Having spent 25+ years in the sales industry myself, I have seen a wide variety of salespeople, from dreadful to truly great with most somewhere in between. Of course, top-performing salespeople are invaluable to any business as they typically represent the 20% of the team that generates 80% of the revenue or thereabouts.
As we start the new year, make sure that you take a moment to take each of your employees aside and give them your heartfelt thanks for being a part of your team. Nothing is more important to the success of your auto repair business than having the right employees working with you, so be sure to give these stars the recognition that they deserve.
If anything good came out of the recent recession, it’s that many people have learned to budget their finances. We are all well aware that there are times when the customer can’t afford all of the services and/or repairs that we are recommending. For example, a customer comes in for a 60k service and you discover that the car needs brakes on all four wheels and tires. The customer, due to budgeting reasons, declines the 60k service, but authorizes the brake work and tires.
We must be constantly negotiating with and reevaluating ourselves, our goals, our performance, risk, attitudes and lessons learned. If we don’t have predetermined plans for how we will deal with the facets of our businesses and our lives, we will end up in a place we don’t want to be. As we start a new year I see no better time to do just that. Take some time and have a plan ready. Check your goals, reset them if needed. Be prepared for the unexpected, know where you want to be, and you’ll get there!
If you’re going to be closed for the holidays, or any part of the holiday season, make sure that your customers know about it, and make sure that your after-hours phone message clearly states when you’re going to be closed and who to contact if your customers need any emergency service or repairs.
Too often, the only time we address someone is when things go wrong. While we cannot ignore mistakes, we need a balance. In fact, it’s far better to catch people doing things right, and to give praise. Also, in the heat of the moment when things go wrong, our judgment is clouded and we tend to lash out and say things we often regret afterwards. The person on the receiving end will often shut down too, and nothing will get accomplished.
We often take a customer’s car to the dealer when we discover the vehicle is under warranty. We prefer to take it ourselves, because too often my customers come back with a ton of service work done, much of which we already performed! Plus, it’s no secret that the dealer wants my customer.
Many shops in the northern part of the country go through a slow sales period during the winter months. And, while there is no way to get back those snow days when business literally shuts down, here are a few tips we can use to maximize sales this winter.
If you speak with most shop owners, they’ll tell you that they think their shop is worth “X” amount of money. Ask them how they came up with that number, and they’ll tell you it’s based on what they heard another shop sold for, or it’s predicated on their annual sales.
In today’s market, service advisors are faced with a number of challenges. One of the more complex challenges is when a skeptical first-time customer comes in for an LOF service, and the advisor discovers that this customer needs a long list of repairs. This is what most advisors refer to as the proverbial “laundry list.”
Tom and Cindi Potter have had quite the adventure when it comes to the location of their successful import shop, Japanese Auto Masters in Virginia Beach, VA. The husband-and-wife team opened the shop in 1982 at a time when few independent repair shops focused on Asian vehicles. Originally located in a small shop near the oceanfront in Virginia Beach, Japanese Auto Masters had outgrown its small beginnings, and, in 1996, the couple started operations in a new 7,000-square-foot facility next to Oceana Naval Air Station.
In the first of a two-part series, we delve deep into the process of selling a business by interviewing Art Blumenthal, nationwide automotive aftermarket business broker, who provides business valuations, exit planning, and buying and selling advisor services.