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.