Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How To Stop The Car Count Drop

How To Stop The Car Count Drop


Eric M. Twiggs

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”  Robert H Schuller

“Tell me why my car count is down!  I thought ATI was supposed to help me with that!” said Larry, a member I worked with several years ago.  It was the middle of July and Larry had been in the ATI program for two years. He had attended each of the Shop Owners classes, to include the Always be Marketing module.  

I asked him, “So how many exit appointments have you scheduled since our last call?”  ‘None” he replied.  “Ok, how many follow up calls have you made to your customers who declined previous recommendations?” “We haven’t made any yet Eric.”  

“Well Larry, I need to dig deeper to answer your question.  Please send me 10 completed courtesy checks from last week. “Ummm, our techs don’t actually fill out a courtesy check form. They just look over the car and write down what they find.” 

After pausing, counting to ten, and taking a deep breath, I asked: “So, you’re not exit scheduling, you’re not making follow up calls, and your techs don’t courtesy check, but you can’t understand why your car count is down? 

To which Larry replied, “Yeah, I see your point, it’s not ATI’s fault, it’s my area! My vendors say everybody’s slow this time of year!   

Larry’s story reminds us that being exposed to the right methods while having the wrong mindset is a recipe for failure.   As stated in a previous post, experience has taught me that 80% of what keeps someone stuck ties back their mindset, with only 20% relating to their methods.   

So, what is the mindset requirement if you want to stop the car count drop?   You will learn the answer if you don’t stop reading.  

Take Extreme Ownership

In their best-selling book Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, recall an incident where Willink was the Commanding officer of a failed Navy Seal mission.  After the mission the entire unit was gathered into the debriefing room.  “Whose fault was this?” Willink asked.  One of the soldiers responded: “It was my fault sir! I should have identified my target!”

To which the Commander replied: “No it wasn’t your fault. Whose fault, was it?” The radio man chimed in with: “It was my fault sir! I should have passed our position sooner!”  Willink responded: “No it wasn’t your fault!”

As other Seals were positioning themselves to take the blame Willink interrupted: “You know who’s fault this was?” Everyone sat in silence as he continued: “There is only one person to blame for this. ME.  As the Commander, I am responsible for the entire operation.”  Willink and the Seals were quick to take the blame because they recognized that you can’t fix what you don’t own. 

Have you taken Extreme Ownership of your car count situation?  Blaming your local economy is easier than admitting that you haven’t been exit scheduling.  I get it.  The problem is that blaming the economy will motivate you to sit back and wait until the economy improves. 

Blaming yourself, will motivate you to move forward and take the necessary actions that lead to improvement.  The advantage of YOU being the problem is that YOU become the solution! 

Become a Forward Thinker

Several weeks ago, I posted the following question to a group of shop owners on Facebook: “What marketing do you have planned for Back to School?”  Twenty-four hours went by and all I heard was the sound of crickets! 

After calling Verizon to verify that I was still connected, I realized that the sampling of shops hadn’t responded! I threw the question out there again and two shops replied with detailed plans that included dates, promotional offers, and targeted customers.

Upon further review, I realized that the two shop owners that responded with such detail hade one thing in common:  They were recognized on stage last year for being one of The Top 12 Shop Owners in America.  Being a forward thinker, carries over into the other areas of running a successful operation.

Most shops complain about the car count drop going into the fall and winter months.   Top shops anticipate the seasonal slowdowns and have targeted marketing planned to drive traffic.  Are you a top shop or like most shops?

Answering the following questions can help you decide:  

1. What marketing do you have planned for the week that your County Fair is in town?  2.  Labor Day is Monday September 4th.  What specials do you have set up for the days leading up to it?   In October, you have Car Care Month, Shocktober, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  What proactive promotions do you have scheduled on your marketing calendar? 

If you had immediate answers to all three questions, congratulations!  You are a forward thinker.  If you didn’t have answers to any of my questions, I challenge you to take extreme ownership of your car count situation!


Larry couldn't stop the car count drop because he blamed everyone except himself.  If you commit to taking extreme ownership and becoming a forward thinker, you can stop dropping car count and start dropping more money in your bank account, which can help to improve your local economy!   

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS. Email to receive a checklist of the 5 Habits of Forward Thinking Shop Owners.