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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The First Step To Becoming A Top Shop

The First Step To Becoming A Top Shop


Eric M. Twiggs

There’s greatness inside of you, and it’s on the other side of your excuses.” Mel Robbins
Something happened a few weeks ago, that knocked me out of my seat.   I was speaking with a shop owner named “Rose” who was concerned about the performance of her shop. 
She was down in gross profit dollars for the month and suspected that her service manager “Nick” wasn’t fully engaged. 
Rose recommended that we schedule a three way call on the following Tuesday with Nick, to get him on the right track.   I agreed, and suggested that she ask him the following question: “What three things are getting in the way of you achieving the shop’s goals?” 
Before our call, I was bracing myself expecting to hear the typical “reasons” that tend to surface: “You have to be in a big city to make money”; “The vendors say that everybody in town is slow”; and my personal favorite: “We have an older customer base that’s on a fixed income.” My goal was to get these perceived barriers on the table so that we could address them. 
Tuesday morning had arrived and Rose, Nick, and I were on the call.  Before I could speak, Nick interrupted with the following statement: “Eric, I don’t have three things getting in the way, I only have one.”  What he said next knocked me out of my seat: “It’s ME.  I am the problem.”
This was the first time that a service manager ever told me that HE was to blame for the negative performance of the shop.  I approached the call looking to get him on the right track to become a top shop.

By taking personal responsibility for his results, he had already taken the first step.   So, what can personal responsibility do for you? 

You Will Get Motivated

There was an experiment conducted on a group of predatory fish known as the pike.  This species has a reputation for being a ruthless hunter that will eat anything you put in its space. 
A group of researchers conducted the “pike experiment” by placing the fish on one side of the tank, and placing their food on the other.  They then put a glass divider between the fish and the food. 
The pike repeatedly swam towards the food banging its nose against the glass.  This happened again and again, until they sank to the bottom of the tank and stopped trying. 
Even when the researchers removed the barrier, the pike made no effort to swim to the food and eventually starved to death.   Once the pike lost control of reaching its destination, it lost the motivation to move forward.
Here’s the big takeaway: Blaming factors beyond your control, is like placing a barrier in front of your goal.   If the local economy is the problem, you will continue to bang your head against the glass, since there’s nothing you can do to change it.
Taking responsibility for your results will motivate you to move forward, because once YOU become the problem, YOU also become the solution.   You can’t change the economy, but you CAN change yourself!

You Will Get Results 

During my tenure as a district manager, there were occasions when someone working for me would arrive late.  I never heard them say: “Sorry I’m late Eric, I guess I need to leave my house earlier the next time.”  
The number one “reason” I received for tardiness was: “Boss, traffic was really bad today.”  This caused many of my monthly manager’s meetings to begin ten to fifteen minutes after the stated start time. 
This motivated me to take responsibility for the way I communicated the meeting times.  Instead of starting at 9am, I announced an 8:45am start time, with a fifteen-minute grace period. 
I told everyone that after 9am, the door would be locked, and anyone on the wrong side of the door would not be allowed to enter.   After making this change, I never had a problem with managers arriving late to meetings. Everyone was in place before 8:45am.   Why did this work?
Instead of blaming traffic, the managers began taking responsibility for leaving earlier.  Once they took personal responsibility for their punctuality, they arrived on time, every time! 
If you desire to change the results at your shop, its critical to shift from a complex of blaming to culture of owning. 
Want to improve your margins? Try owning how you communicate the estimate findings, instead of blaming the customer’s finances.  Do you need more cars? Try owning how you answer the phones, instead of blaming the size of your city.  Once you change your mindset, you can change your results! 

The following weeks after our three-way conversation, Nick had doubled the gross profit dollar results in comparison to the previous weekly average. 
 By taking personal responsibility, he got motivated and then got results!  Have you taken the first step to becoming a Top Shop?

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS:  Looking to take the first step towards becoming a 2017 Top?  Email to receive a Top Shop Process check sheet.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The One Thing You Never Hear In A Top Shop

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Mark Twain
                                                                                                                                                                   “Jack” owns a shop on the east coast and has two service advisors.  The first advisor “Ray” is an automotive industry veteran with over 15 years of experience.  He’s been there, done that, and has the tee shirt and coffee mug to prove it! 

The second writer “Craig”, knows nothing about cars and couldn’t change his own oil if his life depended on it!   Which one would you hire?  Before you answer, allow me to continue the story.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How To Go From Zero To Hero In Less Than A Second

How To Go From Zero To Hero In Less Than A Second


Eric M. Twiggs

“Only small differences in ability translate into large differences in results.” Brian Tracy

What separates the best of the best from everyone else?  I pondered this question as I listened to a press conference interview of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, after one of his races.  Johnson is the winningest driver on the NASCAR circuit and has won the driver of the year award five times.  However, in this race he finished in second place to his arch rival Jeff Gordon.   

The reporters asked Johnson the following question: “What was different about his car and yours today?”  Johnson surprised me with his response: “a tenth of a second is what separates a zero from a hero. A half a tenth faster and you’re going forward, and a half a tenth slower, you’re going backwards. I just couldn’t get that half a tenth today.

I didn’t give his response much thought, until I saw the difference in prize money between a 1st and 2nd place finish. 

For example, the winner of the 2016 Dayton 500 received $1,587,000 compared to the second-place driver getting $1,157,000.  In other words, a tenth of a second on this day would cost the 2nd place driver $430,000 in prize moneyHow much is that missing tenth of a second costing you?

Have you been searching for the silver bullet?  That one big idea that will instantly change your business forever? The data from Daytona tells us that a small edge can be worth more to you than a big idea. 

You may be a tenth of a second away from hiring your replacement in the business.  You may be a tenth of a second away from being able to pay off your line of credit. You’re only a tenth of a second away from having the right cars in your bay. 

The key to going from zero to hero is to focus on gaining that slight edge instead of the silver bullet. 

So, what can you do to gain that slight edge?  Don’t drive off before I explain. 

Sharpen The Axe

I sat in on a recent shop Owners Part 1 class and saw Dave and Jan Murphy sitting near the front of the room, frantically taking notes.  Their shop, Murphy’s Auto Care, was recognized at the Super Conference as the Shop of the Year.  They are the best of the best.

Now why would these advanced owners be spending their time at an entry level class?  They were sharpening the axe.  Abraham Lincoln put it this way: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” 

The Murphy’s sharpen the axe by being committed to continuous learning, which gives them that slight edge.   When speaking with the Murphy’s or any of the top shop owners, I have never heard the following four words” “I already knew that.”

Instead, they attend classes, read books, watch webinars, and participate in their 20 group. 

It’s a proven fact that the best performers in the ATI program, also have the highest-class completion and webinar participation percentages on our Learning Management System Dashboard. 

In his book Million Dollar Habits, Brian Tracy reports that a 3% difference in performance in a key area that’s sustained over time, can give a person the necessary edge to dominate their field.  So, what are you doing to sharpen the axe? 

If you believe you already know it all, you’re right because you won’t learn anything new!  Sharpening the axe can help you to find that tenth of a second you’ve been looking for.

Focus On Your Blind Spots

Toastmasters International is an organization dedicated to helping its members improve their public speaking skills.  During the meetings, a member will give a prepared speech and an assigned evaluator gives them feedback on how they did.   

Several years ago, I was an active member who had just given a seven-minute speech.  Afterwards, my evaluator told me: “Eric, you used the filler word ‘uhmm’ seven times during your presentation!”   

I didn’t believe her!  She had to be wrong because I didn’t hear myself using fillers!   I felt confident about my conclusion until I saw that one of the member’s video recorded my entire speech.  I watched the video in horror as I realized my evaluator was correct. I did say “Uhmm” seven times!   Using fillers was a blind spot that I was unaware of.   Becoming aware of this habit, gave me an edge as I entered future speech contests.   

According to research that was conducted by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, we all have blind spots that we’re unaware of, but others outside of us can see.  This explains why the top performers in every industry hire a coach to bring this to their attention, which gives them that slight edge.   The key is to focus your blind spots. 

I recommend getting the following people in place to help with this effort:  1.  Your Coach  2. Your accountability partner 3. Your 20 group members. I would then ask the following question: “What three things are getting in the way of me achieving my goals?”  Acting on the answers can give you that edge you’ve been seeking.


So, there you have it.  Sharpening the axe and focusing your blind spots, will take you from zero to hero.  Jimmie Johnson is a great driver because he has a team of people helping him with his race.  You may not have a pit crew, but you do have the ATI Team to help you gain that edge you need in your race for Top Shop!

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS:  What else do the Top Shops do to gain an edge?  Email  to receive a checklist of the seven habits of highly effective shop owners