Art Little, Author at Transmission Digest
It Ain’t All About You

I hate managers who brag on themselves to the customer. Makes me want to puke. They are absolutely missing the point. They should be bragging on the owner of the shop and the technicians who work there. That is what the customer wants to hear.

Bless Their Hearts: Selling the Diagnosis

Words are all we have, but the right words can be a very effective weapon. Look at it this way. If we cannot sell a free diagnosis on the phone, we are not going to sell a transmission repair. Your best bet is to position yourself as the friendly guy at an honest shop that has a free diagnosis that saves the customer $200 off the dealership price for a diagnosis. You won’t get them all, but statistics show that your chances of getting a sale are better than those of the shops giving lowball prices over the phone. It is a percentage bet. So, for you managers out there who think you have a better solution, I just have to say to you, “Good luck with that and bless your heart.”

Don’t mess with the builders’ paycheck

Have you ever noticed that no matter how well you plan, there is always something that goes wrong and blows up your plan that you did not see coming? I hate that when it happens. Let me tell you what just happened to me. It might help me blow off a little steam. On Friday, I had my first shop-owner sign up for the new Wholesale Club at my website. He signed up both of his shops. I was pretty excited because this launch had been a long time coming.

Monopoly Money Can Work

When I first enter a shop and before I start selling, I like to look at past individual sales amounts for the past year to get an understanding of the previous pricing policy. The next step is to find out what the market will bear in that area. When I get into the shop and start selling, I make a list of transmission types. I call the dealership on each transmission type as they come in and get a price before I work up my cost. The dealerships will set what the market will bear in any area I am working in. Within a month or two, I have the list up to date with the most common 15 or so transmission types that this particular shop is working on. As a salesman, I do not care what the other transmission shops are charging. They are not whom I am competing with. I am competing with dealership prices. They set what the market will bear – local transmission shops do not. Now that I know what the market will bear, I work up my prices based on that and make sure I am not leaving any money on the table.

Quitters, Campers and Climbers

Team building is a job that a transmission-shop owner has to do well if he is going to have any success – now or in the future. You see, if your employees can’t sell it and fix it, you are not going to last long in this industry. A transmission shop will pick your pocket quicker than anything you can imagine if you don’t know what you are doing. The problem is that employees come and go. That is just a fact of life. Recruiting the right employees is the key to your success now and, the key to any continued success you might hope to have in the future. At the end of the day, we are selling high-dollar labor to our customers. It is your number-one responsibility to recruit and hire the best employees you can find.

Telephone Procedure Dos and Don’ts

I began investigating how to maximize leads in today’s shops last year by interviewing some online lead experts, since that is where all the leads are nowadays. The common opinion in their line of work was that they would be a lot more successful if the managers in our industry knew how to answer the phone properly and convert their leads into jobs. I know there is a lot of truth in that because I have listened to recordings of my managers and when I saw them next, it was all I could do to keep my hands off their throats; however, there are a lot of managers out there in our industry that are trained on proper telephone procedure and know how to set a lead. The lead guys like them. Good salesmen make them look good. But, on the other hand, a good lead guy can make a salesman look good too.

Wasted Marketing Dollars

Transmission shop owners throw away thousands of dollars every year on advertising that does not work. Why ? I have been a shop owner and visited with a lot of transmission shop owners over the years and I am convinced that they just don’t have time (or haven’t taken the time) to figure out exactly how they should be spending their marketing dollars.

Training at Hotel Hell

Training at Hotel Hell

A Little Help

Author: Art Little
Subject Matter: Management
Issue: Sales Training

Christmas Vacations

Merry Christmas. It’s that time of year again. There are things to do. You need to buy your wife a present, put up the lights on the house, go see some old friends and get ready for family to come over. It’s the best time of the year. Wouldn’t it be great to have a little time off? Maybe shut the shop down and go home for about nine or 10 days? Well, maybe you can.

Finding the Right Manager

How important is it to hire the right manager for your shop? It may be the most-important decision a shop owner has to make. Notice I did not say salesman. A salesman talks with the customers, gives the service recommendations, then sits back down and hopes everything else works out. Those guys in our industry do not qualify as shop managers. Sorry. A real transmission-shop manager knows how to sell, manage production and f

The ‘Just One More Job’ Challenge

I am challenging all transmission-shop owners across the country to increase production by “just one more job” a week and put an extra $104,000 in your pocket each year. There is a simple formula to success. If your shop’s average ticket is $2,000 for a transmission job and you can learn to be more efficient and increase production by one job a week, you can increase your revenue by $104,000 ($2,000 x 52). The challenge is to increase production by just one job a week – simple goal, big results. Now, this is “extra money” on top of what you are making now. That is when the shop owner makes his profit. That is a “special time” when one more job puts the most money in your pocket. Everybody else’s pockets get filled before the shop owner’s. This is your time, and you must make the most of it.

Employee-Turnover Damage-Control Plan

The old saying “The successful people surround themselves with successful people” is easier said than done. Recruiting and hiring is one of the most-important duties a shop owner has, because the way the owner goes about hiring employees can dramatically affect his labor costs. Everyone wants to be successful, but recruiting and hiring is a hard job that is time consuming as well as expensive. That is why a lot of busy shop owners settle for the employees they have right now and put off recruiting until someone walks off. Unfortunately, this recruiting strategy creates what I call “panic hiring” and costs the shop more than you know.