Shop Life Columnists

Getting Process Buy-in and Building Good Habits with Contests

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We have all heard the reasons why a location is not selling one service or another. The customer wasn’t interested. The customer did not have the time. Wait, we sell that here? The truth of the matter is that the advisor in your shop just didn’t ask, most likely. You will never get a yes or no if you simply don’t ask. That is the struggle many operators have in their day to day business.

So, how do we get them into the habit of just asking? Don’t lead with the always popular, “Do it because I said so!” 

They will not see a personal interest in improving—other than not getting in trouble. Did you create a positive habit? Let’s take a different approach. Try running an internal contest. If you purchase a big screen television or put out a dinner for the team, you might just see an uptick in sales for the area of concern. That’s because you now have the interest of that advisor and/or the management focus. That is the absolute first step: The buy-in.


Set the Stage

Now that you have created the buy-in, because they want that big screen television sitting on their wall at home, how does this help with creating good habits? They say that it only takes 21 days of repetition to make something a habit. 

Let’s create an additive contest, for conversation’s sake, because you are just not getting these $10 bottles out of your inventory. In the process of asking each and every customer for the service, to win that pretty television for watching the big game, employees are training themselves to ask. When the contest ends, what are they doing now to each and every car?

What benefit is it for you to buy a prize or put your money into it? The return, of course. You can go on Amazon and see 55-inch to 65-inch televisions for $300 to $400. So if you have 10 locations in your company and are averaging two additives a day, you are making $200 per day in additive sales. So, you paid it off in only half a week.

Now, your team is doing six additives a day because they are asking. You are putting $600 per day on the net sales line. Trust me, you will see an increase.

You don’t have to do this alone. Each and every one of you have a vendor out there that may help. Whether it’s from the parts supplier or straight from the manufacturer of the product, many will put some kind of gift item out there. A cash prize or a Yeti cooler can be small things that they can throw your way. They would make more money by you purchasing the inventory than the cost of that giveaway.


Keep Service in Mind

Make sure that the one thing that does not happen is loss of integrity. There is a dynamic that can happen with certain sales personnel to push by any means possible. Customers don’t like to be “sold to”.

No one woke up this morning and was excited to get an oil change or a service repair. It’s a negative purchase right off the bat. You do not want an individual that will say anything and scare the customer into a product or service. Take the time to train them on product knowledge or see if your supplier has a trainer. You want to make sure that the customer understands what they are buying and why they are buying it.

When you start to build these habits, you are changing the sales culture in your shops. They become less afraid of asking for a service or item. They start asking to do things with knowledge and understanding on each vehicle that they service. Once you end your contest, don’t lose that momentum. Take time and get in the habit of setting goals for your team. Make sure that your goals are realistic, or you will lose that buy-in.

If your team hit 8 percent sales in that contest period, challenge them to match it the next period. When they do, up it to 9 percent and so on. Throw a contest in every now and again to cultivate that commitment and build that competitive environment that you need to be successful.

Don’t settle for just being good enough, be the best. And that all starts with building a team that isn’t afraid to just simply ask.

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