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Been in and out of here from time to time over the last few years but wanted to say hi. I'm feeling like I may have something to contribute at this point so looking forward to building a better industry with all of you. I'm somewhat independent in my thinking and I'm not from this industry so sometimes I do things differently than industry norms. But, I measure everything and the numbers are improving as we get better at what we do.
A little about my operation currently:
Car count up 30% over last year
Sales 400k in last 12 months (on track for 500k this year)
130-160 cars/mo depending on seasonality
Market of 8000 households
Definitely not the cheapest game in town
A little about my goals:
800k in sales
Highest quality game in town
By Joe Marconi
Every shop needs a balance of technicians at every level. But one thing is for sure, every shop needs at least one superstar A level master technician. And if you don’t think you can afford someone at that level, please think again. An A level tech comes with benefits that other level techs can’t offer you.
Now, let’s be sure we are on the same page. My definition of a superstar Tech: An “experienced” tech with a complete set of tools including test equipment (some even have their own scanners), they are an ASE certified Master Tech, they can consistently produce more hours than they are actually at work, have a great attitude, are mentors to the younger techs and will tackle just about anything you throw at them.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we all need techs at all levels. And a solid B tech is also very valuable. But, when you are up against a problem, there is nothing better than a superstar tech to come to the rescue.
The only issue with a superstar tech? It’s not easy to find them. Another option: home grow your own.
By Joe Marconi
I Can’t Afford it Today
Recently, at one of our service advisor’s meeting, I questioned why a customer declined doing the timing belt. This customer was informed at her last visit that the timing belt was overdue and she also received a post card reminder from us. The customer’s response when the advisor mentioned the timing belt? “I know, I know, but it’s the start of the school year and I just can’t afford it today”. It was a busy day, and the advisor simply informed her that we will set up a reminder for the next visit. Good customer service? Of course not!
This customer is already overdue for the timing belt and if it breaks and does internal damage, who will she be looking at and blaming? You bet; US!
I constantly reminder my service advisors that we are not peddlers at a county fair trying to sell our products and need to convince people that our product is in their best interest. We are selling services and products that the customer absolutely needs in order to maintain a safe and reliable vehicle. And equally important, what we recommend will save the customer money down the road by decreasing the odds of a costly mechanical breakdown.
When a customer states to you that they can’t afford what you are recommending, it may be true from their perspective. But do they really know what the cost of the repair will be if they choose no? Does the customer know that if the timing belt breaks, without warning, it may do internal damage which will lead to a repair that may be 4 to 5 times higher than replacing the T belt?
When communicating with customers, ask the right questions; Is this a car you plan on keeping? Do you use this car to commute to work each day? Is this also a family car you use on weekends? If you get a series of, yes, yes, yes, you are making the customer understand that what you are suggesting is in their best interest. Lastly, let the customer understand the down side of not performing the service or repair today. If you have done your job correctly, the customer will be saying, “Well, I really can’t afford Not to do it”.
By Joe Marconi
More and more new car dealers are jumping on the band wagon and offering free maintenance or a low cost maintenance plan with new car sales and used car sales. When you factor in the longer warranties, an added maintenance plan may keep your customers going back to the dealer for a longer period of time.
I do not like leaving things to chance. The new breed of dealers left behind after the economic dust settles will be an aggressive bunch, having the support of the car maker behind them.
Should we worry? Should we find a way to compete? Should we wait and see what happens? Like to hear from you…
Here is confirmation that customers are keeping cars longer. This should be good news for our business.