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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, 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 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!!!


Where should YOU draw the line with your team? Find out where Chris draws his, only on this week's Service Drive Revolution. Now streaming!


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