A few years ago, while training in a dealership (which shall remain nameless), I had a service advisor who did not know me very well say to me “What can a middle-aged white man teach me about writing service?”
It was a fair question. What do I know? How do I prove to you that what I am saying works? What guarantees do you have that what I am saying will make a difference in your performance? Why should you trust me?
During that week I worked in a LA area import store that had a diverse customer base, a diverse employee base and is in an area that was quite frankly, culturally different than what I grew up with.
And none of it made any difference to me whatsoever. None of it. Because this business is about relationships, processes, and performance. Nothing else.
People everywhere want the same thing. It does not matter if you are from Minnesota or Florida. It does not matter what color your skin is or what language you speak or what year you were born. Our customers want the same thing. A safe and reliable vehicle to drive. And when we deliver on that promise, then everything else is just…everything else.
Two advisors. Both millennials. Both have different backgrounds than me. Both new to service. Both were so green that we had to trim off the sprouts every day before they started writing service. I mean Green.
One advisor wanted to exist, one wanted to excel.
Both had the same training, coaching, and monitoring from me during the week. Both had the same opportunity. Both had the same logoed shirt, the same dms system, the same service specials…everything was the same.
Mr. Exist: friendly personality, bi-lingual, average size, looks, mannerisms, just wanted to come to work, park in the same spot, wear the same uniform, do the same things, fun around the same way every day and of course, keep performing at the same level as he was accustomed to.
Mr. Excel: friendly personality, bi-lingual, average size, looks, mannerisms, came to work to accomplish something, had a goal, doesn’t care if he parks in the same spot, doesn’t mind if he does the same things if it is progress, and wanted to increase performance.
Both got the same message from me all week.
Meet and greet, be friendly, investigate, do a good walkaround, make suggestions based on observations, introduce solutions to items discovered during the investigation and walkaround, offer maintenance, introduce the multipoint inspection and advise the customer you will be notifying them of the results, don’t be afraid to ask, and get more “No”.
On the last day of the training week, I have a contest day. I typically put a sales bonus out there for anyone who can hit a certain KPI.
Mr. Exist did not participate, did not “get in the game”, and continued to perform at the same level as he did all week, nothing new for him, stayed comfortable, and did not get any “No”.
Mr. Excel got in the game early, worked hard all day, kept asking and getting “No” until he started getting “Yes”, had fun, was engaged, and at the end of the day said to me, “This is the first day I’ve been over on my repair order sales goal since I started.” That was 4 months prior.
By the way – he did not win the contest and only asked when the next one was going to be so he could compete. Another advisor with more experience and polished sales skills won. But not by much.
The point is, we are all driven by different things. Mr. Exist found himself in his comfort zone and wanted to stay there. Mr. Excel found a way to get out of his comfort zone and start hitting performance goals. It’s not the messenger, it’s the message. If you can change your thinking, get out of your comfort zone, build relationships, and follow a process, you will be a successful advisor.
Which of these two advisors do you want working for you? I know who I would choose, no question.
About the Author
Leonard Buchholz is the Sales and Marketing Manager for DealerPro Training. His background includes professional workshop and seminar delivery, fixed operations and communications. He has completed onsite in-depth Fixed Operation evaluations in automotive dealerships across the country.