I’m sure many of us have watched, or at least heard of, the iconic ‘80s TV show, “The A-Team.” The show was popular when I was in my pre-teen years. My dad and I used to enjoy it together. It became a bonding moment between us, instilling in the value of teamwork, problem-solving and leadership, and how it was done with a band of “misfits.”
(On a side note, nobody ever died in the show, not even the bad guys—more on that later.)
I'd like to draw a parallel between “The A-Team" and our automotive service and repair shops. If you remember, each member of the A-Team had a unique set of skills making them irreplaceable and ensuring the team's success in the most challenging circumstances (Hollywood style of course). We need our own A-Team in our shops—an elite group of 'A' players who excel at what they do, especially in the tougher tasks, like selling maintenance work.
Maintenance work is harder to sell than repair work for several reasons. It's often preventative and thus less urgent in the customer's eyes. However, this is where your 'A' players come in. They are your best salespeople, those who can effectively communicate the value and importance of regular vehicle maintenance to your customers.
To begin building your automotive A-Team, first, you need to identify who your 'A' players are at the front counter. They typically show high levels of boldness, energy, a positive attitude and a gift for customer service. Once identified, involving them in your service sales process is crucial.
When your 'A' player technicians inspect the vehicle, they not only identify the necessary maintenance needs but also find those underlying issues that years of experience under the hood will reveal. They understand the technical aspects and translate them into layman's terms for the advisor and the customer to understand. By doing this, they build trust, and you will see an increase in your maintenance and repair work. So many shops leave the least experienced technicians alone to do the vehicle inspection, a mistake in my opinion.
However, remember that having an A-Team doesn't mean neglecting your other employees. Every successful team needs balance, and each member has a role to play. You can nurture your other team members into becoming 'A' players by providing them with the proper training and mentorship.
Next, empower your 'A' players. Give them the autonomy to make decisions during inspections and customer interactions. Just like the A-Team, they need the freedom to use their unique skills to the fullest. Encourage them to be proactive and innovative in presenting the work the vehicle needs, as your ‘A’ player advisor should already know what the customer uses the vehicle for and what their goals are.
Lastly, provide them with the right tools and resources. Whether it's state-of-the-art inspection software, continuous training programs or a motivating reward system, your investment will undoubtedly yield profitable returns.
Reflecting on “The A-Team" and the shared memories with my father, it wasn't just the thrill of the plot or the banter between Mr. T’s character B.A. Baracus and Murdock that I remember. It was the power of teamwork, each member contributing their unique skills towards the success of the group, something missing in a lot of shops today.
Let's bring this philosophy to our shops. By building and fostering our own 'A-Teams,' we can improve our maintenance sales and create a working environment that breeds success, just like in the original A-Team. As the famous catchphrase from the show goes, "I love it when a plan comes together." Let's make our plans come together and see our businesses thrive!
Oh, and one more thing: Just like nobody died in the show, I remember what my colleague Jason Servidio always says, “Just ask for the sale; nobody died selling!”
Go forth, prosper and send me your comments to [email protected].