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

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Best Shop Owners On The Planet Have This In Common

The Best Shop Owners On The Planet Have This In Common


Eric M. Twiggs

Focus on the possibilities for success, not on the potential for failure  Napoleon Hill

I’m always amazed at how two shop owners can look at the same opportunity, but see something different.   This reminds me of a movie I recently watched titled  The Founder, starring Michael Keaton, which tells the story of how Ray Kroc started the McDonald’s franchise. 

Early in the film, The McDonald’s brothers are visited by Kroc, a struggling milk shake machine salesman.  Kroc was so intrigued by the operation, he asked Dick and Mac McDonald to give him a tour of the restaurants kitchen.

After the tour, he met with them to communicate his idea of franchising the restaurant.  The brothers reluctantly agreed and signed a contract that granted Kroc the rights to grow the franchise, and them the authority to make final decisions on each location.

The franchise had grown to have landholdings in 17 states with Kroc as the President & CEO.   He eventually buys the McDonald’s brothers out of their contract assuming complete control of the operation.

There’s a pivotal point in the picture where you can see the key trait that Kroc possessed that made him successful.  The best shop owners on the planet have this trait as well.  During one of the final scenes, Kroc is speaking with Dick McDonald. 

Dick asked Kroc why he didn’t just steal their system, and use it to start a business under his own name after they gave him the kitchen tour.

Here’s what Ray said: “It’s not just the system, it the name.  The name ‘McDonald’s’ sounds like America. The first time I saw your name, it was love at first site. I knew I had to have it.”   When the McDonald brothers looked at their business, all they saw were sandwiches, systems, and struggles. 

Ray looked at the same opportunity and saw a name that could grow into an international franchise.    Both he and the brothers, viewed the same opportunity, but they saw it differently. 

This is what separates the best from everyone else.

Both the best and the rest can look at the same opportunity.  The difference is, that the best focus on the possibilities, while the rest find the problems!  

For example, the best view the “always be hiring” philosophy as an opportunity to find great people.  The rest focus on what to say when they interview someone, but don’t have an immediate position to offer them. 

The best focus on the eight customers out of ten who will say yes to scheduling their next appointment. 

The rest dwell on the two out of ten who might say no.  When presented with an idea to improve your shop, do you focus on the possibilities or do you find the problems?

This is an important question to answer because whatever you focus on tends to expand.  If you aspire to expand the possibilities, and become like the best shop owners on the planet, then keep reading to learn about their two key areas of focus. 

The Big Picture

Several years ago, I was working to complete a jigsaw puzzle.  I reached a point in my pursuit where I was stuck.  I became frustrated, because I couldn’t get the pieces to fit. To my surprise, no matter how many times I tried to connect the wrong puzzle pieces together, it still didn’t work. 

When I turned the puzzle box over on its opposite side, I saw there was a big picture of the completed puzzle.  Once I shifted my focus to the big picture, I could see how all the pieces fit together, and was able to accomplish my goal.    What do you see when you turn your puzzle box over?

In will be easier to hire your replacement, when you focus on your big picture of being an absent tee owner.   It will be easier to raise your labor rate, when you focus on your big picture of having the revenue to retire in style. 

 It will be easier to register for the Super Conference, when you focus on your big picture of becoming an ATI Top Shop.

Unlike the McDonald’s brothers, Ray Kroc was focused on the big picture.  This level of focus empowered him to pursue the possibilities, while the brothers remained puzzled by their problems.

The Best People

Your environment has been described as the invisible hand that shapes behavior.  I didn’t believe it at first glance, but then I became aware of the following studies:

 1. Author & researcher Brad Stulberg reports that you are 57% more likely to become obese, if your close friend becomes obese.  2.  Gallup research has concluded that you are 30 times more likely to laugh when you are with someone else than when alone.  3. The Eric Twiggs research center has concluded that if you spend enough time around three pessimistic people, you will become the fourth!  (OK, there is no Twiggs research center, but you get the point!)

This “invisible hand” inspires the best shop owners to intentionally associate with the best people.  

For example, if you called your unsuccessful shop owner friend, and told him that you wanted to become an absentee owner, he would try to talk you out of it. 

He would tell you to how hard it is to find good people, how you can’t afford to pay the right person, and blah, blah, blah!  You would hang up the phone feeling discouraged, and begin to second guess yourself. 

If you were to call Eddie Cleveland, the 2016 ATI shop owner of the year, he would encourage you and tell you specifically what he did to accomplish this goal.   Talking to your friend would keep you focused on the problems, but speaking with Eddie would inspire you to pursue the possibilities. 

Both your friend and Eddie would be looking at the same opportunity, but seeing something different.  Therefore, associating with the best people is a key area to focus on. 


So, there you have it.  Focusing on the big picture and hanging out with the best people, will allow you to expand your possibilities.   This will leave you smiling as if you just ate a happy meal!


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Struggling to see what your big picture looks like?  Email me at to get the latest instructions on how to create a compelling vision bo

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How To Close More Sales At Your Shop

How To Close More Sales At Your Shop


Eric M. Twiggs

“In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true” John Lilly

There’s a familiar story that is told of a new insurance agent named “Jack” who was struggling to make sales.  He would contact ten leads and come away with ten rejections. 

He believed that business was slow due to the bad economy in his area, and the fact that many of his customers were focused on getting their kids back to school.   I’m sure his insurance vendors told him, “everybody’s slow.”

To change his luck, he scheduled a meeting with “Bill” the leading sales expert in town.    Bill agreed to provide Jack with ten of his most qualified leads on the condition that he contact them immediately and report back to him with the results. 

The following week Jack met Bill at his office to provide the update.  “Bill, those were excellent leads!” said Jack “I sold policies to eight out of the ten referrals you gave me.  Thank you for giving me such great leads. Do you have any more?”     

Bill smiled and replied, “I’m very busy right now, but I’ll be glad to give you my main lead supply source, so you can start calling on your own.”  “Great!” Jack replied. “If they’re your leads, I know they will be good!”

Jack’s facial expressions changed as Bill handed him a big yellow book.  As it turns out, the leads weren’t qualified.   Bill had picked ten random names out of the phone book for Jack to call! 

Here’s the big takeaway: Jack’s results changed once his beliefs changed.  Now you may be thinking, “That’s a cute story Coach, but what does this have to do with me?”   Well, think of a business result that you’re unhappy with.   There’s probably a limiting belief that’s the root cause of your problem.  

Here are some common examples: Car Count: “ I’m in a small town and my customers don’t like to schedule exit appointments.”  Sales: “I’ll lose new customers if I tell them everything I found on the estimate.     Gross Profit: “I’ll lose my good customers if I raise my labor rate.”

I have some good news:  If you change your limiting beliefs, you will close more sales at your shop.  If you plan to change your beliefs, you must change your assumptions.  Keep reading to learn two specific changes that will help you to close more sales. 

Change Your Assumptions About People

Several months ago, a man with worn out clothes and a beggar’s cup sat in front of a church as the members of the congregation were gathering for the Sunday service. 

Although several members greeted him with kind words, their gestures, tone of voice, and body language told a different story.   They looked at him with pity, and made an obvious effort to avoid extended conversation and physical contact.   

Later during the service, The Pastor introduced the guest speaker for the morning, and to everyone’s surprise, it was the same homeless looking man they passed when entering the building!  At the end of the service, the members embraced him, and encouraged him to come back. 

This Minister had a habit of visiting churches in disguise just to see how he would be treated.    He was saddened to realize that his earlier interactions with the congregation were based on their inaccurate assumptions.    

What would happen if a wealthy customer visited your shop wearing worn out clothes, while driving an older vehicle with 200,000 miles on it?   You could say the right things, but your gestures, tone of voice, and body language, would tell a different story

It’s possible, that your buyer says he doesn’t have the money because you’re treating him like he doesn’t have the money.    

It’s possible that your customer doesn’t like the exit appointment, because you presented it with the assumption that she doesn’t like the exit appointment. 

I would attribute much of Jack’s sales success to a subtle change in his tone when he assumed the sales leads came from the sales guru.  If you change your assumptions about people, you can change your results as well!

Change Your Assumption About Problems

I recall interviewing a service manager candidate who had worked in three shops in the last three years.  When I asked him why he left the first shop, he said it was because of he had problems with his co-workers.

I asked about the second shop, he said he had a problem with the general manager.  For the third shop he said he had a problem with the owner. 

It was at this point that I felt the need to invoke “The Bob Principle” that was coined by John C Maxwell in his book Winning With People: “When Bob has a problem with everybody, Bob is usually the problem!”

The main reason “Bob” was unemployed, was that he assumed his problems were outside of his control.  If he would have worked on fixing “the man in the mirror”, he would still be working.

The key to closing more sales at your shop, is to assume that all sales problems are your fault.  When it’s the customers fault you can make excuses, but when it’s your fault you can achieve excellence.   

For example, when it’s your fault, you will send more digital pictures.  When it’s your fault you will visit the car with the customer.  When it’s your fault you will spend at least five minutes a day watching a sales training video.  Changing your assumption about problems can change everything!   


So, there you have it. If you commit to changing your assumptions about people and problems, you will close more sales at your shop.  Embracing a belief that doesn’t line up with your goals is just as crazy as looking through the phone book for qualified sales leads!


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Email me at to receive the latest service advisor Standard Operating Procedures, (SOP’s) that will help you close more sales at your shop.