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
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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.
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.
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By Mark Johnson
He had been working with his accountant for 6 years. That’s over $134k in over-payments.
The reality is most CPAs only do tax preparation not tax planning, there is a HUGE difference!
I am offering free tax planning assessments to all group members.
Where we will look at:
Deductions review & Strategy planning Legal Entity Optimization Retirement Option & Plan to Hit Extra 1M by Retirement Insurance Review & Assets Protection TCJA (Trump Tax) Review Message me direct or book your slot on my website.
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By Joe Marconi
Roughly a month ago, two events happened on the same day that reminded me that there are things that are so precious, you cannot put a price on them. Those events also reminded me that some of the things we stress over, really aren’t as important as we think. And in the end, it all comes down to the importance of life itself.
I got a call that day from Paul, the person who picks up our scrap metal. He asked if he could speak to me in private. Now, being a seasoned business owner, that’s usually not a good sign. But, this had nothing to do with business. I met Paul in my office a few hours later. He appeared very uncomfortable and upset. After exchanging a few words about business and the weather, he told me that his brother died last year. He was one of three other brothers that died within the past five years. He went on to tell me that none of his brothers had any savings or insurance, so it was up to him to take care of all the burial expenses for all the brothers. As Paul spoke, I could see that he was emotionally drained. Then he said to me, “Joe, I really hate to ask you this. I am tapped out. I cannot support all my financial obligations at this time. Would it be possible to lend me the money to purchase the gravestone for my brother? You can make the check out directly to the gravestone company, not to me.”
I have known Paul a long time. He’s one of those hard-working, tough-talking guys that you would never imagine asking for a handout. I didn’t hesitate and wrote out the check and handed it to him. He held back the tears as he shook my hand and told me, “Joe, I will never forget this, and I will pay you back.”
About an hour later, the owner of a local tow company walked into my office manager’s office to pick up a check we owed him for last month’s tows. I wasn’t paying much attention until I overheard my office manager say, “Oh, my God, I am sorry, Dave. I didn’t even know you were sick.” Dave is 42 years old, married with kids, and has brain cancer that is not responding to treatment.
Dave has a great attitude, but understands the reality of his illness. He’s doing his best while on the treatment, but admitted that, some days, he finds it hard to function. He told us how he started his tow company right out of high school and has worked hard his entire life. As he was leaving, I told him to reach out to us if he needs anything. He told me prayer might help. I told him I would do that.
Before the two events that day, I was dealing with a few business problems. And I need to be honest: I was not in the best of moods. After speaking to Paul and Dave, those issues that seemed so daunting before, didn’t seem all that important anymore. I sat back in my chair, looked over at a photo of my grandkids on my desk, and told myself that I need to do a better job at arranging life’s priorities.
As shop owners, we get caught up in the day-to-day struggles of running a business—sometimes at a cost to our families, friends and ourselves. We anguish over bad online reviews, disgruntled employees, slow days and declining car counts. We sometimes find it hard to sleep at night, reflecting over and over again in our minds, the problems of the day. And we repeat this cycle over and over, year after year. Let me tell you, no business issue is ever all that serious that it cannot be overcome. But, when life throws you a curveball, as in the case with Paul and Dave, those problems are not so easily overcome.
There are many reasons why each of us go into business. For many of us, it’s the passion for the work we do. For others, it’s the burning desire to improve the automotive industry. While I cannot say that we are in perfect alignment in every area of business, I do know one thing with certainty: We all need to stop and reflect from time to time on all the things that have nothing to do with business, but everything to do with life itself. Those are the things that no amount of money can ever buy. Those are the things that are priceless.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on June 1st, 2019
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By Mark Johnson
Have you ever done a Tax Planning exercise? Do you know the difference between Tax Preparation and Tax Planning?
Tax Preparation is the backward-looking process of using your income to produce a tax return for the IRS. It is done after the fact and its main purpose is compliance.
Tax planning however, is a strategic and proactive look at your business and personal finances in an effort to Legally minimize your tax exposure while ensuring that you are in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
Not knowing the difference between the two can cost you thousands of dollars in unnecessary over payments, fees, penalties, interest charges or even jail time.
I am a Tax Strategist who helps Auto Shop owners to reduce taxes by as much as 50% and eliminate financial risks.
To learn more please free to reach out.
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