David Prange

David Prange

David Prange is currently assistant to the chairman at Next Generation Mfg. He can be reached at 630-699-6813 or: daveprange@aol.com

ARTICLES

Conspiracy Theory? Category of Oil Products Exposed

I want to blow the lid off a 100-year history of one of the largest dramas in the automotive aftermarket. It has been in plain view for over 100 years — a market that has reached billions of dollars in sales. You have been both a consumer and purveyor in this market. Let’s open the windows and shed new light onto the business of oil additives. I’ve been a collector of oil and additives since I was nine years old. I would ride my bike — I wish it was a stingray, oh well — down to the gas
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Creative Destruction

Creative destruction is an economic term that has slowly been turned into a description for change and innovation: large shifts in culture, jobs and life. It’s usually good, with some exceptions, and last month we looked at a study analyzing the future of the automotive business. The main concern of change and innovation revolves around jobs and, in a larger view, entire industries shutting down. Scary and disruptive; what happens when entire industries vanish? A quick look back at history should put us at ease a bit. Telephone operators, coal and ice deliverymen, video store employees, travel agents and
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The Sun is Shining; Let’s Make Hay

Warning: This is not a happy and optimistic column. It features a report that spells doom for not only our industry, but for the automotive aftermarket and the entire automotive industry. This includes the oil and insurance industries, too. There is an overall silver lining, but we may be in a buggy whip business. More on that later. Choose wisely, your next new car could be the last one you buy. A major new report predicts by 2030, the overwhelming majority of consumers will no longer own a car. Instead, they will use on-demand electric autonomous vehicles. The executive
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CAFE Is Still Open for Business …But Not Without Some Changes

“This is going to be a new era for American jobs and job creation,” President Trump said at a recent Detroit meeting. “The assault on the American auto industry is over. My administration will work tirelessly to eliminate the industry-killing regulations, to lower the job-crushing taxes and to ensure a level playing field for all American companies and workers.” In President Trump’s whirlwind first few months, you might have missed his plans for one of the most impactful regulations of the last 40 years, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE). CAFE standards are regulations in the United States, first enacted by the United
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Too Many Choices. So Little Time.

It’s springtime and the sales bears are coming out of hibernation to sell their wares. Trade shows are filled with new goods, services and equipment for your consideration. I’ll be at them all showcasing my new products, as well. Stop by and say hi, win prizes, meet celebrities, save money, pick up free stuff and eat some grub. The peddlers all seem nice, but you can’t buy everything. How do you choose the best, new thing? First, spring cleaning means fixing up or throwing things out. This includes your menu. The following guidelines will help you identify the things
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Low Oil? Part 3

In this third, and final, installment on the growing low oil level problem in consumer vehicles, we’ll look at the issue from the consumer’s perspective. Since it is estimated only 39 percent of owners even check their oil between oil changes, their first exposure may very well be from you. Your people and your customers need education. First, they’ll wonder why it’s low. The biggest reason is probably by design. Engineering improvements to help increase fuel mileage have had the unintended consequence of increased oil consumption. Gasoline direct injection, low-tension piston rings and lower viscosity oils are just three
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Low Oil = Big Opportunity, Part 2

Your customer comes in, and you discover the oil level is low. Why it’s low doesn’t matter as much as what this means for their vehicle (read my January column for the why). Low oil brings a large array of problems and risks. Corrosion, oxidation, more consumption, more sludge and soot, metal wear and ethanol contamination are just a few. While gasoline direct injection (GDI) systems increase the problems, all vehicles with low oil need your help. First, the obvious choices are simple. Try to educate the consumer to return for more frequent oil changes. The consumption together with
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Low Oil Means High Times, New Opportunities for the New Year

“In our survey of owners of about 1 million vehicles stretching back 10 years, significant numbers of consumers have to add a quart of oil to their engines as frequently as every month.“Automakers are facing a dilemma: They want to reduce ownership costs and the ecological impact of their cars. But wait too long to change your oil and it can foul — turning to sludge and damaging your engine.“Some consumers we followed up with told us they would not have bought their oil-burning cars had they known they would be checking their oil so often. A recent Consumer
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Please Don't Make Me Sell: Back Scratching, The Art of Reciprocity

In this column, we continue the Please Don’t Make Me Sell series. The goal of this series is to provide your front line people, who do the service reviews, with tools and tactics to use when presenting to your guests. Selling doesn’t have to be hard and stressful. When done right, it can increase sales and build customer satisfaction.This month, we’ll look at reciprocity.“Reciprocity in social psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions,” according to Wikipedia. “As a social construct, reciprocity means that in response to friendly actions, people are frequently
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Promises Made Promises Kept

Free MoneyThe author is not known, but if you find out, fill me in.  This story was supposedly found in the billfold of coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant of Alabama, after he died in 1982.  I hope you like it.The Magic Bank AccountImagine you won the following prize in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 into your private account for your use.However, this prize has rules:1. Everything you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.3. You can only spend it.4. Each morning upon
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Please Don't Make Me Sell: Feelings

In this column, we continue the Please Don’t Make Me Sell series. The goal of this series is to provide your frontline people, who do the service reviews, with tools and tactics to use when presenting to your guests. Selling doesn’t have to be hard and stressful. When done right, it can increase sales and build customer satisfaction.With apologies to the artist who first made the title song popular, this month, we’ll look at the most important reason customers buy — emotions. If you google “why people buy,” you’ll get a traditional listing of the various reasons. You already
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What Women Want (and Some Men Too)

If only I could really answer this question, how happy would life be?  I don't possess that power even after 33 years of marriage with Catherine, I'm still trying to figure just one out.  Or three if you count my daughters, Betsy and Cate. I've tried asking them, but I don't think they even know themselves.  But last week I did get one answer, clean bathrooms.When the ‘idiot’ light for low coolant appeared while on vacation, we do what we've always done, find a quick Lube. We were in Traverse City, Michigan and our GPS directed us to J
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Please Don't Make Me Sell: Silence is Golden

In this column, we continue the Please Don’t Make Me Sell series. The goal of this series is to provide your front line people, who do the service reviews, with tools and tactics to use when presenting to your guests. Selling doesn’t have to be hard and stressful. When done right, it can increase sales and build customer satisfaction.Now they know their services and products inside and out. They believe in the value of everything on your menu. If they don’t, you need to get that right first; ask your vendors for help in this training. Now, you are
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Promises Made, Promises Kept

1986 seems like just yesterday; watching “Ferris Bueller” and “ALF,” listening to Madonna and Prince. Mark Harmon was the sexiest man and Mike Tyson was the youngest champion ever in boxing. Me? I was looking for a job. I got one with Gold Eagle to create the first line for a new industry called, among many names, the quick lube industry. The line was called Golden Touch, and the best product was an oil system cleaner.The test market was Chicago. I had a pager and looked for the luxury of drive-up pay phones. I drove up and down Chicagoland
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The Next Big Thing

The holy grail.  Everyone in every field is always looking for it.  If only we could find it first.  The next big thing is exciting, profitable and fun.  The category of GDI fuel systems is providing such an opportunity now. Everyone is scrambling to solve this problem/opportunity as the next big thing.This column is not about the next big thing.  Now it meets the definition of opportunity.  Big target, check.  Easily understood by consumers, check.  Easy to present, check.  Easy to perform, check.  Fast to do, check. Sometimes the big opportunity is right under our noses, but we can’t see
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Opportunity is Knocking

Although the breakthrough seems like a dream come true an unwanted side effect has been emerging. Letter writers have complained to Consumer Reports and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that over time DI can lead to clogged fuel systems and engine carbon buildup. The result can be engine hesitation and a loss of power — and the need for expensive repairs.Some carmakers, including BMW and Kia, have issued technical service bulletins (TSBs) to their dealers recommending drivers use only name-brand detergent gasoline — without ethanol additives — and periodically add a fuel-system cleaner when they refuel (a
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The History of Carbon: Part One

Carbon [kahr-buh-n]NounChemistry a widely distributed element that forms organic compounds in combination with hydrogen, oxygen, etc. and occurs in a pure state as diamond and graphite, and in an impure state as charcoal.Symbol: C; atomic weight: 12.001; atomic number: 6Wake up! Relax, lets talk about the exciting topic of carbon from an automotive service perspective. When a fuel is burned, the resulting black residue is called carbon. Also known as soot, ash, charcoal and sludge. The fuel could be firewood, food in a pan or in a vehicle’s tank. The byproduct of combustion is carbon.Carbon can be soft like
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What's a Book Grandpa?

“What’s a book Grandpa?” That seems like a fair question, I used to do book reviews in this space not that long ago. Now, I find myself searching and surfing my way across the web for knowledge and tips. I think I get more, more efficiently so I can get back to my game of choice. Here’s a list of my favorite links to things I’ve found on the web by category. Consider it a peek into my library.Marketing·       10 Simple Marketing Tips for Small Businesses: http://bit.ly/J58QJ0·       101 Free Small Business Marketing and Advertising Ideas, Tips and Tricks: http://bit.ly/1p0xUxn·      
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Happy New Year!

As I write this, I just got back from a wake for an old friend, Dan Swint, of Wyandotte, Michigan. Some of you might remember Swint. He was very active as a multiple term board member of AOCA. He was one of the good ones. He died unexpectedly on a business trip at the age of 54. He leaves behind his wife, four wonderful kids and a grandchild. Swint passing reminded me how fleeting life can be but I’m happy to say while on earth, he lived life as fully as one could.I hadn’t seen Swint in at least
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The 74 Year Old Virgin

I have spent 30 years waiting; waiting for the chance to show my wares to quick lube owners, managers and others. While my opportunity to sell was coming, I spent a lot of time in waiting rooms.Before smartphones, there wasn’t a lot to do during this downtime, so I would watch consumers and engage them in conversations, trying to learn what they were thinking, why they were there and why they had choose that location for service?I still love to do this. Recently, I met a rare woman, Joyce. Joyce was rare because she had never taken her vehicle
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Please Don't Make Me Sell: The Pitch Part II

Time to continue the new series of training called Please Don’t Make Me Sell. In this series we are trying to help your people who aren’t naturally born salespeople develop the skills and confidence to be successful anyway. Last month we looked at the beginning of the pitch also sometimes called, a service review. We introduced the Furrows’ 3D presentation which tells consumers about what you did, builds trust by telling them what they don’t need and then explains what they do need and why.Now, let’s finish the second part of the pitch. We only looked at one side
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Please Don't Make Me Sell: Sales Tips For Non-Salespeople

Welcome to a new self-help series, the “Please Don’t Make Me Training Program.” In this inaugural article people who aren’t naturally born salespeople will gain the skills and comfort needed to be successful in sales.No one loves describing him or herself as a salesperson. They’ll create a million different titles to avoid what, at the core, they are. Consultant, customer service, greeter, advisor, representative, advocate, you get the idea. Most employees come to you because they like to work on cars, not communicate with customers.You won’t find any sales tricks here, just tips to make the sale painless and
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Please Don't Make Me Sell: The Pitch

Time to continue the “Please Don’t Make Me Sell,” series. Last month, I tried to give your employees who aren’t naturally born salespeople the skills and reassurance to succeed in sales. I introduced the idea of consultative selling, understanding what the customer needs and wants and why you only need to concentrate on benefits.In part two, we’ll move on to the pitch. You probably have a subtler name for it like service review. The first step in the pitch is the preparation prior to it. It starts by learning the benefits of every product and service you offer. Next
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Follow the Money: An open letter to the motoring public.

How often should you change your oil?  This seems like an easy question, but Google it and you’ll get so many answers, it’ll get confusing fast!  Instead, why not just follow your owners manual?  It offers a little more clarity. Often you have two schedules to choose from, and don’t the manufacturers want to sell cars and not keep them running forever?You are probably reading this at a quick lube or oil change center.  You might think they want more frequent oil changes, and you’d be right, but if you are reading this letter they put it out for
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This Column is Pretty Good

“It’s pretty good.” –Will PrangeMany of you had the pleasure of meeting my youngest son, Will at recent trade shows. Will loves meeting new people. He was the inspiration for our new family business. Working with him in the office and on the road, for the last year has been a rare treat and education.Will keeps teaching me about sales, customer service and how business can be. All I have to do is quit talking and listen. The latest lesson came from a video that was shot and edited by National Oil & Lube News (NOLN) at the 2015
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