Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The 7 Factors That Lead To Failure

The 7 Factors That Lead To Failure


Eric M. Twiggs

"Nothing external to you has any power over you." Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was August of 2009, and I was the new guy.  As a rookie coach, I was curious as to why some shop owners experience great success, while others lose money on the bottom line each week.  As I would get new clients, I would ask:" What's your biggest challenge?" 

The most common responses were the economy, customers not having enough money, and being in a small town. 

Several months later, my heart sank as a client was transferred to me that fit this description.  He had a four bay shop in a rural part of the country that had a low median income with a high unemployment rate. The local economy was bad because of massive layoffs. 

His location was four blocks from the main road and on a dead end street.  If you were to Google the phrase "my shop is different", a picture of his building would come up!  We were in big trouble, right?

Before you answer, let's fast forward to the present.  This "unlucky shop owner" averages $41,000 in sales, 82 cars, and $15,000 of Gross Profit Improvement per week.  His name is Bryan, and his shop BG Automotive, consistently ranks in the top 25 out of 1200 locations in the ATI Top shop rankings!   His story teaches us that the factors leading to failure are not external.

The reasons for both success and failure can be found within your four walls.   So what are the real reasons that shop's miss the mark?   Based on my experience, there are 7 factors that lead to failure:  Let’s start by reviewing the top 3.   

Unclear Standards 

Standards are the minimum acceptable levels of performance in a particular area.  Do your technicians know what the standard is for productivity?  Do your writers know how much they need to do in gross sales every day?  Do you and your team know what your WIN # is?

Having a consistent meeting routine is a great way to communicate your standards.  Daily huddle, weekly one on one, and monthly team meetings, give you a platform to keep everyone on the same page. 

Lack of Training 

Demanding results without verifying know-how, leads to frustration. I recall a time when I coached a service manager that struggled to sell maintenance.  Each week, he promised to do better, but the results never changed.  Out of frustration, I put him on the spot by asking him to sell me a brake flush as if I were a customer.  After an awkward silence, he admitted that he didn’t know what to say! 

If I had role played with him from the beginning, we could have implemented the training plan, and gotten the desired results much sooner.  Have you been struggling to get your writers to exit schedule, overcome objections, or answer the phones correctly?  Conduct role play sessions with them this week to see where they really stand. 

Missing Motivation

Training and motivation are often confused.  To resolve this confusion I use the "gun to the head test."  Here's how it works: If an armed criminal broke into your location, demanding your writer to execute the phone script, could she do it?

The "gun to the head" would motivate her to use her know-how.   If she has the know-how, but is still failing on the phones, a lack of training isn't the reason! 

Do you have a performance based compensation plan to provide monetary incentive?  Are there consequences in place for any employee who fails to follow through? Do you have a recognition program to provide public praise to your top performers?

If you answered "NO" to any of these questions, you may have a missing motivation problem!


If the economy, the customer’s wallet, and being in a small town determined success, Bryan and the other Top Shops would never make the list!

If you commit to clarifying your standards, investing in training, and providing motivation, you will overcome the factors that lead to failure!


Eric M. Twiggs

PS.  I only gave you 3 of the 7 factors.  For a complete checklist of the 7 factors that lead to failure, email  and I will send it.