Think about 2018 as the year for measured growth

Nov. 24, 2017
Get focused to go after and attract new retail and wholesale business starting on the first of the year. No need to wait. Have a staff meeting and discuss the key objectives in terms of how many new commercial accounts (for example) you want to attract in the first six months of 2018.

Let’s take a look at your business, assuming you have made a lot of progress in 2017.

Your business has been positioning itself in 2017 to fine tune the internal processes that make the shop productive and leave clients with a positive experience. We all know it is the clients’ experience that keeps them coming back.

You have been working on relearning the business and are becoming more familiar with your shop numbers and realize the key ratios such as the total billed labor to wage package ratio, year-to-date average cost per billed hour and average billed hours per R/O in its various labor categories and how those kind of measurements are so critical to building net income.

You have developed many tools within your business that no other shop in your area has, and it’s time to play that up as to how unique you are for the client and what you bring to the table that serves that client very well. Play the card on how you communicate with and educate prospective clients and what it does for them. Play up the internal processes as to how you book the vehicle service time and why you do it that way. Play up the follow-up procedures that are in place and how you manage the vehicle service intervals on behalf of the client based on how they use their vehicle. 

Get focused to go after and attract new retail and wholesale business starting on the first of the year. No need to wait. Have a staff meeting and discuss the key objectives in terms of how many new commercial accounts (for example) you want to attract in the first six months of 2018. Target one a month – you have what they need. Make sure the staff understands the importance of each visit by a new commercial account. You are in the business “not to let them down” so review the type of documentation that is critical on every vehicle. Review with the team the value that is brought to the commercial and retail client with a comprehensive inspection. 

Don’t be afraid to ask current retail clients for referrals. If you obtain a new client from a referral, put in a little thank you reward for that referral, such as a complimentary oil change, or even a nice gift card if you know what they enjoy. 

2018 must be the year where you can let the imagination soar and be creative. You know you have the mechanisms in place on a monthly reporting basis to measure the results properly as to how you are doing. The monthly reporting is an important aspect on measuring your progress and recognizing your strengths and bringing attention to where improvement is required. Remember: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

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So are you one of the shop owners who is reading this and asking, “What is he talking about?” That simply means you most likely have not been progressing the business to the new aftermarket model. You are still clinging to the old business model, but expecting different results. The old model is totally broken, and it is very important to learn and embrace the new aftermarket service-on-need business model, which is the next level from the preventative maintenance model. 

Our aftermarket is changing faster than ever before in its history so it is important that you have and embrace a continuous learning culture throughout the business at every level from the back shop to the front counter to the business office.

The business opportunities that are approaching are exciting and the shops that learn and embrace how to capture them will enjoy a beautiful career as their business grows. 

Finally, as you know this is a special time of year. I want to thank the readers that send me messages from the articles as it is great to hear from you. I am looking forward to a very successful 2018 for you. 

Merry Christmas and may 2018 bring you and your family great health, a lot of happiness and of course much business success — the success I know very well you are capable of achieving. 

About the Author

Bob Greenwood

Robert (Bob) Greenwood, AMAM (Accredited Master Automotive Manager) was the President and C.E.O. of Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. (AAEC). AAEC is a company focused on providing Business Management Resources and Development for the Independent Sector of the aftermarket industry utilizing the Internet environment. AAEC content and technology is recognized as part of the curriculum of the Fixed Operations Diploma and the Aftermarket Degree courses taken at the Automotive Business School of Canada in Georgian College located in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. This school is the leader and only college in Canada that offers an automotive business education. AAEC is also recognized by the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), located in Colleyville, Texas USA, allowing 80 credits for successful completion of the AAEC E-Learning portion of the site towards the 120 credits required to obtain the reputable Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation. The Automotive Management Institute’s Accredited Automotive Manager designation is the first business management accreditation exclusively for the automotive service professional. To date, AMI various programs have attracted more than 212,000 enrolments throughout North America. 

Greenwood died on Sept. 9 in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, from a heart attack. He was a regular contributor to Motor Age magazine and will be greatly missed. See some of his recent work here:

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