Monday, June 6, 2016

Business Is Slow and I Need More Leads! By Mike Lee

It is not unusual for some of our real good clients to occasionally say they were doing ok, but it has slowed down.  This is one of the areas, which drive shop owners crazy.  Just when he or she thought they were going to really make some money.  The business slows down.  

There are several possible sources for this type of problem but the one we are going to discuss in this article is “Business is slow; it is ALWAYS the Service Writer”.  

I can't tell you the number of times, I hear about shops having problems and suddenly they change the Service Writer and BOOM, the business takes off.

The key to one shop being busy and another not is, by in large NOT luck or accidental.  Often times, the successful business has a Service Writer who is good at selling, while those shops not doing well try to figure out where did all the customers go.  Let's look at some Service Writer basics which cause the shop to be busy or not.

Selling Is a Necessary Evil!

A Service Writer needs to like people.  It is amazing how many people are Service Writers and really do not like to deal with, or talk to customers.  A good Service Writer likes people and enjoys talking to them.  

Often times, when we interview Services Writers from shops around the country, they will indicate that Selling Is a Necessary Evil! Which is a sure fire indicator the Service Writer does not like dealing with people.

I Don't Want To Make Them Mad!

A Service Writers has to be willing to handle customers, even the tough ones.  A good Service Writer is not AFRAID of the customer!  

A Service Writer has to have is the ability to tell customers things which the customer doesn't want to hear.  Upsetting things, like it is going to cost more to get the car fixed.  Unfortunately, some Service Writers are really afraid to handle customers and tell them the TRUTH.  It costs MONEY to fix cars!  

Some Service Writers are so afraid of upsetting the customer and not willing to make them mad they resort to not telling the customer the full story on his car.  They try to sell only what they THINK the customer will pay for the job instead of asking for the money on the full job.  

The suffer from the "Tricky Lower Jaw Disease."  This is the disease that afflicts Service Writers when they go to tell the customer that the repairs are going to cost $750.00 and their lower jaw goes into stutter mode and $450.00 comes out of their mouth!

I Never Want To Rip a Customer OFF!

Some Service Writers have an exaggerated sense of their own personal integrity and are careful to make sure they are never going to rip-off the customer, especially by not OVERCHARGING for the work that NEEDS to be done.  

Again, this decision leads to the Service Writer being a RIP-OFF ARTIST.   They ends up Ripping Off the business, the employees and the employees' families, the owner and his or her family and even his or her own spouse & kids.

It is the responsibility of the Service Writer to sell needed work profitable, so that all the employees and the owners of the business make a enough money for them to live comfortable.  

This comes from not knowing what a FAIR price is for both the customer and the business.  Most shops set their prices based on the GRAND FAKEM METHOD.  Their prices are not based on their costs but what their competition is charging.  Of course their competition is going broke, but they have to be competitive. 

Can't You Give Me A Ball Park!

Price Shoppers!  This is the area which causes a lot of Service Writers to go nuts.  A great many of Service Writers are NOT good at handling potential customers over the phone!  Some shops quote prices for major work over the phone to new retail customers.  

This comes from not knowing how to handle price shoppers and in some cases, the belief a shop MUST give prices over the phone for major work.  

The truth is good Service Writers will normally be able to get 20% to 30% more business if they learn how to handle price shoppers and don't quote prices for major work over the phone.  There is a technology to effectively selling.  Most Service Writers have not had any professional training.
The result is a loss of income for the business and a lot of frustration.

I Need To Speak To A Technician!

A lot of women are involved in the automotive business and many let the lack of training stop them from becoming Service Writers.  They are afraid that male customers will not be willing to listen to a woman because she is not a technician.   

At Management Success we have found a lot of women have the ability to be very effective Service Writers.  Some of the most effective Service Writers in the industry are women who have learned to handle customers.  One of the main reasons is the less technical knowledge a person knows, the better, in terms of selling work.  

I Want To Think It Over!

This is an indicator that the Service Writer is NOT communicating correctly with the customer.  What the customers are saying with the famous "I want to think it over" statement is they are in confusion and are not sure what the Service Writer is telling them is true.  

Customers, who are in confusion, will not buy!  They will go somewhere else.  A trained Service Writer should know whether or not the customer is tracking with them and what they are thinking BEFORE he or she gets to the end of the sale and finds out the customer wants to think it over.  When the customer says:

1. I have to talk it over with my wife.
2. I want to think it over.
3. I will have to wait.

They are really saying that the Service Writer hasn't sold me YET!   A lot of Service Writers spew out their sales procedure unaware of what the customer is REALLY thinking.   The Service Writer is not in good communication with the customer, but is really just talking at the customer.  The customer is wondering if it really needs the work and the Service Writer is telling him how much.  

The customer is in confusion and the Service Writer doesn't know it.  This is because the Service Writer has not been trained.  Most Service Writers lack the selling techniques, and really are not in communication with the customer.  When this happens, the shop loses sales and customers.

The Phones Are Not Ringing!

This is a favorite statement made by Service Writers when sales are down.  While every shop has one or two weeks which are slow, overall if sales are down, and there is any shop in town that is doing well, the problem is the Service Writer. 

It takes a person who is motivated, who likes people and doesn't have his or her attention on other things to be good at sales.  One of the problems with the owner being the Service Writer is he or she is splitting their attention among lots of things which need to be handled.  If they have something pressing which needs to be handled, sales will DROP.  It doesn't take much for a shop to lose 2 or 3 jobs a week when the Service Writer is not focused.  

This is why is it is best to have someone whose sole function is sales.  The key point in terms of the sales of the shop when you have a Service Writer is the rule: It is always the Service Writer.   

I can recall numerous occasions when a client indicated the sales were down and I gave them the rule.  When they got into communication with their Service Writer, they found that he or she were having marital problems, or they had a sick child, or something going on in their personal life which they had their attention on and were not doing as good of a job as they normally would  handling customers.  

When a shop has been growing, and sales have been good then suddenly it starts to go down, the first thing you need to do is talk to your Service Writer and find out what is going on.  They will say it is slow and the phones are not ringing.  That is a sure fire indicator, the Service Writer has something going on which is preventing him or her from doing their best.  

Being a Service Writer requires a person’s full attention.   They must like people and must be willing to tell them things which the customer does not want to hear.  They must know how to do it and need to have good communication skills to know what the customer is thinking.

The Solution to the Above Problems

Just as you would not put a new person with no training, and knowledge on a tough computer diagnostic problem on a car, the sharp business person will make sure the Service Writer in his or her shop is knowledgeable in the tech of sales and has all the tools necessary to do a good job.

I recommend to all of our clients who have started their training in managing a business to come to the 5 day Service Writer course and bring their Service Writers to learn the tech of selling, and good communication skills.  This is a tough course!  It will demand a lot out of the attendees and it will improve everyone's communication and sales skills.  But it is only MONEY, YOURS!

MANAGEMENT SUCCESS!, is a company that specializes in training and consulting the independent automotive repair shop owner. For more information please contact Morgan Scott at or call (818) 500-9631.

©Management Success!  All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Service Writer? By Robert Spitz

Service writer is one the most misunderstood positions in an automotive repair shop. The ambiguous nature of the service writer’s role also makes it one of the hardest positions to successfully fill, or turn over from the owner or manager of the shop. One problem is the position is misnamed. The days of simply writing tickets are long gone, and the vehicles of today are highly sophisticated machines. The person upfront in an auto repair shop must have significantly greater skills and knowledge than his or her predecessors.   

Based on the title, one would assume a service writer simply writes up the needs or complaints of a customer regarding their vehicle. At closer inspection, we would find the service writer is someone who not only writes up customers’ complaints or needs, but also suggests services that might be needed or desired, and sells those services. Now we’re getting closer to the truth. So the service writer is no longer just writing tickets, they’re suggesting or advising the customer on how to best protect their investment with additional services. That makes this person a service advisor.

In an average size shop, the service writer also answers the phone and greets people as they walk into the shop. Ah Ha! Now the same person whom a moment ago was writing tickets and advising customers is the shop’s receptionist. And if this person has any automotive skill and knowledge, there is a good chance he or she is also ordering and controlling replacement parts and materials. In this scenario, the service writer is also the parts person.

But wait! Who is dispatching the work to the technicians and controlling the flow of work in the shop?  You guessed it… the service writer! And we’re not done with this person yet. When a job is done, someone must write up the bill and collect the money from the customer. Well, that’s the duty of a cashier, who once again is often the service writer. Finally, we need someone to walk customers to their cars, resell jobs, and ask for referrals, very much public relations functions. And yes, someone has to send thank you cards, service reminders, and recommended service notices. All functions of the marketer, but done by whom? Yes, the service writer.

So I think it would be a good idea if we all decide to change this position’s title from the inadequate and misleading service writer to something closer to what this person actually does—The Grand Poohbah of Auto Repair! Only kidding, but how about we upgrade the title to Customer Relations Manager? This title would be closer to what this indispensable person does for your shop, and as you grow and shed some of these hats, at some point, you can hire someone who is truly a Service Advisor, but never again a service writer. That title is officially retired!


MANAGEMENT SUCCESS!, is a company that specializes in training and consulting the independent automotive repair shop owner. Bob tours the country as an educational speaker and writes numerous columns and articles for trade publications. Additional articles on management can be read online at

©Management Success!  All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Management Success! Announces Scholarship Program

Management Success! is joining with Corporate Billing and Interstate Billing Services to award a scholarship for technical training in the heavy duty truck and diesel industry. Working together to make this scholarship happen has truly been an exhilarating experience, and we are happy to announce our first scholarship will be awarded at the 2017 Management Success! Spring Convention.

“The need for qualified, trained technicians in the heavy duty truck and diesel industry has never been higher than it is today. We hope to draw young men and women to this exciting and challenging field with our new scholarship program,” stated Robert Spitz, Senior VP of Business Development, Management Success!.

“Corporate Billing is excited about our relationship with MS! and their shops. When I ask our shops what is their biggest challenge, it’s always ‘finding trained technicians.’ So for CB to be a part of the scholarship program is going to be very rewarding,” stated Jeff Leavitt, VP, Corporate Billing.

Candidates for the scholarship will be nominated by Management Success! Heavy Duty Truck clients, and the winner will be chosen by the MS! Client Advisory Council.

For more information, please contact Robert Spitz at Management Success; 818-500-9631, 412 W. Broadway, 3rd Floor, Glendale, CA 91204.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Probst Auto Body Receives Prestigious Master Elite Shop Management Award

Dieterich, Ill. (May 16, 2016) – Probst Auto Body recently received the Management Success! Master Elite Shop Management Award during the Spring 2016 Convention.

The Management Success! Master Elite Shop Award has only been given to seven shops since its inception four years ago.  Criteria to receive this award involve extensive training in all areas of auto body shop management, including apprenticeships.  The shop must also be actively demonstrating that they are applying the tools of management at the highest level of performance.  The business must be an example of an effective and operational model shop.  

Probst compiled 138 documents and a 20 minute video to qualify for this award.  Mark and his sister Karla attended the Management Success! convention in Scottsdale Arizona on April 8th where he was presented the award amongst his fellow shop owners. 

Pictured Above:
Mandee Bradshaw, VP of
Client Sales and Delivery
and Mark Probst
When asking Mark Probst about the award he said “Receiving the award was nice, but it was never just about the award.  It has allowed me to create a better family life, I have been able to offer more to my employees and it has allowed me the extra time to get involved in the community and make a difference.”

Probst Auto Body, located at 101 Norb Avenue in Dieterich, Illinois, is locally owned and operated by Mark Probst since 2003. 

Probst Auto Body can be found on Facebook at and online at

Management Success! is the top automotive, collision, and truck repair consulting and training group. The purpose of Management Success! Is to enhance the quality of life and improve the standard of living of shop owners throughout the automotive repair industry. The company is located in Glendale California, and works with hundreds of shops throughout the United States and Canada.


Copyright © 2016 Probst Auto Body, All rights reserved.
As a media outlet and/or business contact your contact of interest is being used to provide press releases and community information for Probst Auto Body and the Dieterich, IL area.
Our mailing address is:
Probst Auto Body
101 Norb Avenue, Dieterich, IL
Dieterich, IL 62424

Friday, April 29, 2016

New Interactive Workshop Courses Announced at the Management Success 2016 Spring Convention

GLENDALE, CA. April 27, 2016. In addition to a slew of already popular workshops, Management Success revealed two new workshops at its Spring Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.

To the right is a brief description of the new Management Success Workshops. 

Building Your Dream Team

An interactive workshop designed to give shop owners the skills needed to recruit the best employees and keep them effectively trained on an on-going basis. 

On-site Shop Workflow 

An interactive, hands-on training program that gives shop owners the skills needed to improve their shop’s workflow.

“The response we have received regarding these two new services has been overwhelming,” stated Robert Spitz, Snr VP Business Development.

Management Success Announces Award Winners at the 2016 Spring Convention

GLENDALE, CA. April 25, 2016 Semi-annually Management honors its clients who have made great strides in the auto repair industry.

The recipients of the 2016 Spring Convention Awards are: 

Master Elite 
Aaron Ledford - Aaron’s Semi Repair
Mark Probst – Probst Auto Body 

Tobi Klunder-Edmonds – Edmonds Import Auto
TJ Cleveland - Durango Muffler & Brake
Greg & Stacy Conner - Equipment Experts, Inc.
Kristi & Wade Wright - Wright Way Collision Repair, Inc.
Brett Gioe - Zoom Tech 

Sustained Masters 
Jim & Terri Anderson - Anderson Automotive  

HOST Master 
Jim Anderson - Anderson Automotive 

Competent Shop Owner 
Eddie Lawrence – MTR
Terri Anderson - Anderson Automotive
Javier & Esteban Najera - Tres Amigos Auto Service, Inc.
Jesse Schillinger & Bola Schonoiki - Honest Accurate Auto Service West
Effective Shop Manager
Dean Thomas - Deano's Complete Automotive Svc & Repair 

HOST Award 
Dino DiGiulio - Body Best Collision
Joe Fenski - Fenski Automotive
Steve Ek - Ek Automotive
Mark Probst – Probst Auto Body 

Top Team of VMT Game 
The Innovators: Europro Autohaus, Knockout Collision, K-O Auto, Top Shop, Ultimate Truck 

Top Player of VMT Game 
2nd Place Jim Krell / K-O Auto Inc
1st Place Willie & Tess Contreras / Top Shop Automotive