Tuesday, January 3, 2017

S.M.A.R.T COACH-2017

We have updated this Super Group Fixed Operations Mastermind Program and here are the details! We are going to select up to "10 Dealerships" from all the applications we receive. We are looking for Dealerships who want to achieve unrealistic goals each month. 

If you’re selected, we will download our Fixed Operations software to review all your opportunities, meet in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood for 2 days in June 2017 to evaluate your opportunities. 

Dave and I will then take you through our Service and Parts tried and proven strategies, systems, and tools. Then work one on one with each of you to create a Plan of Action, step by step to achieve these Unrealistic Goals we have set each month for 2017.

This will be followed up by a 1 week visit to each Dealership to “Kick Start” the program off. This will be followed by weekly Live Virtual Performance Group meetings with your Mastermind Super Group to track and discuss how well you are doing based on a Group Ranking Process.

This "Mastermind Super Group” is not for everyone and we’re only selecting "10 Dealers" so we can concentrate on a small group.

Minimum Expectations (Goals) for the Mastermind Super Group:
  • 100% Service Absorption
  • 30% Increase or more in Customer Pay Gross Profit Parts & Service over last year 
  • 70% Customer Retention or more
  • Minimum 80% "FIRST Time Off Shelf Fill Rate" in the Parts Department
This program is for you if:
  • Your tired of not Achieving your Budget, Goals or Forecasts year after year
  • Your tired of Entitlement and want Accountability
  • You want to “Achieve Unrealistic Goals”
  • Your tired of "Rewarding Tenure instead of Performance"
  • Your tired of “Trial and Error”
  • You want your Team to "Accept Responsibility for their Results"
  • You want to share your “Ideas, Problems & Concerns” with your “Peer Group”  
If you feel your up to the challenge and want to
 Make This Year Your Best Year: 

                              REGISTER HERE

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Results Based High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to www.smartservicetraining.com  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at guy@smartservicetraining.com or Call me direct at: 305-331-3373    

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Ultimate Service Manager-Part Two

In part two of The Ultimate Service Manager we will dive into the evaluation and form a plan of action. The key to an evaluation is not to get into what we call Analysis Paralysis!

Believe it or not, it happens more than you think it does. We pull report after report and it seems to always finds it's way to the trash, due to lack of an action plan.

 First and foremost, the most important part of this evaluation involves your employees.

One of my favorite authors is Jim Collins and in his book, "Good to Great", he states that you must have the right people on the bus, and they need to be in the right seat.

This is the key to consistent growth month after month because as we all know, success is a moving target and without the right employees in the right seats, change will never happen consistently.

So here's a few questions to ask yourself and assist you with building your Performance Management Process:
  1. Do you review each employee's performance daily, weekly, monthly? Yes/No
  2. Who's performance is concerning me? ___________.
  3. Does the Behavior Profile match the position? Yes/No
  4. Is the Behavior needed for this position trainable? Yes/No
  5. Does this employee have a Job Description? Yes/No
  6. What performance metric is concerning you? __________.
  7. Does the pay plan reward what you want repeated? Yes/No
  8. Is the performance metric realistic? Yes/No
  9. Has this employee performed it in the past? Yes/No
  10. Is the performance objective/goal crystal clear? Yes/No
  11. Does the employee need additional training? Yes/No
  12. Does the employee need a coach? Yes/No 
  13. Does the employee want to do it? Yes/No
  14. Have you written out a corrective/disciplinary action plan and reviewed it with the employee? Yes/No
Remember one of the most important choices you make is who is allowed on the bus. It can make you or break you! I can't even count how many managers made bad choices on a gut feeling with no paper trail only to find out they are out of a job.

I also want to point out that no documentation can substitute for Great Management. What I mean by this is it's a tool to assist you in communicating what the Vision and Goals are however you still need verbal praising/coaching everyday by MBWA or (Management By Walking Around.) 

If you manage from your office it will show in your numbers. Let's take a look at a real world dealer client of ours and see how we came up with the action plan.

First, we performed a personality profile on each employee and then reviewed each of them to see if they had the right behavior profile to fit the job description.

We had two advisors that did not fit the profile for that position. Then we asked for the job descriptions for all employees and their wasn't any. 

One of the service advisor's in question was the receptionist and wanted to write service. They handed her a pen and she wrote service. Let me re-clarify that just a bit... she "took" orders which led to under $100.00 in labor sales per Customer Pay Repair Order.

Let's take a look at the other advisor that did not fit the profile. He has been there for over 20 years and had been through all the factory training as well as with a few consultants that had visited the dealer. He was a master at everything and his certificates proved it.

So we took a look at the financial evaluation results and he was at or under $150.00 in labor sales per Customer Pay Repair Order for the last year. When I sat down to ask him why his sales are so low for a seasoned advisor he had a list of excuses a mile long.  

Next I asked if any corrective/disciplinary action or "write ups" were recorded on any employee in the last year and again the answer was no. This is 90% of the numerous dealers I have been in over the last 18 years. The majority of them thought it was corny and wouldn't make a difference. 

I have a saying: "I would rather be corny and profitable then cool and broke". The last thing I was looking for was a Goal Action Plan and again the answer was no.  

How can you expect your employee's to know what you want if you don't have a vision/plan/goal, train, coach, and consult? So we started with the infamous Job Description for all employees. We then sat each employee down and reviewed it with them and asked if any part of the job description was not relevant to the job position?

Next, we had them sign it and we created a performance file for them. Then we went over the Vision and Goal Action Plan for the store and asked again if they thought it was relevant and then had them sign it. This also went into the performance file.

The pay plan was next for the service advisors. One of the  main problems we see is Dealers or Managers fearing how the employee will react. Their is nothing wrong with this, however don't let the employee dictate how you build a pay plan. The number one thing to focus on is to reward what you want repeated.

We have seen a lot of pay plans that reward Poor Performance. The guide for service advisor compensation is 5% of the advisor's total labor and parts sales, (customer, warranty & internal). A balanced plan requires a combination of total sales, sales per per customer pay repair order with a minimum total sales per month to achieve a sales bonus.

We don't believe in salary's at all. This job is a sales position and I have never seen a "top" salesman being paid a salary to sell cars. Installing a new pay plan can give a Manager an uneasy feeling however you have to make the tough decisions if it is best for the business.

This is not a social club and it's main function is to absorb 100% or more of the total dealership expenses.

Here's a question to ask yourself, How does your Fixed Operations measure up in the Service Absorption arena? The Goal is 100% and the pay plans can make you or break you as we have seen over and over again.

The best way we found to install a new pay plan is to show them how we came up with the numbers to support it and what the Vision and Goals are for each of them.

We then give them 30 days to adjust to the new pay plan meaning they can choose their old plan or the new one based on the greater of the two at the end of the month.

Next month we will continue with part three of the Ultimate Service Manager!

Until the next blog...remember one thing:

Success is a Moving Target! 

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Low Risk High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to www.smartservicetraining.com  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at guyacg@aol.com or Call me direct at: 305-331-3373    

Friday, February 28, 2014

S.M.A.R.T. Coach Online

What Is Smart Coach Online?

ACG's Smart Coach Online Program and Dynatron Software have teamed up to bring you a very cost effective way to Train, Coach, and Consult your Fixed Operations towards 100% service absorption.

Here's how it works.

 Dynatron's EBIS software will enable you to discover numbers that you otherwise would be unable to view. It allows our ACG Performance Coach to Train, Coach, and Consult your Fixed Op's Director, Service Manager, and Service Advisors to obtain "Unrealistic Results" month after month without travel expenses.

 EBIS also performs a Warranty Labor Rate review to see if your in need of an increase based on your Customer Pay repair orders Effective Rate on sequential repair orders. 
Then you can summit the Repair Orders that the software has chosen to your factory representative for the Best Labor Rate Increase. 

So far EBIS has increased hundreds of Dealers Warranty Rates and Thousands of Gross Profit Dollars to the bottom line without having to pull hundreds of Hard Copies. It's all done with a click of a button!   

The EBIS software also allows for "Real Time" rankings and bench marking "On-Line" for Dealerships of the same make and size. It's like a 20 group on steroids every week with a lot more than 20 Dealers participating. This includes Op-Code comparison, Effective Rates, Hrs. Per R.O., Sales Per R.O., Gross Profit %, Labor Sales, and the list goes on.

Here's Some Examples:  

Virtual Performance Group Report

What ever you can think of we can measure, build a report and perform a comparison to see were you rank with the group or within your store. We also have a "What If" analysis and calculation that will show you the "Gross Profit Opportunity" that can be made from a simple change.

We will link Dealers of the same brand to our Virtual Performance Group meetings that will be held "Weekly" and review where each Dealership Ranks in all different areas through a  "Live online Webinar".

The reason these meetings will be held weekly by ACG is so we don't "Wonder what Happened We make things Happen" before the end of the month!

This is not a "Talk About" your numbers meeting it will be an intensive Action Plan building and Review session with Execution! ACG's Performance Coach will provide unlimited Training Webinar's for Parts and Service Departments for all of your employees.

These webinar's will include but not limited to:
  • Pay Plans 
  • Job Descriptions
  • Service Advisor Training
  • Behavior Profiles
  • Service Management Training
  • Parts Management Training
This is just a few of the "Live On-Line Webinar's" we offer so you can achieve your Daily Objectives as well as your monthly and long term Goals.

For a FREE Live Webinar with the Details and Cost of this program: 

Register Here

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Low Risk High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to www.smartservicetraining.com  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at guyacg@aol.com or Call me direct at: 305-331-3373    

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Ultimate Service Manager-Part One

I have been asked over and over again what does it take to become a Top Performing Service Manager? In Part One of this series I've titled "The Ultimate Service Manager", we are going to explore this topic in depth.

This E-Book will also guide you what to look for, make a plan to accomplish it, and how to execute it. We will also provide proven, common sense solutions that will lead to "Unrealistic Results" month after month.

Over the past fifteen years, I have trained,coached and consulted many dealer principles and service managers and it seems that the one common thread I find with each of them is lack of execution after an evaluation and a plan has been created.

I have a three step process that if followed as designed will bring you continuous success over and over again.

Here it is:
  • Evaluate
  • Plan
  • Execute
When your done REPEAT! It's a never ending circle if you want to be successful.
Let's dive into what I look at first in an evaluation of my fixed operations.

The first thing is the most important. I take a hard look at your current employees and knowing what you know now about your employees would you hire them today?

If your answer is no, ask yourself why? What happened during the hiring process? Maybe one of the employees has been there for 30 years and doesn't perform up to standards and you didn't even hire them.

If your asking yourself what the answer is, you need a Hire to Fire process in place. If you're thinking to yourself after reading that last sentence..."I know what to do"...then you need to ask yourself..."How well am I doing at what I know?"

The answer I get 95 % of the time is "not very good! Why is that? We know what to do,  however we don't apply what we know to our business. Doesn't make any sense right?

The number one thing I have found after visiting over 300 plus dealerships is the majority of employees are not being held "Accountable" or "Praised" for their behavior or their actions.

Now I have found a few of the dealers employees were being disciplined while others were exempt for whatever reason or excuse. Remember I said "Some" of them. I would rather see no one being held accountable then some of them.

The same is true for praising the employee(s) when they do a great job! This is one of the most basic fundamental things that exists today in any business if you want to achieve your Goals.

Here's what our Hire to Fire questioner looks like and I can already hear some of you saying that you already know or do this. Then you need to find a mirror and take a good look at yourself and ask how well you are you doing it?

A. Hire to Fire questioner:
  1. Would I hire any of these current employees right now knowing what I know about them after working with them?
  2. Do I have a Hiring Process in place so I don't make mistakes from a "Gut Feeling"?
  3. Do I have an Employee Job Description for each position?
  4. Do you have a Pay Plan that rewards what needs to be Repeated?
  5. Do I have an Employee Handbook Process in place?
  6. Do I have an Employee Orientation/Training Process in place? 
  7. Do I have a Goal Action Process in place so my employees don't have their own individual agendas?
  8. Do I have a Corrective Action Process in place so I don't play favorites and correct unfavorable behavior in a timely manner for everyone? 
  9. Do I have an Employee Exit Strategy Process in place so I can learn from it?
  10. Do I create a Job Description first before I hire anyone so I don't just throw people at a problem?
So now after reviewing the list,  how many of these items do you use with every employee? 

Let's review how to use each of these items. The first item on this list is fairly self explanatory, however I would suggest you involve the other managers to discuss all the employees in fixed operations at one time. 

The more input you receive the better the decision on what to do with each employee. Remember to take in account if this employee went through a "Hire to Fire" process when hired? 

The second item is all about having a few interviews to review; personality or behavior profile results, background checks, job description review, overall goals and pay plan. All of which are necessary before hiring so there are no questions left unanswered about the position prior to employment. 

As you can clearly see, not having all these items in place leaves you vulnerable to high turnover percentages which, in turn leads to low employee moral and employee satisfaction rates.

These items are irrefutable! If you are not following these "Basic Fundamentals" the end result is loss in customer retention and net profits. Low turnover percentages is a matter of "Good Management".

Remember, happy employees will create a happy customers every time. Let's take a look at the next item on the list which is your Operational Structure or as we call it "Cradle to Grave" process. This is how we process our customer from initial contact to follow-up.

The number one item on my list is the Service Drive Process. Now, out of this process is the "key" to a successful operation which is...an Appointment System that everyone follows. Here's a question I ask all the time...

Do you allow customers to "Just Bring It In" or do they need an appointment before they come in for anything including oil changes?

If the answer is "Yes"?...Anything else you're asking your Service Advisors to do is going to fail do to lack of Time Management. It also has a trickle down effect with your Technicians and Parts Department as everybody loses!

We all know how many things we ask our advisors to do each day and it can't be done without an Appointment System that is customer friendly.

Do you wait for the customers to approach the advisors or do they greet them at their vehicles?

Is there more then two customers in line for any of your advisors in the morning? If so, then you' customers are not receiving what you promised them which leads to poor C.S.I. and low gross profits.

Do we Inspect Every Customer's Vehicle no matter what mileage it has? These are just some of the items that need to be in place for continuous success!   

B. Operational Structure Evaluation
  1. Do you have a Service Drive Process which is customer friendly?
  2. Do you have a Production Process in place?
  3. Do you have a Morning Meeting with your Techs and Advisors to review current performance and today's objectives?
  4. Do you have a Follow-Up Process that can be reviewed each month?
The service drive process should take care of your customer from the time they call to the time they receive there vehicle to leave. How does your's measure up?

I don't mean what you know, but how well is it working? I have so many managers tell me they already do that and I have seen with my own eyes and ears that it's not working. 

Let's move onto the next item in our evaluation. This is an area which tells the story. I only need to look at a few items to tell a dealer what is happening in his Fixed Operations.

I have so many managers who get themselves into "analysis paralysis" by over analyzing what is happening in their departments and some that don't know what their looking at or never look at it. 

Here's a short list of what I look at when reviewing a financial statement or custom reports.  

C. Financial Evaluation
  1. Labor Sales Per Customer Pay Repair Orders. (Total and per Advisor)
  2. Total Customer Pay Labor Sales Vs. Last Year Same Period. (Monthly and Year to Date)
  3. Customer Pay Repair Order Count Vs. Last Year Same Period. (Monthly and Year to Date)
  4. Number of Technicians and Production % for the last 4 months.
  5. Missed Opportunities per advisor over 30,000 miles.
  6. Departmental Net Profit Vs. Last Year Same Period. (Monthly and Year to Date)
  7. Fixed Operations Absorption Rate.
As you can see, I don't start looking at expenses until I know what our customer retention and sales are doing  because 90% of the time, once you get the Gross Profit up to guide the expenses usually fall into place.

There is a lot of things you can drill down into once you see where opportunity exists. This short list tells me everything I need to know to get started.

The last thing in my evaluation process is how well we are able to take care of our customers. What is their perception of our Fixed Operations when they visit? One of the first things I do is visit the bathroom. Believe it or not, this is one of the top reasons why a customer will not return to you service department. 

It should have a report on the wall when the bathroom was last cleaned. How's the waiting room looking? Do you have magazines dated back months or even years? Is the furniture clean from dirt, dust and stains?

These are just a few things I have found in my dealership travels.

Here's a few key things to look at:

D. Facility Evaluation
  1. Does your signage effectively inform customers of important instructions?
  2. Is a daily Cleaning Process in place to keep everything consistent and professional in appearance?
  3. Is your Service Drive well maintained and vehicles moved in a timely manner?
  4. Is your building clean and well maintained?
  5. Do you meet with other management monthly to discuss any issues concerning the facility?
This is a very short list of what should be looked at twice a year with all management because each of these items overlap into the other departments. We want a Great Customer perception of our facility and how well they have been treated.

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Low Risk High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to www.smartservicetraining.com  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at guyacg@aol.com or Call me direct at: 305-331-3373    

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"Revisited" A "Cost Efective" Electronic Multi-Point Inspection Process

I've had a ton of responses to the article I wrote last April-2012 about Electronic Multi-Point Inspections. The number one thing everyone wanted to know is who has the most "Cost Effective" one on the market?

Will it interface with Reynolds and ADP? I have been working with Dynatron Software for over 10 years and they have an MPI program that is web-based, cost effective, and interface's with Reynolds, ADP, and most DMS's on the market.

They have both Reynolds and ADP's "Certificate of Approval" to interface with their software. There is a number of really neat things it does. Here's a copy of the Technician Inspection Report that pops up on their computer:

The Technician receives the repair order and it has the op-code to inspect the vehicle. The Technician goes to the computer and opens up Web-AQ  and enters the R.O. number and inspects the vehicle. Once it's completed they change the status and the parts department is notified.

The parts department checks availability and price of any parts needed then changes the status and alerts the service advisor for review. The advisor reviews the inspection report and is then ready to review the "Vehicle Care Package"  with the customer and it looks like this:

Cover Page/Customer Information

Technician Inspection

Picture of Failed Item with Explanation

Final Cost to Repair/Authorization Form

This is the big difference I have seen. It has 3-4 pages for a customer to review vs. other "MPI" programs which use 8-10 pages of non-sense that wastes paper and a ton of ink that I have witnessed in some dealers.

 Remember most customers are not going to read more than 1-2 pages of what's wrong with their vehicle anyway. They do not want to know "How" a power steering works or the "Specs" on there vehicle the majority of the time.

They do want to "Trust" the Advisor who is taking care of them to advise them on the best option to repair there vehicle.  

Here's a look at the Advisor screen that acts as a live "Route Sheet" to let the Advisor, Technician, or Parts department know what the status is and when to call or find out why the Inspection is not completed. The color coded portion is based on the status of the customers vehicle.

This program also comes with intense Technician and Advisor usage reports which includes Sales, Gross Profits, Declines, who is using the program and a whole lot more. Here's an example:

Advisor Report

Technicians Reports

Marketing Report

The good news is ACG will provide the Training, Coaching, Consulting and WEB-AQ software. We have different packages available based on your individual dealership needs. The best way to experience how this program works is to request a live "Web-Seminar" below.

This program is a fraction of the cost of any other program out there and you have the power of an ACG Performance Coach to make sure the program is successful in achieving the Objectives and Goals set every day, week and month.

Join us  at your convenience.

Request a:

Meet you on the Webinar!

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Low Risk High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to www.smartservicetraining.com  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at guy@smartservicetraining.com or Call me direct at: 800-536-5785    

Monday, March 4, 2013

ACG-Eight Habits of Highly Successful Service Advisors

ACG has an exclusive Service Advisor Training Program that gets "tried and true" proven results. I will go into detail on how we achieve higher sales per Repair Order AND Customer Retention. To achieve these "predictable" results, it takes two key fundamentals to get started and they are "People and Process".

As you may have noted, I did not include "technology" as I know from experience that technology is not a factor in building a High Performance Service Operation. In fact, it usually stops you from growing and most often times, gives you a lot of added expense and excuses.

I've  always said that if you can't get them to fill out and use a written "Multi-Point Inspection Form", how do you expect them to fill out and use an electronic version of this same form. Let's go one step further, the same would hold true for menu programs...Electronic Menus versus "Hand Out" Menus. It doesn't make sense to spend money on new technology, when the first priority should be coaching, leading and managing  our people on the service process FIRST!

I believe the "People Process" has to come first and foremost. We have to consider the "human element" of our business by identifying the behavior tendencies of our employees in order to better understand our customers. I prefer to use the D.I.S.C. Profiling Process to identify who my service advisor is and to get a sense of who I'm working with. I want to know if this person is "Direct" or "Indirect" , as this may impact the overall customer perception and experience.

Once an advisor knows what his or her behavior style is, the training has started. I train each advisor to not only identify their own behavior tendencies, they will also better understand the tendencies of fellow employees and most importantly...they will better understand the customer.

 Here's the four dimensions:

There are four basic dimensions which everyone falls into. The intensity level is different for each individual which allows us to determine your specific behavior style. The next illustration is what we use with each advisor to determine the "intensity" of each dimension within 30 seconds after greeting the customer.

 Here's a few "How to Read Your Customer" questions:
  • Does this customer prefer to shoot the breeze? (Influence) 
  • Does this customer want to get right down to business? (Direct)
  • Does this customer want to deal in facts and figures?(Cautious)
  • Is this customer easy going and unconcerned (Steady)?
As you can clearly see, this is an important step in training our service advisors to identify who I'm dealing with so I can build a strong relationship with total trust. The second part of the "People Process" is hiring the right people, making sure I have the right people currently on board before you start to install a "High Performance Service Operation".

Let's move on to the Service Process. Here's a list of the Eight Habits:

Eight Habits 
Highly Successful Service Advisors

1. ACG'S Exclusive Appointment Process: Every eighteen minutes (18-36-54) with no more than 3 customers per Advisor per hour.

2. Daily Action Plan:  Each Advisor reviews History, Recalls, Declined Services, Special Order Parts, Maintenance Needs and makes notes on a Pre-Write R.O. with each Appointment the day before the customer arrives for service. 

3. Meeting & Greeting: Train and prepare each Advisor how to properly Meet and Greet each customer on the phone or in person.

4. Listening Skills/Prime Item: Train each Advisor on the proper listening skills and how to indentify the customer's prime items through asking the right questions. 

5. Walk-Around/Multi-Point/Fluid Analysis: Train each Advisor on the proper Walk-Around, Multi-Point, Analyze "Vital" Fluid Condition as well as finding commonality with each customer to build a relationship with trust. 

6. Menu Presentation: Train Advisors on how to present a menu using features and benefits. 

7. Customer Promise: Train Advisors on how to properly prepare and review repairs or maintenance needed as well as time needed to complete the vehicle. 

8. Close The Sale: Train Advisors on how to properly ask for the sale. 

# 1 Appointment Process

The Appointment Process is the most important of the Eight Habits and without it none of the other seven items I have listed will be implemented on a sustainable level. Simply put, most Service Advisors DON'T have enough time!
 Here's a look at a "Real Dealership" Appointment Process:

As you can see, four customers are scheduled to arrive at the dealership for one of the advisors at 7am. The next round of Appointments are scheduled for 7:30am and so on. If any of these customers are late, the Service Manager goes into what we call the "Fire Fighter" mode and starts to lose "Customer Trust". This usually leads to "damage control" by discounting service items due to an inefficient appointment process.

How can anyone expect this Service Advisor to have high CSI, High Sales per CPRO, and High Customer Retention? This Service Advisor is unable to do his or her job, let alone try and build a strong relationship with the customer! It's virtually impossible! Time Management is the Key!

Let's take a look at the ACG Appointment Process. It all starts with an appointment script that we have created from our personal experience over the last twenty years. The two option closing technique works extremely well and most customers will choose one of the options offered.

Next is our 18-Minute Process which allows our Service Advisors to train their customers not to forget their appointment due to the odd time frame. We only allow three customers per hour (18-36-54) in order to better build a strong relationship. Your customers is also more likely to remember the "precise" time of their appointment.

As you can see from this illustration below, we can STILL write up (15) customers by noon per each advisor. This allows for any walk-ins, or phone calls that need to be attended to. The afternoon  is usually for drop-offs and oil changes. In a nut shell, we have created a "Time Management" system for the Service Advisors.

 Allowing your customers to "Just Bring It In" will never work and cause your customer to defect. Understanding the benefits will allow you to maximize your appointment system from "day before" preparation to "same day" follow through.

Next  we will cover the next three habits that are crucial in building a strong relationship with every customer in depth. We call this the "Communication Process" and review how important it is to the success of your service operation.

# 2 Daily Action Plan

The "Daily Action Plan" will allow you to prepare for each customer and include the following benefits:
  • Less Stress for the Service Advisor
  • More time to build a relationship with each customer
  • Fewer mistakes which will lead to increased customer confidence
Here's a list of what's in our Daily Action Plan:
  • Appointment List
  • Route Sheet
  • Pre-Write Work Order
  • 27-Point Inspection Form
  • Recall or Campaign Information
  • Appropriate Service Menu
  • Customer History
One of the first things we install is a Route Sheet Process for the Service Advisor. This process is followed throughout the day in order to keep the customer informed on the repair process  from beginning to end. It also allows the Service Advisor to see how much time he/she has to sell each day based on carryovers, appointments, and technician availability. I have found it to be a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to promising customer pick up times.

The big difference between computerized Route Sheets and paper Route Sheets is that it's always right in front of the Service Advisor as a constant reminder for follow up. Computerized Route Sheets require the Service Advisor to pull the Route Sheet screen up in front of them, which usually only happens when the customer is calling, wondering "What's Up With My Car"?.... The one difference with our Computer Version is that it comes with a "Pop Up" on the advisors screen when the status changes.

Here's a look at Both of ACG's Route Sheets:

Computer Version

Paper Version

Next we pull out the appointment list and start reviewing campaigns, recalls, and of course, customer history. We pre-print a work order so we can review the contact information with the customer for correctness, any notes or recommendations we made from our history review, what the customer is coming in for, and any maintenance needs based on time or mileage.

Many times, we have found that even though your customer reviews your computer screen and agrees that the information is correct, often times, it is not correct. By handing the customer the "pre-write" to review, correct customer information can be assured.

We also have either the advisor or cashier call each customer to confirm the appointment and any "no-shows" from the previous day in order to re-schedule those missed appointments.

Next, we staple any information we need to review with the customer (Menu, Recall, Campaign,  History) and put it in a file or work order holder at the time of each appointment. Arranging the files by appointment,  each advisor knows when the next customer is scheduled to pull up, allowing them time to review the customer's information in order to greet them out at their car by name.

# 3 Meet & Greet

When the customer arrives it's time for the "Third Habit" to come into play, the "Meet and Greet" Process. Now you will see why effectively setting up your Daily Action Plan is so important to this third habit.

Could you imagine your doctor walking into the room to visit with you and he/she hasn't reviewed your file or even know your name?

Same goes for the service customer who shows up for their appointment and you ask the customer what's your name? Or better yet...."Let me go get the VIN number and I'll be right back". This is happening in 90% or more of the dealers we visit and many dealers' wonder why their customers defect!

Let's take a look at some research done by UCLA as they looked at how people communicate. The results of the research came up with three main factors:

  • How you look
  • How you sound
  • What you say
To break it down further they found the communication impact percentages of each to be:

So as you can see it's very important to factor in  how we look, what our body language is telling our customers, the tone of our voice, and last but not least, what we say. We can say the same thing, however how we say it can change the meaning drastically.

So greeting your customer at their vehicle, fully prepared with a "professional greeting" provides your service advisor confidence and your customer a "Great First Impression" of your service operation. Wow! What a start to building a strong customer relationship!

Remember a customer is out of their comfort zone if they step out of their car and greet you first in the service drive. We need to make it convenient for them to do business with us as the customer will remember the advisor first, not the dealership or product.

# 4 Listening Skills

Let's move onto the Fourth Habit which is equally important as any other. As you well know, we have been in hundreds of dealerships and one of the things I have found everywhere is how advisors think FOR the customer, instead of thinking OF the customer.

If I had a dollar for every time an advisor said: "The customer won't do that" I could retire! I wish I could see into the future, however I have not found anyone yet in my 53 years on this earth who can! So why do we always think FOR them instead OF them?

Unfortunately, it's one of those habits that's not easy to break. We have to practice more "Active Listening" if we are ever going to scratch this record and record a new one. Let's take a look at some facts how the average person listens and speaks.

  • We speak around 135-175 words per minute
  • We listen at around 400-500 words per minute

Here's some of the things I have witnessed concerning Service Advisors on the Drive over the years:

  • Not Being Prepared
  • No Eye Contact
  • Ignoring The Customer
  • Interrupting The Customer Before They Finish
  • Assuming That They Already Know What The Customer Is Going To Say
  • External Distractions When Listening To The Customer 
 This is a short list, however it covers a lot of ground. A good start to building an "Active Listening" process in your service operation is to have each advisor take a self-evaluation on how well they listen through a series of ranking questions we have available.

As you can clearly see, if we start practicing an "Active Listening" process using "open ended" questions to encourage the customer to explain the problem, we will accomplish a lot in a short period of time.

Being prepared for the customer before they arrive will greatly assist in the listening process. Now you can see that each one of the "Eight Habits" is like a piece of the puzzle. Once you learn and practice each one with a good coach, you can clearly see how we create a "Wow" experience every time your customer visits.

Always remember a "Satisfied Customer" can go anywhere to get service, but  a "Wowed Customer" will always return!

So building a structured consistent approach to each of these "Eight Habits" is crucial to how your customer views your service operation and if he/she will do business with you in the future.

We call it "The Moment Of Truth!"

 We have identified the importance of the Appointment and Communication Process which allows your service advisor the time and preparation needed before your customer arrives at the service department.

Let's dive into the last four habits that are crucial in "First Impressions" and  building strong relationships with every customer. We call this the "Relationship Process" and review how important it is to the success of your service operation.

Here's the glue! The Walk Around Process. I have witnessed so many failed "Walk Around" Processes installed by "Consultants" or Factory Representatives. I finally realized a long time ago they never installed the "Appointment Process" which should precede any "Walk Around" Process, thus allowing the Service Advisor enough time to perform a proper "Walk Around" in the first place.

When preparation meets opportunity, success follows at a very high percentage rate. Here is a small list which is worth repeating if you want a successful "Walk Around" Process:
  1. Appointment Process
  2. Daily Action Plan
  3. Proper Meet & Greet
  4. Listening Skills
#5 The "Walk Around" Process

If you decide to skip one of these fundamental items, your "Walk Around" Process will fail. So let's take a look at what ACG's "Walk Around" Process looks like. First, we want to greet the customer by name at their vehicle and confirm what they are coming in for, or the "Prime Item".

Next, we ask if there was anything else they might have noticed on their way into the shop today that they may want us to look at. The next step is to ask the customer how many miles are on the vehicle to get the customer "engaged" with the process.

We do not want to start recording the vehicle identification number, or ask the customer to "Pop the Hood" before creating the relationship which is crucial to the "Meet and Greet" Process. 

The next step is to perform a light check with the customer by advising them to step on the brake, turn the key to the on position, turn their lights on and put the car in reverse. This sets up the "Walk Around" starting at the left front door. Then, we make our way to the rear looking for any body or wheel damage, engaging the customer in casual conversation as we proceed.

Once we are at the rear of the vehicle, look for any signage, bumper stickers, roof racks, or a trailer hitch so we can find some commonality to talk about with the customer. Next, we record our findings, such as inoperative bulbs, most common are license tag or brake lamp bulbs.

I strongly recommend not to advise a customer you're walking around the vehicle to inspect for damage. If you find some damage let them know at that time in a positive manner of awareness to the customer. If no damage is noticed, no further words need to be said. 

Then proceed to the front of the vehicle again looking for damage. Once there, ask the customer to turn on the high beams and quite honestly, many times you will find that the customer doesn't even know how to turn them on. This is a great time to start some conversation and continue to build a strong relationship.

The next step is optional, based on how the advisor "reads" the customer and how they are responding to the "Walk Around" Process to this point. Ask them to "Pop the Hood" and join you while the advisor performs the "Vital Fluids" Evaluation.

It's also very important not to say negative things during this fluid evaluation that contain the words "burnt, dirty, poor smell" and so on. Approaching this fluid evaluation with negative words may lead to a negative outcome.

# 6 Menu Presentation

When the "Walk Around" is complete, have the customer join you back at your write up area. This is the time to review the prime item(s), maintenance needs based on time or mileage (Service Menu/Quote), reviewing each item with a one "Package Price".

Also if the customer comes in for a "Prime Item" like a check engine light make sure you inspect the cause and correction of the fix first before you perform any maintenance sold at time of write up.

Then after you tell them how much to fix the "Prime Item" and the additional cost would they still like to perform the maintenance. Lastly, confirm all operations and completion time and don't make the mistake of pricing out each item individually unless asked to do so as it will confuse the customer and kill the sale.

# 7 Customer Promise

 This is the stage were you review everything your going to do and by what time. Don't forget to have the customer review the pre-work order to make sure all contact information is correct.

I can't tell you how many times the advisor just "assumed" that the phone number/e-mail on the repair order was a good contact number or e-mail, only to find out quite the opposite.

We need to ask the customer what time would you like me to contact you for a status on your vehicle? Once we have established the time we need to ask how do you want me to contact you? (text-call-e-mail) and note it down on the pre-write.

The number one thing a customer is waiting to hear is when the vehicle will be completed. If you forget to update the customer throughout  the day,  they WILL call to ask "What's up with my car?"

 We have found at times that 60% of the incoming service calls were to "Check On" my car which in turn interrupts the process and causes poor customer service by not being pro-active. At this point, the customer trust factor is in trouble.

# 8 Close The Sale

We have found that there is no need to learn the top 10 best closing scripts based on how the customer responds to your solution to either fix or maintain their vehicle. The best way to make a customer say "Yes" is to build a relationship through trust, without fancy closing scripts.

At this point, all you need to do is ask for the sale. "Mr./Ms. Customer, my Technician performed the Multi-Point Inspection and found that you need:

  • front brake pads 
  • two front brake rotors
  • an alternator belt

 The total price is $369.95 which includes all taxes and fees, I can have it done by 3:00 PM. All I need is your "OK" (Sign or phone confirmation) to get started".

Nothing else needs to be said until the customer has responded. The more you speak at this time, the less chance you will have to complete the sale.

We have watched to many advisors talk themselves out of a sale because they didn't allow the customer to respond after the presentation.

If you have provided enough value in your presentation, the customer will purchase. If the customer decides not to buy, then ask why because they will tell you.

If it's price the advisor should have an option for the most important item. Once they tell you, you can now provide "new" information to close the sale.

 If you follow these "Eight Habits" consistently, you will be more successful in building customer trust, one customer at a time.

If your serious about making things happen versus waiting for things to happen, call or e-mail us now!

Don't wait till it's too late!

 Make This Year Your Best Year!

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Results Based High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to www.smartservicetraining.com  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at guy@smartservicetraining.com or Call me direct at: 305-331-3373    

Thursday, January 10, 2013

ACG's Dealer Success Stories

“ACG was right!...December isn't even over yet and 2013 will already be our “Best Year Ever” in Fixed Operations! We've been in business for over 40 years in Calgary and we are well into our third year with ACG. Our partnership with ACG will continue to be a big part of our future here at Tower Chrysler”.

Dan Rewucki, President
Tower Chrysler
Calgary, Alberta



Quick Lube Plus

ACG’s Express Lube Training Program is Absolutely Amazing! We've increased our sales per ticket average from $92.00 to $142.00 in less than (60) days!  The best part is, we have been able to sustain these great improvements in sales due to their unique “coaching” style and proven processes. Each process was specifically designed for our store as well as the personalities of our employees. Their daily reporting and follow up is also unmatched by any training program that I've seen. The program works!...I’m a Believer! If you don’t have ACG’s Express Lube “Results Based” Training Program, you are missing additional revenue opportunities each day that passes by.

Mitch Drzymala
Quick Lube Plus
Calgary, AB, Canada


Tower Chrysler 

ACG has been Awesome!...we signed up with them in June of 2011 and as of June 2012, we have increased our Service & Parts Customer Pay Gross Profits over $340,000.00 and as well as increasing our Service Absorption by 20% over that same period, even topping 100% Absorption on some of those months! Our Express Service Department has gone from just over $60.00 to over $100.00 in Sales per Repair Order! With their Eight Habit strategies,  even our Express Service Department has also grown by over 35%! The best part of the ACG Program is that they are RESULTS based!... they get paid when I get paid! No Risk! Great ROI. I recommend this program to any dealer who Really wants Results!

Dan Rewucki, President
Tower Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge
Calgary, Alberta, CN


Steve Marshall Ford

On Jul 29, 2010, at 6:08 PM, "Kevin Rutherford" <kevinrutherford@stevemarshallford.com> wrote:
Every day at 3:00 I have a stock out list print so we can catch any fast moving parts that we may have sold out of and have them added to our
daily order for the next day. It’s not the most cost effective way to order stock parts but its better than getting caught short of something you should
never be out of!
On an average day we may order as much as 4 to 6 numbers and sometimes up to 8 or 10 (I’m embarrassed to say!)
Today we had NONE! And I’m not embarrassed to tell you I dam near cried! Could it be that our recent changes are starting to take effect?
Thank you Dave for all your direction and persistence with my continuous calls and emails and thank you Ann Marie for believing in me and allowing me
to learn and grow.
I know this is just a very small step and possibly in some way some dumb luck but it left me with a big stupid grin on my face for the rest of the day!

Kevin Rutherford
Parts Manager
Steve Marshall Ford
Nanaimo, BC.

Peruzzi Automotive

The "Eight Habits of Highly Successful Service Advisors" has meant higher
Gross profit , Higher CSI scores for the last several years at our Dealerships.
It has also propelled my career from service manager to director to General
Manager. The ACG team helped us weather the challenging years and prepared
us for our most certain success. Special thanks to Dave and Guy for all the extra
time with after hour webinars.

Thanks Again,
Gary Fields
General Manager
Peruzzi Buick GMC


 Conklin Automotive Group 

Dave Piecuch
Automotive Consultants Group
8362 Pines Blvd, Suite 340
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024-6600

Dear Dave:

I just wanted to write you a quick note of appreciation for all of the work you have done with our dealerships.  We are about to end our third straight year of increased customer labor sales and gross profit increases, and could not have done that without the ACG programs.

We have used other consultants in the past with mixed results, but your involvement with all of our dealerships has been instrumental in our improvements.  You don’t just “tell” us what to do you “show” us what to do.  You don’t just “talk” to our advisors you “instruct” our advisors.  All of our service management staff regularly looks forward to your visits and feels that your time spent in our service operations is time well spent.

I’ve been involved in the fixed operations of our dealerships for over twenty-three years.  I’ve heard a lot of ideas through all the conventions, seminars and other training programs I have attended.  Your company brings good ideas to our operation as well, but what sets you apart is your ability to implement those ideas within our dealerships to their successful conclusion.

I am happy with our association with your company and wish you all the best in helping other dealership fixed operations the way you have helped ours.


Joseph P. Fangman

Joe Fangman
Conklin Cars


Peruzzi Auto Group

"We've been using ACG's "Eight Habits of Highly Successful Service Advisors" program for over SIX YEARS and if you are not on the program, you need to get ON the program!"......    

Fred Peruzzi- Peruzzi Auto group


ACG's program delivered near immediate results in my dealership.  The 8 habits of a Successful Service Advisor at first seemed basic, but the implementation plan from ACG made what we knew we should do, into a true habit.  I believe now, I couldn't MAKE my advisors STOP following the 8 habits program.  There are a lot of consultants out there with ideas, who come and go; these guys MAKE it happen with results that last long beyond their time in my dealership.  With experience and passion unmatched in the industry, ACG gave us the ideas and processes that had an effect in a very short term that have lasted in the long term.  It was a great experience working with them and would highly recommend. 

Dustin Pember
Service Director
Murphy Ford


If We Stock It, They Will Sell It

I began working with Dave Piecuch in June of 2011 when ACG came on board at Tower Chrysler in Calgary, Alberta. Since then I have seen a significant growth in both our parts and service departments in regards to customer pay sales. With Dave’s assistance and guidance we keep growing month after month.

Being the Parts Manager my goal was to increase our “First Time Off The Shelf Fill Rate”.  I believe that if every time a technician comes to the parts counter and we have what they want, then they will continue to sell it. “IF We STOCK IT, THEY WILL SELL IT”!! After sitting with Dave and reviewing my phase in/phase out criteria we started to experiment with various formulas. I also starting using the manufactures discount program to my advantage and I’m now able to carry more of the faster moving items on the shelf without drastically increasing my inventory costs. It took a few months but we finally got it right. Our “First Time Off The Shelf Fill Rate” went from 65% to 80%!!  With using Dave’s experience and vast knowledge I was able to achieve what I wanted. By having a higher fill rate it has given the service department the confidence that whatever goes into the shop will come out fixed the same day.

Dave Piecuch and ACG have been simply awesome to work with. Dave and I keep in touch on a regular basis and he is always there is guide me in the right direction. Now that I hit 80% my next target is 90%, I have all the confidence in Dave and ACG to assist me in reaching it.

Scott Laing
Parts Manager
Direct Line: 403-225-6190
Fax: 403-225-6269

Tower Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
10901 Macleod Trail S
Calgary, AB T2J-4L3
(403)278-2020 ext 2250

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Results Based High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to www.smartservicetraining.com  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at guy@smartservicetraining.com or Call me direct at: 305-331-3373    

Dave Piecuch is the Vice President of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. and is the Head Coach for Smart PartsTM. The only "Results Based" High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world!  Dave can be reached at Cell 786-521-1720 or E-mail at dave@smartservicetraining.com Vist our Website at www.smartpartstraining.com