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

On July 16, 2019 this site moved to Please visit the new site for our most recent posts.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How To Get Recognized On Stage As A Top Shop

How To Get Recognized On Stage As A Top Shop


Eric M. Twiggs

“Success leaves clues, and if you sow the same seeds, you’ll reap the same rewards,” Brad Thor

What do the shops who made the Top 12 at the ATI Super Conference have in common?  I pondered this question over the weekend as I visited “Joe’s Hardware Store” looking for a special drill to complete a home project. 

 After several minutes of searching I approached the counter to ask “Joe” the store owner for help.    Joe was the face of the business.   Each customer who came in would yell out “hey Joe!”   

Whenever the phone rang, Joe answered it.   When customers had questions, Joe answered them.  When the patrons were ready to pay, guess who invoiced them? That’s right, it was Joe!    There was one small problem:  He was too busy working IN the business to help me with my bother.  After about 30 minutes, I decided to leave Joe’s Hardware Store and opted for Home Depot instead. 

At Home Depot, I was greeted by a greeter as soon as I walked in.  I asked him where the drills were and he directed me to the tools department.  When I arrived at the tools department, there was a gentleman in an orange vest sitting at the desk.  He handed me the drill I was looking for and I was on my way.

Here’s what’s interesting:  I have no idea who the owner of Home Depot is!    All I know is that my problem was resolved in a matter of minutes.   Now I know what you’re thinking: “Cute story Coach, but what does this have to do with my goal of making the ATI Top 12?”

Well, Home Depot and The Top 12 Shops have a business model that’s different from Joe’s.  

Joe’s Hardware store has a relational business model where the business is built around Joe and his relationships with the customers.  Home Depot & The Top shops, have a franchise business model that’s built around systems and processes that can be duplicated.      

Which business model do you have?  If you answered relational, but aspire to become a top shop, this next sentence can be a game changer for you:  Build your business model based on where you want to be, NOT on where you are today.  

 If where you want to be, is on stage at the Super Conference getting your plaque, the franchise model is the way to go.    So, what can you do to begin your journey to the top 12?  Keep reading to learn two simple steps that can get you recognized on stage:

Search for the Right Service Manager

Once again, I know what you’re thinking: “But Eric, I can’t afford to pay the right service manager.” As you wrestle with this limiting belief, I’m reminded of a conversation I had several years ago with “Sam” a service manager in South Florida. 

 He was averaging $12,000 per week in sales and a $384 Average Repair Order(ARO).  When the shop owner “Rita” and I agreed to raise his benchmark for ARO to $432, Sam protested: “You don’t understand, it can’t be done! We have an older clientele that’s on a fixed income. My area is different.”

Sam decided to leave the shop to work for a local engine distributor.  Rita has a habit of posting employment ads even when she’s was fully staffed, so as Sam was leaving she came across “Jack’s” resume. She hired Jack and you’ll never guess what happened next.

With the same older clientele that’s on a fixed income, Jack has averaged $19,200 per week in sales with a $540 ARO.  Here’s the big idea:  The right service manager can pay for himself.   

Searching for the right service manager, was Rita’s first step towards building her model based on where she wanted to be.

It’s no coincidence that all 12 of the 2016 Top Shops have a strong service manager in place who has freed up the owner to work ON instead of IN the business.   If you find that your results are declining while your time working IN the business is increasing, you may have a service manager problem.  For more information on this, please re read my previous blog post on the topic.

Establish Written Processes

On the third episode of the ATI podcast Driving Change, former Top 12 shop owner Dave Erb was being interviewed.  I refer to him as a former shop owner because he has successfully sold four shops and currently collects rental income from each building as the landlord. 

During the interview, I was surprised to hear that when Dave first joined ATI, he was a struggling shop owner who worked IN and not ON his business.  Like Joe from the hardware store, Dave was the face of his business who did everything himself.  As I listened to the podcast, I wondered how he could progress to where he is today. 

Dave started by searching for the right service manager.  While he was searching, he established written processes for everything he did and for each service his technicians performed. 

Once he hired and trained the right service manager, he opened the 2nd location and repeated the process.  This franchise model worked so well that Dave was no longer needed at his locations for them to be profitable. In other words, the profits were not dependent on his presence.

Do your profits depend on your presence?  How long can you leave your location, without the ability to pay the bills going with you?  If you didn’t like your answers to my questions, that means it’s time to search for the right service manager and establish written processes.   


So, there you have it.  When Bryan Stasch evaluates for the Top Shops to decide who makes the cut, working ON the business and having written processes are weighted heavily in the scoring criteria.  Bryan recognizes that these items are the nuts and bolts required to run a top shop! 


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

Are you interested in finding the right service manager, but don’t know where to look?  Email to receive an updated listing of the hiring sites that have led to successful hires! 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How To Practice Like A Champion

How To Practice Like A Champion


Eric M. Twiggs

“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.”

So, there I was, watching game three of The National Basketball Association(NBA) Finals.  The Cleveland Cavaliers were leading the Golden State Warriors by two points with less than one minute left to play, and Golden State has possession of the ball.   

Normally in this situation, the team with the ball calls a timeout to regroup.  With the clock, close to zero and the game on the line, they usually slow things down to draw up the winning play.  Apparently, Kevin Durant didn’t get the memo!

Durant, the Warriors best player, dribbled the ball up the court ahead of his teammates.  He stopped twenty-six feet away from the basket to attempt a three-point shot. If he misses, his team loses the game and he shoulders the blame. 

 Since he had moved the ball beyond his teammates, there was no one under the basket to get the rebound.  Durant pulls up for the shot and SWISH!!!  He makes it, and the Warriors win!!  Two games later, they would win the NBA championship.  As a Cleveland fan, I was not a happy camper.

“What a fluke!” I yelled at the screen. “He’s such a lucky guy!” But my opinion changed after watching his postgame interview with the sideline reporter.   She asked him: “Can you tell us how you walked so confidently into that three-point shot being down with the game on the line?” His response: “All I was looking at was the bottom of the net. I’ve been working on that shot my entire life!”   

Champions are handed the trophy in prime time, but they become a champion in their downtime.   Durant practiced in private, so he could walk into the high pressure public moment with confidence. 

Can you walk into that high-pressure moment of the exit appointment with confidence?  Have you been working on presenting fluid exchanges your entire life?  When the phone rings, are you looking at the bottom of the net…profit line?

If you answered NO to any of my questions, it’s time to learn how to practice like a champion.  Keep reading to learn two strategies to make this happen. 

Create Random Role Plays

Watching Kevin Durant reminded me of an old interview I saw with basketball legend Michael Jordan.   Jordan had this uncanny ability to lead his teams to victory even when they were behind late in games. 

I thought this ability was a gift that he was born with. I thought he was just lucky.  I thought wrong.   During the interview, Jordan explained that during practice sessions, the players were divided into two teams. 

If the team he was on built up a big lead, the session was stopped.  Jordan was then switched to the losing team and had to practice leading that team to victory.    This random role play during his downtime, let to his success in prime time! 

So how can you use this idea of random role plays at your shop? First, pick a specific aspect of your business where your advisor struggles to execute.  Let’s use the brake fluid exchange for this example. 

Next, create a random vehicle, like a 2010 Ford Fusion.   From there, you approach your advisor during their downtime and have them present you a brake fluid exchange.   If they can consistently execute the random role plays, they will approach your actual customers with confidence. 

Focus On Repetition

I was at the gym recently and noticed the personal trainer had six pack abs.  Feeling inspired, I asked him to share his ab exercise routine with me, so that I too could get a “six pack”.  Later that day, I worked his ab program by doing sit ups and crunches for over an hour. 

When I looked at my stomach, I noticed that I still didn’t have a six pack!   I felt bad until I spoke with the trainer and he gave me the details of his routine.   He had been doing that same routine three times a week for the past four years.  While I was expecting instant results, he was focused on repetition. 

During a recent Success Magazine interview, noted author Simon Sinek, described this as the difference between repetition and intensity.

According to Sinek, you’re focused on intensity when you perform the behavior one time in an intense manner, with the expectation of an immediate payoff. When you focus on repetition, you realize that you must repeat the right actions over time to practice like a champion. 

Having your writer role play one brake fluid exchange, won’t make her a champion. You won’t become the master of the one on one meeting after conducting one session.  One intense day of making thank you calls, won’t make you a champion of car count.      Champions in any arena possess the capacity to repeat the same routine over and over until they achieve mastery. 


So, there you have it.  Creating random role plays, and focusing on repetition, will position you to practice like a champion.  By doing this you will look at a green bottom line on your portal and see “nothing but net!” 

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Want to practice the service process, but don’t know where to start?  Email to receive a step by step Automotive Service Process video.