By Bob Cooper
If you what to sell more service, drive up employee morale and productivity, and see higher profits, then this is one article you may want to read. I realize that I just made a pretty substantial claim, but I sense that by the time you finish this article, you will agree...
Rudi Rudloff, who is now an Elite Coach, approached me a number of years ago when he was one of our coaching clients here in San Diego. He said that since his shop was only open Monday through Friday, his plan was to have all of his employees come in on a Saturday so that they could spend the entire day together. His objective was to not only learn from his employees, but to allow them all to learn from one another as well. He ran one of the top shops in America and I always admired the way that he thought, but I told him that I felt this was a particularly great idea. He then asked if I had any additional thoughts, and I suggested we invite a few of his customers as well. He liked my recommendation, so here’s what happened…
His five techs showed up, along with his two advisors, his lot attendant and his secretary. Shortly after that, the five customers that he invited showed up. The shop was immaculate in every way, he hosted a breakfast, and arranged all of the chairs in a nice big circle.
Rudi and I started the session by asking the customers questions about their expectations. Not only were all of his employees taking a lot of notes, but for all of his employees to be able to hear the customer expectations directly from their customers made the entire meeting a huge win in itself. After spending about an hour and a half with the customers, Rudi thanked them for attending and walked them to the door.
We then spent the entire day analyzing every single part of the business, from the time a potential customer makes that first call, all the way through the customer follow-up calls. What I found to be the best part about the entire meeting was that every single employee was exposed to every single part of the customer and vehicle process, and what they all learned, was priceless.
The technicians were able to better understand what advisors have to go through each and every day, and the recommendations they provided regarding how to make the advisor’s job that much easier were all well received. Additionally, breaking down and analyzing what the technicians go through with each and every vehicle enabled the advisors to provide the techs with their recommendations, while at the same time this process gave the advisors a much deeper appreciation for what a technician goes through every day.
The day ended mid-afternoon, and the results from the meeting were no surprise. Over the course of the ensuing weeks their car counts went up substantially, they sold more service, and there was an increase in employee morale, productivity and profits. As a matter of fact, Rudi held his annual shop meetings each and every year until he finally sold his business.
Giving each and every employee the opportunity to see and understand the big picture worked for Rudi, and I am confident it will work for you as well.
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.