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Repair shops need a proactive approach to sales


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This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry. 

For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business.  If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now.

Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over.  Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy.

Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair.  Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment.   Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment.  Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.

 

 

 

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Along with doing an inspection on every vehicle, the customer needs to be primed for it at drop off. I train my guys to use the line "while your car is in the shop, I'll have my guys look it over to make sure everything is ok for you." Without fail, the customer says "Great. Thanks!"

It's important to use that line pretty much verbatim. We don't talk about courtesy inspections etc. It's all about making sure the car is ok for them. In a round about way, we have permission from the customer to inspect the vehicle, and sell them the needed repairs, while not making them feel like you're simply going for the upsell. Considering the age and mileage of the average vehicle we see, every single customer knows there's something wrong with their vehicle, and isn't surprised when we tell them there are things that need to be fixed. If they're primed to hear about it, the odds of getting the job are much higher.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
         4
      Typically, when productivity suffers, the shop owner or manager directs their attention to the technicians. Are they doing all they can do to maintain high billable hours? Are they as efficient as they can be?  Is there time being wasted throughout the technician’s day? 
      All these reasons factor into production problems, but before we point fingers at the technicians, let’s consider a few other factors.
      Are estimates being written properly? Are labor testing and inspections being billed out correctly? Are you charging enough for testing and inspecting, especially for highly specialized electrical, on-board computer issues, and other complex drivability work?  Is there a clear workflow process everyone follows that details every step from the write-up to vehicle delivery? Do you track comebacks, and is that affecting production?  Is the shop layout not conducive to high production? For example, is it unorganized, where shop tools, technical information, and equipment are not easily accessible to every technician?  Are you charging the correct labor rate and allowing for variables such as rust, vehicle age, and the fact that most labor guides are wrong? Also, is there effective communication between the tech and the service advisor to ensure that extra labor time is accounted for and billed to the customer? These are a few of the top reasons for low productivity problems. There are others, but the main point is to look at the entire operation. Productivity is a team effort.  Blaming the techs or other staff members does not get to the root cause in most cases.
      Maintaining adequate production levels is the responsibility of management to create the processes that will lead to high production while holding everyone accountable. 
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