Service Manager Challenge Finalist Shares His Rise to the Top (Dog)

Welcome everybody to the big show, Service Drive Revolution. We are profiling finalists from the Service Manager challenge, where you can win my Jeep. I’ve been driving this Jeep blasting country music, running people off the road, and having a lot of fun for many years.

First, I wanted to say thank you so much to Roger Phiper for your submission into our You versus You Jeep Challenge. We had a chance to review Roger’s submission and it gives me the most pleasure and honor to announce him as a finalist.  Roger has done some amazing things within the Automotive Industry, and his stories and results are great and these things make for a very well deserved finalist. 

Let’s hop right into his numbers: 

Roger started with a 78 in CSI and ended with an 85 

ELR of 107 to ELR of 116

12.5 net to gross to 20.4 net to gross.  

And the numbers keep growing from there.  In a sense, Roger is a little bit of a turnaround guy and that he’s gone into some underperforming departments and turned the Service Advisors around.

This brought me over to my next point of concern, which was figuring out the methods he uses to grow his numbers, improve his Service Advisors, and increase productivity.  I asked him, 

“What do you think the three or four most important elements are to that recipe? When you go in to turn around your department, what are you thinking about? What are the first things you’re attacking when you go in?”

Roger amazed us with his response when he told us, 

“What I did when I came in was interview people. I just started interviewing them. I just looked for their pain points, what were they really struggling with? And I kind of just collectively put that together. I would say that the two most important things are the customer experience and having a good pricing strategy, having some motivation for the employees, and getting a good culture going and having them buy in. And that’s really the key to the buy-in.”  

Learn more about interviewing people HERE.  

From the looks of it, what Roger did significantly differently was made sure he said, “good morning”, had little conversations, and the Service Advisors specifically, he worked hand in hand when coaching them and getting them to think a little differently.  Roger’s mindset through these stressful times at the dealership was to still remain positive as the Service Manager, he always knew that it was going to be possible and kept moving with the same idea that he had before.

As the results started to come, Roger started morning meetings. He started technician morning meetings and he was involved in every single meeting, every day and made sure he was there early and stayed late.  He believed that these were the simple tools that would boost the productivity of the dealership, specifically Service Advisors.  

Roger and I then started talking about recruiting technicians, where he told me that scouting out the right technicians is his super power in the automotive industry.  He goes further into this description by telling us, 

“I don’t think it’s a unique ability. I just think it’s a mindset. You say this all the time, “If you believe that you’re, there’s no technicians out there you’re a hundred percent correct.” And they said the same thing in this Toyota store. When I first got there, even the service manager I worked with for a while. He said, “Roger, we really can’t find technicians. You know, I don’t know what we’re going to do. Just give me a little bit of time.” 

And then he started believing. Cause the moment you get one, you get two. And you know, as we always talked about, the momentum just starts to go, right? You start getting phone calls, you start getting emails, people walk through the door. So you know,  they just became believers.”

The thing that I think Roger said there is, “at the end of the day, people perceive it to be magic or a unique ability, but really it’s just doing it.”

When you begin to set your mindset into finding and hiring the right Technicians, things will slowly flow into your favor.  

It’s funny when people ask us, “well, how do you hire Technicians?” And I’m like, “I don’t know, we just do, it isn’t like there’s this magic pill, and the most important part is, stop saying you can’t and then you gotta start doing stuff.  But too many people out there like, “I ran an ad, it didn’t work.” 

And it’s like, well, where did you run the ad? Well, on Indeed and it’s like, “you know, there’s other players, there’s a hundred different ways to do things, but if it’s not working, then you would change the way you would think you would change what you’re doing.”

But it’s easier sometimes to just say, “I tried but it didn’t work.”

Roger finished off this conversation by telling us that there are good Technicians out there, that people are not looking, and if you want a good Technician for your dealership, you’ll have to go find them.  

Moving onto the next question, I asked Roger a specific question about Service Managers,

“What do you think happens with Service Managers that are paralyzed with fear of change or paralyzed with fear of doing something wrong and making a mistake and they choose to do nothing.”

Roger believes that being complacent with the standard way of doing things will keep you stuck and he dived more into this by telling us that he never subscribed to the action of refusing change.  

Christian was able to give us a detailed analysis of Roger’s skills when he told us that he thinks that a lot of Service Managers go to the other end where they’re only focused on the, “if it doesn’t work out that they’re going to lose their job or they’re gonna get fired.” Never thinking for a second, “well, what if I try it and it works?” One thing that he said about Roger, very unique in relation to him versus some of the other people that we’ve worked with, is that Roger has like this really relentless pursuit of goal.  

The thing that Roger brings to the table is that he’s Relentless.  

Christian says that it’s important for Service Managers that are stuck, to adopt that relentless attitude of not facing failure and loss. He liked that competitiveness that Roger had and thinks that’s a lesson for a lot of us, that you’re not going to do things one way. You’re going to go through every door, every window, dig a hole, and whatever it is you just don’t quit till it’s done. Christian believes that it is a really good lesson for technician hiring plus a bunch of other stuff inside the Automotive Industry.  

As we got deeper into our conversation, we asked Roger if he thinks that this drive comes from his upbringing, like his parents or a hardship when he were younger?  And asking him to trace back to the origins of his mindset.  Roger told us, 

“I’ve sat and thought about this. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had some life changing events and I’ve kind of reflected on a lot of things and I’ll tell you that I don’t think it’s so much my upbringing. I feel that when I got into this business I started out as a technician and I quickly saw that I wanted to be the manager. It was just a relentless pursuit and I just kept wanting to climb up the ladder as fast as I could. And I did. I ran up the ladder and I didn’t look back. I just think that the constant wanting to get more and more and more may hurt me in some areas, but it’s never enough for me to stop.” 

I just think that the constant wanting to get more and more and more may hurt me in some areas, but it’s never enough for me to stop…

Roger told us about a recent success that he made possible at his Toyota dealership, 

“I always want more.  We had a record breaking month at Toyota, six months into the position and they told me that they never hit $750,000 on fixed gross. I said, “okay.” 

Six months in with COVID, we hit $1,000,000 and never looked back after that.

After all this is said and done, I still believe that it’s more fun when it’s complicated if other people give up easily because that’s our advantage in the marketplace. So if we make it fun to attack challenges and figure out ways to overcome the obstacles and everybody else is sitting there talking about how hard it is, we have a huge advantage in the marketplace for sure. It seems like that gap is getting wider and wider. It seems like, especially with COVID, morale, and politics, people are more and more discouraged and they give up easier than ever.

Don’t forget to subscribe and call us at (833) 3-ASK-SDR if you have a question. 

Podcast

Welcome everybody to the big show, Service Drive Revolution. We are profiling finalists from the Service Manager challenge, where you can win my Jeep. I’ve been driving this Jeep blasting country music, running people off the road, and having a lot of fun for many years.

Don’t forget to subscribe and call us at (833) 3-ASK-SDR if you have a question. 

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