Helping Shop Owners grow into the successful entrepreneurs they imagine themselves to be.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How To Lose Your Good Customers Over Price

How To Lose Your Good Customers Over Price

Eric Twiggs

"There are no price objections; only value questions.”  Art Sobczak

“I’m losing business because of the pricing matrix!”  This statement was made by a shop owner named Rich, during our weekly coaching call.    Both his car count and average repair order (ARO) were down from the previous year. 

He had two service writers named Steve and Chris.  Even though they had the same invoice count, Steve held a 61% parts margin and a $400 ARO, while Chris hovered around 45% and $230

I had Rich make the “where have you been” calls to determine why people weren’t coming back.  He spoke to ten customers; five from each writer.

As suspected, he got feedback stating that he was too expensive.  Four previously loyal customers mentioned finding another shop with lower prices.  Which seller do you think had the most complaints?

If you guessed Steve, guess again! None of his patrons mentioned the price.  They had good things to say about him and the service.  All of the complaints came from Chris’ customers. 

Why would Chris’ clientele complain even though Steve was charging more?  Keep reading and you will learn two ways to lose your good customers over price.

  •  Only mention what’s wrong -- Chris would only to talk about what needed to be repaired on the vehicle.  Steve began his presentations by mentioning the positive findings from the courtesy check.  Steve’s people felt their vehicle was worth investing in while Chris often heard the following: “I’m getting rid of the car, so why spend the money.” If the buyer feels the value, they will pay the price!  They have to value your service and their vehicle.   
  • Don’t do show and tell -- Steve did a vehicle walk around with everyone, which enabled him to show the worn tires and wiper blades.  He experienced less resistance because he and the customer had the evidence in front of them.   Chris didn’t have time to go out to the car.  Besides, “his customers” didn’t like going back outside. 

If you only mention what’s wrong, and refuse to do show and tell, you will end up with the same results as Chris!

Several weeks later, Rich terminated Chris, replacing him with a restaurant industry veteran.  As a result, the price complaints decreased and the margins increased!   

Have you been hearing more price objections lately?  Pay close attention to how your writer is communicating the value of both your service and the vehicles.


Eric Twiggs

PS.  Tired of losing your good customers over price?  Visit us at to get the details on becoming an ATI client.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Truth About Your Problems

The Truth About Your Problems
Eric Twiggs

"I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step ... There is always a better way."  Thomas Edison

It was Thursday July 2nd, and had I left the office with plans to take the family on a fourth of July weekend getaway.  I figured I would outsmart the other travelers by leaving directly from the office instead of waiting until Friday, like everyone else.

The wife and kids met me at ATI with a packed car and we were on our way.  When we got to the main highway, we experienced a problem. 

We were stuck in a traffic jam, due to construction in the road.  And then it hit me: The only reason the construction was a concern was because it was blocking the road to my destination.

If I wasn't going anywhere, it wouldn't have been an issue for me.  In that moment, I thought about you and the truth about your problems.

The reason you have problems at the shop, is because you have a goal.  Your problem is confirmation that you have somewhere to go.    Have you ever felt stuck because your issue was blocking your road?

Below are the two most common factors that cause entrepreneurs to feel stuck:

 Lack of Information 

It’s as simple as knowing what "right" looks like.   Think about the biggest challenge you‘re wrestling with.  There is a Top shop owner who is either in your area, your 20 group, or coming to the Super Conference that has solved it. 

You can't overcome a lack of information by remaining in isolation.   I read the following quote the other day from author Michael McNeil: “Where there’s a way, there’s a will.”

If you evaluate your problem through the limited perspective of your experience, it’s easy to get discouraged.  Connecting with someone who has already dealt with the difficulty you’re facing, will show you the way and increase your will to press forward. 

Lack of Skill

Several clients have recently made the following statement: “Eric, I’m not a good shop owner." Have you ever felt this way?  I have some good news.   Running a business is a skill, and any skill can be improved with the right training. 

If you wish to overcome a lack of skill, ask yourself the following questions:

·         Am I current with my ATI classes?

·         Do I watch at least one training video per week?

·         Do I read at least one book per month for personal development?


My family and I made it to our destination because we maintained the right perspective on the road blocks. 

The truth about your problems is that they are temporary, as long as you get the right information and invest in the training. 


Eric Twiggs

PS.  Is the lack of training or information keeping you from running a successful shop?  If you would like the details on how to become an ATI client, call 301 575 9120 or visit us at:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Have You Seen The Light?

Have You Seen The Light?
Eric Twiggs
You’ll Never Change Your Life Until You Change Something You Do Daily" John Maxwell

"Eric, my tire is defective.  It just went flat on me!"  These words were spoken by my wife after the right rear tire on our Toyota went flat.   I could see the wear around the sidewall, indicating that the tire had been low on air for a period of time. 

I asked her if she had seen any warning lights on the dashboard.  Her response was classic:  "Nothing out of the ordinary except for a light with the letters TPMS. But it’s only been on for the past three weeks."

This got me thinking about my experience in the tire business. 80% of the tires that came back damaged, were the result of a slow leak, and not a sudden impact.  The customer would ignore the small amount of air leaking out over time. 

Your shop is like a tire.   Ignoring the small losses leads to large failures.

Have you been ignoring the small losses?   Since the TPMS light is a signal for low air pressure, I will share some strategies to address the most common "lows” I see shop's struggle with. 

 Low Car Count

The failure to exit schedule is a like a slow leak.  Going one day without scheduling the next service for your customers is a small loss.  Over 90 days it becomes a large failure. This week, I surveyed of some of the most successful shops in the ATI program as it relates to stable car count. 

They attribute a minimum of 25% of their weekly car count to appointments scheduled from prior visits. 25% of 40 is 10, so A location with a 40 car count capacity could be missing out on as many as 10 cars per week by deciding not to exit schedule. 

Low Staffing

The failure to recruit because you are fully staffed is the slow leak.  Each week that goes by without posting an ad is a small loss.  When your best technician leaves without notice, it becomes a large failure. 

Losing a key person and not having a qualified replacement ready, is the #1 killer of momentum in the automotive industry.  It's like taking a road trip, getting a flat tire, and not having a spare in the trunk.  When the tow truck driver arrives, you wouldn't tell him:  "I didn't bring a spare because I already had tires on my car!"


You may be feeling the pressure, from low car count or staffing, but I have good news.

ATI is your TPMS light!   We make you aware of the small losses before they become large failures. Coming to class, being present for the coaching, and updating the portal will keep your wallet from going flat.   

My wife is living proof that ignoring your TPMS light can keep you off the road to your destination. 

Have you seen the light?

PS.  If you would like information on how to join the ATI program, call 301 575 9120 or visit

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Do You Want Something Different?

Do You Want Something Different?


Eric Twiggs

We can let circumstances rule us or we can take charge and rule our lives from within.” Earl Nightingale

The story is told of a single father with two young sons.  He was laid off from his job and struggling to make ends meet.  After several months of unemployment, he became desperate and robbed the local convenience store. 

 The father was arrested and sentenced to a twenty year prison term.  The two boys were separated from each other and placed in the foster care system. 

Fifteen years later, a news anchor got wind of the story and decided to check in to see how the boys were doing.  The oldest son had become a successful entrepreneur and community activist.  The younger had become a drug addict who was always in trouble with the law. 

The reporter met with the boys separately and asked them both the same question: "Why do believe you turned out the way you did?"

 They both had the same reply: "What else would you expect with a father like that?" They experienced the same crisis, but had a different outlook.

This story made me think about some of the people I work with.  How can two shop owners who experience the same crisis, have a different outlook? 

The reason the boys in the story, and the shop owners had a different outlook is because one responded to his experience while the other reacted.  A response is a positive, rational reply to an event, while a reaction is based on a negative emotion.

Fear and anger are at the root of most reactions.   Below are some common scenarios that illustrate the difference between a reaction and a response.   I have named the two owners Jim and Jack for the sake of the illustration.  The real names have been changed to protect the guilty!

Bad Google Review:  Jim responds by thanking the customer for their feedback, apologizing, and contacting them with a resolution.  Jack reacts by yelling at the computer screen and referring to the customer as a "bottom feeder."   

Low "Back To School" Car Count:  Jim responds to low car count from the previous back to school period by writing up a marketing plan and using the marketing calendar.  Jack reacts by blaming the economy in his area. 

Customer Objects To The Price:  Jim responds by reminding the customer of the value they are getting from their investment.  Jack reacts by reducing the price and complaining about the matrix not working for their area. 
In each scenario, Jim and Jack had a different outlook to the same event.

Do you respond or react when facing a crisis?   It's important to answer this question because your outlook will determine your outcome. 

If you want something different, stop reacting and start responding.