By: Chris Collins

Right now the economy is great. People have money and people can spend, but it won’t last forever so it’s time to get to work. When people are buying all you have to do is be interesting, take care of your customers, exceed expectations, be a little different and the rest will happen.

As a trainer and coach, I get to go from business to business, and I can always see who has a passion for what they do—who really cares, and who really doesn’t care.

It makes no difference whether it’s the porter, service advisor or service manager, unfortunately, most people seem like miserable drones at work.

That is definitely not a recipe for attraction and good customer service. The thing is, we get busy with work and forget that training always needs to be a priority. Training is part of the culture of top businesses. Here, training isn’t something we did, it’s something we do. It’s always ongoing and that’s the way it has to be.

Sure, I’m going to talk about some of the best ways to train your team, but don’t think of it as a checklist that once you’re through, it’s over. No, once you’re through, you need to start again at one. And wash and repeat. Before I start my list, I’m going to self-promote because you don’t get to be the number fixed op’s trainer without a lot of hard work. So, if you want help with training, buy our products. We specialize in training, coaching and content, like books, videos, and E-books that will boost any business with a service drive. But to my list…

  1. Set up a book club with four or five people minimum, and have each person write a little book report on a chapter. Now, don’t turn off at the idea of a book club. This isn’t Oprah’s book club. Try books like Wooden, or Who Moved My Cheese – it’s simple but has a great message. I should know, I’m the king of moving people’s cheese. Do one every quarter or every month. Once you’ve done this two or three times, ask your team what books they want to read. Trust me, people appreciate expanding their minds and learning things, and with a book club, you get different perspectives on the book.
  2. Bring in a fresh face to talk to your team. Maybe someone who is a top advisor or salesperson from another shop. Having a fresh person come in, not even necessarily someone you have to pay, can be priceless in terms of shaking things up and learning new techniques or perspectives. If there’s a restaurant you go to regularly, maybe ask the owner. Ask the guy from Enterprise rent-a-car to come in and talk about customer service. We all have connections with small business owners, and we can always learn something from them.
  3. Commit to the mindset that everyone in your business is in the business of sales. Everybody in the company should be reading books on how to sell, talking about sales, and understanding how can you sell more. We’re always selling something – goods, services, our boss on why we should get a promotion, your wife on where you want to go on vacation. It doesn’t matter what position you’re in, you should be learning how to make sales. Have meetings where you ask – how can we sell more? How do our customer’s feel? What’s the experience? Customers should WANT to pull out their wallets, not feel forced.
  4. Role playing and listening to phone calls. If your advisors can’t role play a walk-around or presenting an inspection sheet, then they’re not doing it with the customers. You have to do these things every time if you want consistency in your department. You need to role play constantly. Give away gift cards, gamify it, but play games and bet and make it a regular thing. Use the old IBM sales test and ask them to sell you a pencil. Don’t get influenced by the idea that you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings. Training is hard. But it makes all the difference. It’s stretching, it’s getting better. You’re not going to create a consistency in your business if you’re not stretching yourself.
  5. Off-site meeting. Get everybody away from home advantage and into a neutral situation. Then, talk about how to make the business better. Have all your techs and all your advisors, or team, talk about ways they can get better. Just getting into a new environment forces you to slow down, and think about things differently. You’re still in work mode but it’s not that same kind of pressure cooker when you’re at work and constantly getting interrupted. The reasons our boot camps and coaching are so successful is because you can step back, take away people’s cell phone and be 100% present for a couple hours to learn and pay attention.

To wrap up, training is vital and requires attention.

Nothing is going to get better until you start, so a book club is a great way to begin. Talking to fresh faces and role playing are a must. Definitely get your team out of their comfort zone and into a new space. And, call us if you want help with any of it because this is what we do best.

Bio: Chris Collins grew up in Tijuana, Mexico on hand-me-down clothes and donated food. When his mother had the courage and tenacity to move them to America, he began a self-made path to undeniable success.

Starting as a lot attendant washing cars in a Seattle dealership, with dreams of becoming a legendary rock star, Chris has since found his real passion in coaching businesses to new heights using a unique blend of insightful systems and powerful secret weapons.

He used these systems himself, to work his way up to becoming a detail manager, service writer, service manager, general manager, and finally to owning his own dealership, gaining over 18 years of experience in top-end automotive sales and service. He didn’t stop there, though! He branched out, becoming a well-known consultant, and writing two industry-changing books, “Million Dollar Service Advisor” and “The Indispensable Service Manager,” which, combined with his expertise in consulting and sales training, have transformed dozens of dealerships. Those successful operations have posted year-over-year profit increases of well over $3 million!

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