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Successful Auto Repair Shop Owners Know the First Ingredient to Estimating Profitably


The 1st Ingredient to Estimating Profitably by Rick White, President 180BIZ

When it comes to estimating there's a recipe for estimating profitably. I’ll go over the ingredients to that recipe in the next three blog posts starting with this one.  This is just going to be a taste of what I will talk about in my Pocket Business Genius Webinar titled Increase Your Profits by Estimating Properly.  If you aren’t subscribed to the webinar series, you can do so at https://www.180biz.com/PBG.  If you missed the March 10, 2021 webinar, subscribe to the Pocket Business Genius and you have access to the recording as well as all of the recordings.

Today I'm going to give you the first ingredient. Its COMMUNICATION. And this is going to be three-way communication. In other words, you must have great communication with the client so that we can be on the same page with them.  When you're not connecting with your clients, you're not going to get the sales that you want and need in your business for you to live and thrive. You must be able to communicate. And that doesn't mean talking. It means asking a question and really listening. It means letting them know you're listening by asking clarifying questions. So it doesn't feel like an interrogation, ask these questions.

Get to know what they want for this vehicle, what their plans are, what their issues are. And by having that information you will so much more effective as an advisor on that front counter because your clients aren't going to see your relationship as adversarial.  They won’t see you as someone with your own agenda that just wants to get as much money out of them as you possibly can. You turn into an assistant buyer where a trusted advisor, they come to you and say, “Rick, what do you think I should do?” And they follow your advice. 

Now, as a business owner, you probably have some of those clients. I understand. Every business does. This about getting more of them intentionally. So, get on the same page with your client first. Then communicate your client's needs, their concerns to your technician. So that's the second leg of this communication, to accurately represent your client's needs, wants, and interests. You become their advocate on that front counter. Here’s another thing I want you to do. Help the tech see the person. I want you to help the tech to see who they're helping, who they're serving.

There was an interesting study about radiologists reading x-rays all day long.  Some of them just read x-ray after x-ray and the study recorded the results of accuracy. Then some radiologists had a picture of the patient attached to the x-ray. The accuracy rate of their diagnosis went up 25%. And it was because they personalized it. The moral of the story is to make sure you personalize that vehicle with your technicians. Help techs understand who they are serving.

The third leg of this communication is your technician coming back to you and having complete communication. This should not be verbal. It should be documented in some way, either online through some kind of messaging app or in the software system itself if you're paperless. Everything must be documented between the tech and the advisor and must be communicated in a way that you, as an owner can audit the communication.

Your technician must be clear about what he or she did. It must be crystal clear about the path they took. They must be clear about the recommendations they're making. They must be clear about why they're making it. They must be clear about time, as far as how much time they think it's going to take them to take care of that situation. And they have to be very, very clear about the parts that are going to need. This level of communication is the absolute foundation to profitably estimating. By doing that, having this level of communication, you're going to put your client at ease. They're going to feel like you're on their side, which you should be. You should be and have your client's best interests at heart.

That's what it's all about when it comes to selling relationally instead of transactionally. So now what I want you to do is think about that really hard. What's your close rate look like? That's important. When you focus on the car, that doesn't happen. You must be able to understand the person and listen to them.

The second part of it is your communication with the tech.  It will help them understand what the issues are. It's going to help them come to a diagnosis faster.  It's going to help them to be more efficient. And then when the tech comes back with their information, it helps you build an estimate. That includes everything that was done or needs to be done on that vehicle. And then you have a profitable estimate. The first ingredient is COMMUNICATION. I hope you found this to be helpful if you did. I think you're going to really enjoy that webinar coming up. God bless. Be safe. And I go make some money.

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