By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber
For the more than 40 years that we have been in this industry, there has always been the ongoing challenge to get enough people to a training class to make it worthwhile. Worthwhile to those who are attending and investing their time looking to get something of value out of the training, while at the same time worthwhile to the sponsoring jobber, who is making the effort to have better educated customers.
We do know how difficult it is to fill a room with 40-50 (or more) techs for a mechanical training class because we have been there, done that. Actually, we ran an extremely successful training program for many years primarily due to the fact that we believed in the value this brought to our customers and were willing to stand behind it. When we sponsored our first business-training seminar, we had so many sign up that we ran the same class two days straight. It was the strangest thing we had ever encountered: an owner would attend the first day and call that evening to sign up a service writer for the next day. By the way, no class we ever sponsored was free; there was always a charge and it had to be paid in advance to reserve your seat.
The entire concept of free classes is a losing proposition. First of all, most of us do not feel that anything we get for free will have much value. Secondly, the time that our customer takes away from their business to attend a seminar must yield something of value, which will either create additional efficiency for the business or more profits.
Let us now fast forward to 2013. Do we as business owners and professional counterpros feel that many of our customers would benefit from business training? You bet we do. How many times have we thought to ourselves that while our customers can fix the cars, they could use some help in running the business!
There are many well-run, successful shops out there and believe it or not they are the first ones to sign up for a business seminar. They know that if they just bring back one new idea it will benefit their company.
Through our website we receive both phone calls and e-mails from technicians all over the country looking for assistance. Some of these shops have been in business for many years and need help modernizing, while some are new and the sheer volume of running a business is more than they were prepared for.
As modern jobbers, we have the opportunity not only to help our customer become better, more educated businesspeople, while at the same time strengthen our own business relationship with them. Isn’t this what it is all about?
It is up to us to ensure that our customers will not be overwhelmed by the relentless, never-ending challenges of simply running and administering their daily business needs. We have the opportunity today to provide training that just was not needed or readily available years ago.
At our seminars, we train the technician not to pre-judge the customer standing before them, but to offer the repairs needed with conviction and sincerity. The same goes for us, as jobbers. We cannot think (pre-judge) that our customers will not have enough interest to attend, when just the opposite is true! Our technician customer is looking for new ideas, new methods of selling today’s car owner and new ways to make additional profits. In the end, doesn’t this benefit our business as well?
We too, as jobbers, have to promote our training programs with the same conviction and sincerity.
For more information, go to: www.autobizsolutionsllc.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.