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9 Reasons Why Automotive Service Managers Fail

We have an exciting show for you today. We are going to talk about the 9 Reasons Why Automotive Service Managers fail. 


The list is gonna surprise you because there’s some good stuff on there. 


I think this will inspire a lot of you and create some fun conversations, but first there’s some very topical things happening in the news. So let’s talk about that. 


A burnt out ship carrying 4,000 VW vehicles sank in rough seas, just off the coast of Portugal! 


There are roughly 4,000 Volkswagen products sitting in the bottom of the ocean and an amazing amount of Audis, Porsches, Lamborghini, and Bentley’s.


The total amount that was lost through this problem was estimated to be under half a billion dollars. 


Browse our free content to improve your experiences as an automotive service manager or advisor.


Can you imagine the impact this would have on automotive service managers?


The ship caught on fire and luckily the crew got off. The interesting part is the ship just floated around and then eventually sank, but I don’t understand why they never towed it into shore.


It’s crazy to think about how these cars define people’s accomplishments and it’s a shame that it’s now at the bottom of the ocean. 


Christian Lafferty chimed in and said, 


“When you think about a car that costs $300,000, you wouldn’t want to drive it a ton, but if you didn’t drive it a ton, what are you getting out of it? Like there’s no win.” 


Read more about the Top 10 Reasons Why Service Advisors Fail.


One more thing before we get to the 9 Reasons Why Automotive Service Managers Fail…


Service Advisors and Service Managers, if you don't have this book in your inventory, you need to hop on it and get my book for your whole dealership.


I’ve had quite a few people ask me, 


Are you going to NADA” 


It’s in Las Vegas and I’m always getting asked this. I’ve been granted this opportunity several times…


However, I will never go back to NADA and you can watch more about my reasons why, HERE


If you’re watching this on YouTube we will put the link to it up here


Also NADA is a bit off for me due to the way they treat people. You can spend a hundred thousand dollars on a booth there, you can be the top speaker that has the most attendees, and they will treat you horribly. 


Almost like a ‘Prison Camp’, but that’s all I’m going to say! 


Moving onto the 9 Reasons Why Automotive Service Managers Fail: 


1) They gravitate towards comfort instead of challenges


We are kind of conditioned as humans to go away from pain and go towards pleasure or safety. Most automotive service managers think about safety. 


If they’re not on the radar.


If nobody’s talking about them.


Therefore, the number one on my list is that they prefer comfort over challenges and obstacles.  


Sometimes in life, we have to risk it all and not think about the outcome of our decisions.  When we stay in this protective mindset and worry about uncontrollable external factors, this is only make it harder for us to grow. 


Doesn't matter if you're an automotive service manager, advisor, or technician, you will still benefit from our OnDemand program.


2) They’re managers, not leaders


A lot of times people can move up the company ladder quickly.


They start off in the shop or they start off as an advisor and generally they were the most reliable people there. 


Automotive Service Managers have some sort of skills and common sense and so as people leave, they get promoted up and become the manager. 


Most of the time I can tell this by the questions that are asked. 


One question that is a real indicator of somebody being a manager and not a leader is when they ask the question, 


-How do I get my people to walk around? 

-How do I get my technicians to do an inspection?


That’s a manager, not a leader, because if you’re a leader, you have authority. You’re creating a want and you have a trajectory of success forward. People are following you to conquer a cause. 


Real leaders have a purpose and you are getting people excited about figuring out their life’s mission. 


3) Automotive Industry Tribal Knowledge 


Most Automotive Service Managers… 


The training that they’ve had, the understanding that they have about the customer experience, employees, pricing, whatever it is… 


All came from tribal knowledge.


If you think about it, we’ve been around for over a hundred years and basically as an industry, we are repeating the same unproductive patterns. We’re kind of doing the same thing in a sense because there isn’t really any specific way to do the job.  There’s so many possibilities of achieving our goal and I believe that we need to start finalizing which ideas to keep and which ones to throw out. 


4) Automotive Service Managers don’t understand Financials


I’m talking about the numbers! 


-What would have to happen to your effective labor rate, your gross profit? 

-Where would your expenses go?


I always like to explain this as they are driving a car without a steering wheel. Because if you don’t understand the financials, you don’t understand why you’re in business. 


Numbers are the way to measure your success, profitability, and results. When we lack the ability to calculate the money that’s being generated, we really can’t move forward with improvements. 


I knew that understanding the financial statements was crucial to becoming a dealer or doing whatever it was that I wanted. 


My point about automotive service managers not understanding the financials is when I started doing Service Advisor training for this consulting company. 


In order for me to actually be a consultant in that company and be able to turn departments or businesses around, I had to master the understanding of numbers


When I look at someone’s financial statements today, I already know what’s wrong with the business just by analyzing the financial statement. 


Free content on our Youtube Channel for automotive service managers and advisors out there in the world.


5) Most automotive service managers hire for pulse


They’ve been indicted for embezzlement but they’re Chrysler certified. Felons accepted with DMS experience.


You wanna hire for past performance, but just hiring because they have a pulse is gonna kill your culture in your department.


6) They don’t understand that technicians drive everything


The most important part of our business are the technicians involved. They are in production and without technicians….


We have nothing to sell.


They spend very little time recruiting technicians, hanging out with technicians, and understanding technicians. Automotive Service Managers just basically kind of complain that the technicians aren’t productive. 


To be a good service manager, you need to spend a portion of your time understanding what’s going on at the dealership. Personally, knowing your technicians and taking interest in their goals will help improve the culture in the workplace. 


Most Automotive Service Managers don’t even go into the shop. 


What we are selling is time and that time can only be produced by a technician.


7) They don’t have boundaries


I would go back to earlier where Automotive Service Managers want to stay off the radar and they want to be well liked. They are the catchall for everything. 


When they feel like the catchall for everything, they won’t feel pressured at the fact that they don’t understand financials or profitability. We gotta have some boundaries in understanding why we’re there, which is why understanding the financial statements help. As a reminder, we were there to collect customers and create profit. 


We want a customer experience that customers want to come back over and over again. 


If this is in a dealership, they’re gonna buy their next vehicle from us. 


We don’t have boundaries because we don’t have the self-esteem or the understanding of what it really is to be successful.


Read this book if you are an automotive service manager, trust me, it will make you 100% better.


8) Our self-image is that we’re the afterthought and that we’re not important 


The industry does that to us. 


I don’t think that Automotive Service Managers do that on their own because I believe the industry says that sales is more important. All the SPS, the games, the cigar smoking, the trips, all that come from the front end and we buy into the idea that we’re supported by the after effects.


Just understanding as an industry, something that NADA doesn’t understand… 


It would be incredibly valuable that we raise the self-esteem of the people. We want them to feel good about learning in order for them to want to learn.


9) Most Automotive Service Managers are stubborn


They want to be right versus winning, they don’t want to take a chance, they don’t want to take a risk, and they wanna move away from pain towards security.


This creates an element of stubbornness where you just don’t want to try anything and even when nothing is working, you’d rather double down than try something new. If you keep doing things the same way, you’re gonna keep getting the same results.


Here’s your BONUS reason for why Automotive Service Managers fail: 


10) Most service managers don’t understand that it’s our systems and first people second


They think that hiring good people is going to fix the broken systems and that’s just not the case. 

Unsuccessful Automotive Service Managers have no real system for how customers: 


-Make an appointment 

-How they’re greeted, 

-When they’re accepted 

-When the work flows into the shop


The sad part is that we throw good people into this mess.


All it does is create more turnover and burn them out. 


There has to be an expected outcome from that system and there has to be constant improvement in the system, which means you have to have a culture of improving.


I hope this list of why Automotive Service Managers fail inspires you to go back into your department and make the necessary changes in order to succeed. 


If you don't want to fail as an automotive service manager, join our OnDemand program.


Got a question? Call us at 1-833-3-ASK-SDR


We have an exciting show for you today. We are going to talk about the 9 Reasons Why Automotive Service Managers fail. The list is gonna surprise you because there's some good stuff on there. 

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