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Eight tools for every service advisor’s ‘toolbox’

Help your advisors maximize sales, customer satisfaction and your shop’s profits with these important tools from Elite’s Bob Cooper

As is true with the top techs, the top service advisors need a number of tools in order to succeed. Here’s a list of important tools you can provide to your advisors that will help them maximize sales, customer satisfaction and your shop’s profits.

1. Clearly defined sales goals and car count goals that are broken down into daily goals. Not only will having such goals in place help your advisors stay focused, but they will encourage your advisors to further develop their skills. If you don’t have daily goals in place, how will you and your service advisors know if they were successful that day? Remember, the fact that they were busy doesn’t mean that they were successful. By having daily goals in place, not only will they feel good on the days when they reach the goals, but you will have ample opportunities to congratulate them on their success.

Bob Cooper, Elite

2. Clearly defined systems and policies. As the shop owner, you need to ensure that every vehicle is properly inspected, and that all discoveries are documented, then provided to the advisor. These policies need to be strictly enforced to ensure ongoing compliance.

3. The ability to make decisions. The top advisors are empowered by their shop owners to make many decisions on behalf of the company. Not only does this prevent you as the owner from being drawn into every customer concern, but it shows your advisors that you trust their judgement.

4. A budget for price adjustments. We all know that there are times when your advisors need to provide your customers with legitimate discounts, a rental car, etc., so what the top shop owners do is set a monthly budget of X dollars for each advisor, and they’ll tell their advisors that the money is there to be used in any way they would like to ensure customer satisfaction. Whatever is remaining in each advisor’s budget at the end of the month is then split with the advisor. With this approach it’s your advisors’ money to lose, so they’ll think twice before giving unwarranted discounts, refunds, etc.

5. A pay plan that rewards productivity. Regardless of how their pay plan is designed, your advisors need to be rewarded for three things: The sales they are able to generate, the gross profit margins they are able to maintain and happy customers. Remember, any behavior that isn’t rewarded will cease to exist.

6. Ongoing training. The top shop owners realize that an advisor’s job is not an easy one, and that advisors need to keep their skills razor-sharp. This is why they not only enroll their advisors in sales courses at least once a year for a “tune-up,” but also help them develop their other job-related skills by enrolling them in management courses, and asking them to read books like How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, a great book on people skills.

7. A quality control system that includes customer follow-up calls and the recording of sales calls. Advisors can only learn what they are doing right and where they need to improve by listening to recordings of their sales presentations and hearing what their customers have to say about their services.

8. Appropriate leadership. Simply put, advisors need employers that make a point of catching their employees doing things right and acknowledging their behavior that constantly reinforce ethics and that create a culture of never putting money ahead of people.

Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a team of industry leading shop owners that helps other fellow shop owners take their businesses to new levels of success, reach their goals, and establish a work/life balance that leads to a higher quality of life. The company offers service advisor training, peer groups, and coaching and consulting services. You can learn more about Elite by visiting, or calling 800-204-3548.

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