When I ask many Business Managers who their best mechanics are, the answer is often “I don’t know”. This is an incredibly valuable, untapped resource by those of us in the business office.
Mechanics typically invest many tens of thousands of dollars in tools. Considerable money is spent on keeping these technicians up to date on their trade-craft through continuing education. Add, to these investments, all the capital spent by the dealership on things like diagnostic equipment, facilities, chemicals, specialty tools, a well-stocked parts department, insurance, etc. and it’s not hard to see why labor rates are what they are. All of this considerable expense is occurring right behind us in the service department and we are ignoring the entire cacophony.
Instead, perhaps we might consider getting to know some of our colleagues in the shop. If you don’t already know who the best of them are, your service writers can readily point you in the right direction. Get to know these folks. Learn their names and those of their family members. Be sincere. Find out about their hobbies and their lives away from work.
Why are we doing this?
Besides getting to know your internal customers (those with whom you work), your technicians are a wealth of information. It has been my experience that they enjoy sharing this considerable knowledge with those who ask. They will impart to you the types of issues to be aware of on vehicles today, how much labor time is involved, and the parts necessary to make the correction. Friends aren’t likely to object when you enter their work-space to see things for yourself. Follow the service ticket back to the writer and become familiar with the cost of the labor and the parts. The bottom line here is you will discover all sorts of ways to benefit from your new-found knowledge. The parlance to a more complete message (for your customers) as to the mechanical/electronic complexity of their vehicle and the benefits of your products will be immediate.
Additionally, as a result, don’t be surprised when all of your mechanics ask that you handle their paperwork because they know you, like you, and (at least in my experience) buy protection from you because, after all, who knows better the expense of keeping things working.
Besides, it’s embarrassing being told you can’t be in the shop due to insurance regulations because they don’t even know who you are.
Give it a try and start getting to know these folks when you next have a little time to spare. Put the knowledge they have to share in your toolbox.
Give it a try.
Good luck and good selling!
F&I Performance Coach at Conley Insurance Group