THE TECHNICIAN TREE: HOW TO SURVIVE THE SERVICE TECHNICIAN DROUGHT

THE TECHNICIAN TREE: HOW TO SURVIVE THE SERVICE TECHNICIAN DROUGHT

It started a couple of years ago. Out of the blue, I got a call from an old friend of mine, who is the Service Manager at a shop in Michigan.

His life was a mess; he was really upset. He said, “Chris, I just lost three techs and one was my best tech. It’s a nightmare, my boss says I have 30 days to hire techs or I’m going lose my job. I haven’t been home in a week. My wife is ready to kill me.”

“You gotta’ help me. What do I do?”

Seems like things happen in three’s, because not that long after I got two separate calls from friends with similar stories, all asking me the same thing:

Will you help me hire techs, Chris? We can’t seem to find good techs. There’s no good techs left

It seems like it is getting harder and harder to find great techs, and it wasn’t just my imagination. And then I found out the reason why…

It’s estimated that very soon we’ll be losing 2 technicians for every 1 we’re gaining!

Young people aren’t coming into the industry like they used to. The problem is Millennials are obsessed with tech–but they aren’t interested in becoming techs.

It’s gotten so bad I’ve started calling it the “Great Technician Drought.”

Up until now the best we could do is come to your shop and help you hire techs, which would cost you $10,000 or more, or get you into one of our coaching programs. We can get great techs (A, B, C+ and Master techs), into a service drive in less than 30 days. We do it all the time for our dealers.

We had no intentions of opening up this information to the general public, this is reserved for the dealers in our coaching groups. But one shop isn’t going to fix it. Even all the dealers in our coaching group can’t put a dent in it. The only way we solve this “technician drought” is by working together.

So, we created a course. You can opt in and get more information about it here. 

For the first time ever, we took everything we have learned in our 20 plus years, about attracting, hiring, and keeping techs, and combined it into an easy to follow system. I put my entire team on it and we spent the last few months working like Santa Elves to create a product that WILL help you hire technicians. Even the clients in our coaching groups haven’t seen the entire system all together in one place like this.

This is powerful stuff.

According to a recent fixed ops study, just one good tech can generate $12,000+ a month in revenue for your shop. That’s $144,000 per year you’re missing out on! Just one tech could change your entire business. So, don’t throw in the towel yet.

Next week I’ll be opening up enrollment and you’ll get a chance to sign up for the entire course. Every day without the right tech, your business suffers. I get it. So in the meantime, I’ll give you some tips to make your recruiting process a little easier right now.

Let’s get started.

 

Tip 1 Grease the hiring path

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost great techs because I can’t get them to start soon enough. The interview goes great, and you’re ready to hire them, but HR process gets in our way. I have seen it take weeks for HR to approve a hire… You’ve got to “lube that up” before the tech gets in there because delays will destroy you. We all know if you make them wait they’ll change their mind.

Know how to get their toolbox moved. That’s critical! When I’m hiring techs, I use this as a closer: I’ll say, “Okay, you’re going to start. I’m going to schedule the tow truck right now. When can I get your box?

I pay for the truck and send it down, and get his box. At that point he’s in. I’ve had only one or two instances where they’ve turned around and taken it back. When I have their box, 99% of the time, I’ve got them.

 

Click here to learn more.

MAKE SURE YOUR SERVICE DRIVE IS DROUGHT PROOF

MAKE SURE YOUR SERVICE DRIVE IS DROUGHT PROOF

Take a moment and imagine…

It’s late on a Friday night, and your wife is calling for the fourth time asking when you’ll be home. You barely take her calls at this point because you know what she’s going to say, “You’re never around.”

You just lost your best technician, and man, he took a job in ANOTHER industry.

You’ve posted ads looking for new, qualified technicians, but the only guys who came in couldn’t get through HR, or pass a drug test. Your blood pressure is up. You’re pulling your hair out because you’re really worried you’re going to lose your job. The owner of the shop is coming down on you every day, customers are furious with the amount of time it’s taking to get their cars fixed. You’re starting to seriously consider outsourcing some of your shop’s work just to make the angry customer calls stop, despite what a financial loss that will be.

You find yourself in a completely unmanageable situation, and it doesn’t seem to matter what you do. You just can’t win.

Unfortunately, this is a true story. It happened to a friend of mine. And, almost every service manager I’ve met has a version of this. In this particular case my friend was literally at the end of his rope before he called me asking for help.

Fast-forward six months…

It’s Friday evening and the sun is just about to set. You look around and realize everyone is heading out for the day. There’s no one in the waiting room because all the cars have been repaired and returned to their owners, on time or ahead of schedule. Seriously.

A tech walks by and you tense up. He pops his head into your office to say, “We’re all done for the day. Hope you have a nice weekend!” Have a nice weekend… It’s music to your ears. Your wife sends a text that reads: See you soon! <3

Then your boss walks by and waves at you, which is the most enthusiastic he gets. You look around and realize there’s no more work to be done. It’s early enough that you’ll be home in time for dinner AND to show up to your son’s junior high basketball league game. You’ve done it and you sigh with relief.

This is life in a healthy, efficient shop. We can help you get there.

But, let me break it down for you:

The problem?

It’s simple. There’s a shortage of qualified technicians, and the work is backed up.

Why?

That gets more complicated. There are a lot of reasons. Some stem from the fact that young people are not coming into the industry because millennials don’t want to be techs. They have other interests, and cars just aren’t that important to them. Then, there’s the cost associated with entering the occupation—often a $7,000+ investment. Another big problem is how many great techs are leaving the industry due to poor treatment or wages.

What does it mean for me?

If you haven’t felt the loss yet, you will.

We’re headed towards a place where technicians will be outnumbered 2:1 making finding qualified ones even harder.

The good news is we have plenty of ways to help you not only survive, but thrive despite the impending technician drought resistant.

I mean, we’re fixers here at Chris Collins inc. It’s what we do, and we’re going to help you fix this problem just like we fix your other problems. No, we can’t train your dog, or go with you to counseling. But we’ve created some products that will ensure your business is drought free.

Stay tuned because more solutions are coming…

HOW TO MAKE CSI AND PROFIT SEXY AGAIN

HOW TO MAKE CSI AND PROFIT SEXY AGAIN

This week we’re talking about how to make profit and CSI sexy. Get your mind out of the gutter because it’s not what you think…

One of the things that drives me the craziest is when people are having trouble with their service drive and they tell me they need more traffic, or some fancy gadget to solve their problems with profits or CSI. That is absolutely not the solution and here’s why. What we talk about the most is great execution and how to create momentum, and it seems like people are missing the basics.

Everybody wants their system to be exciting. OK, I get it, but they forget simple things like, answering the phone and greeting customers. People get busy searching for the new software that will save the day, but that won’t fix your business if you don’t have a solid foundation. You must be able to block and tackle first. Finding that next cool thing is meaningless until you do the basics brilliantly. After you’ve mastered the basics, then you can work on expanding and using technology to move yourself forward.

Subtle can be sexy. The basics can be sexy.

When we go into a business we audit the repair orders. Time and again we find that there’s no viable system in place. So while they tell us they need more traffic, what we know to be true is that more traffic will only bring about more of the same problems.

Let’s try something… Can you answer these questions? What happens when the customers drive up to the curb of your service drive? Do they sit there waiting? Does the service advisor come out and greet them at the car? Do customers know where to go? Often we overlook these things and want a magic pill to fix the business when what we really need is a flawless system up front. Here are the fundamentals for a strong front end:

  1.  Answer the phones and make appointments.
  2.  Have a great attitude.
  3.  Greet the customer.
  4.  Check their history.
  5.  Inspect the car while getting their history.
  6.  Offer all this in a way that the customer is comfortable and doesn’t feel pressure.

 

It’s crucial to excel up front so that it’s a nice experience, and your customers feel like you care about them. If you can help your customers avoid surprises, and not push sales down their throat you will become a customer collector. And, isn’t that the point?

You just create a great process. The trick is believing you can do it, and then practicing it over and over until it becomes second nature. And it will. We need to pursue excellence every day, and there are a lot of things to think about. Even when things are moving along you should always be looking ahead and thinking, what can we fix next?

The mother of retention is repetition. If you want to move the ball in a certain direction, get your CSI up and increase customer pay sales. Then get your team together (the service managers, service advisors and service technicians) and start training them! Figure out what you want it to look like, and what it’s going to take to get there. Then train, train, train, and train some more. A great training program where you do it step by step will work. The key to all of it is the basics, so stop thinking you need more traffic until your averages are really high. Traffic isn’t the hard part, and we can help you get traffic.

To recap, execution is most important and more traffic will only make things much worse if you’re not doing things right. You’ll lose your customer’s trust because they don’t feel cared for, or they’re waiting forever, or they don’t get called back. And, it’s your fault because your advisors are writing 20 customers.

No tablet or robot is going to fix this. So to all the service managers and service advisors: slow it down, get out of your office, and watch the customer experience. Break it down step by step. Fix one step, and then fix the next step, and the results will blow you away.

INSPIRATION IS NOT OPTIONAL: MOTIVATE YOUR SERVICE TECHNICIANS!

INSPIRATION IS NOT OPTIONAL: MOTIVATE YOUR SERVICE TECHNICIANS!

Business problems are easy, people problems are hard. I didn’t invent that phrase. It’s been said many times by many people, and it holds true for every business. Don’t pretend this doesn’t apply to you and your drive. I’ve said it before and I will say it again:

The most important people in your business and least cared about, are your service technicians.

Your service technicians are the only ones in the company who are qualified to solve your customer’s problems. Without talented, well-motivated technicians your drive simply can’t operate efficiently.

First, let’s agree that success is defined by the end goal. Results are what matters. We are the sum of what we achieve, not what we intend. It doesn’t matter if someone had the best intentions in the world. In business, what matters is how much gets accomplished.

Without exception, service departments that perform well have a leader who’s created a strong system. Without clear rules and accountability, the system breaks down. So you must have a good, easy-to-understand system. Then, you must be able to share that system. Start taking notes now because this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

This is the stuff that’s actually working on drives all over the country!

Tip #1 – Track Production

This is production! You have to see how much people are producing. You’re living in the dark ages if you’re afraid to put the scores up in your service drive. Hang a dry erase board immediately and start tracking their hours. It doesn’t matter if some guys don’t like that idea. You can’t worry about the low performer, or be afraid of losing him. Equality of result is a lie. It’s equality of opportunity. Everybody has the same opportunity but not everybody is going to get the same results.

If you’re feeding your low-performing technicians so that they somehow get the same hours as the guy who’s working his butt off, you’re not creating a culture of high performers. The culture of performance is vital. Create that culture of performance by writing down the numbers from yesterday and everyone will be kept accountable.

Tip #2 Get to know your technicians

The single best way to make your technicians feel appreciated is to sit down with them once a month and talk about their goals. No, you don’t have to be their therapist, or Oprah, to make a huge difference. Use lunch as an opportunity to get together. Trust me, no one is going to poach your guys if you have a personal relationship with them. Your technicians are people too—they’ve got families and situations to deal with so find out what’s making these guys tick.

If you have a busy schedule and not much time to chitchat here’s a cheat sheet of questions you can ask: How’s work going? How can I help? What’s in your way? How can we get better as a department? Since we know from experience that they feel like the most ignored and picked on group in your shop, it’s your responsibility to change that.

Tip #3 Gamification!

If you have not read my book, Gamification, here’s the link.

Buy it and read it cover to cover. Look, I know the technicians are there to fix cars, but they also need to enjoy being at work. Gamification is playing for profits. It’s important to have a pattern interrupt with them where they get to have a break and have some fun. Let them throw a baseball or basketball at lunch—whatever gets their energy and mood up. If those don’t sound good to you, the book has at least 50 games in it so there’s plenty to choose from. I promise, if you throw some cash around, and add some work games into the mix, your technicians will get more done and be much happier in the process.

SKYROCKET YOUR SALES WITH THESE ADVANCED SALES TECHNIQUES

SKYROCKET YOUR SALES WITH THESE ADVANCED SALES TECHNIQUES

I recently found out that we added a new service—we can marry you. That’s right, our very own coach, Jair Martinez has been ordained in the state of CA! (I’m not sure what that says about California.) So, not only do we have the best coaching groups, advisor training, and service manager University around at Chris Collins Inc., now we can offer wedding services. Imagine the fun.

Every day is a new adventure here at Chris Collins Inc.

On today’s choose your own adventure, we’re dosing you with advanced sales tips so sit back, relax and enjoy the trip.

Let’s start with two strategies that seem like common sense, but actually aren’t as commonly practiced as you’d think—tone and mirroring. G-man found these tips in a little book called, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz. We discussed these and more on this week’s show. In case you haven’t watched the show yet, we’ll share them with you here.

You make a lot of sales calls in your service drive, right? We always hear about the different tones of voice you can use when you’re on the phone with prospects. There’s the EXCITED VOICE!! The Direct Voice. And the late night DJ voice. That’s right, folks, I’ll be here alllll night. Smooth, relaxing, and there for you in those late night hours.

The tone we choose to use to engage our customers will literally set the tone for the conversation, and get them in the mood to buy from us. There’s varying philosophies on which tone works the best, but for success across the board—we’ve found the late night DJ voice is the most consistently effective. The late night DJ voice is soothing to most everyone, and that’s always going to be the one you use when things get heated. It’s also non-threatening and calms people down, and a calm customer is usually the happier customer.

The second strategy is called mirroring, and you’re probably familiar with the concept. Just like the late night DJ voice, this tip also works just as effectively for service managers and advisors. Mirroring is when a salesperson uses the last three or four words the customer said to them and repeats it back as a question. For example, if the customer says, “I don’t need my brakes checked today.”

You’d say, “Are you sure you don’t need me to check your brakes?”

This forces them to explain to you why they don’t need the service done. And often, in the process of explaining, they realize that they really do need it done! Or sometimes, if you do this repeat back process a couple times, people will break down and agree just to get you to stop asking questions. This is a scenario in which we actually want people to be “yes men.”

The science behind mirroring is that we’re attracted to things that are familiar, while we often feel repelled by things that seem foreign. So don’t repel people. Bring them closer to you with a soft voice and mirroring language. It gives the feeling of comfort and has a higher success rate.

Whether you need wedding services, want to join one of our awesome coaching groups or just enjoy reading my sales tips every week–here at Chris Collins inc. we’re here to serve. So dream big and sell hard!

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FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE, THE $50,000 TOURNAMENT AND OTHER TIPS FOR ENSURING SUCCESS IN 2017!

FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE, THE $50,000 TOURNAMENT AND OTHER TIPS FOR ENSURING SUCCESS IN 2017!

Can You Beat Trump’s First 100 Days?

Momentum matters and we’ve been talking about how to get into the year with the most momentum possible. First, you must be smart about your business and guarantee success from the very start of the year. How do you do that? I’m glad you asked and I’m going to tell you because we literally have the best service advisor training, service manager training, the best beats…and we will break dance fight you.

We’re more than a month into 2017 and the big question is what are your first 100 days of 2017 going to be like?

What prompted me thinking about this was hearing how so many people struggle with the simplest things in taking action. Often people get handicapped by the easiest pieces and I’m always hearing, “I can’t do this, I can’t do that…”

Yes you can! You can do anything! This is America for heaven’s sake!

To provide a parallel, we did research and in the first 100 days of the presidency the list of things that needs to get done includes hiring literally thousands of people, meeting with world leaders, planning initiatives, an inaugural ball, and that’s just the beginning. Like Trump or not—has he done more than you in his first days in office?

Think about everything the president has to do and then ask yourself why you’re struggling with simple stuff like changing prices?

What I’m saying is, get proactive! This is your opportunity to do an inventory on how much you’ve done to improve your business, get better and better yourself in the first part of 2017. You have to do it while the momentum is there. You have to set a pace right away and get everyone used to how this is going to work. Let your people know, “Hey, we’re going to tee it up and knock it down, and we’re going to do that over and over and over! If that’s not your pace then maybe this isn’t the right environment for you.”

Try changing your prices. Maybe you can get some downhill that you’ll be able to ride for part of the year. I talk to people every day who tell me things like, “Maybe we’ll handle that in June.” This literally blows my mind. I’m like, really? You want to wait six months? You’re going to lose the first half of the year! You have to take advantage of that time and start doing better now.

If you’re a service manager make a plan and tell your service advisors and technicians: this is going to happen on this day, and this is going to happen on this day. You need to prepare them and tell them what’s coming. You can’t spring it on them in June, because if you don’t plan and set benchmarks, then you don’t have anything holding them accountable for the results. And there’s no chance of using something fun like gamification to help catch momentum at that point. In ANY business you have so much stuff going on that things slip through the cracks if you don’t make a plan.

The point is, you have 60 days left to recover momentum and we’ll help you if you need help. That’s what we’re here for—to talk you through it, or tease you mercilessly until you do it.

PS: Get yourself a cup of coffee because here’s a big tip…

To help you get motivated we created a $50,000 Service Manager Tournament. 

Try and win our $50,000 Tournament. Trust me, you’ll look back and regret you didn’t do this sooner because with the $50,000 challenge you win even if you don’t win. Simply by entering and doing what we tell you to do you can crank your labor sales up ten to fifteen thousand dollars a month. That means by the time we crown the winner at our 2017 Top Dog event you might have already made $100,000 by then!

And you’re not competing against anyone but yourself, the winner is the dealership or service center with the most improvementover last year’s numbers. So, head over to the Tournament page to sign up and win.

I know what you’re doing isn’t easy, but it’s not super complicated either. You can change pricing, hire techs, do whatever it takes! And if you need help with certain tools we can help you, but let’s go, lets get fired up!

And while you’re at it, the next episode of Service Drive Revolution is up, so go check it out!