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How I went from an average credit card transaction of $360 in November of 2013 to $805 in October of 2019...

Everyone wants change to be easy.

Everyone wants to kill it in their craft.

How many of you are ready to put in the work? Take an inside look at the lessons we learned while transforming our business over the last 7 years. We're going to discover how we evaluated Joman in 2013 and how we designed CAR to streamline service, period.

I sat in several classes at AAPEX where I felt like everyone was talking about the things we spent the last 7 years building, so now I'm going to tell you how we did it and why our platform is the integral internal process that can replicate this machine anywhere on the planet where service is performed.

If Amazon were a store, how could it possibly look or operate.

  1. Walk in, what level would you like to go on? Tech?
  2. Oh you just need an 'iPhone cable 6ft'?
  3. Got you, here's the one we recommend, along with a few others on the shelf. Want to see which is best rated? Lowest price? Manufacturer? How fast can you get it?
  4. Let me see this one; check some reviews, some comments...
  5. Ok, here's the one I need and it'll be at my house tomorrow? Awesome, thanks!
  6. Oh what's that, you need 2... your cord in your car looks the same?
  7. No worries! Still want it tomorrow? See you then!

Now, with that frame of reference... look at your own business.

What you must remember is that even though you are not Amazon, customers have been conditioned to have a frictionless approach to transactions. That's why your largest competitor is yourself and your ability to adapt to this evolved phase of business consistency... that you are also a part of.

When a customer walks in your door, what do they see?

  1. Must Have | HARD: Smile, let everything go that may be happening in life and get ready to deal with someone else's problem.
  2. Must Have: Counter/Desk clean and organized?
  3. Must Have: Computer ready to go? Unless you use CAR, then you can just take out your phone or the tablet we provide to every employee.
  4. Almost Must Have: A clean waiting room with available chairs? If not available for good reasons, that's a plus here. Like, there are other customers filling their space.
  5. Almost Must Have: Do you look like a disaster? *PS I did for years, still do sometimes. We all have off days.*
  6. Nice To Have:Water bottles handy? Maybe a coffee machine, if you have the space.
  7. The Hardest Goal: How clean is your shop?

The internet doesn't need a smile or a clean office/shop, the internet is a place where business is done based on price or features and sometimes... both. You're in the business of service, competing against everyone from the other local guy to the large marketing firms with endless budgets. And it's evolving, faster than you've ever imagined.

If you're standing still, you're going to lose out on a great opportunity to evolve as a business and as a person, and possibly make the most money ever by providing good and honest service.

Phase 1 is to get you to think about your position in the market place. Compare yourself to the impossible, because doing so will open your mind to potential solutions to frictions that exist in your business today, by just thinking about them.

When Jeff Bezos evolved Amazon, he wasn't trying to provide the lowest price on products. He was and is trying to fulfill what his customers want, cheaper pricing on goods and near instant delivery. He's delivered on both. Your customers expectations are different, and if your service level is built on trust, price becomes much less of a barrier.

Tune in next week, where we continue this series of... How to evolve my auto repair business. I had a really great title for this series, but it was stolen and trademarked.


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    • By carmcapriotto
      Bill Haas, AAM, is the owner of Haas performance consulting LLC, with 40 years of experience in the automotive service and repair industry. Clients have access to Bill’s solution-based focus, expertise, unique perspectives and in-depth knowledge of the industry.
      Bill began his career working part-time at a full-service gasoline station in Appleton, Wisconsin. His career includes time as a technician, shop owner, technical trainer and on the staff of the automotive industry’s oldest and largest association representing automotive service and collision repair businesses. While at the association Bill had the opportunity to work with all segments of the industry.
      His knowledge of the industry has been shared on many occasions as he has been invited to speak at numerous industry events as well as providing testimony at hearings of the US Congress and several state legislatures on important legislation and regulation affecting the automotive industry.
      Bill received the Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) credential from the automotive management institute in 1996 and has been a member of the automotive management institute’s faculty since 2002.
      Bill is also the business manager for NACAT, the North American Council of Automotive Teachers. His services include business management seminar development and delivery, keynote presentations, business consulting, performance coaching, and strategic planning facilitation. Listen to Bill’s previous episodes HERE.
      Vic Tarasik is currently the Major Accounts Director with RLO Training. Public speaking, business management, finance, and leadership skills are some talents he acquired as a service professional that made this position perfect for him. He was a member of RLO Training’s Bottom-Line Impact Group and was twice awarded the Member Excellence Award for being the top shop in his group.
      Vic took an interest in all things mechanical at a young age. He worked on a variety of vehicles for friends and family. His interests grew into racing at local drag strips driving his 55 Chevy, which he still owns.
      In 1986, he returned to his roots and launched Vic’s Precision Automotive from his two-car garage. The heart of Vic’s Precision Automotive was galvanized for Vic as a boy; he watched his single mom struggle with service providers over the years. When he opened his shop, he was determined to make it a place where female customers felt comfortable. Listen to Vic’s previous episodes HERE.
      Cecil Bullard is President of the Institute for Automotive Business Excellence. He is a trainer and business coach in the automotive aftermarket working closely with service professionals.
      Previous episodes featuring or mentioning Cecil, click HERE.
      Institute for Automotive Business Excellence website.
      Bob Greenwood, AMAM (Accredited Master Automotive Manager) is President and C.E.O. of Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. (AAEC). AAEC is a company focused on providing Business Management Resources and Development for the Independent Sector of the aftermarket industry. AAEC content and technology is recognized as part of the curriculum of the Fixed Operations Diploma and the Aftermarket Degree courses taken at the Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College located in Barrie Ontario Canada. This school is the leader and only college in Canada that offers an automotive business education. AAEC is also recognized by the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), located in North Richland Hills, Texas USA, allowing 80 credits for successful completion of the AAEC E-Learning portion of the site towards the 120 credits required to obtain the reputable Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation.
      Bob has over 40 years of Business Management experience within the Independent sector of the automotive aftermarket industry in North America, consulting Independent retail shops on all facets of their business operations. His 18 years of running his own local consulting and accounting firm in Ottawa, Ontario Canada created some of the most productive and financially successful entrepreneurs within the Independent sector today.
      Bob is one of 150 Worldwide AMI approved instructors. He has created Business Management development courses for aftermarket shop employers/managers, Jobbers and Jobber Sales representatives which are recognized as being the most comprehensive, industry-specific courses of their kind in North America. His courses address the creation of measurable bottom-line profitability and not just developing activity to keep busy, by covering the very detailed nuts and bolts issues that are required to be clearly understood by every level of the industry if an independent shop is going to financially prosper and enjoy a professional future. Bob’s previous episodes are HERE.
      Link to Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. (AAEC) HERE.
      Key Talking Points
      Professionalism- How do you answer the phone? How do you interact with customers? What is the image of the business? How do your technicians look? What does the shop look like from the front? There needs to be a process for everything. Do we see ourselves as professionals and on the same level as doctors/lawyers? Starts with the owner and leads to the industry as a whole. If you don’t have a professional shop how do you expect someone to want to come to work for you? Why arent the best technicians working in your shop? Why are people leaving the industry? Why is the average technician’s pay still only 50K?  85% of the industry isn’t paying attention, not thriving and not being successful  You don’t need to be cheap to be busy and fill shop- a busy shop often isn't a profitable shop 2nd largest investment for customers is their vehicle - duty and responsibility to give them choice for repairs. We provide transportation and safety.  Labor rates should reflect your competency and based on profit strategy  Culture of business- strive for a career mindset instead of job mindset culture, employees want to be a part of business and move it forward Solution? Professional association to abide by, standards, certification process to open a shop? What can you do right now? Define your target customer. Market to them and learn how to say no to the others Raise your prices now not later- stop having the fear that your customers won’t pay higher prices. Not everyone can afford to be your customer and that’s okay. $10 increase you can afford to lose 25% of clients and still make more. Don’t look at saving money to be profitable  Pay increase for employees- staff should know how revenue works, expenses etc. Net profit isn’t a dirty word. Need to be profitable on the bottom line to increase pay. Be successful as a team. Increased pay could be in form of vacation days, 401K, incentives, benefits. A special thanks to Bill Haas, Vic Tarasik, Cecil Bullard and Bob Greenwood for their contribution to the aftermarket. Books Page HERE Listen to all Remarkable Results Radio, For The Record and Town Hall Academy episodes. Facebook   Twitter  LinkedIn   Instagram  Youtube   Email  
      Mobile Listening APP’s HERE
      Join the Ecosystem – Subscribe to the INSIDER NEWSLETTER HERE.
      Buy Carm a Cup of Coffee 

      This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com

      This episode is brought to you by Shop Marketing Pros. Your guides are Kim and Brian Walker with a rich history as shop owners and industry veterans. When someone searches for a shop, who are they finding? Your competitors? It should be you! The good people over at Shop Marketing Pros know how to drive website traffic and make Google work for you! www.shopmarketingpros.com
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Part one of a 7 part series.
      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:
      EOS (entrepreneurial operating system)- helps entrepreneurs get what they want from their businessVision People Data Issues Process Traction  Vision traction healthyGet your leaders on the same page- where you are, where you’re going, and how you will get there Traction- helping leaders become more disciplined and accountable. Executing well to achieve the vision Healthy- healthy and functioning leadership team  Turning people into leaders LeadershipNot born to do- people decide to become leaders Research great leaders and implement step by step processes Function chartStart with writing the function, list the 5 roles and responsibilities, and add the name to the seat  Roles shouldn’t always be based on seniority- instead, who is the most capable? Getting started90-minute meeting- EOS history, introduce ourselves to you, learn about you, about the EOS tools and processes  Focus day after that- if it’s not a right fit or you don’t get value you don’t pay   “Traction” “Get a grip” “What the heck is EOS” all by Gino Wickman Resources:
      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. Find every podcast episode HERE. Every episode segmented by Series HERE. Key Word Search HERE. Be socially involved and in touch with the show:
      Facebook   Twitter   Linked In   Email
      Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Podchaser and many more. Mobile Listening APP's HERE
      Join the Ecosystem - Subscribe to the INSIDER NEWSLETTER HERE.
      Buy me a coffee
      This episode is brought to you by AAPEX, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo. AAPEX represents the $740 billion global automotive aftermarket industry and has everything you need to stay ahead of the curve.  The Virtual AAPEX Experience 2020 is in the record books. Virtual AAPEX lived up to presenting leading-technical and business management training from some of the industry’s best and brightest. Now set your sights on the homecoming in Las Vegas in 2021. Mark your calendar now … November 2-4, 2021, AAPEX // Now more than ever.

      This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com/carm

       
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By ASOG Podcast
      This wasn't supposed to be an episode...

      David was simply asked to edit the audio of a conversation between Lucas Underwood and Dutch Silverstein of A&M Auto Service in Pineville, NC.

      However, the conversation was so impactful, David decided to release it as a full episode.

      Enjoy!
      Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AutoShopOwnersGroup)
    • By Joe Marconi
      Let's face it, all of us were affected by COVID-19. Some more than others.  One of the biggest issue is the feeling of uncertainty....what we call the unknown.  But, humans are no strangers to tough times.  Tough times brings clarity and opportunity.  It forces us to create new strategies in an effort to improve both our business and personal life. 
      We cannot turn back the hands of time. 2020 will be behind us in a few days.  Work hard now to make 2021 a banner year.  There has never been a time so important as now. Learn from the events of 2020. Create your new goals. Work on your people skills. Work on the numbers of the business.
      I am sure all of us learned many lessons this past year, and one of them was to be financially prepared for a crisis.  While COVID was different, the financially-stronger shops did do better. 
      Lastly, have a positive mindset at all times. And set the right tone as the leader of your shop. Your positive attitude will create the right culture and a pathway to better times.  
      What lessons have you learned and would like to share? 
       
    • By carmcapriotto
      Matt Fanslow is the diagnostic tech/shop manager at Riverside Automotive in Red Wing, MN. His primary responsibilities are to diagnose driveability and electrical/electronic issues, and perform most all programming, coding, initializing, adoptions, etc. Basically, if it needs to be figured out or has wires, it goes to Matt. He’s been a tech since 1996.
      Matt is also a subject matter expert for ASE and has instructed at Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo.
      Matt has participated on 18 ASE technical committees for the ASE Practice Test, A6, A7, A8, and L1 tests. He’s also done case studies for Standard Motor Products.
      Fanslow’s goal is to do everything in his power to improve the overall level of professionalism within the automotive and light truck repair trade and also raise the level of its public image. Matt Fanslow’s Previous Episodes HERE.
      Scott Brown is an ASE Master Certified Automobile Technician with over three and a half decades of professional service industry experience. He and his wife own Connie & Dick’s Service Center Inc., a 57-year-old independent shop in Southern California.
      With a strong focus on engine performance and electronics, Scott began collaborating with other industry professionals, online, beginning in the early 90’s. Since 1995, he has been an instrumental resource in the development of the largest online community of automotive service professionals, the International Automotive Technicians Network — iATN where he once served as company president. Additionally, he serves on the NASTF Board of Directors and is a member of the following associations: ASCCA, CAT, ETI, I-CAR, & SAE.
      Scott is the founder of diag.net. Find other episodes that have featured Scott HERE. Diag.Net HERE
      Key Talking Points:
      Echo chamber- diluting and filtering information Stopping ability to grow to expand, have new perspectives   Playing on feeling “accepted” with “Likes” and “Shares” Time-consuming- be aware  Dunning-Kruger effect- inability to recognize their lack of ability, then when met with someone with more knowledge instead of that bringing you up it further ingrains you into your belief    Remember where you came from and encourage others to improve and learn “Mob” and “Pack” mentality in groups and forums- power trip and jump down everyone’s throat rather than encourage deep thought and thinking   Some topics are too deep to dissimilate in a social media setting Communicate at a professional level and use the proper words Microlearning Research the people in your groups Be aware of your characteristics- don’t fall into the echo chamber, recognize your social interactions online should only be influencing you by a certain margin.     Professional groups on social mediaGround rules, professional environment  Pay it forward- a willingness to help, ability to reflect back    Diag.netOne area to search instead of trying to remember what group you found the information  You need to determine when people are trying to help you and not look at it as someone just giving their opinion. Wake up to the situation when you are being taught. Embrace the different thought processes and understand that nothing is personal unless you make it Resources:
      Thanks to Scott Brown & Matt Fanslow for their contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast. Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers. Find every podcast episode HERE. Every episode segmented by Series HERE. Key Word Search HERE. Be socially involved and in touch with the show:
      Facebook   Twitter   Linked In   Email
      Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Podchaser and many more. Mobile Listening APP's HERE
      Join the Ecosystem - Subscribe to the INSIDER NEWSLETTER HERE.
      Buy me a coffee
       

      This episode is brought to you by AAPEX, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo. AAPEX represents the $740 billion global automotive aftermarket industry and has everything you need to stay ahead of the curve.  The Virtual AAPEX Experience 2020 is in the record books. Virtual AAPEX lived up to presenting leading-technical and business management training from some of the industry’s best and brightest. Now set your sights on the homecoming in Las Vegas in 2021. Mark your calendar now … November 2-4, 2021, AAPEX // Now more than ever.

      This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com/carm
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


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    • By Joe Marconi
      A few years back, my service advisor, Tony, was trying to sell a customer a new battery. Let’s call this customer Ed Jones. Here’s how the conversation unfolded; “Mr. Jones, my technician completed our 21-point inspection on your vehicle and everything checks out fine. However, I do want to discuss the battery. Your battery was tested with our Midtronics digital battery diagnostic tool, which is a very accurate piece of equipment. Your battery is rated at 575 cold cranking amps, and your battery tested at 300.  Would you like me to replace the battery today?” Ed Jones looked at Tony, and three seconds later said, “Thank you for the information. Let me think about it.”
      I know Ed very well. The car we were servicing that day was his daughter’s car, who was home from college for the Christmas holiday. Ed’s daughter is in her first year at Plattsburgh University in upstate New York, which is about a five hour drive and near the Canadian border.  
      I could see the frustration on Tony’s face, so I gave him a little advice; “Tony, ask Mr. Jones who drives the car. After he answers you, ask him what the car is used for. Listen to his answers and then use that information to sell safety and peace of mind, not a battery.”
      Five minutes later, Tony reported back to me excited and amazed; “Joe, great advice!  He authorized the battery! I guess you knew he would buy the battery with the right questions?” I replied, “You were trying to sell Ed Jones a battery by pointing out the technical process we use to determine the health of the battery. What you need to do is reach the customer on an emotional level. The questions I recommended you ask made him realize that it’s the welfare of his daughter he was really buying, not a battery.” 
      Now, let’s clarify something. Tony didn’t say anything wrong with his sales presentation. But he got the process backwards. He was leading with logic. If you’re trying to sell something by using logic alone, you are going to struggle. People make buying decisions based on emotions. To make a sale, you need to connect with the part of the brain where emotions reside, and then back it up with logic.   
      Bombarding the customer first with facts and features tends to confuse the brain as it tries to make sense out what you are saying. That can be difficult because the technical information is usually not fully understood by the customer and the confusion usually results in the customer saying, “No.”  
      Let’s review the conversation when Tony asked the right questions; “Mr. Jones, who drives this car?” Ed replied, “My Daughter.” Tony continued, “And what does she use the car for?”  Ed replied, “She uses it to go college at Plattsburgh. She’s home for the holidays and goes back to school on Monday.” At that point, Tony realized why I urged him to ask those questions, and continued with, “So, your daughter drives this car back to college, and leaves on Monday. She goes to Plattsburgh, which is near the Canadian border.  Mr. Jones, it’s wintertime and that’s a long, lonely drive. Her battery tested weak and may fail without warning. For peace of mind and your daughter’s safety, wouldn’t it be in her best interest to replace the battery before she leaves?” Ed now makes the emotional decision, “Yes.” 
      Here’s the bottom line. First, know your customer. Build rapport during the write up process and find out all the details of why the car was brought in for service. Second, tone down the technical side of what you do. That’s not to say it’s not important. But, before you give the technical facts, reach your client on an emotional level. Ask questions to find out as much as you can about the customer, and then direct the conversation to the reasons why what you are trying to sell will benefit the well-being of the customer and/or the customer’s family.  
      Remember, decisions are easier to make when it has meaning to them or a family member. In Ed’s case, not replacing the battery would have been unsettling to him. Tony’s recommendation to replace the battery is perceived as the right decision because it promotes the safety and well-being of his daughter.
      Humans are driven by feelings and make emotional decisions, then justify it with logic. Next time you are trying to sell anything to a customer, ask yourself, “Why should the customer buy what I am trying to sell?” The answer may surprise you. 
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on November 1st, 2019


      View full article
    • By CAR_AutoReports
      How I went from an average credit card transaction of $360 in November of 2013 to $805 in October of 2019...
      Everyone wants change to be easy.
      Everyone wants to kill it in their craft.
      How many of you are ready to put in the work? Take an inside look at the lessons we learned while transforming our business over the last 7 years. We're going to discover how we evaluated Joman in 2013 and how we designed CAR to streamline service, period.
      I sat in several classes at AAPEX where I felt like everyone was talking about the things we spent the last 7 years building, so now I'm going to tell you how we did it and why our platform is the integral internal process that can replicate this machine anywhere on the planet where service is performed.
      If Amazon were a store, how could it possibly look or operate.
      Walk in, what level would you like to go on? Tech? Oh you just need an 'iPhone cable 6ft'? Got you, here's the one we recommend, along with a few others on the shelf. Want to see which is best rated? Lowest price? Manufacturer? How fast can you get it? Let me see this one; check some reviews, some comments... Ok, here's the one I need and it'll be at my house tomorrow? Awesome, thanks! Oh what's that, you need 2... your cord in your car looks the same? No worries! Still want it tomorrow? See you then! Now, with that frame of reference... look at your own business.
      What you must remember is that even though you are not Amazon, customers have been conditioned to have a frictionless approach to transactions. That's why your largest competitor is yourself and your ability to adapt to this evolved phase of business consistency... that you are also a part of.
      When a customer walks in your door, what do they see?
      Must Have | HARD: Smile, let everything go that may be happening in life and get ready to deal with someone else's problem. Must Have: Counter/Desk clean and organized? Must Have: Computer ready to go? Unless you use CAR, then you can just take out your phone or the tablet we provide to every employee. Almost Must Have: A clean waiting room with available chairs? If not available for good reasons, that's a plus here. Like, there are other customers filling their space. Almost Must Have: Do you look like a disaster? *PS I did for years, still do sometimes. We all have off days.* Nice To Have:Water bottles handy? Maybe a coffee machine, if you have the space. The Hardest Goal: How clean is your shop? The internet doesn't need a smile or a clean office/shop, the internet is a place where business is done based on price or features and sometimes... both. You're in the business of service, competing against everyone from the other local guy to the large marketing firms with endless budgets. And it's evolving, faster than you've ever imagined.
      If you're standing still, you're going to lose out on a great opportunity to evolve as a business and as a person, and possibly make the most money ever by providing good and honest service.
      Phase 1 is to get you to think about your position in the market place. Compare yourself to the impossible, because doing so will open your mind to potential solutions to frictions that exist in your business today, by just thinking about them.
      When Jeff Bezos evolved Amazon, he wasn't trying to provide the lowest price on products. He was and is trying to fulfill what his customers want, cheaper pricing on goods and near instant delivery. He's delivered on both. Your customers expectations are different, and if your service level is built on trust, price becomes much less of a barrier.
      Tune in next week, where we continue this series of... How to evolve my auto repair business. I had a really great title for this series, but it was stolen and trademarked.
    • By Joe Marconi
      A few years back, my service advisor, Tony, was trying to sell a customer a new battery. Let’s call this customer Ed Jones. Here’s how the conversation unfolded; “Mr. Jones, my technician completed our 21-point inspection on your vehicle and everything checks out fine. However, I do want to discuss the battery. Your battery was tested with our Midtronics digital battery diagnostic tool, which is a very accurate piece of equipment. Your battery is rated at 575 cold cranking amps, and your battery tested at 300.  Would you like me to replace the battery today?” Ed Jones looked at Tony, and three seconds later said, “Thank you for the information. Let me think about it.”
      I know Ed very well. The car we were servicing that day was his daughter’s car, who was home from college for the Christmas holiday. Ed’s daughter is in her first year at Plattsburgh University in upstate New York, which is about a five hour drive and near the Canadian border.  
      I could see the frustration on Tony’s face, so I gave him a little advice; “Tony, ask Mr. Jones who drives the car. After he answers you, ask him what the car is used for. Listen to his answers and then use that information to sell safety and peace of mind, not a battery.”
      Five minutes later, Tony reported back to me excited and amazed; “Joe, great advice!  He authorized the battery! I guess you knew he would buy the battery with the right questions?” I replied, “You were trying to sell Ed Jones a battery by pointing out the technical process we use to determine the health of the battery. What you need to do is reach the customer on an emotional level. The questions I recommended you ask made him realize that it’s the welfare of his daughter he was really buying, not a battery.” 
      Now, let’s clarify something. Tony didn’t say anything wrong with his sales presentation. But he got the process backwards. He was leading with logic. If you’re trying to sell something by using logic alone, you are going to struggle. People make buying decisions based on emotions. To make a sale, you need to connect with the part of the brain where emotions reside, and then back it up with logic.   
      Bombarding the customer first with facts and features tends to confuse the brain as it tries to make sense out what you are saying. That can be difficult because the technical information is usually not fully understood by the customer and the confusion usually results in the customer saying, “No.”  
      Let’s review the conversation when Tony asked the right questions; “Mr. Jones, who drives this car?” Ed replied, “My Daughter.” Tony continued, “And what does she use the car for?”  Ed replied, “She uses it to go college at Plattsburgh. She’s home for the holidays and goes back to school on Monday.” At that point, Tony realized why I urged him to ask those questions, and continued with, “So, your daughter drives this car back to college, and leaves on Monday. She goes to Plattsburgh, which is near the Canadian border.  Mr. Jones, it’s wintertime and that’s a long, lonely drive. Her battery tested weak and may fail without warning. For peace of mind and your daughter’s safety, wouldn’t it be in her best interest to replace the battery before she leaves?” Ed now makes the emotional decision, “Yes.” 
      Here’s the bottom line. First, know your customer. Build rapport during the write up process and find out all the details of why the car was brought in for service. Second, tone down the technical side of what you do. That’s not to say it’s not important. But, before you give the technical facts, reach your client on an emotional level. Ask questions to find out as much as you can about the customer, and then direct the conversation to the reasons why what you are trying to sell will benefit the well-being of the customer and/or the customer’s family.  
      Remember, decisions are easier to make when it has meaning to them or a family member. In Ed’s case, not replacing the battery would have been unsettling to him. Tony’s recommendation to replace the battery is perceived as the right decision because it promotes the safety and well-being of his daughter.
      Humans are driven by feelings and make emotional decisions, then justify it with logic. Next time you are trying to sell anything to a customer, ask yourself, “Why should the customer buy what I am trying to sell?” The answer may surprise you. 
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on November 1st, 2019

    • By Joe Marconi
      We sell service, not products. Yes, we sell water pumps, brake pads and air filters. And yes, those are products. But it’s the service we sell, the customer experience, which lives on well beyond the customer leaves your shop.

      Think of it this way; when you buy a watch, or a new cell phone, the experience of what you purchase continues after the sale. When we replace a customer’s water pump or air filter, there is very little about those items that lives on beyond the sale.

      But, what does live on is the customer experience. The better the experience, the more likely the customer will return to you.  So focus on the customer experience, not the products you install.

    • By Elite Worldwide Inc.
      By Bob Cooper
       
      1. Know your customers’ buying habits. You’ll need to know your customers’ buying habits as well as their service histories. You should always request your first-time customers’ service records, and should ask them about their service histories verbally as well. This information can be extremely helpful during any sales process, especially when it comes to selling maintenance. Great doctors are always interested in a patient’s medical history, just as great service advisors are always interested in a customer’s service history. This information not only indicates which maintenance services are due, but will give you valuable insights to your customers’ buying habits as well.
       
      2. Have the right tools available. People believe what they see, so whenever possible, you should get your customers visually involved. At Elite we are big supporters of complete vehicle inspections, proper documentation, and visually showing your customers what was discovered. Since third-party documentation is usually viewed as a credible source, you should use your customers’ owner’s manuals, their service records, and print-outs that show industry recommendations, maintenance brochures, and repair orders that show the high cost of repairs, failed components and fluid samples.
       
      3. Emphasize the benefits. You’ll need to know the key benefits of every service you offer by heart. You’ll need to know, in very specific terms that your customers will understand, how they will win by authorizing the maintenance services that you recommend. You’ll need to make sure they know it can maximize their fuel economies, protect the value of their vehicles, protect their warranties, help them avoid unexpected and costly repairs, and provide them with peace of mind in knowing that they’ll have good, safe transportation. Not only should you know these benefits by heart, but you should write down the benefits of each of your most popular maintenance services, and then review the list of benefits before each and every sales presentation. When it comes to selling maintenance, the overwhelming majority of shop owners and advisors put the focus of their presentations on the parts and labor, and unfortunately, that’s a mistake. As is true with all sales, your customers will be motivated by the benefits they’ll receive, not the parts and labor that go into the job.
       
      4. Be prepared to cost-justify. When it comes to selling maintenance, one of the single greatest mistakes that shop owners and service advisors make is being unprepared to cost-justify the services. You’ll need to be able to quickly explain to your customers, in clear financial terms, why the service is a great investment for them. Here’s an example: If you estimate that a customer is going to invest $600 in maintenance over the course of a year, then you need to break that number down into a daily amount. This way, when you are recommending your services, you can remind him that although he feels that $600 is a good amount of money, he’s going to be able to benefit from the service for a long time. By following your maintenance schedule over the course of a year, the customer’s investment will end up being just $1.65 a day ($600/365). In essence, for less than a couple of dollars a day your customer will protect his warranty, he’ll be protecting the value of his vehicle, he’ll be squeezing every mile out of every gallon of gasoline, he’ll be reducing the risk of costly breakdowns, and he’ll have the peace of mind that he’ll have safe, dependable transportation. If you are not prepared to cost-justify the investment, then you can rest assured that the only number your customers will hear will be the price of the service. This will not only lead to lost sales, but if your customers don’t experience a breakdown within the next few months (that is attributed to the declined service recommendation), then they’ll look at the service you offered as nothing more than an attempt at an unwarranted upsell. At this point, you’ve not only lost the sale, but you’ve lost your credibility as well.
       
      5. Let the customer know you have great news. When you call your customers, make sure you begin your presentation by telling them that you have some really great news. This will not only set the tone for your presentation and put your customers at ease, but it will send a strong message that as a professional, you feel the service you are about to recommend is truly a great value.
       
      6. Use an assumptive close. Instead of asking your customers if they would like you to perform the recommended maintenance services, you should say, “All that I’ll need is your go-ahead, and we’ll get started on it right away.” Assumptive closes send a strong message that there is no logical reason for your customers to decline the services that were recommended.
       
      7. Schedule the next appointment. There is no better time to schedule the next appointment than at the time of car delivery. Your customers are standing in front of you, they feel comfortable with you, and it’s easy for them to say yes. If your customers leave without making an appointment, then they’re going to be fair game for all of your competitors. In addition, taking good care of your customers’ vehicles is a process, not an event, so it stands to reason that you’ll need to see them again to perform the services that will be due at that time, to complete a periodic safety inspection, etc.
       
      8. Never put money ahead of people. Here’s one of the best kept secrets to not only selling maintenance, but to building a great business. Customers are intuitive, and they can quickly tell if a service advisor is interested in their credit card or their well-being. If you sell from your heart, and if you never put money ahead of people, it will show through every single time. Not only will this help you increase your sales, but it will help you generate lifelong customers at the same time.
       
      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 one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.
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