By Bob Cooper of Elite
Without question, it is getting harder and harder to find the really great technicians. We just need to bear in mind that they’re out there, and that they’re more than likely relatively happy where they are. So how do you reach these superstars? Well, you may want to consider what your competitors would never dream of doing, and offer a referral reward that gets the attention of everyone in our industry who resides in your community.
Most shop owners will try offering a referral incentive. These shop owners go to a number of their vendors and tell them that if they refer a tech, and that tech ends up being hired, they’ll give them a check for $100 or so. About a month later these shop owners will typically conclude that since they didn’t receive any referrals, incentives like this don’t work. What they often fail to realize is the reason the vendors didn’t send any leads to them is pretty simple; it’s because $100 wasn’t a powerful enough incentive.
I am unsure what the lotteries are like in your particular state, but here in California we have a weekly lottery, and when the pot is around twenty million dollars or so, not many people seem to be interested in buying a lottery ticket. But as soon as that pot reaches one hundred million, people stand in long lines to buy the tickets. What I find comical is that this behavior suggests that twenty million isn’t enough of an incentive, but as soon as the pot reaches the one hundred million mark, well, in their mind’s eye, now we are talking real money! This same phenomena affects your vendors.
So, the secret? Make your vendors an offer that will grab their attention, and put sending referrals to you at the forefront of their minds. I can tell you from first-hand experience that when I was in the auto repair business, I found this approach to be extremely effective. This is why when any Elite client is struggling to find great technicians, we will often encourage them to offer a reward of $4,000 - $5,000, not $100. There is a magic number in every vendor’s mind that will get their attention, and when they realize they can earn enough money to buy that boat they’ve wanted for so long by doing nothing more than sending a really good tech your way, your offer will become very attractive.
Now before I go any further, I suspect I know what some of you may be thinking: With this approach you could spend $4,000 just to meet a tech, or to hire someone who turns out to be the wrong employee. So tell your industry contacts that if they send a tech your way, and if you hire that tech, you will give them a check for $2,000 on the very first day of that tech’s employment. If the tech is still with you at the conclusion of their 90-day probation period, you will then pay them the remaining $2,000. I also suspect that some of you are thinking that $4,000-$5,000 is a lot of money to give up, but when you consider what that superstar will produce for you, within a matter of a few months you will be telling yourself that the incentive was one of the best investments you’ve ever made.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite (www.EliteWorldwide.com), 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.
By Bob Cooper of Elite