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How Shop Owners Can Ensure They Follow Through With Important Behavior

Superstar shop owner and Elite Business Development Coach Darrin Barney shares an easy-to-apply tip that will help shop owners ensure that they're following through with the behaviors that are critical to their success: To learn more about how you can team up with a superstar shop owner like Darrin to reach your shop's goals, visit the Elite Coaching Program web page. 

Using Tire Analogies to Handle Sales Objections

Elite's Bob Cooper and Doris Barnes share how your service advisors can use tire analogies to handle even the most difficult sales objections:   For additional help increasing your shop's sales, customer satisfaction and customer retention, learn more about our industry acclaimed our Masters Service Advisor Training at https://www.eliteworldwide.com/automotive-service-advisor-training.html 

Handling a Common Auto Repair Sales Objection

Do your customers ever tell your advisors that they're unable to being their vehicle in today? Top sales trainer Jen Monclus explains how to handle this common sales objection. For additional help generating higher sales and happier customers, learn more about Elite's industry acclaimed Masters Service Advisor Training Program: https://www.eliteworldwide.com/automotive-service-advisor-training.html

Employee Management Advice Every Shop Owner Needs to Follow

Superstar shop owner and Elite Business Development Coach Jim Butitta shares a critical employee management tip that will help shop owners build the culture needed to attract the top techs and service advisors:  Visit the Elite website to learn how you can team up with a superstar shop owner like Jim to reach your shop's goals: https://www.eliteworldwide.com/one-on-one-coaching.html

Google Releases Mobile-first indexing for websites

Google has been rolling out Mobile-first indexing and many webmasters received an email similar to the one further down informing them that this anticipated change is now here. But what does "Mobile-first indexing enabled" actually mean and what impact can it have on your website?  First off, lets start with saying that nowadays, if your website does not render well on a mobile screen, it's time to update. It used to be OK to just design a website that looked great on desktop sized screens. Then, as time moved on with mobile phones gaining traction, there was a race to develop a "mobile-friendly" theme as an addition to a website, where a visitor who was browsing from a mobile device was redirected to a different and condensed version suitable for smaller phone screens. Today, it really is no longer optimal to have a different version for mobile screens and websites need to be fully responsive and adjust accordingly to the screen size they are being viewed on. Screen sizes are now categorized into mainly desktop, tablet, and phone, with variations of minimum and maximum screen sizes where your web designer can adjust elements to show and not show, depending on what type of device is being used to view your website. If you have analytics installed on your website, you have probably noticed a trend over the past few years where mobile screen sizes are picking up traction. In some cases we see it as a 50/50 split between desktop and mobile, some sites are even higher on mobile. So to not design a website with this in mind, is a mistake. Google is now indexing and displaying search results differently, depending on how well your site is built for mobile screens. What they are essentially saying is that you may get different results when searching on Google from a smart phone then from a desktop and Google is going to rank websites that render well on smart phone screen sizes higher than those that don't. This is where all those outdated websites will start to lose organic traffic. Here's Google's official statement from their email to some website owners and webmasters affected:  Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they're looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site's content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version.  Here's the actual copy of the email that we received for our website: Google is now going to use your mobile site for ranking purposes and time is running out if your website does not have a good mobile version available. Fortunately for us, we are prepared and so is AutoShopOwner because we use responsive technology and coding that adjusts to screen sizes accordingly. You can test out your website here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly If your website isn't mobile ready, contact your webmaster and get it updated ASAP. If you need website services, you can reach out to us for a cost effective solution 🙂  

The Rule for Disclosing Vehicle Inspection Results - Interview with a Top Shop Owner

Retired superstar shop owner Kevin Vaught shares the rule that every shop owner in America needs to follow when it comes to disclosing needed repairs and services to their customers.   If you're interested in teaming up with a top shop owner like Kevin Vaught, who has been in your shoes and overcome the challenges your shop is facing, learn more about the Elite Coaching Program. 

A Tip on Hiring the Superstars - Employees in Ads

One of the most common questions our Elite coaches are asked is, “How do I find the superstar technicians and service advisors?” Interestingly, what most shop owners will do is wait until they need a tech or advisor before they start their search. Unfortunately, when they use this technique they inevitably end up hiring the best of whoever happens to be available at the time, rather than the best of the best. So if you are looking to hire the stars, my first recommendation is that you always need to be recruiting, and the best way of doing so is by ensuring that the superstar techs and advisors in your community are aware of your business, and that they understand that your shop is a really great place to work.  As I am sure you will agree, with rare exception the superstars are currently employed, and they are more than likely pleased with their jobs. So what you need to do in order to ultimately hire any of these stars is put first things first. You need to connect with them, because people go to work for people, not for businesses. So the million dollar question is: How do you connect with the stars? Well, it’s actually a lot easier than you might think. You need to do what your competitors would never dream of doing, and reach the stars through their family members, their friends and their industry associates. Here is how you can achieve this objective through the use of print media. Run display ads in your community newspapers with a theme communicating that your shop is the right place for people to have their cars serviced, because you employ truly remarkable people. Then in each one of these ads you should feature a different employee. Now before you jump to a conclusion that this won’t work for you, I ask that you keep an open mind. If your ad carries a nice close up or portrait shot of one of your employees, along with their name, their position and a few kind words about who they are, then I will make you a number of promises. First of all, far more people will look at your ad, because people are always attracted to images of people. Secondly, the curiosity of your readers will inevitably kick in, and they will start to wonder if the person in the photo is someone they know, especially if your shop is in a smaller community. Now that you have your readers’ attention, as well as their curiosity, there’s a good probability that they will start to feel more comfortable with your brand, because as I mentioned earlier, people do business with people, not with businesses. Additionally, imagine how powerful the influence will be over the readers who actually recognize your employee as a family member, friend or acquaintance.    Now here’s where the benefits of this approach become even more obvious. Not only will putting your employees in print be a really nice way to let them know just how proud of them you are, but just think about the message you are sending and the buzz that’s going to be created in your community. You are communicating that you have truly talented people working for you, and that you are the type of shop that will run an ad just to give your employees the acknowledgement they deserve.  The uniqueness of this message will have the tool truck drivers, the part suppliers, and the loved ones of the superstar advisors and techs talking about your ad, and you guessed it; they’re going to be talking about your shop as well. So if you want to hire the superstars, I am going to hope you never forget a couple of cardinal rules. Number one, you always need to be recruiting. Otherwise, you’re doomed to hire the best of whoever happens to be available at the time. Secondly, if you want to reach the stars, then I am going to hope you never forget that the easiest way to do it is through their family, friends and acquaintances. If you agree with me, then I have every reason to believe you will also agree that running print ads showcasing your employees will not only help you build your brand, but it will show the superstar techs and advisors in your community that you truly care about the people who work with you, and will get them thinking about your shop. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.

Elite Worldwide Inc.

Elite Worldwide Inc.



If you have been thinking about Shop Management and Training and been shocked by the investment LOOK AGAIN ! I have a few openings for 2018 that will enable you to have the top quality training your looking to receive to grow your business. Management Training, Front Counter Training, Tech Training from the front to the back of your business I work together with you to grow your business making you stand out and be the go to facility in your reach of business.  If you have questions contact me and we will work together to achieve goals you and your business deserve. Looking forward to speaking with you about increasing profits, training staff, and making your business the best it can be.  Make 2018 a great year ! Dan Stevens  Stevens Automotive Services    

Turning Techs Into Advisors - Guidelines for Success

By Bob Cooper of Elite If there is one thing our industry has done since the very beginning, it’s put technicians into the role of service advisors. The rationale is that they have a good understanding of automobiles, which will enable them to be competent advisors. Unfortunately, that’s the furthest from the truth. Although an in-depth understanding of automobiles can be an asset, there are a number of other things you should consider before offering a service advisor position to one of your techs. First and foremost, you need to consider why they want the position, or why you are offering it to them. If they suggested they would like to become an advisor because it has become difficult to work on cars at their age, then they may very well be the wrong person, because they are looking to become an advisor out of necessity rather than interest. The same is true if you are looking to move a tech into an advisor position when that tech has shown little interest in becoming an advisor in the past. Two of the most common mistakes we see at Elite are shop owners making this hiring decision out of necessity rather than interest, or out of desperation rather than inspiration. In either case, there is a high probability of failure. Another major mistake we see made by shop owners is they put far too much value on the technician’s technical skills, and far too little value on the tech’s natural people talents, and their passion for the position. Unfortunately, these owners don’t understand just how important the people skills component is to an advisor’s success. So here is what I am going to encourage you to consider before you offer one of your technicians a service advisor position. First of all, when it comes to selling auto repairs and services, bear in mind that natural talent trumps technical skills every time. Talent can’t be taught, but skills can, so if your tech doesn’t naturally smile, doesn’t have a positive attitude, or is not quick-witted and articulate, then they may do a fair job for you, but they will never be the advisor that keeps you ahead of your competitors. You will find there are a number of companies that offer online behavioral assessment testing to evaluate the sales potential of candidates, and I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of this type of testing. You will more than likely be surprised with what you discover. Secondly, you will need to evaluate how well he or she will be accepted in the advisor role by your other employees. If the candidate has a good relationship with your other employees, and if you feel your employees will be willing to take directions and orders from the candidate, then they may very well be a good fit for an advisor position. The third thing you will need to do is avoid overselling the position to the candidate. In addition to knowing the benefits of the position, they’ll need to know all of the negatives as well. In essence, you want to make sure that there are no surprises. We also encourage all of our clients to get the significant other of the candidate involved in the decision making process. As we say at Elite, “When you hire Larry, you get Mary”, so you will need to ensure that their spouse is also on board with the new position. Lastly, I hope you do two other important things if you decide to have one of your technicians take on the role of service advisor. First of all, take them for a test drive by having them help you on the counter, and pay close attention to their people skills, how well they are able to manage their emotions, and how they deal with difficult situations. Secondly, if and when you put that tech on the service counter, remember, training trumps productivity. What that tech will need more than anything is professional sales training, encouragement from you, and the opportunity to become… a superstar. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.  

Elite Worldwide Inc.

Elite Worldwide Inc.


The Million Dollar Phone Calls

By Bob Cooper From the time your advisors first pick up the phone, all the way through your service recommendations, there is one thing that is happening over and over again: The sales process. Putting first things first, every new customer needs to be sold on your shop. They then need to be sold that they made the right decision in calling your shop, have confidence that whatever problems they may have will be solved, believe that your advisor is someone that has their best interest at heart, be sold on your vehicle inspection process, and be convinced that their vehicle is worth the investment. If your advisors do their jobs well, hopefully that caller will make an appointment. Yet as we all know, when that customer finally walks into your shop, you and your advisors still have a long way to go. Your customers will need to feel comfortable with what they see and hear, and if they do, they’ll then be open to your advisors’ service recommendations. If your advisors do a really good job in presenting the service recommendations, and if they build value in the services, then there is a good chance that the customer will authorize the recommended services. Make a mistake anywhere throughout this entire process, and you’ll lose the sale, guaranteed. So consider this. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a superstar salesperson that helped your first-time customers feel comfortable with you, your facility, and your employees before they even picked up the phone?  Well, if this sounds too good to be true, consider the fact that when one of your customers refers a friend to you, you can rest assured that this friend has been told quite a bit about you and your company. I am sure you will agree that those referred customers are the best customers, and the reason is simple: They have been sold on you.  When I was still operating auto repair shops I was always intrigued by how my competitors never realized how important those songbirds were. It seems as though they didn’t consider how most customers will trust us with their vehicles and their credit cards, but when they reach the point of trusting us with their friends, they are not only in a league of their own, but they are doing our job for us by selling their fiends on us. This is why my shops had a policy (that we use to this day at Elite), where we asked every first-time customer, “By the way, may I ask who referred you to us?” If they were referred, within 24 hours of vehicle delivery we would be on the phone with the songbird that referred them. On those calls we would take the time to tell them about the customer, and how we solved their problem. We would then thank them for their trust in us, and mention that their trust is something that we would never take for granted.  I used this simple policy to grow some really great shops, and although I knew that making the calls would typically cause our customers to continue referring their friends to us, my motive came from a different origin. I made the calls because I felt in my heart that if someone is kind enough to entrust us with their friends, and then take the time to sell those people on the fact that our shop is the right choice, then at a minimum, I owed them a call…. to say thank you.  I also discovered that with rare exception, they weren’t looking for a referral commission or a complimentary oil service. They were looking for the peace of mind that their priceless friends would be in good hands. Make these calls and you will quickly see why I call them the “million dollar calls.” Not only will they drive up your sales, but they will strengthen your relationships with your customers, and serve as a valuable reminder of how lucky you are to be running such a great shop. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.

Elite Worldwide Inc.

Elite Worldwide Inc.


The Truth About Stealing Employees

There is an expression that has been around our industry for decades that says if you run a good, ethical business, the one thing you should never do is “steal” employees. If you agree with that philosophy, this is one article you may want to read.

First of all, in order for any of us to steal employees, by definition those employees would need to belong to someone else. Slavery was abolished in America in 1865. None of us “own” other people, and I am sure if you asked any of the employees who are presently in our industry, they too would agree they are not the property of anyone. So putting first things first, we need to accept that the statement itself is flawed when someone says we are trying to steal their employees.

Now let’s look at the argument that it’s not right to solicit employees from another business. The majority of successful companies do this! The world is filled with head hunters, and without question; they’re not looking for people who are unemployed. They are looking for the superstars who are presently employed. So if most people accept that recruiting employees from other businesses is an acceptable practice, you have to wonder why shop owners look at the practice with such disdain. It’s because they are so afraid that someone will recruit their employees that they start living by the code that it’s wrong to solicit employees. It’s their own misdirected way of trying to shelter their employees from hearing about better opportunities.

If you were a superstar technician, and if you were solicited by another shop owner who could provide you with a better opportunity, I sense you would consider the offer a compliment, and not a violation of ethics. I would also sense your family would be happy to hear of the opportunity as well. So when you stand back and look at the bigger picture, as a tech you would be happy that another shop owner is offering you the opportunity, your family would be pleased to hear about it, and the shop owner who reached out to you would be excited to speak with you. The only one who would deem it inappropriate would be your existing employer, who just happens to be the one who runs the risk of losing the most. If you step into the shoes of the employer living in a world of ethics and who cares about each employee as a person, wouldn’t you want that technician to take a job that provided a better opportunity for him and his family?

However, I feel there are a few situations where it would be inappropriate to solicit someone from another shop. If the employee works at a shop that is owned by a good friend, then of course you need to respect the friendship, and assume that your friend is taking proper care of their employees. The other exception is when you know in your heart you would be unable to provide the employee with a better opportunity than what they presently have.

On a personal note, I have never been afraid of someone “stealing” the people who work with me. I have learned over the years that the first thing that leaves your business is the employee’s heart, and once their heart is lost, then their mind will begin to wander, and other opportunities will become attractive. When they find the right opportunity, the toolbox will inevitably follow behind. This is why I always work very hard to keep their hearts, and why I consider it nothing more than a compliment when other business owners attempt to recruit my superstars. It’s much like a marriage, in that there isn’t a person on the planet who can take your spouse from you if you do the things you should be doing. On the other hand, if you don’t, then don’t blame the person who you feel took your spouse away, because in reality, you gave them away. So rather than being outraged when someone tries to steal your employees, I ask that you understand the ethics of recruiting, and that you do what you need to do to properly care for the hearts and minds of your employees. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.

Elite Worldwide Inc.

Elite Worldwide Inc.


The Problem with Helping your Techs Diagnose Vehicles

When your techs come to you to tell you they’re stumped, and you give them a recommendation, you’ll lose regardless of the outcome. If you solve the problem, you’ve sent a message to the tech that you’re more knowledgeable than they are, which is not going to build their confidence. But then it gets worse; you’ve also taught them to come to you when they're up against a wall. This is a lose-lose situation, in that if your recommendation doesn’t solve the problem, the tech will come back to you looking for your next recommendation, because you’ve now assumed ownership of the problem. 

As a business owner, you need to invest your time working on the business, not working on cars or solving problems for your techs. The answer is a lot easier than you may think. The first thing you need to do is create a system for solving technical problems in your shop. Once you have the system outlined, you’ll need to meet with all your techs and tell them something like this:  “Guys, I realize you all know we each have a job here at Elite Auto Service. Mine is to set the goals of the company, hire remarkable people like you, and to provide you with a lot of opportunities. Your job is to accurately diagnose the vehicles, and then get our customers back on the road just as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I’ve been spending way too much time helping you do your job, which means that I don’t have the time needed to do my job to the best of my ability.”

“So what I’ve done is put together a system that you guys can use to solve technical problems without my help. Here’s how it’s going to work: If you get stumped with any diagnosis or repair, the first thing you’ll need to do is ask one another for any ideas. If no one in the shop has a quick answer, I want you to go to the second step, which is checking our Mitchell Repair service. If you can’t find the answer there, I want you to go to the third step, which is to call our technical support line. Now, if for whatever reason, you still can’t come up with the answer, it’s time to go to step number four, which is to post online.  If you still can’t find the answer, then it’s time for step five: Partner up with another one of our techs and commit to resolving the issue together, because you know as well as I do, there’s a good chance the answer is right under your nose, and sometimes all we need is a second set of eyes. At this point you’ll need to hit the reset button, and start at the very beginning by re-confirming the customer’s complaint, and then going through this entire problem solving system one more time.”  

“Now if for whatever reason you still can’t solve the problem, then you’re more than welcome to come see me to ask if I can help. But if you do, bear in mind that I’m going to ask you what you have done to solve the problem so far, and I’m going to have an expectation that you’re going to tell me you’ve followed each and every one of these steps.”

“So here’s what I’m going to do next: I’m going to put each of these steps down on a piece of paper, and pass out copies to each of you. Then we’re going to have another meeting so I can learn what you think we need to add, subtract or change on our list. As soon as it’s finalized, I’m going to give each of you a copy, and I’ll have an expectation that you’ll use it. If you do, I am confident you’ll be able to solve problems a lot more quickly, you’ll flag more hours, and I’ll be able to do what I need to do: Invest my time in finding ways to provide you with all of the opportunities you’ll need.”  

In closing, I know there is no one single problem solving system that will work for every shop, but hopefully this information will give you the start you need to solve the age-old problem of your techs relying on you, when all they need is a simple system they can follow. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.

Elite Worldwide Inc.

Elite Worldwide Inc.



It is time to get serious about 2018. This could be your year to get to where you need to be. Get ahead of industry and weather changes by acting now. Market your shop in both, call to action and branding your business all at the same time, all year long. Having a program for any size shop in marketing and management, training your staff in sales, customer service etc. We can get it done for a small investment that produces big returns.  You can be the number one go to shop in your market. Contact me for a no cost consultation.     

Account Notifications Management

As a member of AutoShopOwner, you can manage the types of notifications that we provide you for when things happen here, either via email or when you login and view your notifications list (the bell icon). For instance, when you start a new topic in a forum or reply to an existing topic, you are automatically subscribed to receive a notification when new content is posted. That can happen by email or not, depends on how you want to receive it.  To get to your notifications management section, first go to Account Settings   Then go to Notification Settings   There you will see some your current preference settings for overall delivery method, follow preference, browser notifications, etc.   Scroll down and you'll see individual notification settings where you can pick and choose how you are notified. For email, an email is sent every time that action takes place based on your delivery method above. For Notification List, every time an action takes place, it will be listed in your notifications panel under the little bell icon.   One more setting we have is for our weekly newsletter, which includes a list of topics and activity from the week. You can opt in and out from your account settings as well.   If you haven't taken a look at your settings yet, we encourage you to check it out. 😃




A Shop Owner's Guide to Employee Training

1. Invest in your most valuable asset: The people who work with you. You will need to embrace the fact that every one of your employees undergoes constant training, regardless of whether or not you provide it. Every time a technician diagnoses a vehicle or performs a repair, there is some form of learning taking place. The same is true with your advisors, as they are constantly learning through their exchanges with your customers. Ironically, while many shop owners believe they are saving money by not providing professional training, there is an extraordinary cost to this type of “on the job” training. Your techs learn through their costly misdiagnoses, low productivity and failed repairs. Your advisors learn through costly lost first-time callers, lost sales, and lost customers. By not providing professional training you will inevitably lose employee morale, sales, customers and profits, so rather than having your employees learn in the most costly way, you need to invest in training for all of your employees. At Elite we understand that every shop owner will have a different take on who should be paying for the training, but as a general rule, we feel it is the responsibility of the shop owner to do so. We also realize that some shop owners are fearful that if they pay for the training they may lose the employee and the money will be wasted, but the answer to that concern is simple – “The only thing worse than training an employee and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay.” 2. Ensure everyone is properly trained. Mandated training is not a new concept. In the U.S. medical doctors and attorneys are required to take continuing education courses for one simple reason; to enable them to take better care of their patients and their clients. We should take the same approach. Only you know how much training your employees will need each year, and it certainly needs to be based on their job, their skill level and their experience. Yet as a starting point I would strongly recommend that you require all of your technicians to complete at least 48 hours of professional “company approved” training each year, and your advisors should complete at least 12 hours each year. The successful completion of the required training each year should be a condition in place for ongoing employment. 3. Provide training that will help your employees with a number of skill sets. Rather than limiting each employee’s training to their specific job, you should consider offering optional courses that will help them in other aspects of their life and career. Some examples would be financial management courses, and personal development courses such as those offered by Dale Carnegie Training. By helping them develop as people, you will be creating better employees. 4. Practice what you preach. As a shop owner, each year you need to participate in ongoing training as well. Your training should include business and employee management courses, marketing courses, and leadership courses. I would also recommended participating in personal development courses, which will set a good example for all of your employees. In closing, having a good ongoing training program in place, practicing what you preach as a shop owner, and living by the principle of never putting money ahead of people will help you take your shop to the top. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.

Elite Worldwide Inc.

Elite Worldwide Inc.