By ASOG Podcast
ASOG Podcast LIVE from ASTE 2021 - Shop Marketing Pros
By ASOG Podcast
ASOG Podcast LIVE from ASTE 2021 - Automotive Management Institute
Gary Smith started in the car business in 1979 and never looked back. Throughout a 25 plus year career with new car dealerships and OEMs, he was blessed to have experienced all fixed operations positions, having been a Certified ASE and GM Master Technician, Shop Foreman, Service Advisor, Parts & Service Manager and Fixed Ops Director over many years for Cadillac/Oldsmobile, Mercedes, VW and Chevrolet stores. Gary worked as a technical field engineer and warranty audit consultant to OEMs and dealership groups in the late 80s and 90s, this experience uniquely positioned Gary to form GSS Enterprises, Inc. in 2000. Gary specializes in teaching advanced diagnostic techniques and methodology; including physical testing (Lab Scopes, Pressure Transducer, Scan Data and 5-Gas Analysis), signal acquisition & analysis, fuel and lubrication technology as well as vehicle communications data bus diagnostics. Gary teaches technical and management classes and his www.automastertraining.com hotline currently supports technicians with on-car remote technical assistance in 8 Metro markets. Gary also teaches “Train the Trainer” sessions for schools and college automotive programs.
Listen to Gary's previous episodes HERE
Key Talking Points
“Diagnosing difficult deposit related drivability concerns” Carbon build-up affecting engine Cars are what they eat- drivability problems/check engine lights Diag Nation- remote support line, single call or membership base. Remote in and take control, guide technician through the repair. “Technology is exceeding the human’s brain ability to absorb it.” Basic electricity laws is a critical foundation for correct interpretation The definition of a new, desperately needed class of technician; The Automotive SIGINT (signal intelligence) Specialist. COMMINT (communication intelligence) understanding the network, MASSINT (measurement and signature) measure circuit and signatures of signals, IMINT (image intelligence) circuit description and operation, wiring diagrams, HUMINT (human intelligence) service advisor, technician, owner. MECCINT (mechanical intelligence). Process for productive and accurate diagnosis. [email protected] Connect with the show:
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Gold Certification recognizes top tier NAPA AutoCares with a high level of participation in the AutoCare program. The program was built by AutoCare Centers for AutoCare Centers to provide a consistent consumer experience, maximize technology leverage, and reward NAPA’s most committed partners. In other words, Gold Certified AutoCare Centers are the standard bearers for the AutoCare brand nationwide. Simply put, the Gold Certified NAPA AutoCare program, powered by your local shop brand, will separate you from the rest helping you boost your bay counts and your average repair orders.
Learn more about NAPA AutoCare, Gold Certification, and the hundreds of other benefits the NAPA family has to offer by talking with your servicing NAPA store or visiting www.NAPAAutoCare.com.
Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
In another forum someone noted the backlog of containers at the Savannah, GA port. Where's Waldo. Zoom in to find your back-ordered parts.
Waldo is much easier to locate for you tire guys:
Brace yourselves, this isn't on a path to correction. However, Savannah has a better chance of catching up than any of ports in California. Word is that the CA ports are going to start 24/7 operation, but this doesn't address the real problem: Truckers and Trucks.
Here's a Savannah article on Trucker Shortage. Also, who knows how many truckers will be displaced due to the vaccine mandates? I'm sure that they would just switch to a new role somewhere else with such demand, if it's not a statewide mandate that prevents that.
It's even worse in CA. CA has banned any trucks older than 2011 from operating on their roads. Wonder what the average age of the fleet is? Further, CA's AB5 law bans Owner/Operators from operating in CA (but order stayed, in Supreme Court now). Lastly, even if they had truckers to haul containers at night, from the port, the distribution warehouses aren't running night shifts to accommodate. It is a supply chain with many links. Here's a good article that many factors causing the disruption . Sal Mercogliano has a surprisingly interesting YouTube series about container shipping.
And when there's a shortage of truckers, a hike in gas prices and other inflation (tires, etc), then there will be stranded containers because they are offering bargain rates for expensive hauls. Who's going to haul at a loss? There was a recent video that I saw detailing a stuck cargo container, for many months... that may still be there... in Galveston that the owners could not move to Pennsylvania because they didn't allocate/have enough funds to/for the transportation costs. I wonder if the ports hold Auction Wars?
All of these increased shipping costs will be hitting us soon. Offshore manufacturing may get bested by shipping costs... bringing some manufacturing jobs back to the US.
Last point to ponder.... How many very necessary repair parts for these trucking rigs are stuck in these shipping containers?
By Joe Marconi
Exit Strategy-Step 3: Establish Your Goals
It's no secret that having clearly defined, written goals, sets you apart from other business people. You will achieve greater success, have less stress and build greater wealth for you, and for your family.
Start today; create your 5 year, 10 year, 20 year plan. Be specific about what you want to accomplish. And commit to these goals each and every day. Don't worry about life's obstacles and challenges that may throw you a curve ball. Having goals is far better than not having goals, and those goals can be adjusted along the way.
With regard to your retirement, give a lot of thought to your future, and what that looks like. And create a goal for that too. It may seem far in the future for many of you reading this, but trust me, time goes by fast and preparing now for the sale of your business or succession will pay off.
Remember, build your business as if you are selling it tomorrow, and you be more successful while you own it, have more options in the future, and your business will be worth more when the right time arrives.
Stay tuned for Step 4!
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By Joe Marconi
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big proponent of understanding your numbers, and the need for bottom line profit. However, we can sometimes get side-tracked by focusing too much on the numbers and not enough on people.
I have seen time and time again with struggling shops that have their numbers dialed in properly but can't achieve their goals, and the reason all too often is their culture.
Focus on people. Find out what's important to them. Your employees have dreams and goals. Find out what they are. Align their goals with company goals.
When an employee sees that by achieving company goals, they can achieve their own goals, then you have the right culture and a powerful team.
By Joe Marconi
This tip actually comes from a fellow Elite Business Coach; The Tire Rotation is the New Oil Change Service!
I agree! With extended oil changes and people waiting until the oil change maintenance light to tell them when they need an oil change, rather than your Windshield Oil Sticker, shops need a way to get people back into the bays. Also, let's face it, the average consumer DOES NOT change their oil as often as they should.
One of the best ways to get your customer to return to you is to schedule a tire rotation every six months. Wrap the tire rotation around a vehicle multipoint inspection and you now have a new powerful sales strategy and customer retention plan.
By Joe Marconi
This topic has been addressed before, but it's timeless in its importance.
Doctors, dentists, nail spas, hair dressers, pet groomers, boiler service companies, and chimney cleaning service companies all have one thing in common. They all book the next visit or service.
Want to increase future sales and smooth out the highs and lows in your schedule? Then remind each customer at care delivery of their next Oil Service and any other services that are coming due soon. Put the customer's visit in your calendar and have a process that reaches out to them when their visit is due.
REMEMBER: Every vehicle in your shop TODAY will need future services. The question is: Are they returning to you?
By Joe Marconi
Do customers really have clear expectations when they arrive at your shop? Think about it. Who is responsible for setting clear expectations? Consumers may have a preconceived idea about what to expect, but when it comes down to what or who sets the expectation, it's the shop's responsibility.
Great customer service is created by the shop and its people. The consumer will judge that experience, but they don't create it, you do.
We may think that the consumer will tell us what they expect from us. I think it's the opposite.
Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
By Joe Marconi
I will never forget the day I met Carlos. It was 13 years ago at a small business conference in New York City. The conference drew business owners from all types of industries throughout the greater New York area. Carlos was sitting next to me at orientation. The day was lined up with guest speakers, workshops and networking opportunities. By the third networking break, Carlos and I were hitting it off. We traded war stories, discussed business challenges and brainstormed new ideas. Carlos owns two Italian restaurants, one in Manhattan and the other in Brooklyn. His first restaurant was founded in 1986 when he was 27 years old. I finally asked Carlos, “What’s your background? Did you go school to become a chef? Did your family own a restaurant? Do you enjoy cooking?” Carlos turned to me, smiled, and said, “Joe, I am going to let you in on a little-known secret: I have never cooked a meal in my life.”
Unlike Carlos and his business venture, most auto repair businesses are started by technicians and use their technical skills to run their companies. I was one of them. I spent years honing my technical skills from the time I graduated high school in 1973 to my first day in business, Oct. 1, 1980. I worked hard at becoming the absolute best automotive technician I could possibly become. I also spent another decade after starting my business improving those skills. That is, until one day I realized that while I may have used my technical skills to start and initially build my business, it wasn’t enough.
In the first 10 years, I grew my business primarily with my hands, my strength and my determination. At the end of that decade, I hit a wall. Thankfully, that wall knocked some sense into me. My business was largely dependent on my abilities and what I could produce. After analyzing my business and realizing that it had plateaued for a number of years, I had to make a tough choice. It was time to put down the tools. I had to learn a different set of skills—the skills of running a company. This proved to be the right choice for me.
I’m not saying I regret what I did in those early years. I didn’t know any other way. I loved the auto industry and I loved working on cars. However, when the day came that I decided to become a business owner, my life changed. And, my awareness of how to build and run a business should have changed with it.
There are shop owners that were never technicians, and do quite well. It’s argued that they have an advantage over technician-turned-shop-owners. A technician’s brain is wired to look at the problem at hand, create a solution and move on. An entrepreneur looks at business from a different perspective: always looking to the future, at growth and what other greater things can be accomplished.
I remember many years ago meeting a very successful shop owner from the west coast at a trade show. We were both standing at a booth that displayed emissions-related products. I picked up a sensor, turned to this shop owner and asked what he thought of the new air fuel ratio sensors. He replied, “I wouldn’t know an oxygen sensor from a spark plug.” I kept silent. This shop owner was, and still is, well known in the industry—and very successful.
Here’s the bottom line: As a business owner, the skills of repairing cars have little to do with the skills needed for long-term business success. For many of you with a technical background, you may have come to the same conclusion. If you have not come to this realization, please take a long hard look at your life and your business. While you may love to be in the bays, your place it a helm of the ship. Use those technical skills, but understand that those skills may have gotten you this far, but they won’t get your business to where it needs to be. It will be your business skills and people skills that builds a sustainable company that continues to grow and becomes a source of enrichment for you, your family, your employees and their families.
Carlos and I still keep in contact with each other and he still owns and operates his restaurants. Carlos called me the other day and told me that he actually had the opportunity recently to work in the kitchen at one of his restaurants. Perhaps even entrepreneurs can cross over into the world of technicians. I’m betting it did a world of good for Carlos.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on November 1st, 2018
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