Tag Archives: Service Advisors Training

‘Service Concierge’ is the Biggest Threat to Your Service Advisors - Chris Talks to the Mastermind Behind It

Can Service Advising Be Automated? Quik Auto’s Jack Gardner Says Yes

These days, it’s more important than ever that businesses meet customers where they’re at. This means creating platforms that allow customers to engage when and where they need to rather than sticking with old school systems that don’t work anymore. That’s definitely true in the auto service industry and many service advisors–maybe even you–are looking for ways to deliver their services more effectively. 

I had Quik Auto CEO Jack Gardner join me on Service Drive Revolution to talk about how he created a platform to automate and digitize some of the work that auto customer service advisors and auto repair consultants have traditionally done. It’s started to take the automotive consulting world by storm and there’s a lot we can all learn about how it came to be and why it’s so successful in the world of automotive consulting services. 

Jack started his career as a Toyota tech and then tried sales. Turns out he was pretty good at the sales game. The problem is…he didn’t like it at first. He decided and even attempted to quit, but his manager pushed him to stay on. When he did, his mentality changed. There was less pressure and more drive to just see what he could learn and do. He describes it as “confidence that was derived from product knowledge”, and it led to a $16k paycheck in his second week alone. He also got into a fair amount of trouble and has some funny stories to tell, but I’ll let you listen to his episode to find out more about that…

Jack’s sales strategies were simple but effective. When the concept of leasing cars started to come up, he was hesitant at first because he didn’t get it. But when he saw another salesperson making bank off of fewer sales, he realized it was time to learn the game. He saw the money in it and learned everything there was to know about leasing. 

Once he had the expert knowledge about leasing, he figured out how to get that information to skeptical clients. He had a line he’d use to get them interested in learning more about it: “Would you agree that a better decision will always be made based on all of the facts, as opposed to some of the facts?” 

Once they said yes, they were on the hook to hear his pitch about leasing…and it worked. Then his strategy was to deliver a pitch that focuses on the basic terminology and information clients would need to make a decision, instead of getting into percentages and residual rates. His goal was to help them understand this new concept and why it would be a solid option for them to consider. And people considered it…at the staggering rate of about 60%. 

From there, it was all finding the “sweet spot”. He learned early on that allowing clients’ leases to mature was a bad move. After their leases matured, clients would come in to return their cars but often put more mileage on the cars than they had agreed upon. Once the contract was up, that meant that Jack had to tell the client that they owe more money, which never went down well and took up a lot of time and energy. So he started to touch base with clients to talk about trade-in before their leases were up. The trick about the sweet spot was that there was no specific timeline around it, it just came up whenever the manufacturer needed to move a supply of cars off of the lot. So Jack would wait for those moments to come up, then call clients who were leasing and offer them a new lease on a new car for a “comparable” payment, with “comparable” being the magic word. 

Another key point Jack made was that people remember the little things. If you deliver consistently on the little things, like making sure each leased car has a full tank of gas when it leaves the lot, you’re golden. That’s what people remember. So clients would spread the word to others about leasing and the smooth process and the next thing you know, he’s got an incredibly lucrative leasing business that leads directly into a solid used car business.

From there, Jack went into finance for a few years, then started as a general manager, and moves on to start training people how to lease cars. And then…he met a guy at a bar, as he puts it. They started talking shop and eventually decided to launch Quik Video, a business that sent information on multi-point inspections to customers in a manner in which they understood it. From there, it grew well beyond videos and into texting, electronic multi-point inspection, internal chat and more and they changed the name from Quik to encompass the new services. Quik. is a digital service advisor that lets customers see what their options are, learn about them, and make decisions without an in-person advisor. Basically, they offer a solution that makes relationships between dealers and customers more honest, open and transparent.

But more than the technology itself, the key to Quik.’s success has been consistency. Jack’s strategy was built on a few pretty simple but really important rules. The first one is Toyota’s Quarter Time, meaning that the results of a multi-point inspection should be in the customer’s hands in the first 15 minutes, which leads to an 80% chance of selling the work. If it takes 39 minutes, so those first 15 plus 24 minutes of delay, that percentage falls down to 10%. So Quik. offers dealerships a way to put that video out to a customer in 15 minutes, which led to impressive sales results. It’s a tried and true rule that many automotive industry consultants know, and it was confirmed yet again through the Quik. platform. 

Quik’s software saves dealerships tons of money and can generate even more revenue from customers. Why? According to Jack, customers have a hard time believing service advisors because they view them as salespeople looking to make the most money possible. When a digital program is telling them what they need, they tend to trust it–it’s just a machine that doesn’t know how to lie or upsell. In addition, customers can learn more and do it on their own time when they’re using software to do it. So, basically, they upsell themselves to the tune of about 30%. When they’re making decisions online, they opt in for more maintenance than they would with an old school in-person advisor. 

Plus, once customers decide they want to do in terms of maintenance, a technician can then look at that as well as what they decided not to do. If the technician thinks that the service is necessary, they can explain to the customer why they should do it in an online video that goes directly from the tech to the customer. This way, as Jack describes it, the customer gets that advice directly from the “doctor”–the technician–rather than the “receptionist”–the advisor. Psychologically, this gives the customer the sense that this work is important and gives them the opportunity to understand why, so they are much more likely to go for it.

Over time, Jack has learned that automating everything is crucial to Quik.’s success. Integrating with DMS (we won’t tell you which is the worst out there), making sure all of the different systems that are part of the inspection and maintenance process are talking to one another…those automation make sure everything goes smoothly. 

Jack’s main goals have been to help dealerships increase their revenue without additional work and to build a platform that gives customers what they want and need, instead of forcing them to use an antiquated system that makes it stressful and difficult for them. In elevating the customer experience, the three things that both the dealer and the OEM are truly concerned with will fall right into place:

  1. They will sell more work, which means the manufacturer is selling more parts–more selling all around.
  2. Customer Service Index will go up, because you’ve exceeded the consumer’s expectations.
  3. Retention will go up because of the other two fell into place, so why would the customer go anywhere else?

So, service advisors…what’s your takeaway here? It’s not that your role is going to be eliminated because technology can never fully replace talented service advisors. The takeaway is to develop strategies that allow you to be CONSISTENT in what you provide and how you provide it. As Jack says, technology won’t replace people, but it will replace the weak. If you aren’t weak, technology like Quik. will only help you out. If you are, it may take you out. If you’re interested in learning more about Quik., give Jack Gardner’s episode on the Service Drive Revolution podcast a listen here and check out their websites: Quik. and Service Concierge.

A Prisoner in your own mind?

HOW MINDSET DRIVES BUSINESS PERFORMANCE ON THE SERVICE DRIVE

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.

IF I HAD A DIME FOR EVERY TIME I ASKED A CLIENT TO RETHINK THEIR PRICING AND THEY SAID NO WITHOUT DOING ANY RESEARCH ON PRICES IN THE CURRENT ECONOMY I’D BE A BAZILLIONAIRE.

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.

I HAVE TO GO WALK THE DOGS BUT HERE’S YOUR QUICK RECAP ON HOW TO RESET YOUR MINDSET:

  •  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.

OK, GET TO WORK ON OPENING THAT MIND BECAUSE I PROMISE, YOUR BRAIN WON’T FALL OUT! I’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK WITH MORE TIPS AND TOOLS FOR BUSINESS PERFORMANCE.

Gamification with Mario Pernillo

GAMIFICATION: YOUR HACK TO MAKING HAPPY, PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYEES

Wouldn’t work be amazing if everyone did their job? Seriously, how many times have you asked your employees to do something only to turn around and realize they didn’t do it, or did it half-assed? That makes me extremely unhappy, and I’m pretty sure you feel the same.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are lots of great employees—the kind who work hard, take pride in their performance, and act like a committed member of your team. And, we appreciate them. But, even those special types struggle if they’re not in the right environment. So whether we’re talking about service advisors, service managers or service technicians, how do you get people to willingly do their best all the time?

The answer is Gamification, and it’s exactly what it sounds like—using game playing to increase employee productivity and drive results. We’ve been doing this in the car industry for years—using games to motivate our teams. In the 400+ dealerships I’ve turned around, Gamification is still the best way I’ve found to drive momentum and results and get better work out of your workers. We are a competitive species. And the proof is the gaming industry. As of today, it’s worth $200 billion.

The point is if you’re not playing games with your employees, then they’ll just be playing games on their phones, instead of working. And, we all know how frustrating that is. So let’s get into the best ways to use Gamification. First, keep in mind the key to Gamification is anything can be a game. Don’t over-complicate this, or get caught up in too many rules. Get a deck of cards, or some dice—certainly keep things simple to get started. At Chris Collins Inc. we play games every day. Some of our favorite in-office games are dollar poker, baseball, bozo buckets, or anything that involves shooting things.

You can gamify your MVP’s— your most valuable products—you can gamify systems, sales, information gathering, call times—you can gamify almost anything, any system, any customer-facing interaction.

If you aren’t already a Gamification pro, you can get the specifics on how to set up games from this week’s Service Drive Revolution show. And, you can always get my book, Gamificationif you struggle with coming up with ideas. There are hundreds in there and they have instructions. Our guest host on the show this week, Mario Pernillo, talks about choosing games that have the right vibe for your tribe, and how you should pick a game that you think might work well for your group, and the issues they’re struggling with.

As the leader, boss, or manager it’s your job to get Gamification started, and create that energy. Make it exciting and show the guys you have prizes to give them. If you take the time to implement fun games, with rewards, the results will speak for themselves. Your employees will be more upbeat and more productive. We know – from experience.

The Answer To the Tech Drought

MAKE SURE YOUR SERVICE DRIVE IS DROUGHT PROOF

Take a moment and imagine…

It’s late on a Friday night, and your wife is calling for the fourth time asking when you’ll be home. You barely take her calls at this point because you know what she’s going to say, “You’re never around.”

You just lost your best technician, and man, he took a job in ANOTHER industry.

You’ve posted ads looking for new, qualified technicians, but the only guys who came in couldn’t get through HR, or pass a drug test. Your blood pressure is up. You’re pulling your hair out because you’re really worried you’re going to lose your job. The owner of the shop is coming down on you every day, customers are furious with the amount of time it’s taking to get their cars fixed. You’re starting to seriously consider outsourcing some of your shop’s work just to make the angry customer calls stop, despite what a financial loss that will be.

You find yourself in a completely unmanageable situation, and it doesn’t seem to matter what you do. You just can’t win.

Unfortunately, this is a true story. It happened to a friend of mine. And, almost every service manager I’ve met has a version of this. In this particular case my friend was literally at the end of his rope before he called me asking for help.

Fast-forward six months…

It’s Friday evening and the sun is just about to set. You look around and realize everyone is heading out for the day. There’s no one in the waiting room because all the cars have been repaired and returned to their owners, on time or ahead of schedule. Seriously.

A tech walks by and you tense up. He pops his head into your office to say, “We’re all done for the day. Hope you have a nice weekend!” Have a nice weekend… It’s music to your ears. Your wife sends a text that reads: See you soon! <3

Then your boss walks by and waves at you, which is the most enthusiastic he gets. You look around and realize there’s no more work to be done. It’s early enough that you’ll be home in time for dinner AND to show up to your son’s junior high basketball league game. You’ve done it and you sigh with relief.

This is life in a healthy, efficient shop. We can help you get there.

But, let me break it down for you:

The problem?

It’s simple. There’s a shortage of qualified technicians, and the work is backed up.

Why?

That gets more complicated. There are a lot of reasons. Some stem from the fact that young people are not coming into the industry because millennials don’t want to be techs. They have other interests, and cars just aren’t that important to them. Then, there’s the cost associated with entering the occupation—often a $7,000+ investment. Another big problem is how many great techs are leaving the industry due to poor treatment or wages.

What does it mean for me?

If you haven’t felt the loss yet, you will.

We’re headed towards a place where technicians will be outnumbered 2:1 making finding qualified ones even harder.

The good news is we have plenty of ways to help you not only survive, but thrive despite the impending technician drought resistant.

I mean, we’re fixers here at Chris Collins inc. It’s what we do, and we’re going to help you fix this problem just like we fix your other problems. No, we can’t train your dog, or go with you to counseling. But we’ve created some products that will ensure your business is drought free.

Stay tuned because more solutions are coming…

Bringing Sexy Back by Chris Collins

HOW TO MAKE CSI AND PROFIT SEXY AGAIN

This week we’re talking about how to make profit and CSI sexy. Get your mind out of the gutter because it’s not what you think…

One of the things that drives me the craziest is when people are having trouble with their service drive and they tell me they need more traffic, or some fancy gadget to solve their problems with profits or CSI. That is absolutely not the solution and here’s why. What we talk about the most is great execution and how to create momentum, and it seems like people are missing the basics.

Everybody wants their system to be exciting. OK, I get it, but they forget simple things like, answering the phone and greeting customers. People get busy searching for the new software that will save the day, but that won’t fix your business if you don’t have a solid foundation. You must be able to block and tackle first. Finding that next cool thing is meaningless until you do the basics brilliantly. After you’ve mastered the basics, then you can work on expanding and using technology to move yourself forward.

Subtle can be sexy. The basics can be sexy.

When we go into a business we audit the repair orders. Time and again we find that there’s no viable system in place. So while they tell us they need more traffic, what we know to be true is that more traffic will only bring about more of the same problems.

Let’s try something… Can you answer these questions? What happens when the customers drive up to the curb of your service drive? Do they sit there waiting? Does the service advisor come out and greet them at the car? Do customers know where to go? Often we overlook these things and want a magic pill to fix the business when what we really need is a flawless system up front. Here are the fundamentals for a strong front end:

  1.  Answer the phones and make appointments.
  2.  Have a great attitude.
  3.  Greet the customer.
  4.  Check their history.
  5.  Inspect the car while getting their history.
  6.  Offer all this in a way that the customer is comfortable and doesn’t feel pressure.

 

It’s crucial to excel up front so that it’s a nice experience, and your customers feel like you care about them. If you can help your customers avoid surprises, and not push sales down their throat you will become a customer collector. And, isn’t that the point?

You just create a great process. The trick is believing you can do it, and then practicing it over and over until it becomes second nature. And it will. We need to pursue excellence every day, and there are a lot of things to think about. Even when things are moving along you should always be looking ahead and thinking, what can we fix next?

The mother of retention is repetition. If you want to move the ball in a certain direction, get your CSI up and increase customer pay sales. Then get your team together (the service managers, service advisors and service technicians) and start training them! Figure out what you want it to look like, and what it’s going to take to get there. Then train, train, train, and train some more. A great training program where you do it step by step will work. The key to all of it is the basics, so stop thinking you need more traffic until your averages are really high. Traffic isn’t the hard part, and we can help you get traffic.

To recap, execution is most important and more traffic will only make things much worse if you’re not doing things right. You’ll lose your customer’s trust because they don’t feel cared for, or they’re waiting forever, or they don’t get called back. And, it’s your fault because your advisors are writing 20 customers.

No tablet or robot is going to fix this. So to all the service managers and service advisors: slow it down, get out of your office, and watch the customer experience. Break it down step by step. Fix one step, and then fix the next step, and the results will blow you away.

Motivate Your Techs

INSPIRATION IS NOT OPTIONAL: MOTIVATE YOUR SERVICE TECHNICIANS!

Business problems are easy, people problems are hard. I didn’t invent that phrase. It’s been said many times by many people, and it holds true for every business. Don’t pretend this doesn’t apply to you and your drive. I’ve said it before and I will say it again:

The most important people in your business and least cared about, are your service technicians.

Your service technicians are the only ones in the company who are qualified to solve your customer’s problems. Without talented, well-motivated technicians your drive simply can’t operate efficiently.

First, let’s agree that success is defined by the end goal. Results are what matters. We are the sum of what we achieve, not what we intend. It doesn’t matter if someone had the best intentions in the world. In business, what matters is how much gets accomplished.

Without exception, service departments that perform well have a leader who’s created a strong system. Without clear rules and accountability, the system breaks down. So you must have a good, easy-to-understand system. Then, you must be able to share that system. Start taking notes now because this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

This is the stuff that’s actually working on drives all over the country!

Tip #1 – Track Production

This is production! You have to see how much people are producing. You’re living in the dark ages if you’re afraid to put the scores up in your service drive. Hang a dry erase board immediately and start tracking their hours. It doesn’t matter if some guys don’t like that idea. You can’t worry about the low performer, or be afraid of losing him. Equality of result is a lie. It’s equality of opportunity. Everybody has the same opportunity but not everybody is going to get the same results.

If you’re feeding your low-performing technicians so that they somehow get the same hours as the guy who’s working his butt off, you’re not creating a culture of high performers. The culture of performance is vital. Create that culture of performance by writing down the numbers from yesterday and everyone will be kept accountable.

Tip #2 Get to know your technicians

The single best way to make your technicians feel appreciated is to sit down with them once a month and talk about their goals. No, you don’t have to be their therapist, or Oprah, to make a huge difference. Use lunch as an opportunity to get together. Trust me, no one is going to poach your guys if you have a personal relationship with them. Your technicians are people too—they’ve got families and situations to deal with so find out what’s making these guys tick.

If you have a busy schedule and not much time to chitchat here’s a cheat sheet of questions you can ask: How’s work going? How can I help? What’s in your way? How can we get better as a department? Since we know from experience that they feel like the most ignored and picked on group in your shop, it’s your responsibility to change that.

Tip #3 Gamification!

If you have not read my book, Gamification, here’s the link.

Buy it and read it cover to cover. Look, I know the technicians are there to fix cars, but they also need to enjoy being at work. Gamification is playing for profits. It’s important to have a pattern interrupt with them where they get to have a break and have some fun. Let them throw a baseball or basketball at lunch—whatever gets their energy and mood up. If those don’t sound good to you, the book has at least 50 games in it so there’s plenty to choose from. I promise, if you throw some cash around, and add some work games into the mix, your technicians will get more done and be much happier in the process.

Advanced Sales

SKYROCKET YOUR SALES WITH THESE ADVANCED SALES TECHNIQUES

I recently found out that we added a new service—we can marry you. That’s right, our very own coach, Jair Martinez has been ordained in the state of CA! (I’m not sure what that says about California.) So, not only do we have the best coaching groups, advisor training, and service manager University around at Chris Collins Inc., now we can offer wedding services. Imagine the fun.

Every day is a new adventure here at Chris Collins Inc.

On today’s choose your own adventure, we’re dosing you with advanced sales tips so sit back, relax and enjoy the trip.

Let’s start with two strategies that seem like common sense, but actually aren’t as commonly practiced as you’d think—tone and mirroring. G-man found these tips in a little book called, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz. We discussed these and more on this week’s show. In case you haven’t watched the show yet, we’ll share them with you here.

You make a lot of sales calls in your service drive, right? We always hear about the different tones of voice you can use when you’re on the phone with prospects. There’s the EXCITED VOICE!! The Direct Voice. And the late night DJ voice. That’s right, folks, I’ll be here alllll night. Smooth, relaxing, and there for you in those late night hours.

The tone we choose to use to engage our customers will literally set the tone for the conversation, and get them in the mood to buy from us. There’s varying philosophies on which tone works the best, but for success across the board—we’ve found the late night DJ voice is the most consistently effective. The late night DJ voice is soothing to most everyone, and that’s always going to be the one you use when things get heated. It’s also non-threatening and calms people down, and a calm customer is usually the happier customer.

The second strategy is called mirroring, and you’re probably familiar with the concept. Just like the late night DJ voice, this tip also works just as effectively for service managers and advisors. Mirroring is when a salesperson uses the last three or four words the customer said to them and repeats it back as a question. For example, if the customer says, “I don’t need my brakes checked today.”

You’d say, “Are you sure you don’t need me to check your brakes?”

This forces them to explain to you why they don’t need the service done. And often, in the process of explaining, they realize that they really do need it done! Or sometimes, if you do this repeat back process a couple times, people will break down and agree just to get you to stop asking questions. This is a scenario in which we actually want people to be “yes men.”

The science behind mirroring is that we’re attracted to things that are familiar, while we often feel repelled by things that seem foreign. So don’t repel people. Bring them closer to you with a soft voice and mirroring language. It gives the feeling of comfort and has a higher success rate.

Whether you need wedding services, want to join one of our awesome coaching groups or just enjoy reading my sales tips every week–here at Chris Collins inc. we’re here to serve. So dream big and sell hard!

Click here to subscribe and watch the show!

The First 100 Days

FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE, THE $50,000 TOURNAMENT AND OTHER TIPS FOR ENSURING SUCCESS IN 2017!

Can You Beat Trump’s First 100 Days?

Momentum matters and we’ve been talking about how to get into the year with the most momentum possible. First, you must be smart about your business and guarantee success from the very start of the year. How do you do that? I’m glad you asked and I’m going to tell you because we literally have the best service advisor training, service manager training, the best beats…and we will break dance fight you.

We’re more than a month into 2017 and the big question is what are your first 100 days of 2017 going to be like?

What prompted me thinking about this was hearing how so many people struggle with the simplest things in taking action. Often people get handicapped by the easiest pieces and I’m always hearing, “I can’t do this, I can’t do that…”

Yes you can! You can do anything! This is America for heaven’s sake!

To provide a parallel, we did research and in the first 100 days of the presidency the list of things that needs to get done includes hiring literally thousands of people, meeting with world leaders, planning initiatives, an inaugural ball, and that’s just the beginning. Like Trump or not—has he done more than you in his first days in office?

Think about everything the president has to do and then ask yourself why you’re struggling with simple stuff like changing prices?

What I’m saying is, get proactive! This is your opportunity to do an inventory on how much you’ve done to improve your business, get better and better yourself in the first part of 2017. You have to do it while the momentum is there. You have to set a pace right away and get everyone used to how this is going to work. Let your people know, “Hey, we’re going to tee it up and knock it down, and we’re going to do that over and over and over! If that’s not your pace then maybe this isn’t the right environment for you.”

Try changing your prices. Maybe you can get some downhill that you’ll be able to ride for part of the year. I talk to people every day who tell me things like, “Maybe we’ll handle that in June.” This literally blows my mind. I’m like, really? You want to wait six months? You’re going to lose the first half of the year! You have to take advantage of that time and start doing better now.

If you’re a service manager make a plan and tell your service advisors and technicians: this is going to happen on this day, and this is going to happen on this day. You need to prepare them and tell them what’s coming. You can’t spring it on them in June, because if you don’t plan and set benchmarks, then you don’t have anything holding them accountable for the results. And there’s no chance of using something fun like gamification to help catch momentum at that point. In ANY business you have so much stuff going on that things slip through the cracks if you don’t make a plan.

The point is, you have 60 days left to recover momentum and we’ll help you if you need help. That’s what we’re here for—to talk you through it, or tease you mercilessly until you do it.

PS: Get yourself a cup of coffee because here’s a big tip…

To help you get motivated we created a $50,000 Service Manager Tournament. 

Try and win our $50,000 Tournament. Trust me, you’ll look back and regret you didn’t do this sooner because with the $50,000 challenge you win even if you don’t win. Simply by entering and doing what we tell you to do you can crank your labor sales up ten to fifteen thousand dollars a month. That means by the time we crown the winner at our 2017 Top Dog event you might have already made $100,000 by then!

And you’re not competing against anyone but yourself, the winner is the dealership or service center with the most improvementover last year’s numbers. So, head over to the Tournament page to sign up and win.

I know what you’re doing isn’t easy, but it’s not super complicated either. You can change pricing, hire techs, do whatever it takes! And if you need help with certain tools we can help you, but let’s go, lets get fired up!

And while you’re at it, the next episode of Service Drive Revolution is up, so go check it out!

The Carlisle

WHAT’S DRIVING CUSTOMERS AWAY FROM DEALERSHIPS AND INTO INDEPENDENTS?

In case you missed the first episode…

For the last two weeks, we’ve been talking about The Carlisle Technician Study, which is a fascinating study that outlines the barriers between service technicians and service advisors, looking at the reasons why customers switch between dealerships and independents.

If you happened to miss the first part, go back and watch it first, because Jair told a fascinating story about seat belts that you can’t miss.

We talked about shocking stats we learned from The Carlisle Technician Study like

  • 43% of repair orders require additional clarification from the service advisor, costing each tech 30 min per day of follow up time.
  • 33% of customers are provided an unrealistic amount of time for the service.
  • Service advisors reported that customers get a realistic timetable for how long the service on their car will take 83% of the time

According to the study, the number one reason that would make someone switch from their dealer or repair shop is because their car wasn’t ready on time.

Seriously, can you afford to miss information like that? I gotta say, it really, really matters what service managers tell their customers. The consequences can be disastrous if the information they share is incorrect.

Okay, moving on…

In this weeks show, part two of our discussion about The Carlisle Technician Study, we talked more about the two biggest issues we’re facing with the technicians:

  1. The lack of communication between the service advisors and the service technicians
  2. The growth of Quick Lube, which has resulted in the least qualified technicians getting the most work while the skilled technicians get less.

This epidemic of breakdown in communication between service advisors and their service technicians is causing a bleed of time, money and the loss of customers. The service technicians feel frustrated and disconnected. This breakdown and loss of clientele to less-skilled technicians causes them to leave the business, further intensifying the problem.

So what’s the answer?
If you want your auto repair shop to thrive and prosper, then the following things need to happen:

  • Create GOOD communication between your technicians and your service advisors
  • Arrange training for your technicians
  • Create a growth or career plan for your service technicians, giving them something to strive for

In order to fix some of these problems, I suggested getting the service managers and service advisors together, making them walk over hot coals, starving them indefinitely or only giving them water for a couple days. But Gary didn’t think that was the best idea for morale…

Since Gary had a more doable approach, we’ll go through his tips to keep service technicians happy, feeling included and protected from leaving the industry:

-It appears everyone could benefit from increased communication, and it’s up to each shop to figure out how to get their guys to operate like a functional, effective team. I always lean towards gamification, as I’ve found that to be the most effective tool to date.

-It’s critical to focus on the guys you have in the shop; that means you have to protect them. One way to do that is to slow down! Most shops don’t want to slow down their technicians because time is money, but if time and money are being wasted, then slowing down to improve communication and clarify repair orders becomes vital.

-In order to retain your good service technicians, you need to provide a realistic career path for them. They need to get the kind of training that will help them be successful, and then reward them when they are doing well.

-TRUST. Whether you use gamification or trust building techniques, make sure your guys trust each other! The service technicians need to trust that the advisors are setting them up for success. The service advisors need to trust their technicians that if they give them clear instructions, the technician is going to work both hard and fast to complete the order on time.

Basically, the system has broken down. In order to rebuild, it requires everyone getting real clear on what each job requires. Then, how to work with the next guy in line to make sure he gets what he needs, so we can return the customer’s car on time and repaired correctly on the first go.

We know that if these things don’t happen, you’re going to lose the customer. It’s imperative to get the job done right and on time!

Chris Collins photo

CREATING CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT IN YOUR BUSINESS

That meeting was ridiculously fun. When is the last time you heard that? When we’re having fun, are we really working? Enjoy an exclusive behind the scenes look at our ridiculously fun Elite Mastermind Coaching Group meeting as we focus on continuous improvement for business performance.

Our Elite Coaching Groups are made up of the best of the best Service Managers from across the country. 4 Times a year we bring a special guest from outside the automotive industry who is excelling in their business and performing at the top of their field to share the systems, tools and secrets that make them stand out from all others.

In our most recent Elite Mastermind Coaching Group we’re joined by special guest Eric Parmater, CEO of Rocking Popcorn and Tequila Ranch. Eric comes from humble beginnings, working in restaurants and selling encyclopedias (I can’t even begin to explain how difficult that is). Eric is an overall inspiration and unfailingly optimistic. He has many unique philosophies, one of them being, when branching out into liquor stores: “If all else fails, we’ll have really f*@$*!& nice bars at home.” Through his numerous ventures he’s learned what separates the exceptional salespeople from the average: Persistence. This is teachable but most of us have an innate level of persistence. Think about babies. We can all attest to the fact that they will cry until they get their bottle. Persistence.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

It’s essential that to create an atmosphere in your store that encourages conversation and questions with customers. Once the customers are comfortable it’s easier to decipher their needs and cater the experience from there. Continuous improvement can not happen in a bubble, use what’s learned in these conversations for the immediate experience, but also use them to adapt, iterate and make the business even better over time.

Eric makes the experience so special that customers are known to buy bottles for Eric and his friends (and they own the shop). On one visit, a customer was on the way to checkout and the customer broke an expensive bottle of Rémy. He tried to pay for it. Eric politely refused and thanked him, and said he’d take responsibility for that. The experience we create is for the customer, never forget that. Make it an easy and fluid experience and you’ll see an increase repeat business, referral business and customer retention.

PRICING

Parmater subscribes to the philosophy that, “You get ’em on price or you lose ’em on price. There’s essentially nothing else.” And continues “If your goal is to be the lowest price in town, you’ve already lost.” There’s nowhere to go to show continuous improvement from there.

Eric’s Tequila Ranch clientele is unique, and he’s built it up through making genuine connections and knowing what his customers want. “A client who may regularly spend $65 on a bottle of wine, that person is not going to be tempted by a $55 bottle of wine because it’s $10 cheaper. At that point $10 is nothing. They want to spend $65 for a bottle of wine because of what it means: higher quality, a peak year, richer flavor, etc. They wouldn’t be in Tequila Ranch if they were concerned more with getting a bargain bottle of wine, they’re at Tequila Ranch for quality”, said Parmater.

For similar reasons, when I’m training service managers, I recommend alignments be priced at $129 as opposed to $109. And resoundingly the answer is no because a $20 doesn’t seem worth it to service managers. Which is a massive oversight. Consider you sell 200 alignments at $20 increase, you’ll see a $4,000 increase in profits. Increase the quality of the experience and customers will be willing to spend an extra $20. Give them WiFi and a clean comfortable chair and watch how many alignments you dealership starts turning out.

LEADERSHIP

Eric is lucky enough to have a great staff who really like him. But perhaps it isn’t luck at all. Let’s take a closer look. It’s a universal truth that actions speak louder than words. As Eric says, “I despise clichés. I love actions.” Eric prefers to drive continuous improvement in the store by setting the example. There’s a lot of opportunity for information to get lost in translation. Eric finds it’s more effective for his employees to observe his proactive steps as a leader and then emulate him.

So, take that list of goals I know you have hanging in your back office and get out in the dealership and put your words into actions. You can say you’re motivated but if you’re not taking actions towards your goals, what are you doing?

Speaking of Leaders taking action, in August more than 100 Leading Service Managers and Advisors joined us in Downtown LA at our annual Top Dog Event to do just that. Every year we bring the best of the best together, featuring Leading Speakers likeformer Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, Dave Anderson and Tim Kintz. At the event we all workshop together, mastermind, and award the Top Service Manager $50,000 based on their improvement over last years numbers. It’s not too late to go for the prize yourself. Who knows, maybe next year you’ll snag the $50k grand prize.

AND THE #1 FACTOR FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT: BEING DIFFERENT

If you really want to succeed at becoming a Top Dog and create a higher quality of life for your employees, yourself and consequently your family, you have to be different. Look at me, I’m very different. I don’t want to fit in which is something Eric and I have in common. We’re both creating systems to foster continuous improvement while adding value in a unique way. Be it business models or leadership techniques. It’s easy to get caught up in the norm and be average. Break from the constraints of normality and start thinking differently.

Just look at Eric. He attributes a 100% of his success to disregarding society’s norms, the average. You see it very plainly in the products he produces. His goal when developing a new product is to create a unique name, unique labeling and packaging, and to have a unique knowledge about his product. This enables Eric to burst into a market and immediately distinguish his product from his competition. Find and exploit that one product or service that everyone else has or can easily get but the trick is to create a difference, a niche, that customers can’t get anywhere else. Eric has cultivated his store into a destination by using these principles. He’s a firm believer that if someone tells him not to do something, he’s going to do that exactly. So go ahead, dare him.

Eric is just one of many of the forward thinking entrepreneurs featured in my Elite Mastermind Coaching Groups where we provide the best managers in the country with the tools they need show continuous improvement by implementing effective systems and strategies for lasting profitability and customer retention. Of course, we have a few drinks and fun along the way. In fact, after a few tequila’s Eric delighted us all with his brilliant insights on marriage: “If corporate law and business law were anything like marriage law, you would never start a company. There’s just no f*@$*!&amp way.” Get in on our next Elite Mastermind Coaching Group and join the action!