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What We’re Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Today’s our special Thanksgiving episode of Service Drive Revolution, and we’re going to talk about the top five things we’re grateful for. I have my list of five things, and number five is going to surprise you!

But first, things seem to be opening up a little bit. We’re traveling again, and I don’t really know how to feel about it…

Christian and I are going to Ohio for a great client of ours, a leadership meeting thing, and then we’re going to Nashville for a little research. Then, Christian’s going to one of our clients in Florida for a couple days, then he’s going to hang out with his kid for a weekend, and then he’s headed down to an old client’s brand new store, so really he’s doing four things in six days!

The other thing that happened is that Christian got a tattoo, but not just any tattoo… It was his first one and he went big.

It’s on his left rear shoulder blade and it’s a wolf. A beautiful wolf.

He went all the way to Vegas to get it from DJ Tambe, and he waited a couple months for the appointment. World famous, true professional; and it took six hours in the chair.

It’s really detailed. You can even see every hair on it. It’s incredible.

In case you’re wondering why a wolf, it’s based on the story that Christian admits is cliché by now, but it’s the Native American story about the two wolves that live in each of us – a good wolf and a bad wolf – and the one that wins is the one you feed.

That’s what I love about tattoos nowadays. They’re pretty much modern art and there’s a vision behind it.

We’re also working on a pretty neat concept in our group which is these coins. Think of them like karate belts where you start from white and eventually get to red, brown, and black at the end. So we’re making coins instead of belts and we have a local artist that we use for a lot of stuff.

Think of it as kind of like a spiritual journey, because our coaches literally reinvent themselves. And then the elite group is getting rings that look like world series rings or super bowl rings. It’s a huge accomplishment.

So that’s all very exciting, but let’s get to our Thanksgiving list!

  1.       Customers

I think everybody listening to this should be thankful for their customers

  1.       Our team

I think we have the best team we’ve ever had. We got rid of all the narcissistic weirdos, and we’re having more fun than we’ve ever had.

  1.       We live in America and Canada

I’d move to Canada. I like Vancouver and Calgary a lot. Toronto’s a huge let down, honestly. It’s the New York of Canada, but it’s not that cool.

  1.       My books

There’s so many great books. I have five going right now and I can’t even pick my favorite one.

  1.       Parts department

I feel like we give parts too hard of a time, and I think with every shop we go to, the technicians blame and complain about parts. That needs to stop….

…It needs to stop because the parts manager needs to get out of his office and actually go do something! He’s sitting at their desk, checking email. Parts managers, you don’t need to check your email every day! Check it once a week!

All jokes aside, we’re very grateful for everything that we have. We wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving, and now it’s time for our questions.

Remember: if we play your question on the big show, we send you a swag bag; trucker hat, coffee mug, T-shirt. The number for you to call in and ask your question is (833) 3-ASK-SDR, and also, it doesn’t just have to be related to the service drive. If you don’t know how to spell that on the phone, it’s (833) 327-5737.

“Hey, it’s Melissa at Jeff Wyler in Springfield. My question is, with a multi-brand service drive, I’m finding it hard to maximize or increase my RO account without the Wild West schedule causing issues with customer satisfaction in surveys. I run three separate schedules, have one express lane that is set off of all three and advisors who write for all three brands. Would you suggest one schedule for all three brands or how can I best increase my RO count and maximize everything with keeping the status quo? Thanks so much. You guys are great.”

Christian’s got a good answer for this which is that the equalizer with managing three brands is that all of your advisors can write any one of those three brands. The brands become irrelevant and it’s more about controlling everything. The thing with the Wild West mentality is that you wanted to make sure that it’s free and easy for everybody to come in, but the more structure you have to it, the more your customers appreciate it and the better you can manage it.

The answer here would be to make the schedule for the advisors. Then, if you’re really growing your traffic or you have more traffic, add more advisors. But an advisor should only write 12-15 a day, and then scale it form there. So if your advisors are writing 16 a day, add another advisor and get them down to 11 or 12 and your numbers will go up because they’ll have more time to spend. Good question. Thanks Melissa.

“Hey, Chris. My question is I’m a new service manager of a store in a Metro Atlanta area. Took over about a year ago, right before the pandemic happened. Luckily, I’d made some changes and got things going in the right direction, but now since the pandemic has gone on, my owner seems to be more concerned about RO count than he is about us doing better net profit-wise than we have the previous three years. I just find it hard to wrap my head around doing better form a net profit standpoint without letting anybody go during all this and us being more worried about RO count. Am I missing something there or am I right in my thinking? My name is Holden Scott and my phone number is ***-***-****. Thanks.”

Okay, so a couple of things:

One is you need to understand how to manage your boss. That’s what’s going on here. Most of the time, dealers and general managers come from the front end. They come form sales. They don’t understand fixed ops and the only way they know how to process success is how many units are going over the curb so they revert to RO count. So I would have two different dialogues:

I would agree with him and try to grow your RO count while you’re getting net profit, but you can do both. I would just agree with them and say, “Yeah, we’re trying to get our RO count.”

Listen to what he has to say. Don’t tell him, “Hey, I know how we can get our RO count up.”

Let’s do this like a Christian joke.

“Hey, want to know how to get your RO count up?”

(How do you do that?!)

By selling more cars!

Because if you’re selling cars, the service department’s going to be busy! So yeah, I would just agree with them and listen to what he has to say. But do so with the understanding that most of the time your General Manager or Dealer comes from Sales, so they only know how to measure success by the number of units, so they think RO count. 


My best advice would be to learn the financial statement and focus on your net to gross. But the honest answer is that it isn’t a choice between maximizing your profitability or your RO count– you can do both!

Manage up. I’ve always had to do that in my career. Christian even does it to me!

But please, do us a huge favor and have a great Thanksgiving. Eat all the turkey, take a nap, and we’ll see you when you wake up next week on Service Drive Revolution!


Find out what we're thankful for, only on this special Thanksgiving edition of Service Drive Revolution. Now streaming! Got a question? Call us at 1-833-3-ASK-SDR

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