sending home techs and service advisors. 

Now, when they chose who to send home, do you think they sent home their best techs and their best service advisors? Hell no!

Every business’ workforce has a hierarchy: Who brings the most value to the business? If you were an advisor or a tech and you got furloughed, laid off, sent home, dismissed, whatever… it’s because you landed low in the hierarchy of value! So what’s the lesson in that?

For service advisors and techs, this is the lesson: If you’re bringing more money in than you’re paid, then you’ll always be in demand. My Grandpa always told me that, and it couldn’t be more true. So, if you aren’t going out of your way to connect and collect customers, and bring value into your shop or dealership… You’ll be the first one to get the axe. And it’s because, in times like these, the dealers and owners are thinking:

“We should run leaner, we keep too many people around that shouldn’t be kept around, and they don’t add value to our business.”

Some businesses have a higher net profit when they’re working with a leaner crew. That instantly tells them that the way they were running it before wasn’t efficient enough, and they’re going to run a leaner crew moving forward.

But what you dealers and shop owners have to consider for the near future is, we’re about to experience higher volumes than we had before. You don’t want to bring in so much that your systems break down… A lot of you are going to need more techs and more advisors. We’re going into summer, which always picks up traffic.

Things are picking up, and it’s really good for those of us that are ready for it. We’re going to be able to gain market share and put up some really big numbers.

Character is built in times of strife. Consider investing in yourself, and go check out our OnDemand Training.

Remember everybody: when you post a question on our YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook or send it to [email protected] and we see it and read it on the show, we’re going to send you some swag. We love your questions and we get more questions than we can possibly put on the show, but we do try to answer questions that are relevant to Jeremy’s skillset and my skillset more than anything else.

The first question comes from Facebook:

“What’s your take on the technicians that may be out of jobs right now as most dealers are working with limited staff? Are you seeing dealers thinking about strategies to retain their technicians, or in some cases, looking to attract more techs that may be looking for other opportunities given the current circumstances?”

That’s a bit of a loaded question, because every market, every dealership, and every shop is a little bit different.

I would go back to what I said earlier: if you’re being furloughed or laid off, I would do a real inventory on how much value you’re adding to the shop. If you’re one of the top technicians, they’re not going to let you get too far away. They’re definitely not going to want somebody to steal you.

Even if you’re mediocre, technicians are still hard to find. They’re going to bring the technicians back as quickly as they can. If they don’t, they’ve probably got other problems.

We know clients that are hiring technicians, so even in a downturn like this, technicians run the show. Without technicians, we can’t produce labor and we can’t put car parts on vehicles either!

Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Is this a chance for me to reinvent myself and be more of a contributor to the positive side of the business? Maybe I should work a little harder, put up some bigger numbers, really be something different than I was before if I’m expendable!”

Next one is from YouTube:

“On a recent episode, you talked about the dumbest things advisors say after getting a ‘no,’ but what’s the best response to say when a customer says ‘no’?”

I let Jeremy answer this one first because mine’s gonna blow it out of the water…

When you get a no, you want to get into agreement with your customer; take the sales pressure off. For Jeremy it’s, “Okay, no problem. We’ll get this car wrapped up and get it back for you. Do you need a ride down here?”

And that’s when the door is closing, and everybody thinks that you gave up on the sale. But no, you haven’t given up on the sale! You have another trick up your sleeve, and that trick is to care for your client.

You, as a trusted service advisor, know that if you don’t help the customer take care of these concerns, it’s going to cost them more money down the road. Now is the time to open that door back up, and ask the customer the magic question:

“Hey, Mr. Customer, I’m just curious. When it comes to your concern with such-and-such today, was it more a budget or time concern?”

And then you handle the objection there. The customer is not on guard, because you’ve let the sales pressure go. They think you’re giving them the car back, and now you’re just having a conversation.

The biggest sales that Jeremy ever made have always been in the context of a conversation between friends, not salesperson and customer.

Now, my answer is going to be a little different than Jeremy’s, but neither one is wrong. I think Jeremy is quicker and wittier than I would be as a service advisor, and he’s better with comebacks and thinking on his feet.

If I get a no, I want to look back and think, “What happened earlier in the process that got me to ‘no’?”

One of the biggest things to get you to ‘no’ is asking a question that can be answered with ‘no.’

Let’s say we’re recommending tires and an alignment. So, we’ve done a walk-around, we’re petting the dog, they need tires and an alignment, so I say, “Hey, the computer here is saying you’re due for an alignment.”

“Oh, I just want the oil change today.”

While that might sound like a ‘no,’ I can open up the next phone call with, “Hey, so we inspected the car and it looks like it needs some things. What are your plans for the car?”

Now, when I brought up the alignment, that wasn’t a question that can be answered with ‘no,’ so to me, the oil change is a priority because it’s been on your mind… But now I have room to get to know you.

The best sales book I’ve ever read is The Game by Neil Strauss. You have to go into this book understanding that it’s about boys trying to pick up girls. The thing with Neil Strauss is that he’s short, bald, not the most attractive guy in the world, but he ends up dating very attractive women.

Aside from the fact that a book about guys trying to get girls is kind of douchey, it’s the process of how a nerdy guy has to reinvent himself, analyze every little thing about how he approaches somebody in a bar, how the body language matters, how your wording matters, how they can smell desperation on you, and all the things you need to do to reinvent yourself.

That’s what sales is about!

So if you got a ‘no,’ I would say that all lost sales can be traced to a mistake made earlier in the process.

This might be something service advisors can do for each other: go through a month’s worth of declines and call onto clients like, “Hey, this is Chris from Bulldog Motors and I saw you in here a couple weeks ago. We recommended brakes, and I was just curious why you didn’t have them done.”

Calling clients can help you learn more about that. What you’re going to find is that they just didn’t have the money at the time, or they didn’t understand. So whenever these surveys are done, the number one reason people don’t maintain their cars is because they weren’t told, and the second reason is they didn’t understand.

The other part of it is introducing the inspection sheet early on, so then you’re the hero and not the guy who gets, “Hey! I didn’t ask you to look at that!”

All those nuances have to do with petting the dog, or what happens when you don’t. The customer doesn’t trust you, because they had to come find you, and when they found you, you were busy on the phone, or you wrote them up while doing something else. 

You treated them like another transaction.

You didn’t call them. They had to call you, and now you’re telling them, “Hey, want to spend $2,000 with us?”

They don’t like you, they don’t trust you, you seem disorganized, and now they think you see them as a bag with dollar signs on it.

Another thing to think about is, how does your Service Drive appear to the customer? Is it a disaster? There’s stuff laying around, it doesn’t look organized, it’s chaos, it’s a labyrinth? Why would you want to spend money in a place like that? Customers want to spend the minimum amount of money on their vehicle and get out, because it’s not comfortable and they don’t feel welcome!

A lot of sales are lost and a lot of ‘no’s are created because you didn’t pet the dog. You think that it’s a transaction about a car and that car is a commodity. Anybody can service a car. The value that you have as an advisor is your relationship with your customer, that time building rapport and making it about everything but the car.

There’s guys out there that say service advisors are salespeople. I’m telling you right now: a service advisor that thinks that they’re a salesperson has never sold!

Go sell cars! Selling cars is the hardest job in the dealership! You start off at zero every day, while service advisors get built-in traffic! You’re selling them something they need. If they need to maintain a car or fix it, that’s not sales, that’s making a process more bearable!

For the Three Ways to Sell More Parts in Labor with Zero Sales Objections, we had Tal Riesenfeld, one of the founders of Sunbit, on the show. His name came up from a bunch of clients and, by coincidence, Jeremy uses him in his shop. For those who don’t know, Sunbit is a financing tool for businesses, so Tal was on the show to break down how financing can help you sell more parts in labor with zero objections and zero declines in three different ways, each with their own nuances:

Accessories

Accessories is a want-to-have versus a must-have. The customer wants this, but does he have $1,000 to spend at that very moment? Probably not. So what you can do is sell it to them for as low as $50 a month, which is obviously very different from $1,000 out of pocket. It’s a way to upsell and to make the customer comfortable that they can buy what they want.

Repairs and Additional Concerns

You’re going to sell bigger jobs that you normally would get declined because about 72% of customers that use Sunbit say that they wouldn’t have had repairs done if it wasn’t for having the option of financing. 40% of Americans didn’t have access to $400 even before the Coronavirus, but if it’s a big repair, they know they need to get it done otherwise it’d be unsafe to drive out of there without it. But without financing, 28% would have taken that risk…

Cost

If I’d recommend you a new set of tires for free, would you take them? Of course you would! Financing can’t help with the trust factor and the time factor is what it is, but the cost factor can mean a customer being able to drive out of there the day of. In today’s day and age, a lot of people are ashamed of the fact that they can’t afford $400-700 or let alone $1,200, but they want to feel safe and they don’t want an unforeseen breakdown.

Sunbit is going to launch at 230 dealerships this month, and we’re excited for where they could go in the future. If you want to reach out, the easiest thing to do is go to sunbit.com, send them your info, and somebody will call you and walk you through a demo. The process couldn’t be any more simple.

Check out the show if you want to hear more about Sunbit and more advice from Tal, and get excited about the summer because we’re going to be busy!

Stay cool and we’ll see you next time on Service Drive Revolution.

Motivating Service Advisors During The Coronavirus Crisis

Motivating Service Advisors During The Coronavirus Crisis

Right now, an insidious, invisible enemy is threatening to destroy your Service Drive. Hell, it may already be affecting your Service Advisors if you haven’t been careful. 

I’m not talking about Coronavirus.

Or the shutdown.

Or the government, or China, or your competitors.

The enemy is complacency.

Yes, the Coronavirus pandemic has swept the automotive industry (and the world at large), and forever changed the concept of “normal.” Yes, you should be taking every possible precaution to protect your Service Drive during this time. I don’t think there’s any argument there (unless you’re like Jeremy, and believe the whole thing is a great big conspiracy). 

But let me ask you this:

When the dust settles, and Coronavirus is a distant memory… Will your team be motivated to go back to work in the automotive industry? Are your Service Advisors and Technicians Bulldogs; the kind of worker who hates feeling stuck during this shutdown and can’t wait to get back into the fray?

We’ve heard from quite a lot of people in the automotive industry these last few weeks who are seeing both ends of the spectrum: Some workers are furloughed, stuck in a rut, and can’t wait to get back to work. They’re scared, stressed, and (in the current economic situation) they probably need to get back to work. Others are fortunate enough to work in Parts and Service, which is considered an essential business… They’ve had their pay plans adjusted, and are sitting comfortably with 40 hours guaranteed, regardless of traffic…

…And they’ve gotten lazy, and complacent.

“It doesn’t matter,” they’ll say. “I’m getting paid.”

It says a lot about your character if that’s your response during a time like this. Stuff like that just breaks my damn heart in two. So, how do we fight back against complacency? How do we motivate our Service Advisors and Technicians to work every bit as hard as they normally would, even with reduced traffic?

It’s a difficult question to answer, but we tried to do exactly that on this week’s Service Drive Revolution. We know people are getting a little depressed right now. Not just in the automotive industry, but everywhere! Businesses are closing, people are hurting, and the news is really bleak… but time will fix this. Better times are coming, and we’re going to figure this out as a country. You’ve got to focus on the good.

There was a lot happening on today’s show, including some pretty interesting news from the international automotive industry… as well as some sobering, but interesting questions.

More on those later, but first:

I read this morning that Cash for Clunkers is a thing that’s coming back, or at least in Germany where they call it the Scrappage Program.

Right now, they’re ahead of our curve by a month or two since the pandemic started. While our car sales have been down about 90%, theirs were down only 52%.

Now, that’s weird to me, but the automotive industry over there is way different than the automotive industry here. We seem to chase a lot of things, but I think some of their cars over there are sold by appointment. So you order a car, it comes in, and then you finalize the transaction or something like that. It’s all more regimented and structured.

And, you know, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the government to bring back Cash for Clunkers in the U.S., because right now the average car on the road is 12 years old… the oldest the average has ever been. It was 11.8 before, but this coronavirus lockdown is going to push it over, because people aren’t buying cars.

Jeremy brings up a pretty good example from his shop: a customer has an ’09 Impala and is looking to get it fixed. Problem is, he’s looking at about $5,700 worth of work while an ’09 Impala is worth only $3,100 to $4,100 on Kelley Blue Book.

Now, Jeremy’s advice is, when you’re in that position as a trusted Service Advisor for the customer, and you have the decision in your hands to sway it one way or another… always go back to dealing with those situations like how you’d want to be treated. Nowadays, it’s unlikely you’ll run into the customer at the grocery store after you closed a sale the other day. Even if you did, you’d probably both be wearing masks, but the point is no one wants to be the Service Advisor who makes that kind of sale but can’t bring themselves to look the customer in the eye after the fact.

Your priority should be helping the guy through it, because it’s a tough situation for anybody.

“If you are going to fix it, how long are you going to drive it for?”

“Is that your only car?”

These are questions you should have the answers for well ahead of time!

In other auto news, the Ford factory in Plymouth, Michigan is testing out a system where employees wear wristbands that vibrate if they come within six feet of each other.

Not only that, but they’re also making ventilators I think at that same factory, bless them. It’s awesome that our car companies can be saviors like that when they quickly adapt.

Speaking of adapting, Pennsylvania is passing a law where they can sell cars online. I’ve talked about online car sales before, including on last week’s show, but I think a lot of people don’t understand that this means they’re kind of bypassing the finance laws.

Most of the time, in the dealer agreement with Ford or BMW or whoever, you’ll have a salesperson there and an F&I person to deliver the car, but this law is basically letting you do the paperwork, get it notarized, and sell the car through the computer.

I mean, that’s the future anyway. I think that one positive thing that will come out of this is, car sales will become easier for the consumer. In situations like the present, any industry that’s slow to change will have to change very rapidly, out of survival!

Jeremy takes it even a step further. He thinks the traditional sales model for selling a car is backwards! They get you into the car, you like it, but then they make you wait for six hours before they put you into finance, and then they beat the hell out of you for four more hours. Most consumers today want to just show up, get the keys, and go so this is something that consumers always wanted but society is finally making it happen.

So I got a new podcast that I love by this kid, Lex Fridman. He’s at MIT and he’s kind of at the forefront of AI.

I go back and watch an interview he did with Elon Musk, and every time I watch that man explain something, it just makes me realize I think so small – and you can tell by his metaphors that he’s used to talking to stupid people like me! He has one that I’m gonna dumb down, but it’s unbelievable:

They’re talking about driverless cars, and Elon Musk says, “Well, the car I’m driving now can drive itself. The problem with driverless cars is how much safer than humans does the autonomous system have to be for it to become accepted by the regulatory body? Does it have to be two times safer? Three times?”

I remember touring the Tesla factory, and they took us for a ride in a self-driving car, and I remember how the thing was perfectly in-between the lines.

So then Musk says, “If you watch a human driving on the freeway, there’s a little swerve to everything we do. At some point, people are going to be thinking, ‘Can you believe that people used to drive cars? People used to get in cars, point them in a direction, and go. How dumb and unsafe is that compared to AI?!'”

Now, the metaphor Musk used was an elevator operator. You would never want an elevator operator anymore, or that whole crazy mechanical system with cables and all that, right? A computer is way safer!

That’s where his head is at, and I never once thought about it that way. Jeremy and I think society is definitely ready for the driverless car. Think about it: how much more could you get done on your 40-minute commute to work if an AI can drive your car more safely than you can?

We also have some really thought-provoking questions on the show today. 

Let me remind everybody that if you post a question in the comments section in the Vault over at servicedriverevolution.com, leave us a comment on Youtube, send it to us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or email [email protected] and we read your question on the big show, we’ll send you some swag which consists of a Service Drive Revolution T-shirt, hat, coffee mug, and more!

We’d include a bottle of hand sanitizer, too, but I don’t know about sending that much liquid in the mail…

“After a recommendation, I started watching some of your videos and using them in training of our after sales teams. Our CSI scores do not match the efforts we put in. We have started to use, in our training, the CSI ask upfront video which is starting to make a difference in our culture. My aim is to get every Service Advisor enjoying what they do and enjoying being a part of a team that wants to win and be on top. I am just wondering what will hit the spot and how will we do it. I am currently thinking of a challenge where I may need your help if I can get it past HR. Once we are back from this COVID-19 disaster, I am thinking of a weekly challenge which will keep them on their toes. Maybe a quiz. What are your thoughts?”

Okay, so there’s one thing we’re getting a little bit wrong here, and I want to point this out because these little things matter – little hinges swing big doors.

It’s commit upfront, not ask.

We’re not begging for it. It’s about committing upfront and a lot of little things affect this: our tone when we do it, how we do it, the followup, and then our performance.

The thing I would say about that is I would play different games with the Service Advisors. I would start with the smile game.

The smile game is just being out there and, if you’re playing a daily game in the drive (assuming you’re in our OnDemand Training platform), I would say that any time you get a smile or a laugh at the car before you take the customer to write them up, you get a mark on the board. Play the game and get $5. It’s going to get Service Advisors connecting, petting the dog, and really building rapport with the customers.

Once you’ve played the smile game for a couple days, then I would play the commitment game where you roam the drive at peak times and, whenever you hear a Service Advisor commit to CSI, then they get a mark on the board and $5.

It’s just like potty-training a bulldog! Well… mostly.

You see, bulldogs are classified as non-sporting. If you look at the list of how smart dogs are, you’re going to have to go really, really far down to find a bulldog.

But the thing is bulldogs are pretty smart if there’s food involved. If there’s food, all of a sudden, their IQs light up. They sit when you tell them to sit and roll over when you tell them to roll over.

It’s kind of the lesson of Gamification. When you play these games with your Service Advisors, they’re going to want you to see them do something that you couldn’t get them to do before.

“Good morning, sir. I’m a long time follower. My dealership has changed our pay during this virus to an average of last year’s weekly pay for my fellow Service Advisors and Techs with a guarantee of 40 hours a week. Since this has started, I’ve seen my fellow Service Advisors and Techs become lazy and make comments about how ‘it doesn’t matter, I’m getting paid.’ But at the end of the day, the customer is suffering due to this. What are some ways to get everyone fired up and motivated to perform? Thank you for your time.”

That’s a heartbreaking question… And it all comes back to what I said at the top. If someone is getting complacent right now, then that says a lot about their character.

Isn’t it funny that in times like this where there’s stress on the system, real character comes out in people? It’s like how people say:

Money makes you an a–hole. And I always say:

Money doesn’t make you an a–hole, it amplifies a–holes. If you’re a jerk already and you get a lot of money, you’re just an amplified, empowered jerk!

But if you’re not a jerk and you get money, you’re not gonna be a jerk!

So this is about character! If you don’t understand that during this time when nurses and doctors are on the frontlines, people are putting their lives at risk, and our job is to keep them in dependable and reliable cars and you can’t see that there’s a person behind that car that’s a mom or a dad or a son or a daughter, you’re just indifferent to the fact that those are humans that depend on us.

I don’t know. I’m at a loss as to how to fix that. That’s a character flaw…

One thing I might do is put pictures of people in the shop – customers with their kids – so the Techs and the Service Advisors understand that there’s people behind those cars.

The car is a commodity. It’s not just about the hourly rate.

What Technicians are doing is way more than maintenance and repairs on a car. It’s way bigger than that. If you don’t think it’s special, you should spend a little time rethinking your approach and you’ll be happier as a person if you understand that’s what you’re giving back.

I’ve quoted my grandpa on the show before: “If you always give people more than what they paid you for, you’ll always be in high demand.”

Oddly enough, you’ll make more money by default if you start focusing on taking care of people.

“Dear Chris, I am a Service Advisor that was furloughed at the end of March. I’m stuck at home and I feel as though my fire has been extinguished. I’ve lost my purpose in life; my passion bucket has run empty. I really look up to you guys. How can I get out of this funk?”

Yeah, it’s tough right now, I know. It’s not just Service Advisors, it’s a lot of people.

One of the things Jeremy advises is to look at your professional development and use this time to work on becoming the best Service Advisor you possibly can. Make sure that you’re completely up to speed with all the new models as fast as you know. You should be role-playing and practicing every single day. Take in as much as you can so that your saw is absolutely razor sharp when it’s time for that switch to get flipped back on and you’re there.

Personally, something we’ve done here that I think really has helped is we started having a morning call at 7 AM Pacific with everybody on the coaching staff just talking. We’re doing some competitions, we’re reading stuff together, and sharing what we learned. But just the fact that I have to get up every morning and be on this call at 7 AM makes me have a purpose. And then we have another call at 8:30 with the rest of the team.

I’m hearing from a lot of friends that they don’t even shower for days! They’re just laying in bed. Somehow, you got to give yourself a reason to get up and interact with people on Zoom or on Facetime. You got to set some sort of goal every other day that you have to get up, shower, and be ready for.

Maybe if worse comes to worse, go volunteer somewhere. There’s a lot of restaurants that are delivering to older senior citizens that can’t go grocery shopping. We want to protect them from getting the virus because it would be game over for them if they already have emphysema or something.

You can volunteer to deliver food and you’re not even touching anybody. It’s a pretty safe thing to do and you’re helping and being part of the solution.

In my experience, whenever you start to feel down and depressed, go help other people; do something to give back and that’ll cure you really, really quick!

There’s this old Native American story about a young kid and a chief mentoring him to become a man. The chief says that there’s two wolves inside of you:

One wolf is going to want to feed jealousy, anger, disappointment, complacency, and entitlement.

The other is fighting for happiness, success, and everything that’s positive.

The kid says to the chief, “Well, which wolf wins?”

The chief responds, “The one that you feed.”

Just be very aware that if you’re feeding negativity, if you’re feeding depression, then that’s the wolf that’s going to win inside of you.

We hope you have a great week. Remember to feed the right wolf and we’ll come out of this for the better. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you this Friday with our Drive By!

Should Dealers Pay Service Advisors and Technicians During the Coronavirus Lockdown?

Should Dealers Pay Service Advisors and Technicians During the Coronavirus Lockdown?

Before we get started, we have a special announcement: Service Drive Revolution is getting its own website! Head over to servicedriverevolution.com, and sign up for a free membership to get full access to our vault of past episodes and exclusive bonus content you won’t find anywhere else. Right now, we have our first 20 episodes of Service Drive Revolution up, as well as two free training videos from our OnDemand Training platform for you, just for signing up. We’ve put this together because, now more than ever, we need a community to bring together Service Advisors, Managers, Technicians, Porters, and all automotive workers everywhere.

We are stronger together, and that’s what the Service Drive Revolution website is all about. Check it out!

So there’s this article by Michael Wayland on CNBC.com titled Coronavirus Pushes Auto Dealers to Embrace Online Sales like Tesla and Carvana. One of the key points is that US auto dealers have been slow to embrace online sales, however the Coronavirus is changing that.

I don’t agree with that. I don’t think that dealers have been slow. You have, let’s say, 18,000 dealers in the US and 7,000 dealers in Canada. With that many dealers, you’re going to have the losers and you’re going to have the winners, but you also have to think about the average dealer and the market they’re in.

Not all the markets want to buy online. If you’re in LA, yeah, you’re going to have more people online than if you’re in Pocatello, Idaho. In Pocatello, people come down and are like, “Jim, what are you doing for F150s this month? It’s time for me to get a new one.”

You can’t take a wide brush across everything, and that’s really the theme for this episode. For the most part, I think that dealers have embraced online sales, but the consumers haven’t. What we’re really not talking about is how consumers’ trust for dealerships is the problem, not online sales.

Once again, I think this is another case of a reporter getting it wrong because he’s probably not a car guy.

Jeremy brings up a great point about the car-buying process on the show: a car is a tangible asset that you want to touch and feel. However, the more we can get the customer to drive service sales digitally, that’s going to increase sales overall, because that’s what consumers want right now.

Look at this Coronavirus shutdown right now. Restaurants are still open, but only the ones that do take-out or delivery through a phone call or online. Anyone else that didn’t already have the infrastructure in place to go digital had to close down. 

It sucks!

An online landscape is something everyone should be adapting to right now. This is absolutely true. This Coronavirus came out of left field for most people, and their businesses are hurting because they weren’t prepared for that transition to online sales.

But again, it’s not the same across the board. We want to make things simple – we want the magic pill – but the truth of the matter is that Carvana and Tesla are different from the traditional dealerships, because they go directly to the consumer. 

But don’t get me wrong. It’s not that dealers don’t want to be more progressive and get ahead in the digital marketplace… It’s that they’re gridlocked by the manufacturers who dictate the entire presentation and layout of the website. If you have a Toyota dealership, Toyota corporate controls what kind of cookie cutter website you have. 

I think that this important fact is one thing that you’re missing in this article, Mr. Wayland. This is one of those situations where the manufacturers are holding back the dealerships…. 

And I don’t think the manufacturers are intentionally doing it, either! There’s always the risk of that one moron dealer who would build a terrible website, and it only makes sense that the manufacturer is trying to protect their brand.

Back when I was running Crevier, we were the second dealer in the country to do Google pay-per-click, and we used to think that we needed to redo our website every 3-6 months to have a new look, but then BMW would come in and say, “No, the only websites you can have are the ones from this web-hosting company because it’s part of the dealer agreement and that’s how it has to be.”

I remember one time we launched the new website with a black background, and they said, “Only porn sites are black. Your website has to be white.”

Never in a million years would I have ever made that connection… I just knew that we were selling a lot of cars off of a black website! Nobody else had ever said that it was mistaken for porn, but whatever.

I had a great team at Crevier, but the reason we sold so many cars online back then is because we looked at online sales as an away-from-the-showroom experience. We thought, “Hey, if someone goes online and they want to buy a car, they don’t want to come into the showroom,” so it was crucial that the first email would bring the showroom experience to them – the attention to detail with the copy in the emails, the pictures we would send them…. With every single element of our digital marketing, we were trying to sell them on the idea that it was hassle-free and we could bring the car to them to test drive if they wanted.

Our gross profits from online sales back then were higher than the floor, and it proves a point:

If you sell an away-from-the-showroom experience and treat the customer in a way that’s not transactional, but shows that you appreciate their time, you can pick up some gross.

We were delivering the buying experience exactly how the client wanted it, and they were buying from us instead of just being sold. There’s a huge difference! It’s about matching the customer’s preferred communication style, whether they’re 19 years old or 79.

A key point Wayland makes in the article that I do agree with, though, is that online sales is one of the last chances for salvation for some dealers that have had to close their showrooms due to the pandemic, and JD Powers expects US retail sales to drop 80% this month.

But does that mean those of us that are still surviving can just rest on our laurels? Nope. There’s a lot of pent-up desire from customers waiting to buy brand new cars right now, and the floodgates are gonna open the moment this thing gets lifted, mark my words.

With that craziness out of the way, we got some questions answered on the show via Zoom, because social distancing can’t stop the Service Drive Revolution!!

“In your episode about the fourth labor type, you said that in order to get a true hours-per-RO, divide labor dollars by number of ROs and then divide by current ELR. With an ELR of 94.28, that math produces 2.46 hours per RO. When I calculate the normal way with MTD numbers, I also get 2.46 hours per RO. My door rate is $119. Is there a benefit or reason for calculating it one way or the other? Thanks, Chris.”

So if I understand the question, you’re asking whether you should calculate hours per RO using the posted labor rate or the effective labor rate, right?

Let’s get something out of the way: what does “posted labor rate” mean?

In California, that’s just being Bureau of Automotive Repair-compliant…

… which means nothing. It’s a target rate.

The only thing that really matters is effective labor rate. So, if you want the true measurement of what you’re averaging per repair order, use the true measurement of effective labor rate. If you have a pricing strategy, and you’re in our coaching program, your effective labor rate might be a little higher than your posted labor rate but, if not, I’ve seen a gap of $80 between posted and effective labor rate.

If your door rate is $119, but you’re generating $94, that’s way too big of a gap. You should have literally no more than 5% slippage as the absolute max.

What’s happening here is, you don’t have a pricing strategy and the Service Advisors probably aren’t selling the stuff that they should be selling. You definitely need our coaching program or our OnDemand Training, and we’ll help you with that!

The true measurement to me – the real way to do it – is to use your ELR, because that’s really what you’re collecting, and that gives you a truer number.

This next question is more of a comment than a question but here it goes:

“Chris, as much as I love your videos and podcast, let’s be honest: we don’t want to risk our lives to increase RO count. Maybe the best thing during this time is a couple of cars a day and less than half of the techs. I am in the epicenter of the pandemic. I do not want to increase ROs. Give me a video where you are telling the owners to pay their Technicians and Service Advisors and parts specialists extra during days off, not this.”

This one was from Willie on YouTube and first of all, Willie, I don’t want to assume in any way what you’re going through and how you feel.

That being said, I think if you listened to that live episode again, you would hear me telling you not to make light of this and to be very, very careful, and that our people’s safety should be priority #1, right?

I mean that from my heart. I really do.

The thing you have to understand is, we’re putting on a show here. I don’t think you guys want to hear me come on the show and talk about the people we know that have been sick or people that have passed away, companies that are going under, restaurant owners that are going out of business, or trouble in our own businesses. I don’t think that’s what you’re tuning in for.

I think our role in this is to try to shine a light on the positive side.

The other thing I would say is, no dealership or shop across this country is in the same situation. For you to ask me to tell everybody to do one thing, like paying their people extra and writing only two ROs a day, is asking me to give way too broad advice. I might as well be taking a wide brush to everything, like Michael Wayland did in that article earlier.

People are going out of business. I can’t walk a day in everybody’s shoes all at once. If a client comes to me with their financial statements, their cashflow, and their sales numbers, I can come up with an individualized plan for them, but you can’t assume that dealers everywhere have enough money to go four months without selling a car while giving extra PTO to their Service Advisors, Technicians, and Parts Specialists! That’s nuts!

I definitely sympathize with every business that’s going through a tough time right now, but you really have to understand the dynamic of a car dealership and how much money is in that inventory that you’re paying flooring on. You have $10 million worth of cars, but no chance to sell them. That means you have no income except for service and parts, which is an essential business.

I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. I feel for you, and we’re in this together, but this isn’t such a simple thing to talk about. You can’t just come at this with the broad opinion that everyone should be writing two ROs a day and swallow the cost of PTO. You’ve got to be careful, especially now.

Let’s not look at this from just our point of view. We’ve got to look at this from everybody’s point POV: the dealer, the President of the Auto Group, the independent shop owner, the Technician, the Service Advisor, the Service Manager, the Parts Department, the Porters, the Salespeople. Salespeople have been furloughed and with no income! You don’t know what their bills are! I have people that work for me that make over $100,000 a year, so if I furlough them or lay them off, they can’t claim anything. 

Now what if their mortgage is $4000? Then they can’t afford food!

It’s a complicated thing and everybody’s situation is different, so what we have to do is show empathy for each other.

Willie, I don’t want to end this on a sour note and I understand you’re reacting to a hard time. But if you listen, you’ll know that you can only control what you can control. That’s it.

But that’s why your comment was important, so you definitely deserve some Service Drive Revolution swag for that.

Thanks everybody for reading, watching, and listening. I hope we inspired some thoughts and ideas. Remember to put your head down, take the good with the bad and we’ll all get through this together. 

See you all next time