The Difference Between 30% and 50% Net-to-Gross

The Difference Between 30% and 50% Net-to-Gross

When it comes down to it, there are tons of service advisors and managers out there, right? You might be one of the best or even the best at your dealership or service center, but how do you stack up across the market? The only way to find out is to line yourself and your numbers up against them and their numbers. In my coaching group, that’s exactly what we do. 

One of the ways the advisors and managers in this group level up is through gamification and competition. For example, I recently announced the new Service Manager Challenge on Service Drive Revolution. The prize is a tricked out 2020 Jeep Gladiator. I’m talking gun rack, humidor, the whole nine yards. Intrigued? You should be. There are two ways to join the challenge that you can learn more about here.  

On this episode of Service Drive Revolution, I also tell you which members of my coaching group won last month’s comp. Stacked up against other service advisors and managers, these guys came out on top. If you’re interested in joining us, you can learn more about that in the episode too. Maybe, if you’re good enough, I’ll be announcing your name as the Elite Top Dog soon…

At this year’s Top Dog event, an interesting question came up: What are the differences between the service departments that gross 30% and the ones that gross 50%? When comparing, the team that’s grossing 30% is often quick to make excuses. They assume that the difference is some sort of unfair advantage, like the markets are different or they have lower fixed costs for one reason or another. Next, they think it’s cuz the other team is working longer hours or more days every week. That might be true, but it’s not always it. 

To find out the answer, we compared net to gross for service advisors at Top Dog. The vast majority of them were at 30%. There were a couple of people who were at 40% or 50%, but most were right around the 30% range. It occurred to me pretty quickly that the likely reason for this is that 30% gross is what we tell service advisors they should hit when they join the group. Most of the time, they don’t believe us when we say they’ll get there and say things like “Oh, I don’t know about that. That seems impossible. We just want to get better.” No matter how hard they doubt or push back, we say “No. You can and will get to 30% net to gross. The goal is 30.” So our coaches start working with them with 30% net to gross as the goal. Every time, once they understand how to implement what we’re teaching them in the group, they reach that goal and end up at 30% net to gross. 

The problem is that once most people hit that 30% goal, they let themselves stay there. That was the big goal after all, right? It seemed unachievable before, so now that it’s been achieved, they go into maintenance mode without even knowing it. Instead of continuing to push for a higher net to gross, they stay at 30% and are happy about it. 

My question is…why can’t we set the goal to 50%? The answer is that it can be. So I’m on a mission right now to change the mindset around that goal. Sure, we can start at a goal of 30%, but that’s not where we stop and put our feet up. We can drive and convert traffic, keep expenses low, and run a healthy, strong business all while being at 40 or 50% net to gross. It’s just true. 

The only thing that’s stopping any of you from reaching beyond the 30% goal is your own mind. If you set yourself a goal, especially one that feels lofty to begin with, and then you hit it, do you stop reaching higher? Is 30% your full potential? I highly, highly doubt it. Cause if we’re really applying ourselves to get better all the time, 30% doesn’t mean we’ve arrived. It means we hit the first goal in reaching our untapped potential. 

So I challenge all of you to really think about what you think your own full potential looks like. Where could you and your team be in terms of results if you really pushed yourselves to be the best you could be? I’m talking about sustainable efforts here too…not a crazy push to hit a goal that you can’t keep up with once you get there. I’m talking about operating at your full capacity on a daily basis without pulling any stunts or insane hours. What does that look like?

I also received some questions from service advisors that I’d be willing to bet a lot of you also want to know the answer to, so I answered them on this episode. Here are a few of them:

“I’m about to start a new career as a service advisor. I’ve been watching your content on YouTube and trying to learn what I can before I start. I’m 51, and I know in your book that is a little too old to be great at the job or at least it doesn’t seem to be ideal from your perspective. I really do want to be successful and great at what I do. Any advice?” 

First of all, it’s important to note that I don’t necessarily think 51 is too old for a new service advisor to succeed. The issue isn’t age here, it’s capacity for learning new things and doing things in new ways. At 51, some (if not most) people have established how they do things and how they view the world. They see someone and have immediate judgments because they’ve been around for awhile and seen some things, so they take shortcuts in deciding who someone is and what they’re about. But when it comes to starting a new career as a service advisor, these shortcuts won’t help you and may even harm your ability, so it takes a lot of unlearning in order to succeed. 

if you take a service advisor or a service manager that is young and has no experience whatsoever, they’re a blank canvas without preconceived ideas. So you train them with the right tools and the best systems, more often than not they will outperform the advisor or manager thinks they know it all and is stuck in their ways. Their twenty years of experience can actually work against them. So I’d say that the first key to becoming a really good advisor at the age of 51 is to go into it with absolutely no prejudices or preconceived ideas of how things should be. 

The second key to success is true for any service advisor–young, old, new to the game or really experienced: Collect customers. This means that you need to really connect with them, pet the dog, make friends and be your customers’ go-to person in the car business. That’s the secret. You need to understand that the car is a commodity that anyone can service, but set up your game so that your customers feel like you’re the only one for the job. Make sure your customers feel valued, cared for, and safe in that they can trust that you’ll be ethical in working with them. You and your personality are what’ll set you apart from other advisors, so use it. In Millionaire Service Advisor, I give the example of my rich uncle…the guy I want to stay in good graces with. Your “rich uncle” is your customer base that chooses to spend their money with you. Nurture it and you’ll be golden. 

“What are your thoughts on advertising maintenance prices online? These items are meant to be impulse purchases that will boost our effective labor rate. We just signed up with X time, and now, we have the option of posting an online service menu. Should we include our prices?”

The short answer here is: No, don’t include your prices. The point of posting online is to drive traffic, and putting all of your maintenance items and their cost online is not going to accomplish that. The things that customers perceive as competitive labor that will actually bring them into the service drive are oil changes, tires, batteries, sometimes brakes, but that’s about it. You need to have two or three things that you’re competitive on and those are the things that I would put up on the website. I walk through a bunch of other things you can do to boost traffic in this online Service Manager University training if you’re interested–I can’t give out all the tips for free–but I can tell you right here and now that it won’t be by posting all of your maintenance prices online. 

If you decide that you do want to post prices, choose the ones that you know will drive traffic for your business and think of those things as loss leaders–services that aren’t necessarily big money makers but that will bring people in the door to spend more. If you can do that, go for it. If not, I wouldn’t do it. 

“After listening to Service Drive Revolution, I realized the dealership I’m currently at is leaving lots of money on the table and is not willing to make changes to allow service advisors to reach their earning potential. Should I leave for a dealership that makes customer service a priority? If I apply elsewhere, what questions should I ask to ensure the environment is going to be good?”

To answer this question, I have an exercise for you. Sit down with a piece of paper and draw a line right down the middle. At the top, label the column on the left “Things I Can Control” and on the right, “Things I Can’t Control”. Then, think about your situation at your current dealership and list things off that you can and cannot control right now. For example, as a service advisor, you can control how you approach customers. You can control your enthusiasm, you can control how you do walk around, how you pet the dog, how you follow up. There are a lot of things you can control, more often than not. Fill out the second column with things about the situation that are out of your control–how your manager views customer service, for example. Listing these out will make sure that you’re not making excuses for your lack of commitment to the role or issues with the dealership or service center. 

For the second part of the question, how to know if a dealership cares about their customers when interviewing, there are a few ways you can go about it. One is to secret shop them. Go in with your car or a borrowed car for an oil change and see how it goes. It’ll tell you almost everything you need to know. Second, when you’re interviewing with the manager at the shop, ask if you can talk to some of the advisors and then ask the advisors what their opinion is about company culture and how they take care of customers. Third would be to read online reviews. Sure, every shop will have a few people who are mad about their experience for unfounded reasons, but for a shop that’s solid on customer service, those will be few and far between. 

I answered a few more questions on the show, so check it out here to hear the answers. If you have questions of your own, ask them in the comments below or send them to me at [email protected] 

And don’t forget to enter the Service Manager Challenge Jeep Gladiator Giveaway. 

Volume vs Quality: How Service Advisors Can Find the Balance

Volume vs Quality: How Service Advisors Can Find the Balance

As service advisors, it’s really important to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on out there on the service drives. One of the best ways to do that is to be part of a network of people who keep each other in the loop about different elements of the business–what the problems are, new products on the market, sales trends…the whole nine yards. 

One of the people in my network is Coach Super Mario, Service Advisor Coach extraordinaire. I had him on the Service Drive Revolution podcast to talk about what he’s seeing in service drives, which is that people are making mistakes when it comes to balancing volume versus quality. 

Mario used to be an advisor at Longo Toyota here in Los Angeles. Longo is part of the Penske Automotive Group, better known as PAG, a business that’s known for its damn good employee retention and customer service, among other things. They’re known for it and as a former employee, Mario agrees with the public’s perception. When he was at Longo, they took care of the team by bringing in lunch, special dinners…that kind of thing. They knew that if their employees were happy, they would do their best work. Mario told us that PAG president Greg Penske’s big thing is remembering names–to the point that if he saw you and couldn’t remember yours, he’d literally give them $20 on the spot or take them to the in-house Starbucks to make up for it…and he’d never forget that person’s name again. And that kind of attention to detail when it comes to people trickled down into the whole company. 

And guess what? Longo Toyota literally sells more cars than anywhere else in the world. When Mario was there over a decade ago, Longo always broke records in May, and their goal for the month was to sell 2,500 new cars plus easily 700-800 used. I like to call it the Disneyland of car dealerships because their operation is so epic. They might even have a jail in there…you’ll have to give the episode a listen to find out whether or not that’s true. 

Anyway, let’s get back to the topic at hand. When it comes to drives, service advisors are making mistakes left and right when it comes to balancing volume versus quality. What do we mean by that and how do we know? According to Mario, the first thing he looks at any time he goes into a dealership is how the drive’s operating. He looks at how service advisors are going about their business–how they’re connecting with customers, how receptive customers seem to be to the information they’re being told, and what the outcomes are. And more often than not, he’s seeing a bottleneck effect. Here’s what it looks like: The doors open up, each service advisor is 5 or 10 cars deep right out the gate, and they’re all running around trying to get people in and out the door as quickly as possible. 

The way that these service advisors are looking at it is that if they don’t handle the transaction quickly and keep customers waiting, they’ll lose them. In reality, handling customers this way feeds into their preconceived notions about dealerships: That all service advisors and their employers care about is getting their money as quickly as possible and getting them out the door so they can take another car in. So even though service advisors think that they’re making customers happy by moving so quickly, what they’re really doing is just feeding into the negative perceptions so many customers have about the auto service industry and dealerships in particular. 

If you look at Longo Toyota as an example, you see that there’s another way of doing things that’s much more effective in the long run. At Longo and other successful dealerships, service advisors are trained to really pet the dog as I like to call it, meaning that they’re trained to actually talk to customers as they come in. They build rapport by asking questions about how the customer is using their car, what the issue has looked like for them, and just generally checking in on how they’re doing. Longo’s numbers we mentioned before speak for themselves. They’re selling more cars than anyone else in the world and that’s definitely at least in part because of their customer service training. 

The reason why this works so well in terms of customer retention is because of the psychological impact of showing the customer that you give a damn about their experience. The car is a commodity, sure, but the customer isn’t and they’re looking for respect from the people they interact with. Plus, the strategy of moving things along as quickly as possible doesn’t really work anyway. It doesn’t actually eliminate the bottleneck effect, it just pushes the bottleneck from the front to the back. A thriving business will always have customers waiting, so the way that you handle each customer and show them that you value their business, the better.

However you and your team decide to go about changing your sales strategy, the most important part is consistency. You have to have a plan, make sure everyone is on board, and then stick to the strategy. To show you what I mean, let me give you an example of why consistency matters so much. When I was at Crevier BMW back in the day, I wanted to implement a system where the sales manager went out and greeted the customer and completely took car prices off the table. I’d let the customer know that I’m the money guy, which is the easy part, and that this sales manager’s job is to make the customer fall in love with their dream car. Once a customer agreed, it made the sales manager’s job a lot easier because their only goal was to really show off the cars based on what the customer was looking for rather than having to convince them that it was worth a certain price. Sounds like a good plan, right?

In reality, the system worked like a charm on the rare slow days, but on a busy day it was a different story. The first Saturday we tried to implement it, the system totally fell apart. I had about 3 desk managers, 40 salespeople, and 25 customers lined up. The managers were saying that there’s no way they can just go out there, introduce themselves in the desk deals and say goodbye. There were bottlenecks everywhere. I realized that we had to create a system that would be consistent every single day, not just on the odd slow days. 

The question is…is the problem really about volume versus qualiity? In my opinion, there will always be service advisors, salespeople, desk managers, any employee really, who will take shortcuts to move things along faster or do less work. So I asked Mario to think about busy times when there’s a line of customers out the door and tell me what two things he would never skip in order to move the process along faster. His initial answer was preparation, meaning taking time to review his appointments before heading in for his shift so he knew who his customers would be, how they drive their cars, and what kind of preventative maintenance they’d done in the past. When I threw a wrench in that by asking him what he’d do if most of his customers that busy day were drive-through oil changes, his answer changed: he’d pet the dog and slow things down so he could make sure each customer was taken care of and each job was handled well. 

That’s my answer too because it applies to every situation. No matter how busy you are, never skip petting the dog. In many cases, it doesn’t matter if you’re taking shortcuts to get the work done, as long as you are engaging with the customer as you do it. If it’s a Monday or Tuesday, you can ask about the previous weekend. If it’s Thursday or Friday, just switch it up and ask about upcoming plans. 

When you pet the dog, it’s not just that one interaction that goes more smoothly, it’s that you’re setting yourself up for future business with that customer. Nine times out of ten, when a customer opts not to get a new part or a repair done at your dealership even though they bought the care there, it’s because they don’t trust you. By actually engaging with customers and showing that you value their time and business, you build trust that creates long-term relationships. People are looking for service advisors they can really trust to tell them what they need and help them out so they feel safe and keep coming back. As Mario says to his service advisors:

“It’s not the customer’s responsibility to remember you, but it is your responsibility to make sure they never forget you.” 

If you’re ready to step up your game, we dropped even more wisdom on the podcast–listen to this episode here and then tell us what you think in the comments below. 

A Little Southern Hospitality Goes a Long Way – Customer Loyalty & Tech Happiness with “The Humble Mechanic”

A Little Southern Hospitality Goes a Long Way – Customer Loyalty & Tech Happiness with “The Humble Mechanic”

When you think about the ecosystem of a dealership, do you place techs and salespeople in totally different areas? There’s no overlap between those skillsets, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong. In fact, when your techs have knowledge and understanding of customer service, it can make a HUGE difference in terms of client satisfaction and retention. And this is just one of a few adjustments your shop can make that will bring in more customers and keep them coming back over time. 

To talk about what these changes are and how to implement them, I had Charles Sanville, better known as “The Humble Mechanic”, on Service Drive Revolution. He’s seen the impact of things like techs who know customer service firsthand. A million and a half years ago, as he puts it, Charles started as a technician for Volkswagen Audi shop in North Carolina…and that’s where he stayed for the majority of his automotive repair career. He references taking apart VCRs in telling the story of how he made his way to tech school–that’s how many years ago he’s talking about–but you’ll have to listen to the episode for that part

Charles came to VW with no professional experience fixing cars. Before starting as a tech there, he’d been a salesperson at a different dealership and worked in retail while he went to tech school. But unlike many other techs, he’d never worked in a shop as a tech in any capacity before. And the thing is, that’s what he sees as being his biggest advantage. Why? He came in with an understanding of how to treat and take care of his clients–a skill that those other techs often lacked. So many techs would rather avoid contact with clients, focusing on doing “their job” well. Charles, on the other hand, wanted to build relationships with his clients and created what he refers to as a “tiny service station” inside the dealership. He didn’t necessarily do it with the goal of retaining more customers than his colleagues, but that’s what happened. His customers didn’t just choose to keep coming back to the dealership for repairs, they chose to come back specifically to see him. The way he put it is pure gold: 

Never wanted a customer to think, “Oh my God, what do I do? Or how much is this going to cost me or what the heck? Who is going to look at this and figure this out? Am I going to get ripped off?” It was always, “I wonder when Charles can look at my car.”

This mentality took away the stigma so many people associate with taking their cars in to get repaired. Rather than thinking about getting “ripped off” or what a pain the experience would be, Charles’s clients were eager to bring their cars to him for a dependable, trustworthy repair and a friendly experience. 

With this mindset, Charles was able to take ownership, and ultimately control, of his business as a tech. He wouldn’t waste time blaming the system or other people if business slowed down–which it rarely did. 

So, where do service advisors fall in all of this? They’re usually the ones talking to clients and making those transactions happen–not the techs themselves. The problem is, more often than not, techs and service advisors operate so independently that it’s detrimental to them both. For example, in order to give a good presentation to a client on what kind of work their car needs, service advisors need to have a solid understanding of what the problems are. But more often than not, they just get the inspection sheet and use that basic information to fill the client in. Sometimes, this is because they just aren’t curious about what the details are. Other times, it’s because they think the tech will feel as though they’re questioning their work. Whatever the reason, it leaves the service advisor without information that could be helpful in presenting to the client. On the flipside, techs often treat the whole process like all they’re selling is a commodity and don’t feel the need to communicate with service advisors. 

This poor communication is a huge problem in the auto service industry. In addition, different positions within the dealership often get so caught up in sticking to their roles that they lose sight of the common goal: to fix the car and keep the customer coming back. In combination, these two problems can have a really negative impact on customer retention. 

On the other hand, when techs and service advisors communicate and work together toward a common goal, the whole game changes. Instead of just handing over the inspection sheet and moving on, the tech goes to the service advisor and briefly explains the issue and the service advisor has the chance to ask a few questions to make sure they know what they’re talking about. Then, the service advisor can finesse the explanation and take it to the client. The client will inevitably trust what the service advisor is telling them more if the advisor says that they went back to the shop and talked to the tech about the tie rod that needs to be fixed and why that is rather than just saying it needs to be fixed. If the client has questions, the service advisor can actually answer them rather than bumbling around and BSing them. Plus, the service advisor will likely deliver the information in a way that appeals to the client (and without the expletives tossed around in the garage).  

Charles saw the typical issues play out at his VW dealership. He also noticed some major shortcomings in his dealership’s social media strategy. He saw other dealerships offering crazy promos and deals–$5000 off your new Chevy if you purchase in a certain time period and things of that nature. But what he didn’t see was shops who were really promoting their service. He’d always known that his shop was particularly awesome. To start, it was a VW dealership and the people he worked with and around were really killing it at retaining customer relationships. He tells some stories about seeing different generations come in and swapping out bumper stickers as kids grew up and started new schools. So when he thought about social media, he wondered how his shop’s unique vibe and customer service could translate to their online persona. He wanted to change the dialogue around the auto service industry and the stigma and fears clients have about bringing their cars into the shop. When he brought this to the dealership, they got on board but then immediately outsourced to a company to manage their online persona for us. 

Charles wasn’t into that, so he decided to do it himself and created a resource for customers as well as techs that lets you in behind the garage door. As the Humble Mechanic, Charles pulls back the curtain to give consumers some insight as to what is going on with their cars, what’s not working and why, and how they can talk to their service advisor or tech about it. His business is thriving, and that’s because it does a few critical things: It provides customer service in a space where its lacking and needed, many people really are interested in what’s going on with their cars, and it takes away the mystery of the whole process. In the auto service industry, there’s so much mystery behind the diagnosis fee or why a certain job takes as long or costs as much as it does. This is a big part of the reason why there’s so much distrust when it comes to auto repair. As the Humble Mechanic, Charles explains it to them. For example, it might take seven hours to do a job by the book, but the tech has purchased specialized tools that allow him to do the job in three. If the tech only charges for the three hours of labor, it doesn’t account for the expense of the specialized tools. Explaining these kinds of things clearly to consumers helps build trust in the auto industry as a whole. Because Charles is no longer a tech himself, he’s providing this information and these resources without a pitch to get people into his shop, so he has nothing to gain in the process which further increases consumer trust. 

Dealerships that are looking to level up–and which ones aren’t?–should take note of the Humble Mechanic’s success and make a few powerful adjustments to how you run your shop that will not only bring in more customers but will keep them coming back:

  • It’s amazing how far a little hospitality can go! Southern hospitality in Charles’s case, but any kind of hospitality will do. Train your staff, from techs to service advisors to salespeople, to work together to provide the best customer service.
  • Let consumers behind the garage door…figuratively speaking. Clients don’t trust the mystery. They want transparency and information that is digestible to them. Having your techs and service advisors communicate will be part of that, but there are other ways you can do it too. Which brings me to the next point….
  • Be generous with information. Make videos about how to change a tire on a specific make and model, for example, and post them on your social media accounts. Your existing clients will see them and, more importantly, so will tons of other people who aren’t your customers now but might be soon. Plus, it’ll allow clients to make decisions about what they do and do not want to get fixed and weigh out the consequences of those decisions. 

If you make this minor yet impactful changes at your dealership, I guarantee you’ll see results in terms of both client acquisition and retention. 

Don’t miss out on the Humble Mechanic Charles Sanville’s words of wisdom. He knows what he’s talking about. Start by listening to this episode of Service Drive Revolution, then head over to his YouTube channel and the Humble Mechanic blog. You won’t regret it.

Service Drive Secrets: Behind the Curtain with Elite Service Advisors

Service Drive Secrets: Behind the Curtain with Elite Service Advisors

In any industry, if you want to be the best, you have to spend time with the best, read the best, watch the best, live and breathe the best. It might sound extreme, but it’s just true. In my Signature Coaching Group, you can achieve elite status by having the highest net-to-gross, the best CSI, being a leader…basically consistently performing at a high level. When you have elite status, it’s a different kind of experience. It’s about hanging out with talented managers and having the opportunity to participate in life-changing experiences. 

When I brought two elite members of the group, Joe and Damon, to talk shop with me on Service Drive Revolution, they were told to come in wearing steel-toed boots. If you want to know more about that, you have to give the episode a listen here

To give you some context, Damon’s story of how he got to the top is pretty interesting and he definitely didn’t follow your average career path. He started in the auto industry after a long stint in finance. It was good until it wasn’t, which was when the financial institution he was working for closed its doors. He found a finance manager position at a dealership and did that for about a year, but he burnt out pretty quick and decided to re-evaluate. He was going through a lot of personal stuff and needed a change, so he decided to into service writing. Better hours, predictable schedule, more financial stability because it isn’t a commission-based position. After about another year, he decided he didn’t want to work for other people anymore and he bought the shop. It was a small franchise shop, but a big step nonetheless. He thought buying the shop would give him the freedom he was looking for, but it didn’t so he sold it. He was unemployed for all of four hours before he took a position as a service manager at bigger car dealership, where he killed it and continued to get recruited to bigger and better positions.

Joe’s story is very different. Being a tech is in his blood. His dad was a mechanic and he started fixing cars in high school. It’s something he always knew he wanted to do. When he was about 25, he got tired of the grunt work and started as a service writer. The owner of the shop, an old Italian guy, took Joe under his wing and taught him the dealership business and how to make it go. At the time, he knew that he was going to continue his career in the auto industry, but he had no idea how far it would take him and how high he could go within it. He stuck with it at that dealership for awhile, eventually becoming a service manager, but decided to move on at age 40 when the team dynamics went south. It was a family-run business, and family dynamics can get tricky if you aren’t careful. He moved on to a dealership in Florida where he’s been absolutely crushing it since.

In this episode, we went behind the curtain, so to speak, to give you some insight into our experience–all over cigars and tequila, of course. 

To start, I asked the guys what advice they’d give to their younger selves–what they were confused about, what issues they could have avoided if they knew what they know now. The first was this:

“I would never listen to the line ‘We’ve always done it that way.’”

That kind of mentality is rampant in the auto industry and it’s a huge issue. It breeds complacency and stops people from trying new things or sharing ideas because they know this will likely be the answer they get from the people above them. In this industry, as many of us know all too well, you often see people getting trained by the person above them, who was trained by the person above them, who was actually untrained and may not be doing the work well or efficiently. No matter how often you get that line, you can’t stop trying to level up the system and your work. Joe’s career really took off when he started at the Florida dealership and his boss told him the exact opposite–that he knew what they were doing wasn’t working and he wanted Joe to find ways to improve their work. It was a huge catalyst for his success and it also leads directly into the next piece of advice…

“Don’t be afraid to fail.”

This isn’t anything new, but it’s worth repeating, over and over again. Fear of making mistakes, especially early on in your career, can and will hold you back if you aren’t careful. Why? When you’re at the beginning of your career, you feel like you have something to prove to someone else. You want to succeed because you want to prove your worth. So you follow “the book” and try to get the numbers. It makes sense, but that means that you aren’t trying anything innovative. Anything that might be really effective…or not. Over time, you’ll see that the “failures” are worth it. More often than not, they’re outweighed by successes that you wouldn’t have achieved if you hadn’t tried something new. Every time you “fail”, you learn something–what not to do next time in that particular scenario or what you could do differently to make it work. Which leads us to…

“Don’t take things personally–bounce back and keep moving.”

When you decide to take risks in order to succeed, you’re bound to get feedback that isn’t always positive. If you can take the emotion out of it and just learn from the experience, you’re gonna get a lot further than if you focus on your pride and ego and get stuck feeling angry or ashamed. Damon put it perfectly: “We let our ego get in the way of seeing clearly through a failure and [we can’t] decipher the information that we can get out of it to get better.” If you decide to try something new and it doesn’t go well, you can wallow in the mistake or you can learn from it. It’s as simple as that. 

This is just the beginning of the advice that Joe, Damon and I share in this episode. We also talked about a famous bet that Joe and I had when we first met in New Orleans that proved a lot of these points. We can’t get into all of that here but definitely listen to the podcast if you want to hear about it. 

We also talked books–what we’re reading right now, why we’re reading it, and what we’ve learned. Here are the key takeaways, though I highly recommend listening to the episode for the full rundown:

  • The Presidents’ Club by Nancy Gibbs: This is Damon’s pick, which I actually recommended to him. It’s about how presidents pass down wisdom down the line and help each other learn and make decisions. They even have a literal clubhouse across the street from the White House so they have a place to go together. It’s pretty remarkable that the highest office in the country operates like this and there’s a lot every leader can learn from their experience. We also talk about where Trump fits into the dynamic…
  • Unfu*k Yourself by Gary Bishop: Joe’s pick is about the ways in which we all screw ourselves over in our own minds and how to stop doing that. For example, many of us are always trying to predict the future, worrying about what may or could happen, but what’s the point? What we need to do is figure out what we want to do and make it happen–don’t leave it up to chance. If something out of control gets in the way, you’ll deal with it. That’s just one of the many takeaways from Bishop’s book.
  • The Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman: As you may know, many successful people create something of an alter ego that embodies the success that they want to achieve. I have one (I’ll tell you about him in the episode) and you should have one too. Herman talks about how to develop an alter ego that is effective in getting where you want to be.
  • Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins: Goggins is former military and this book is about his leadership within that context. It reminds me of Jocko Willink’s epic book on leadership Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Don’t miss it.
  • Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain by Danny Goldberg: This one is by Nirvana’s manager. It’s not as clearly business-related as the others on this list, but I couldn’t put it down. It gives you a behind the scenes look at Cobain’s life and if you’re really entrepreneurially and success-minded, I bet you’ll find that a lot of the lessons and themes can relate to your life and business. Plus, it’s just incredibly interesting.

There are tons of good books out there that all business leaders should read. If you have a suggestion, send it my way here. We might just talk about it on the podcast if it makes the cut.

This episode was so good that we broke it up into two. If you’re ready for more, head on over to Part 2 and give it a listen.  

WOMEN IN THE SERVICE DRIVE

WOMEN IN THE SERVICE DRIVE

The Auto Service Drive is male-dominated, and the car industry hasn’t made enough of an effort to understand female customers or recruit more female salespeople and advisors. We know this, but this is what you don’t know…

Personally, I employed tons of women in the service drive. Want to know why? Some of the best advisors I ever had were women. They’re good at the job. Having women around also helps keep the locker talk down.

WOMEN ARE ALSO TERRIFIC, LOYAL CUSTOMERS AND MAKE, OR INFLUENCE 85% OF ALL PURCHASING DECISIONS, INCLUDING TRADITIONAL MALE ONES LIKE…AUTOMOBILES.

 

But, yes, there are differences when dealing with female customers, AND there are different challenges for women when they work in an industry that is male-dominated. So this week we had Lindsey Glass on the show to talk about her experience as a female customer in the service drive.

Whatever you think about female customers—it doesn’t matter what you think. It’s how we make customer’s feel that’s important, so you have to pay attention because it’s a big deal. Perception is reality.

IF YOU’RE A SERVICE ADVISOR OR SERVICE MANAGER, AND YOUR FEMALE CUSTOMERS PERCEIVE YOU’RE INDIFFERENT, THAN THAT’S GOING TO AFFECT YOUR RESULTS AND YOUR CSI REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THAT WAS YOUR INTENTION.

 

Female consumers think differently, and often want the process to be explained. In my experience, women want to know what to expect and want you to take time with them and frame the experience. Here’s my trade secret for when I handled female customers…

I’d walk up with a big smile on my face, find a way to compliment them, ask them what they were doing that day, etc. If I saw a car seat or kids stuff, I’d ask about their kids. I really appreciated my females customers because they’d give praise when we did a good job and were loyal.

FEMALE CUSTOMERS ARE ALSO WAY MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO A MAINTENANCE PLAN. IF YOU TAKE THE TIME TO SHOW THEM WHAT’S AVAILABLE AND EXPLAIN HOW IT ALL WORKS, THEY ARE YOURS FOREVER.

 

To wrap up, let me reiterate, female customers, are loyal and spend money. And, there’s a TON of opportunity for women who want to work in the service drive, so I’ll be writing a follow-up article on how to set yourself up for success if you’re a woman in the Automotive Industry.

Read this article for more Advanced Sales Techniques.