The Top 5 Sales Mistakes That Advisors Make

The Top 5 Sales Mistakes That Advisors Make

Just in:

Tesla is killing Colorado’s auto industry!

No, not really, but it sure sounds that way in a news story about a new Colorado law….

“A bipartisan bill introduced this month in Colorado legislature to allow any automaker to directly retail their battery electric vehicles to consumers is a direct frontal assault on state franchise laws in Colorado and nationwide. If passed and signed into law, it would do grave and lasting damage to Colorado’s franchise auto dealers. Notably […] the fledgling bill is rightly opposed by the Colorado Automobile Dealer’s Association.”

So, I have some thoughts on this, and if you’re a fan of the show, you can probably guess what I’m about to say. 

First of all: this article is a couple weeks old, and the bill passed. Tesla can sell to consumers in Colorado. It’s happening. I can understand the dealers’ worries here, but in fighting this bill they were only delaying the inevitable… 

Before this law passed in Colorado, Tesla was already selling direct-to-consumer in other states… So they aren’t really disrupting anything in Colorado that they hadn’t already disrupted elsewhere. Colorado dealers would be better served learning from the states where Tesla has already set up shop, rather than fighting to stop Tesla from coming to their home state.

Secondly: Even if a state’s law says Tesla can’t sell direct-to-consumer, people in that state are still going to buy Teslas! Case in point: Tesla tried this in Texas – didn’t work there – and you see more Teslas in Dallas than probably anywhere, because it’s the outlaw thing to do!

Third: Nobody listens to me! Time and time again, I’ve talked about Tesla’s advantage over dealerships, and time and time again, companies act surprised when they pay the price for underestimating Tesla! 

Listen: If you’re a Ford dealer with all this money invested in your dealership and a franchise agreement with the manufacturer… you’re probably gonna get hit pretty hard by Tesla doing their thing. But that’s just because their approach works better than yours. It is what it is.

Companies like Ford might feel confident that they can still sell F-150s right now, but let’s see how they do once Tesla’s truck hits the market! Speaking of which, I had an interesting conversation with Jeremy on this week’s show about the design of the new Tesla Cybertruck…. 

…And by “interesting,” I mean we fundamentally disagree on it. I’m sure you’re all familiar with what I’m talking about, because it blew up on the internet after its unveiling. The Cybertruck has been divisive, to say the least. Jeremy can’t stand the design because it looks like something out of a 70s – 80s sci-fi movie, but here’s the thing: I really think that works in its favor.

To anyone who has kids, how many times was there a toy that all the kids wanted for Christmas but it was out of stock? They’re already predicting that’s what’s gonna happen, and we already have an indicator of it. Hot Wheels collaborated with Tesla on a $400 Cybertruck toy, and it’s already sold out!

The scam that these toy companies pull, which happens to parents every year, is that these toys probably aren’t going to be back in stock by Christmas. What’s gonna happen is little Johnny’s Christmas is ruined because he was a good boy all year for Santa but that holly jolly con artist didn’t pull through with the Hot Wheels Cybertruck. He’s going to realize Santa isn’t real, be bitter about his parents lying to him, and it’s going to make them feel pretty guilty.

Then, come February, guess what’s available in mass quantity?

That’s what toy companies do! They create something everybody wants, but they don’t make it available when everyone outside the lucky few needs it. Then, they end up getting something similar from the same brand as a consolation prize to hold their little Johnny over until they get the genuine article in February. But that was the crack in the dam and, by then, Johnny already knows Santa isn’t real.

Hell, I even put myself on the waiting list for one (the toy, not the truck; I’m not in the market for an actual truck) Why not? I don’t particularly like or dislike it, but that’s not what matters. I think, strategically, it’s smart because it pushes the envelope and gets noticed, even if it’s polarizing.

To better understand the business model here, you need to realize that there’s 350 million Americans and Elon Musk only needs 2 million to like it for the Cybertruck to be a success. I think it’s much smarter to get a loyal audience than trying to get everybody to like it. It’s definitely polarizing, yeah, but do you think it would have been talked about nearly as much if it was a GM pickup? If it had a borning, non-confrontational design where it could fit in anywhere but not stand out?

The standard American pickup we’re all used to has its spot in the market – don’t get me wrong – but I think it’s super smart for Elon to come in aggressively with this out there, stylized truck and that’s why you either love it or you hate it. Oddly enough, that’s a great place to be with a product.

Trucks are the highest selling vehicles, and they also create a lot of emotion. In the end, it’s way better to create that emotion and have people pick a side like they do with Ford vs. Chevy than it is to play safe down the middle, and that’s why I think it’ll work.


With that, let’s break it up with some audience questions before I get into the 5 Sales Mistakes Advisors Make. Remember to submit your questions to [email protected] or on our YouTube or LinkedIn and, if we end up using your question on the show, we’re going to send you our sincerest thanks and some swag.

“I am looking to get some more advisor training, but my dealer is not a training kind of dealership. Do you have service advisor training separate from the dealer experience? I am very impressed by the podcast and the info in there. I have made my way to #1 at my dealer because of the information, but I am hungry for more. Please help. It’s hard in Lincoln, Nebraska.”

Here’s an idea: go to a dealer that does provide training. There’s hundreds of them; we got a roster here at Chris Collins Inc.

Jeremy gives some solid advice on this week’s show about investing in your own career. I once spent a total of $200,000 in one year on training for myself, but that’s just because I’m one of those crazy people who actually likes learning new skills. I’ve always been a fan of going to different kinds of training, because even if it doesn’t seem like it applies to what I’m doing, I always learn something.

“Hi, Chris. I am researching inspection software. I am a service advisor for Dave Smith Alfa Romeo and Maserati in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We currently have MPI, but do not use it consistently. What digital inspection software do you recommend? I would like to see us use one that is easy on the techs, and helpful for our guests.”

My feeling is that digital inspections, most of the time, slow the process down because we don’t have a consistent system, and if you can’t do it on paper, you can’t do it digitally. I always start with a good, old-fashioned two paper inspection sheet; getting the techs to do it right under the car. It’s easy, it’s fast, and stapled to every RO. But if you can’t do it on paper, you can’t do it digitally.

If you get good at paper, you’ll be good at doing it digitally, but we often buy the software thinking it’s a magic pill but it’s not. Garbage in, garbage out.

Top 5

Now let’s talk about the top 5 mistakes that advisors make in sales presentations. These are the mistakes that are directly cost them sales, so you’re really going to want to pay attention and see if you’re spotting these in your shop:

  1. They are not prepared for the presentation.
    They simply pick up the phone and they wing it. How do you prepare for a sales presentation? You’ve got to have the customer’s primary concern dealt with and have an A, B, and C game plan for what needs to be addressed; have all the numbers ready so that they can make a decision without needing a calculator.
  2. They’re not focused.
    They’re just not focused on their job, the customer, or the outcome; they’re distracted. 100% of your energy and passion needs to be put into the presentation, and a pro needs to lock themselves off from the outside world. Listen to customer clues and deal with objections before you move forward.
  3. T vs. R: Transactional versus Relationship.
    I’ve dealt with people before where I could tell they didn’t care about me at all, and that was at the DMV and with the TSA. A lot of advisors treat their customers worse than the TSA agents do (minus the cavity search). I’ve never had a TSA person so much as to ask me how my day is. They could care less. For things to go from transactional to a relationship with a customer, you got to understand that the decision you’re helping your client make today ahs financial consequences in the long term, and you got to be there for them every step of the way.
  4. They didn’t pet the dog.
    Over 80% of successful sales depend on what you do at the vehicle drop off. When the customer comes in, they judge based on that initial face time whether you genuinely care about them or not. Some advisors think that customers are cattle who need to be corralled into the slaughterhouse to feed the business, but customers obviously don’t want to be treated that way; no one does! They’ll be able to tell if you do, so you need to build a strategy for connecting with the customer on a personal level. The second thing is you got to plant the seed for later on that you’re going to do the inspection so they don’t get caught off-guard when you call them later.
    If you start off the presentation with, “Hey, my technician checked it out and found some things that should be addressed,” then you’re the hero.
  5. They do NOT have a sales coach.
    There are plenty of things a sales coach would help a service advisor out on, especially with presentations. Just thinking about myself, the first one is mindset and tools. The second one is roleplaying and practice. A lot of advisors don’t have any tools, and they’re practicing every day through trial by fire with live customers. That’s not only the most expensive form of practice with any sales job, it’s damned wasteful, too.
    The biggest thing I would say when I’m coaching advisors is to shut up. What I mean by that is most advisors talk people out of it. They either sound nervous or they see the sale through their wallet. The point of the sale isn’t to improve the value of the customer’s car, the value you’re selling is that the service is going to keep them safe when they drive their family around, or go to work or school. That sort of thing.

And the bonus 6th mistake is… It’s all the Parts Department’s fault.

With that, I hope you got some tools that’ll make you think a little bit different, and I hope this week’s show makes you laugh a little bit. Thank you to everyone who submitted a question; always appreciated. We’ll see you again next week on Service Drive Revolution!

The Top 5 Shift Meeting Hype Songs

The Top 5 Shift Meeting Hype Songs

We’ve hit more than a million downloads!

That’s nuts. And we owe it all to you. Huge shout out to everyone who’s been listening and watching Service Drive Revolution. It’s all thanks to you!

So a few months ago, I was speaking at an automotive accounting event in Vegas. No, it wasn’t NADA (I already said I stopped going to those), but it’s similar. The only real difference was that this event was for brokers instead of dealers. 

And just like NADA, the hosts at this event were also telling me not to talk about Tesla because it’s an “uncomfortable” subject!

Well, these brokers were talking about how Volkswagen doesn’t have a clue, because they’re transitioning to electric cars and, in their own words, “Americans don’t want electric cars.” 

Bull. Absolute bull. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This isn’t about us, it’s about China

China has been selling 30 million new cars a year – twice as much as the US. They’re not only dominating the world car market, they’re also phasing out combustion engines. 

By 2026, every new car in China has to be electric. It’s a game changer. That’s why Tesla opened a factory there. It’s part of the reason why the CEO of BMW stepped down… 

…But, according to these brokers, Volkswagen doesn’t have a clue? From what I can tell, by going electric in anticipation of this change, Volkswagen is miles ahead of the competition!

Look, I get it. The internal combustion engine built our market, and our industry was modeled after what Henry Ford did with the Model T…. But it’s not just about selling cars or servicing cars anymore. Transportation is changing. By getting rid of the internal combustion engine, we’re being forced to swap out the very backbone of our industry!

In the last three years alone, countries like Norway, Denmark, Israel, Iceland, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, Ireland, and most importantly China have all publicly announced plans to phase out combustion vehicles by 2030. Now, aside from China, these aren’t very big markets compared to the U.S. But I bet you that every other major market is going to follow eventually. 

Regardless of your personal beliefs in things like climate change, there’s a clear and overwhelming trend starting, and the industry has to adapt if it’s going to survive.

Speaking of transportation changing….

There’s an all-female shop in Philly called the Girls Auto Clinic. It was founded in 2013 by Patrice Banks to empower women to have equal roles in the auto industry by educating and employing women in a full-service auto repair shop.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking: isn’t that some sort of… reverse discrimination?

Yeah, that’s a fair point. 

Why couldn’t a guy apply to work in that shop? Then again, he could always open his own all-male shop, right? But wait– A lot of shops are all-male shops without even trying to be! It’s a male-dominated industry, and there’s nothing fresh or unique about an all-male shop! Who knows? Maybe consumers have a tendency to trust a shop more if it’s all-female. 

The shop has been around for 7 years, after all. They must be doing something right!

Now, we’re not here to talk about the difference between a male or female service advisor, but I’ve always tried to get female advisors in any male-dominated drive because it balances out the shenanigans that are bound to happen in a testosterone-fueled environment. 

But the funny thing is, a lot of female customers don’t trust female advisors. Most of the time, they ask for a dude! Now, I’m not saying that’s how it is in every shop across the board, but it’s definitely something I’ve noticed, and that’s just crazy to me.

That being said, people do relate and open up a bit more when it’s men talking to men or women talking to women. That’s just human behavior. Either way, an all-girl shop is a cute marketing idea and if we can get more women into the industry, I’m all for it! 

Some of the top managers we’ve had in our coaching group have been female. You don’t want to scare talent away and cause them to go to other industries just because of their gender.

Now it’s time for Terms You Should Know:

Efficiency vs. Proficiency.

Efficiency is how many hours the technicians flag vs. how many hours are available so, if they’re working an 8 hour day and they flagged 8 hours, that’s 100%. If they work an eight hour day and they flagged 16 hours, that’s 200%. 24 hours, 300%. 30 hours, 375%.

Proficiency is a formula of how long they’re clocked on a repair order which means nothing. If you flag 200%, I couldn’t care less about proficiency. If you bonus on proficiency but your efficiency is low, you’re losing money so the thing I would like you to do is just focus on efficiency and forget about proficiency.

It’s something consultants love to talk about to confuse you and make you feel like you need them, but it’s not a measurement that I’ve ever seen improve the bottom line.

But what does go a long way, is having a shift meeting. 

Take 10 minutes out of every day with your advisors, your technician, and refocus them. Get them pumped. We encourage you to play music before every meeting, so let me tell you my current top five shift meeting songs:

  1. Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name
  2. Run the Jewels – Talk to Me
  3. Greta Van Fleet – When the Curtain Falls
  4. Tim McGraw – Live Like You Were Dying
  5. Pearl Jam – Clairvoyants

Get everybody focused on what they should be doing today – not thinking about their bills or problems – and get them focused on delivering a five-star customer experience!

Now to wrap it up with our audience questions…

“Our dealer has a $12.95 oil change semi-synthetic or false synthetic. We have customers that only come in for the low cost oil changes. When I offer any other services, they decline. Some are converted, but not as many as I would prefer. Sometimes I ask them why they won’t allow us to earn their business. They say, ‘Oh, I have a mechanic.’ Then I respond, ‘But your mechanic doesn’t offer oil changes for $12.95.’ I feel like this is the wrong response or attitude, but I feel like a cheap whore and we’re being used. Any tactics for a higher conversion rate? Thanks.”

Wow. Sorry you feel like a cheap whore. Don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

Still, a great question. There’s a couple things going on here… and the first one that you have to understand is that selling is like a batting average. A lot of times, you feel like you’re not selling, but most of the time you actually are making good numbers. It’s the same thing that happens to techs in the shop. They feel like, “Oh, I fill out the inspection sheet but we never sell the work,” but if you go back and look, you actually are probably selling work!

If you’re going to run some sort of campaign that was going to drive traffic, that would be a good one; $12.95 is driving traffic. It’s working! You want to concentrate on being consistent and not letting the ones that don’t buy get into your head, right?

You don’t have control of the marketing at the dealership but know that you’re lucky to be getting traffic because some shops don’t get any at all – it’s better to have something than nothing!

You also gotta frame it as investing marketing dollars back into the customer. The sale isn’t made on the back end when you present the inspection, it’s made at the write-up. When you pet the dog and have a great conversation up front, you might just wow them and make them want to switch from their mechanic to you. Make it a process and keep doing it and you’ll convert plenty. 

I would also say that you’re probably projecting; you’re projecting that you’re a $12.95 loser and it’s almost like you’re asking a question with the intention of a negative outcome. What I would say in those situations is something to the effect of, “Hey, I’m glad you’re here for the oil change and that you keep coming back, but I want to earn ALL your business. What can I do to earn that?” and then shut up.

At the risk of shamelessly plugging our training, our coaches are skilled in handling objections like that. If you had a coach, you could work with your coach and better your skill set!

“I started a job as a service advisor a month ago with no experience. I picked it up quick, and now I’m doing pretty much everything including warranty work with a little bit of help every now and then. How do I get more hours per R.O. and how do I make it work for me to increase my gross profits?!? Because my co-worker told me that the less you pay the technician, the bigger your gross profit numbers get. On the other hand, everybody keeps talking about increasing the hours per R.O. so I’m a little confused. Any advice? Thanks much.”

The first thing I would say is that it’s the most moronic thing ever to pay an advisor on gross, and you want an advisor to worry about paying the tech less?! You’re not training them. They don’t even understand what gross is! 

We’re in an industry where we need technicians, by the way. We’re losing two technicians for every new one coming in, and we’re going to create a situation where advisors are trying not to pay technicians?! That’s crazy! 

The gist of it is: don’t pay the techs less. What you want to do is hold your effective labor rate. The effective labor rate has nothing to do with hours per R.O. but hours per R.O. will help you sell more gross collectively. On every hour of labor you sell, the higher the effective labor rate, the higher your gross.

You want to increase your effective labor rate, focus on helping the customer first! If they like and trust us, they’re not going to be as focused on price.

Once again, we appreciate everybody for tuning in and downloading a million times!! I’m still blown away by this milestone. Thanks again to all of you, and we’ll see you again next week!



Let me take you on a quick trip back to my band days. For those of you not familiar with “band” thinking, it’s very much like being in a gang. You must stick together, and everything is for the good of the band. So one day we’re practicing and Ian Astbury comes in and asks if there’s a drummer who wants to try out for The Cult. Well, I was the only drummer in the room so it was totally awkward. But because I was completely committed to that, “we must stick together,” band mindset I passed on the opportunity. My mistake.

But, back to mindset and being a prisoner of your own mind… Almost without fail, when we meet with new clients, whether they’re service advisors, service managers, or owners they’re stuck in an old way of thinking, often the result of bad experiences, or feelings not facts. That is no way to run a business, and I don’t want you missing out on your chance at being the drummer for The Cult. You create your own destiny. No, I haven’t just returned from Burning Man. This is real. Your mindset affects everything you do from dealing with problems to how you feel about yourself. So you have to have a mindset that is positive and informed to make smart decisions.


Tip 1. Do your research on current prices and see where you’re off. It’s lazy not to look at data and make assumptions about what people will or won’t spend.

Next, tip 2. Try new things and be open to new ideas. I promise that if you open your mind your brain won’t fall out.

I remember when I was always out in stores I constantly saw new things that were going on. But once I was stuck in my own shop I stopped seeing all those fresh ideas, and started to fall into the trap of creating my own ideas of what would work, or what wouldn’t. You must leave your own territory and see what other people are up to.

Tip 3. Train your employees about financials and profits. How to understand them and make pricing decisions that will help your shop make money.

It’s outdated, but we still think of technicians as grease monkeys, or somehow not skilled laborers. But with today’s technology these guys are mechanics, electricians, and in some cases almost engineers. You can’t do business without them, or their service advisors, so they all MUST learn about their numbers and financial statements too. The fact that service managers are not trained on financials is a joke.


  •  Base decisions on facts over feelings.
  • Do your research and get the correct data.
  • Get outside your market and see what other business are doing.
  • Get a coach to help because we see what’s out there.
  • Get in a coaching group so you can be exposed to lots of different things and people.
  • Open your mind to new strategies and opportunities.




Service Industries all share the same goals, and the good ones share the same principles.

At our last “Elite Coaching Group” Meeting we had DLynn Proctor from the Documentary SOMM as a guest speaker.

He shared his lessons learned on Performance, Customer Service, Mindset, Increasing Sales and Margins.

Here’s a part of the interview for you…

We spent over two hours with him and learned a bunch of great stuff.

Hope you enjoy the video and have a great week.

Chris “Bulldog” Collins

P.S. If you are wondering what the “Elite Group “is …. Its something we started last year in our   Service Managers Coaching Group, for those that have been in the group awhile and are performing at an extremely high level. The Best CSI, Profitability, Leadership Skills.  Its an exclusive group that new members are voted in after a test, interview and some old school hazing.



You know sales isn’t always the easiest job in the world. And you know getting your team motivated can be even harder because let’s face it… sometimes people get lazy and don’t perform nearly as well as they could.

What if you could increase your sales big time by playing games with your team? Could it really be that easy? You bet it is because my clients and I have been using the gamification technique for nearly 20 years with incredible results.

“The Secret Weapon…”

If you haven’t heard of it, gamification is my secret weapon I use to motivate my teams and sell like crazy. Time and time again, every team I’ve ever worked with, or clients who want more sales, gamification is the secret sauce to getting massive results and increased sales.

Here’s how it works…

Simply put, gamification incorporates fun games and rewards into your sales process. It utilizes deep psychological triggers that your sales staff will find irresistible. It almost forces them to work harder and sell more because they love it so much… In fact, they look forward to it!

You see, when you start engaging your sales staff with games, they start bringing their A game to work. And of course this makes you not only look good, it also increases your bottom line exponentially. In fact 30% increases in sales are more common than not.

“Have Fun, Make Sales…”

Plus, a side effect that happens is you start creating a company culture that your staff feels proud to be a part of and they actually look forward to going to work instead of dreaded it. They have fun and make money, and as a result YOU have more fun and make more money. It’s a win win situation for everyone.

One of my favorite games is blackjack. I’ve used it with my own staff and shown thousands of others how to use it with theirs. It’s also a favorite among the sales staff so that’s why I use it so often. Not to mention how easy it is and all you need is a deck of cards and some cash. The only difference here is the house never wins… your staff wins and that’s what motivates them to start hustling and make sales!

“Here’s How…”

Now, there is a specific method to using blackjack or any other game you choose to properly motivate your team. And the good news is I’d like to send you everything you need to set up your first blackjack game for free!

Just enter your name and email below and within 5 short minutes you can set up your first game and watch the sales start pouring in…

-Chris “The Bulldog” Collins