By Joe Marconi
It's hard to believe that it's almost a year since COVID-19 hit. And for many businesses, and repair shops, it's been a challenge. While many areas around the country have not seen a downturn, there are other areas that have been harshly impacted.
Areas such as mine have seen a decline in miles driven per customer of up to 50% or more. Just consider working from home, the drastic decline of going out to dine and other activities, a decrease in after-school activities, a decease in youth sports, buying online and every other action that has become the norm, and it adds up to a negative impact for so many shops.
NOW, you know ME. I always put a positive spin on everything. At this too shall pass. COVID-19 will be behind us and we need to prepare for great times ahead.
I urge everyone to focus on people: Your family, your employees, your customers, and the community.
With regard to your customers, they will remember you and their experience long after the water pump or mass air filter you replaced in their car.
If you are having a decline in sales, here a few tips: Establish your new goals, look at your expenses, reevaluate your breakeven, make sure your labor and part margins are in line. BUT, never forget that your most important strategy is the culture of your business.
Lastly, cherish every minute with family. This Crisis has brought Clarity. And let's never forget the things that money cannot buy.
Barry Barrett, a Certified EOS Implementer
As an EOS Implementor in his company, Business With Purpose brings dedicated support to Leadership and Sales teams in all types of organizations, helping them structure the six key components of their business to make it operate with the best processes for their specific industry, using the EOS Model.
Barry’s energy is contagious no matter if he is in a session with a client, giving a keynote address, or rolling up his sleeves in a workshop. Barry is a business coach with his positive mental attitude, incredible work ethic, and determination for excellence, his results-oriented approach is matchless.
Barry is driven, caring, and passionate; traits that he uses to help his clients grow their businesses in a positive way. Find Barry’s other episodes HERE.
Key Talking Points
People- 80% of business issues stem from85% of the world lives in the quadrant “good at their job, but don’t like it.” Find people that share your core values- everyone values things differently, if they don’t share the same core values it doesn’t make them a ‘bad person.’ Kicking vs pulling back- would you rather have an employee you need to pull back vs someone you have to ‘kick?’ Discovering your core values- pick 3 people you admire most in your organization (if you had 100 of them you could take over the world), if not in the organization then 3 people in your life you admire. If you cannot choose 3, then really consider who you surround yourself with and who you hire in your business. RPRS- right people, right seatRight people- fit the culture and share core values Right seat- get it (born to do the job), want it (want to come to work every day), and have the capacity to do it (tools, time and training)Wrong person, right seat/right person wrong seat Being the right person to implement EOS- love people (if you don’t love people then you can't lead, abundance minded, more afraid of status quo than change ExpectationsUnmet expectations lead to frustration Most owners aren’t clear about their expectations How is overrated, who is underrated Completing and working a job is easy, finding the right people is hard Having the right people at your business means you can teach them the “what.” “Who Not How” by Dan Sullivan If you have enough money you don't have a problem If you don't have enough time you won't have enough money You can’t make more money by spending more time doing the “what” People that have freedom of time generate more money
Thanks to Barry Barrett for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast. Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page, highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Podchaser, and many more. Mobile Listening APP's HERE Find every podcast episode HERE. Every episode is segmented by Series HERE. Key Word Search HERE. Be socially involved and in touch with the show:
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NAPA AutoCare’s PROimage program makes it easy for you to make the most of the NAPA brand. A PROimage upgrade lets you maintain your shop’s identity as a reliable, locally-owned business while letting your customers and potential customers know you’re partnering with NAPA, the most recognized and trusted name in the automotive aftermarket. AutoCare Centers that have completed a PROimage exterior upgrade enjoy an average 23 percent sales increase during the first year. You can also choose to go PROimage on the interior and transform your customer waiting area from merely utilitarian to warm and welcoming. You can even get a free look by visting www.NAPAAutoCare.com and clicking on the NAPA PROimage link under the NAPA PROimage tab. Of course, the AutoCare site is also the place to go to find out about all the advantages being part of the NAPA family has to offer.
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By Joe Marconi
When I look back at my 40-years as a shop owner, there is one thing that stands out among everything else: It’s the people we surround ourselves with that will have the biggest influence in determining our success. Think about it, even the greatest NFL coach will never win a Super Bowl without great players.
I have worked with a lot of employees through the years, including technicians at all skill levels, bookkeepers, service advisors, managers, and support staff. I can tell you with 100 percent conviction that the years that were the most successful were the ones that I had assembled the best teams. Now, I am not just defining success by profit alone. These were also the years that were the most fun, with less stress and the years that we made the biggest positive impact with our customers and the community.
Let’s talk about production first. Highly motivated, skilled technicians with the right attitude produce more. They also get paid more, and they should. The right team of techs will average higher labor hours. I learned many years ago, it’s not the hourly rate you pay a tech that matters, as much as the hourly labor dollars produced by that tech.
Next up are your service advisors. Here is where you can make or break your company. The service advisor is the face of the company. They represent you, your company and everything you do. The best brake job in the world means nothing if the service advisor doesn’t deliver a world-class experience that gives your customers a compelling reason to return.
The long-term damage from an incompetent service advisor is hard to recover from. For the most part, you don’t run a transactional business. Your company relies on strong relationships and a strong culture. There isn’t a big-box brand name over your bays. It’s your name. And that means service advisors need to go above and beyond to exceed your customer’s expectations. If not, you lose.
For the success of any repair shop, I put great emphasis and responsibility on the owner when it comes to employee management. All too often, a poorly run, failing shop is the fault of bad leadership. The shop owner’s ability to lead and motivate is crucial with building a winning team and successful business. However, I have also learned that sometimes we have the wrong people. And no matter what you do or how you try to motivate and lead, there are some people that just don’t “get it.” If it’s not in someone to begin with, nothing you do will change that person.
In today’s business world, you need a team of great players. You need to hire people that can produce quality jobs, with minimal comebacks, have the right attitude, self-motivated, willing to attend training and have the willingness to work in a united, team environment. You need to hire people that “get it.”
With regard to your customers, your business hinges more on the customer experience than it does on the equipment you have or the brand of parts you use. Of course, the parts you purchase matter. Of course, your alignment machine matters. But none of that is as important as what the customer sees. The customer sees and judges you on her overall experience. Which is how she was greeted at the service counter, how she was spoken to during the sales process, the car delivery, and the experience driving away with a smudge-free steering wheel.
Lastly, here’s something you need to accept as a business owner. There isn’t a process anyone can create that will make up for mishaps caused by employing the wrong people. You do need to have processes and policies in place. It’s how you build a smooth-running and efficient business. However, we don’t run a McDonalds or a Dunkin Donuts. We can’t make up for poor customer service with a process or with a point-of-sale computer terminal. The processes and policies you create will only work the way they were intended to when you have employees fully aligned with your culture and have the right attitude. You need to have the right people.
There are many components of business. The financials, choosing the right vendors, training, equipment, and advertising are among them. The two most important components of your business are your employees and your customers. However, you have great control over who you hire. And we all know, great employees create great customers. Assemble the right people around you and the rest will fall into place.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on August 5th, 2020
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It’s easy to hire someone and say ‘go run a few ads now and then.’ But that doesn’t cut it anymore. You need digital technology. One of the misconceptions about BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY products is that they’re hard to use, but if you can use a cell phone, you can use this.
Learn how technology can address and solve some of the issues that your shop faces as far as visibility, car count, and employee retention. Tim Cifelli, Chief Revenue Officer at BOLT ON, joins the Wrench Way podcast to talk through some of the most common challenges that shop owners face and what they can do about them while adding value.
Give it a listen at the link below:
Many of us were once techs, but now hold the management role within our facilities - and as much as we'd love to say we're as technically proficient as we once were, the reality is technology is changing SO quickly that it's tough at times to stay on top of it!
Scan tools are being released at a dizzying pace, and the features required aren't what they were 5 years ago!
In this episode of the ASOG Podcast, David and I talk with Brandon Dills of Jarhead Diagnostics about just that!
Brandon shares his scan tool choices and what tool, if he could choose only one, that he would purchase!
We also talk some techncian perspective and there's even some dealer perspective in there!
Make sure you listen to the whole things, as there's some killer information mixed in 😉
You can listen on your favorite listening app here:
There's also a live premiere on YouTube currently! Go and share your opinion with other listeners!
Please considering liking, subscribing, sharing, reviewing or commenting on your favorite platform! It really helps us know how to better serve this community!
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By Joe Marconi
The common buzz in business is to market to new, potential customers. This is a smart strategy given that every business losses customers each year, and we need to replace those lost customers.
However, we also need a marketing plan that takes care of our existing customers. It is cheaper and easier to retain your customers, than to market for new ones.
What strategies do you employ to retain your existing customers?
By Joe Marconi
Got your attention? Good. That's the power of advertising and marketing. I know many of you are affected by COVID and experiencing a downturn economically. Studies have shown that the businesses that maintain advertising during downturns do better with market share and sales when the economy returns to normal.
Maintaining your marketing presence is a lot easier and less expensive than playing catch up when things get better.
I know the reality of tough times. Do your best to maintain your advertising during tough times. You will get back what you invest.
By Joe Marconi
Most of you probably already know what I am about to say: The Service Advisor position is the most crucial position in the shop. I know, I know, what about the mechanical work done by the techs? Well, that's important too, of course.
For the most part, customers spend their hard-earned money and most of time don't really know or see what was done to their car. Let's face it, the customer can't see the water pump or T-belt. And most of the time, the customer does not feel any difference with the car as they drive out of your parking lot.
What the customer does see (or experience) is how she was treated. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Plus, great service advisors also motivate the technicians, because great advisors are also great leaders of people.
Think about this...Six months from now, your customer will not remember the fuel injection relay or the mass air sensor that was replaced....but she WILL remember how she was treated.
And trust me, that OE-quality fuel injection relay install by a certified A-level Master tech using Snap On tools and a Launch Scanner IS NOT the reason WHY your customers return to you....She returns because of the level of service your provide.
By Joe Marconi
I know it's not going to be Back to School as usual this year, but there will be increased traffic on the road as more people perform school-related errands. It's your obligation to your customers and the community to make sure the roads are safe.
Many people have neglected their cars the past few months, making a lot of opportunity for your shop.
Get your Fall/Back to School marketing plan in place today!
Want to share ideas? Even Better!
By Joe Marconi
As part of our debt reduction, I revamped all of our usual marketing and advertising and put those dollars into customer service and social media. For example, we ramped up our shuttle pickup and delivery service, extended our hours of service, made sure we spend a lot of time with each customer and made sure we called as many customers as possible. We also stepped up our meet and greet process and made sure will followed up with customer after the repair. Lastly, we increased our social media posts and increases ads and boosting. This has made a huge impact on our customer and already starting to pay dividends.
What changes have you made to your marketing strategy since the Virus Crisis hit?