Inspect What You Expect

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Last week, we were doing a deep dive into the numbers at our shop, including how many calls are converted and how much work is sold. If we did a great job with what we have, we would be killing it right now. However, phone skills just aren’t where they need to be and the amount of calls that are being converted is less than desirable. On top of that, when they do come in, critical car repair needs are taking too long to be presented to customers. Is the staff to blame? No. You as the leader need to make sure that your staff is doing what you expect of them. Here’s how I go about holding my shop owners' accountable. 

When someone has less than desirable results and customers aren’t coming in, I ask to see what is happening. I say, “Show me.” I want to see how they’re interacting with customers. Most of the time, if customers are coming in, the phone skills or texts that are being sent are subpar at best or it takes too long for the work to be presented once a customer does come in. 

A week after we’ve run through this, I go through the exercise again. This time, they are prepared for me to say, “show me,” but I get a lot of excuses on why it’s not up to par. There are excuses for why the service manager won’t take the time to properly present the work to a customer or that the tech doesn’t have time to properly interact with the customers. Remember, this isn’t on your staff. I’ve heard every excuse in the book for why a customer won’t convert. So, the next step is practicing customer outreach together. Here’s how we do it. 

Together, we send out a certain number of texts and we time every safety presentation to the customer on a given day at a shop. Once that’s done, we listen to all of the phone calls and take notes. We do the same thing with the presentations and we take another swing at it. Then, something remarkable happens—it’s a record day.  

Here’s my point: you don’t have to advertise more and throw away dollars in order to get customers to come in and sell more work. You don’t need to put pressure on customers to increase sales. The key to increasing your numbers is to set goals and hold yourself accountable. One way to do this is to track numbers so you’re prepared to give 30-minute, hourly and daily updates on your conversion numbers. 

In my experience with the shops that I work with, if we do phone skills training and role playing every other week and then listen to the calls that are being made on a daily basis, we double our phone conversions. Still not convinced? If doing this leads to just one more converted customer per day, that could equal roughly $6,500 per month in sales. That’s over $72,000 per year. It’s worth your time and effort to do it. 

So, for those of you who still have excuses and “don’t have the time” for phone training or tracking results, think about that extra income. It’s worth your time and effort to just do it. And, for anyone out there that thinks their shop is already doing a great job and says the classic, “my sales are down but we’re doing a pretty good job on phone skills,” I challenge you to listen to all of your calls because it’s clearly not happening. I also challenge you to take a stopwatch and time how long it takes critical needs to be shown to a customer. 

If we were to present all safety items to a customer within 10 minutes—this does not require an estimate, you can walk them right up to the car—we could double our conversions and therefore our sales. With the possibility of numbers like that, it’s worth your time and effort to just do it. If calling customers or sending out 50 texts per day would get at least 10 appointments or comebacks for customers that would equate to $4,000–$6,000 additional sales per week, you would say it’s worth your time as a shop owner to check and make sure this is happening every hour. Just do it! See what happens. 

The lesson is we can’t expect anything from our staff if we aren’t willing to inspect it or do it ourselves. But, if we put in an extra 10 percent, we can double our sales, have happier employees and customers which will result in a happier you. 

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