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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How To Overcome The Real Problem At Your Shop

How To Overcome The Real Problem At Your Shop


Eric M. Twiggs

“You cannot rise above the level of your limiting beliefs.” Jordan Belfort

 As part of my training to run a full marathon, I ran a half marathon which was 13.1 miles.  It took me two hours and twenty minutes, which was just under an eleven minute per mile pace.   I believed that it was impossible to run a full marathon (26.2 miles) at this pace. 

My feelings were forever changed on the morning of the full marathon. During the opening festivities, Desta Morkama, the winner of the previous week’s Marine Core Marathon, was introduced as the guest of honor. 

I was shocked to discover that he ran 26.2 miles in two hours and twenty-five minutes, a 5.5-minute mile pace!   My belief about how fast a marathon could be run was proven to be wrong! 

Noted author & motivational speaker Jordan Belford defines a belief as “nothing but an idea that you are really certain about.”  I was really certain about my eleven minute mile idea, but that didn’t make it true!  

Likewise, you may be really certain about the idea that your customers don’t like to be exit scheduled.   You may be really certain about the idea that you can’t present a large estimate to a first time customer.  You may be really certain about the idea that the ATI program won’t work in your area.  

But how can you be certain that what you believe is true?    

If you want to take your shop to the next level, you have to embrace what I refer to as the open door possibility:  You must always leave the door open to the possibility that your idea may be wrong.

What’s the biggest problem at your shop right now?  The most common answers are usually the following:  cash flow, car count, or hiring.  

Well, I have some good news.  Those aren’t your real problems.  The real problem is the limiting story you tell yourself to explain why you don’t have what you want in these areas.

Here are some examples of limiting stories.  Cash flow: “I can’t charge more because my customers are on a fixed income.” Car count: “It’s an election year and everybody’s slow.”   Hiring: “I can’t conduct interviews until I have an immediate opening.”

By embracing the open door possibility, you will be on your way to overcoming the real problem at your shop; you’re limiting beliefs.   Stay with me to learn one specific strategy to make this happen.   

Find Living Proof

In a recent video, I shared a story about this guy, let’s call him “Mike”, who was walking down the street and fell into a hole.   He was frustrated because he had no idea how to get himself out.  He was starting to believe that he would always be stuck

An hour goes by and he sees his friend “Jim” walk by and he yells out to him, “Help! Get me out of here!”  Jim responds by jumping into the hole with him. 

“Jim, why did you do that? Now we’re both stuck!”   Here’s what Jim said back: “I’ve been stuck in this hole before. Follow me and I’ll show you how to get out.”  

Luckily for Mike, he was able to find someone who had done what he believed to be impossible.  Jim was living proof of what was possible.

Have you ever felt like you would always be stuck in the hole of low cash flow, low car count, or working the counter?  This “feeling” that you would always be stuck, is an example of a limiting belief.  I challenge you to be like Mike, by finding “Living Proof” to lead you out of the hole.   

“Living Proof” will be at the Super Conference  after netting big profits in a small town.   “Living Proof” is in your 20-group growing their car count in a “bad local economy.” 

“Living Proof” will be in your next ATI Owners class after hiring their replacement, even though “you just can’t find good people anymore.”

You trying to convince one of these individuals of what can’t be done, would be like me trying to convince the Marine Core Marathon winner that it was impossible to run a marathon at an eleven minute mile pace!

After he finished laughing at me, he would remind me that living proof is the best cure for limiting beliefs.    


So, there you have it.  Finding living proof of what’s possible will help you to overcome the real problem at your shop. 

Accomplishing your goal is like running a marathon.  If someone else has done it, it must be doable!


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Email  to receive a Limiting Beliefs Questionnaire with Five questions that will challenge what you believe. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How To Sell To a Dishonest Customer

How To Sell To a Dishonest Customer


Eric M. Twiggs

“People don’t have money problems; they have priority problems.”  Larry Winget

“Michelle” drives a Mercedes E350 and is on her way to the mall.   She will spend over one thousand dollars on Christmas presents for her family.  Later in the evening, she will meet with her husband Bob who is a partner at his law firm. 

They will go to Ruth Chris Steak House and partake in an upscale dining experience.   I didn’t have to introduce you to Michelle because you’ve already met her.  And when you met, she lied to you.

Michelle was just at your shop driving the Honda Accord with 110,000 miles on it. (Didn’t you notice the Mercedes key on her key ring?) She’s the one who came in for an oil service and you presented her with a $500 estimate to address her original request, safety, and maintenance items.    

She’s the one who called back to let you know that she didn’t have the money to have the work done.   What you didn’t know, is that she’s the one who spent over a thousand dollars at the mall and then Ruth Chris AFTER telling you she couldn’t afford to get the work done. 

Why would she lie to you?  If she had the money to spend at the mall and the restaurant, she certainly had the money to fix her car. 

Before you throw Michelle “under the bus”, consider this: Money is usually a question of priority and not availability.     Michelle had the money available.  She didn’t feel that spending it with you was a priority.

Have you ever stepped in and sold an estimate to a customer, after they rejected the very same estimate that was presented by your service writer? 

Did that customer suddenly remember that they had the winning lottery ticket?  NO.  The reason you succeeded where your writer failed, was that you helped the customer to understand what was in it for them to invest in their car.

Every shop in America has a customer like Michelle, who has the money, but is waiting to feel the value.  So how do you sell to a “dishonest customer?”  Stay with me to learn the truth. 

Align Your Expectations

Robert Rosenthal, a Harvard University professor, conducted an interesting experiment at a San Francisco elementary school.  He told the teachers that a specific sampling of students tested as gifted and talented, based on a test that he administered.

He stated that these kids were about to experience a dramatic growth in their IQ scores.   He then tracked the students over the next two years.

As predicted, the students he singled out, experienced the biggest gains in their intelligence scores when compared to their peers.   Here’s what’s interesting:  Rosenthal lied to the teachers. 

The “gifted and talented” students were really names that were randomly picked out of a hat!  Rosenthal concluded that the teacher’s expectations, affected how they interacted with the students, which led to their improved scores. 

The teachers gave the students whom they expected to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval, that the rest of the class.   

Do you treat the customers you expect to buy, different from the ones you don’t?

It’s possible that your customer says she doesn’t have the money, because you don’t expect her to have the money.   Your expectations of her ability to pay will show up in how you present the estimate. 

For example, I’ve overheard service writers ask, “You don’t want that Road Hazard protection on your tires, do you?”  The reason she didn’t buy, was because you treated her like you didn’t expect her to buy.    Therefore, you must align your expectations with your goals.    

Account For Your Blind Spots

There is a famous story told of two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet and older fish swimming the opposite way, who nods at them and says, “Morning boys how’s the water?”

The two-young fish swim on for a bit without responding, until one looks over at the other and asks, “what the heck is water?” 

Sometimes it takes another set of eyes to keep you from overlooking the obvious.   There may be an obvious aspect of your sales presentation that’s causing a dishonest response from your customer.  

It could be something as simple as using filler words like “uhmm” and “you know” that’s creating doubt in your customers mind.   You may be blind to it, but it would be obvious to your ATI classmates, or ATI Coach.   

When it comes to accounting for your blind spots, feedback is your friend.  The late great Peter Drucker described feedback as “The breakfast of champions.”

Whenever I tell a service manager that their sales presentation will be video recorded during the ATI advanced sales class, I notice that their smile instantly changes to a frown! 

It only gets worse when I tell them that the other class participants will give them specific feedback on how they’re selling.    This is a golden opportunity for you to become aware of your blind spots.

The best way to account for your blind spots is to assume that every time the customer says no, it’s your fault.  By embracing this level of ownership, you will become open to receiving feedback that will help you to improve. 

Fore more information on how to overcome your blind spots, click here to watch an instructional video.


So, there you have it.   If you align your expectations and account for your blind spots, you will be more likely to receive an honest response from your customer.    If you consistently practice these strategies, you may have enough money to buy a Mercedes and eat at Ruth Chris! 

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS. Email to receive a listing of the Five Selling Blind Spots that encourage a dishonest response.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How To Make Next Year Your Best Year Ever

How To Make Next Year Your Best Year Ever


Eric M. Twiggs

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” Pablo Picasso

The following statement will get me in trouble with ATI Instructor Randy Somers, but here it is:  I have a problem with the goal poster.  As I share my black Friday experience, you’ll understand why.

On black Friday I went to the shopping mall.   My goal was to enter through the automatic doors at the main entrance.  I conducted an experiment to see what I could do to get the doors to open for me.  First, I sat in the parking lot, closed my eyes, and imagined the doors opening.  It didn’t work.

Next, I got out of the car, walked up to the main entrance and just stood there.  I repeated positive affirmations like “The door will open for me”, and “I’m in the mall already”.  It didn’t work.   

From there, I pulled out my smart phone, accessed my goal poster app and added a picture of the open doors.  No matter how long I stared at my poster, it didn’t work.  Finally, since what I was doing wasn’t working, I changed my approach. (Hint, Hint)

I moved forward in the direction of the door, and then it opened.   So, what does this have to do with you and your shop?

Your goals are like the automatic doors.  You won’t get to where you want to be until you start moving towards them.  When you view your goals, does it feel like you’re on the wrong side of the door?  

This is why I have a problem with the goal poster. 

I believe that this goal poster lulls you into a false sense of security.  It leads you to believe that all you have to do is cut out cute pictures of the things you want, and they will magically appear in your life.

For example, if you picture a stack of money, the money will magically appear in your account.  If you picture an exotic vacation, you’ll wake up tomorrow morning in Aruba.

Here’s the hard truth about goal posters:  If you create a poster, without the commitment to take the required actions, your poster is just a picture of all the things you won’t have!  Without action, you won’t have the stack of money.    Without action, you’ll still be in Augusta, instead of Aruba. 

Now, I do believe the goal poster can be effective, if you’re committed to taking the necessary level of action.  So how can you set goals in a way that inspires you to move in their direction?    Keep reading, because implementing these strategies can make next year your best year ever.

Fast Forward To Your Future

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey coined the following phrase: “Begin with the end in mind.”  This represents habit #2 of the seven habits and it refers to the idea of having a clear vision of what you want.

This is great advice, but the challenge is that we tend to become detached from goals that are off in the distant future.  A distant desire will lack the emotion that drives you into action.  Therefore, you must fast forward to your future.

Imagine that it’s December of 2018 and you are talking to yourself.  You say “Self, this has been the best year ever!”  What three to five specific things would need to happen for you to feel this way?    These items would represent your goals for 2018.

Next, ask yourself why you want these goals.  Don’t stop asking why until you get down to how it will make you feel.  For example, your goal of paying down the line of credit will give you a feeling of freedom. 

Your goal of $2 million dollars in sales will give you a feeling of security.   Becoming a Top Shop will give you a feeling of accomplishment.    These feelings are what will inspire you to act.  You can connect to this feeling by fast forwarding to your future. 

Focus On The Process

At this point, you’ve imagined yourself in the future state, asked why you want your goal, and drilled down to the feeling behind the goal.  So now you’re ready to have your best year ever, right?  Wrong! 

Stopping at this step is like standing in front of the automatic doors waiting for them to open!  Next you must focus the process.  I recommend focusing more of your attention on the process than the outcome.

For example, if your 2018 goal is to hire a general manager, focus on the process of interviewing at least one person per week.   If your goal is to improve your Average Repair Order by $100, focus on the process of doing the daily repair order audits. 

If your goal is to improve your car count by 25%, focus on the process of updating your marketing calendar with the daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities that will get you there! 

Please understand that focusing on the process doesn’t guarantee that you will achieve greatness in 2018.  It’s a risk.  I GET IT.    However, since it’s impossible to become great without focusing on the process, the risk is worth it!


So, there you have it.  If you fast forward to your future, and focus on the process, you can make next year your best year ever.  When it comes to your goals, which side of the door are you on? 

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Looking for a tool to help you set goals that inspire you to take the necessary actions?  Email to receive your 2018 Goal Setting Worksheet.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Crazy Thing That Will Keep You From Hitting Your Shop Goals

The Crazy Thing That Will Keep You From Hitting Your Shop Goals


Eric M. Twiggs

“To have your place in the sun, you have to leave the shade.”  Tim Grover

Imagine for a moment that your goal is to visit Hawaii.   To accomplish your goal, you invest in a travel agent named “Amy”, who has a track record of helping thousands of other travelers like you, to get to the same destination. 

Based on this experience, she selects a specific all-inclusive package that includes the flight, hotel, and ground transportation.    There’s only one problem.

You live in California and your plan is to drive, because you don’t believe in flying. “Well what about a cruise? Asks Amy, “I have some great cruise line specials this time of year!” You reply with, “I think going by boat is even riskier!”

So, you get in your Honda and start driving towards Hawaii, determined to get there your way, driving up to the point where the road ends and the water begins. Now, you feel frustrated.  You’ve invested time and money into this travel agent, and you still haven’t gotten to Hawaii! 

Here’s the question:  In this imaginary scenario, what’s really keeping you from getting to your destination?  Is it your travel agent?   Is it your transportation?

Before giving your final answer, you should consider using a lifeline or phoning a friend!  The correct answer is neither!    It’s your beliefs that would be holding you back. 

I know what you’re thinking: “Twiggs, that’s just crazy! Who would honestly expect to get to Hawaii and not believe in flying?”  Well, allow me to provide some examples that hit closer to home.  Who would honestly expect to get to their car count destination, but not believe in exit appointments?

Who would honestly expect to get to their staffing goals, but not believe in always hiring?    Who would honestly expect to hit their profit mark, but not believe in the pricing matrix?  All three examples are just as crazy as the “Honda to Hawaii” illustration.

Here’s the crazy thing that will keep you from hitting your shop goals:   Hanging on to a belief that will never take you to your destination.   In other words, What got you here won’t get you there.  

Stay with me and you will learn about two specific focus areas, that will help you line up your thinking with your goals.   

Focus On The Possibilities

The story is told of two shoe salesmen named Rick and Mike.    Their company sent them to a third world country to look for new business opportunities.  

At the end of their first day, both called home to their wives to update them as to how things were going.  Rick calls and says:  "Honey, I'm coming back home, I can't sell anything.  Nobody is wearing any shoes here!

Mike calls his wife and says "Honey, you wouldn't believe it, this is a great opportunity.  Nobody's wearing any shoes here!   I can sell to the entire country!"  Mike went on to become a record setting shoe salesman while Rick retuned with no sales. 

When presented with the same idea, Mike was focused on the possibilities, while Rick looked for the problems.   Which are you focused on?

I’ve noticed this same trend when comparing top performing shop owners and those who are always losing money. 

For example, when presented with the idea of offering a lifetime oil change, the consistent top performers tend to embrace it faster, and are seeing dramatic increases in cash flow and customer retention. 

Those who consistently lose money, are more likely to dismiss the idea by talking about all the reasons it won’t work in their area.    The main thing that keeps the top shops at the top is their tendency to focus on the possibilities. 

Eventually, you will find whatever you focus on the most.   If you consistently focus on the possibilities, you will find a better business!

Focus On The Payoff

I believe that there is no such thing as a “silver bullet” solution.   I realize that not every idea works for every shop, every time.  I recognize that there is no one size fits all suggestion that is guaranteed to produce results in every location.

I GET IT!  These facts make it easy to dismiss new ideas, and create limiting stories to support why something won’t work.

Here’s an example of a limiting story from the opening illustration: “Flying in an airplane is too risky. Driving is safer.”  When you catch yourself using a limiting story, the key is to focus on the payoff.

The first step is to review your specific goal.  Next, look at the related story and ask, “How is driving my Honda going to get me to Hawaii?”  For your profit goal, you can ask “How is not using the parts matrix getting me closer to paying down the credit line?”

For your lifestyle goal, ask: “How is interviewing only when I have an opening, helping me to spend more time with my family?”  When you can’t find the payoff, it’s a sign that the limiting belief that’s driving your story, is stopping you where the road ends and the water begins! 


So, there you have it.  Focusing on the possibilities and the payoff, will increase the likelihood that you achieve your goal.    ATI is like your travel agency.   As long to as you listen to your assigned “agent”, you can get to your desired destination! 

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS. For more information on the lifetime oil change, email

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

50 First Days! How To Know If You've Made A Bad Hire

50 First Days! How To Know If You've Made A Bad Hire


Eric M. Twiggs

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”  H.L. Menken

In 2004, Sony released the hit movie 50 First Dates starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.  Sandler’s character “Henry” meets Barrymore’s character “Lucy” in a restaurant, while having breakfast, and is instantly drawn to her.   After years of searching, he believes he has finally found the right girl.

But there’s one slight problem.  Lucy suffers from short term memory loss, and can’t remember anything that happened from the previous day.  As a result, every date is like the first date.  Even though Harry says the same things each day, Lucy is always hearing it for the first time. 

Does your recent experience with your latest hire, feel like 50 First “Days?”  Each day you talk about making exit appointments, but it’s like she’s hearing it for the first time.  Each day you review the courtesy check process, but it’s like he’s hearing it for the first time. 

Each day, you talk about collecting email addresses, but it’s like they’re hearing it for the first time.  Like Henry, you initially felt like you found the right one, but now you feel like every day is their first day. 

It’s possible that you’ve made a bad hire.  But how can you know for sure?    Studies show that a bad hire can cost a shop as much as six times the employee’s salary, so the sooner you find out the better!     

As you read on you will learn the “head, heart, hands” evaluation method, that can help you answer this question.   


Years ago, I worked as a corporate trainer for a national automotive service corporation.  One of the classes that I facilitated was phone training. 

At the end of each session, the students had to demonstrate via role play, that they knew how to answer the phones and follow the phone outline.  The role plays were then graded on a scale of 0-100.

I remember one student named “Jeff” who was my best student. He passed the final exercise with a perfect score of 100%.  In the following weeks Jeff, my star student, went back to his location and failed his next three phone shops! 

Every day was like his first day when it came to executing the phone process.    His manager “Jim” blamed training as the issue, and wanted to send him back through my sessions again.  I disagreed, because Jeff demonstrated through the role plays that he knew what to do. 

When evaluating whether it’s a head issue, the question is “Does your employee know what to do?”  If the employee can demonstrate the task, then the answer is yes.  If after repeated training and follow up, he’s still unable to do it, then it’s possible that you have hired someone who doesn’t have the aptitude for the job.

Therefore, I recommend creating random role plays for those tasks that aren’t getting executed, even though you keep telling them to do it. In other words: “When it feels like their first day, it’s time to role play!”


Back when I was a store manager, I had a meeting with my team to discuss the courtesy check process.  I went through all the information as to why it was good for the car, the customer, and the company.  I also reviewed how they could make more money. 

I felt like the message was clear, until one of my technicians interrupted me mid-sentence with the following statement: “Yeah Eric, I hear all that, but what’s really in it for me to fill out these courtesy checks?”    To which I replied: “You get the benefit of continuing to work here!” 

After that, I never had another issue with his courtesy checks!   I had addressed the following heart question: “Does your employee know why he is doing it?”  In other words what is their motivation to perform the task? 

Studies show that people are motivated by either approach or avoidance, when it comes to their behavior.  Approach means that doing the task will help them to approach something they want. 

For example, completing the courtesy check will help your tech to make more money.   Someone who is motivated by avoidance, is looking to avoid the consequences of not performing the task.  The technician at my meeting was looking to avoid termination, which motivated him to execute.   

What if you’ve addressed the head issue, the benefits, the consequences, and it still feels like their first day?  In this case, it’s possible that the person has a limiting belief that they are unwilling to overcome.  This is the most common heart issue that I encounter, and it’s a sure sign that you have made a bad hire. 


When I think about the hands issue, I’m reminded of another situation I encountered back when I was a corporate trainer.  Myself and several other company executives where sent out to Northern New Jersey because a disgruntled employee at a troubled location had filed a grievance with the local labor union.    

I was sure that the disgruntled employee had either a head or a heart issue.  I was planning to provide training, and then follow up with the location manager to ensure that he was providing the right levels of motivation.  What I found, took me by surprise. 

The union drive, which made national news, was started because of a tire technician who didn’t have the right tool to perform flat repairs.   He kept telling his manager, but his requests went ignored.   He knew what to do, (head) why he should do it, (heart) but lacked the right tool to do the job. (hands)   

Here’s the hand question: “Does your employee have the necessary tools and resources to do the job?”  For example, if you are coaching your technician on productivity, and you believe he has a hands issue, a great question to ask is: “what do you need from me to help you improve your productivity?” 

If he says, “I need you to get the lift fixed in bay number three”, you know you have a hands issue.  If your new “B” tech knows what to do, why he’s doing it, has the right tools, but still averages 5 billed hours during a 40-hour work week, you just made a bad hire!   


So, there you have it.  If every day feels like your employees first day, check the head, heart, and hands before concluding that you’ve made a bad hire.  If you follow this formula, it won’t take 50 first dates to know the difference between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now!

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Email to receive a special head, heart, hands checklist to help you determine if you’ve made the right hiring decision. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How To Excel As An Expensive Shop Without Having To Discount

How To Excel As An Expensive Shop Without Having To Discount


Eric M. Twiggs

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”  Steve Jobs

“I can get it cheaper from the parts store. You guys are too expensive, cancel everything!”  Has anyone ever said this to you?  This is what Laura, a first-time customer said to “Chris”, the service writer, after he presented her with a $530 estimate for a distributor on her Mitsubishi Eclipse.
“Rich”, the shop owner, overheard the commotion at the counter and met with Laura to salvage the sale. 
Put yourself in Rich’s shoes for a moment.  What would you do to salvage the sale with a first-time customer who has a price objection?  As Rich was telling me his story, I was sure that he would offer her a discount.  What he said to her, took me by surprise. 
“Laura, the price you were quoted by the parts store is a do-it-yourself price.” He went on to explain, “Ours is an installed service price, which comes with a two-year, 24,000-mile warranty, which is twice as long as the industry average.
With that warranty, you get nationwide coverage in case something goes wrong while you’re out of town. Can you find it cheaper? Probably. Will you be as happy with your investment? Probably not.”
Laura’s response was shocking: “I didn’t realize everything I was getting. Go ahead and do it.” Later in the day, she called Chris and apologized! Why did Laura’s mind change even though her price remained the same? 
Here’s the big takeaway: People don’t do what they don’t understand.   After speaking with Rich, Laura was finally able to understand.   
This allowed Rich to excel as an expense shop without having to discount.    Keep reading to learn two specific strategies to make this happen for you as well.

Find Out Their Plans

110 Retail business owners were surveyed as part of a 2014 Retail Systems Research study.  56% of the respondents reported experiencing increased price sensitivity from their customers. 
The survey also concluded the following critical point:  Customers only shop based on price when price is the only thing that separates competing offerings. 
In other words, the less informed customer will be more price sensitive, than one who is educated on how your service will benefit them.  The key is to find out what your customers plans for the vehicle are. 
So how do you find out what their plans are?  I’ve done some in depth, analytical research over the past eight years to present you with the following answer. 
Brace yourself because I’m about to get technical. Here it is:  YOU ASK: “What are your plans for the vehicle?” (It can’t be that simple, right?)
Once you know your customers plan for the vehicle, you can communicate the benefit of your service that lines up with what she wants.  
For example, I’ve asked this question and received the following response: “My plan is to keep driving my Honda until the wheels come off.” 
Later in the presentation, when we are talking about preventive maintenance, I would say, “Having your transmission fluid exchange service done will help you to drive your Honda until the wheels come off, just like you told me out at the car this morning.”
Finding out their plans for the vehicle, gives you the opportunity to educate your buyer on how your service is a match for their specific need.   

Prep Them For The Courtesy Check

“Joanna” a service manager working in the Mid-West, shared an encounter she had recently that hammers home the value of prepping your customer for the courtesy check. 
 She was attending her local Chamber of Commerce “Lunch and Learn” session where she ran into “Bob”, a longtime customer of her shop.  Bob had good news and bad news to share with her.
“I’ve been coming to your shop for years and you guys have the best tire prices in town!”  That was Bob’s good news.   He then went on to say,” My last visit made me upset! 
I came in for four tires and left with a print out of a bunch of other stuff that needs to be done on my truck! I didn’t plan on getting all that work done, I just came in for tires!” 
To which Joanna replied “The other items the technicians found were things that they noticed when they did the courtesy check.  The courtesy check is done just to make sure everything on your vehicle is OK. 
We do that because we don’t want you to experience a break down on the road because we didn’t tell you about a problem with your vehicle.” Here’s how Bob responded: “OK, that makes sense, now I understand. I will be making an appointment to get those things fixed on my truck.” 
Like Rich from the opening story, Joanna explained the process in a manner that Bob could understand.  What she shared with him, should have been communicated by the initial service advisor BEFORE the courtesy check was done. 
 If Bob had been prepped for the courtesy check, he wouldn’t have had any bad news to tell her. 


So, there you have it.  If you commit to finding out their plans, and prepping them for the courtesy check, you can excel as an expensive shop without having to discount.    As stated earlier, people don’t do what they don’t understand. 
It’s my hope that now you understand the importance of educating your customer.    The next step is for you to DO IT!    


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS. Email to receive a video that covers the different buying personalities and how they relate to the customers plan for their vehicle. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Is Your Shop Too Expensive?

Is Your Shop Too Expensive?


Eric M. Twiggs

“Always care about value—not about price.”
Debasish Mridha

Imagine dining out at Ruth Chris Steakhouse.  Your waiter comes out and takes the order for your family of four without writing anything down.  It takes forty-five minutes for the food to arrive, and when it does, the order is completely messed up. You asked for the steak, but get the chicken wings.

You asked for mashed potatoes, but they bring you French fries.  It’s been so long since you’ve seen your waiter, you feel the need to take his picture with your I Phone, so you can remember what he looks like!

At the end, you get your bill and you see that the total came to $150.00 with the tip already included!  Now you’re mad and ask to speak with the manager.  You tell the manager “I could have gone to Outback and spent much less!”   But, why are you really upset?

Are you upset about the price, or are you upset about the experience?  The experience would be the right answer!  You would be upset because you didn’t feel the value for the price you paid. 

Ruth Chris is a high-end restaurant with a great reputation, but based on this imaginary scenario, Ruth Chris was too expensive. Based on the level of service you provide, are you too expensive?   Here are some additional scenarios to help you decide:

If your phone rings so many times that your customer volunteers to answer it, you may be too expensive.   If your writer tells your customer that he can’t give her a price over the phone because “the guy from ATI told me not to,” you may be too expensive(This actually happened!)

If your customer comes in faithfully every 5,000 miles to have his tires rotated, and is greeted by a different “brand new service manager” on each visit, you may be too expensive.   

According to a 2011 American Express survey, 70% of the respondents reported that they would be willing to spend more money with companies that provide excellent customer service

Here’s the big takeaway:  If you’re losing customers, the first place to look is at the quality of your service, NOT the quantity of your pricing.   Keep reading and you will learn two strategies to help you evaluate the quality of your service:

Close The Back Door

In his book  The Sticky Church, Pastor Larry Osborne introduces the metaphor of the door.  He points out that some churches are so focused on acquiring new members through the front door, that they ignore the fact that their existing members are leaving through the back door.   He refers to this failure to focus on the existing flock as leaving the back door open.      

Are you losing a flock of customers through the back door?  Measuring and monitoring your customer retention on a regular basis is the key to closing the door.    For example, the average shop has a one-time visit frequency of 47%.  

This means that 47% of their customers made only one visit during the past twelve months.  If your one time visit frequency is much higher, then you must ask yourself the following questions:  Why aren’t my customers coming back more often?  Did they die?  Did they relocate?  Or are they upset with some aspect of my service? 

Reviewing your visit frequency report and contacting your one-time visitors to find out what’s keeping them away is a critical step to closing your back door.  I have had several of my members contact their one-time visitors to find out what was keeping them way.

Without fail, Issues like not fixing the problem right the first time, the time it took to complete the work, and not liking the previous service manager, are mentioned more than price.  Even when price comes up, it’s usually followed by some aspect of the service the customer was unhappy with.   In other words, the service wasn’t worth the price.  

Feel free to email me, if you would like additional information on how to access your visit frequency report, so you can close the back door. 

Ask For Complaints

‘But Eric, it’s not my service because my reviews are great and I don’t get any complaints.”  This is what a shop owner said recently, after experiencing a sudden drop in business that he was blaming his pricing for.  If this sounds like you, please keep the following in mind:

According to a recent retail industry study, 96% of unhappy customer don’t complain.  91% of those unhappy customers will never come back.    When it comes to customer feedback, don’t mistake silence for satisfaction.     Asking for complaints will help you to avoid making this mistake.

When I say ask for complaints, I’m suggesting that you give the customer the opportunity to tell you what they are unhappy about before they leave your shop. 

There are two ways to accomplish this.  The first and most basic method is for the service advisor to ask every customer and the end of the transaction, “Have we exceeded your expectations today?”  

The second method is to say the following when asking for the internet review: “We are committed to delivering a 5-star experience.  If today’s service wasn’t a 5 out of 5 for you, please let me know what we can do better.”   

If your customer does mention pricing as the problem, you can review exactly what you did during the service, how it will benefit her, and the details of your warranty. 

The retail study I mentioned earlier also mentions that an unhappy customer may tell 15 people about their experience.  Asking for complaints will keep you from developing a reputation for delivering a level of service that’s not worth the money. 


So, there you have it.  Closing the back door and asking for complaints, will keep you from being perceived as too expensive.  Improving the quality of your service, will make dinner at Ruth Chris more affordable for you!


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Looking to call your one-time visitors, but don’t know what to say?  Email and I will send you a script