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Books and Job Descriptions
:: P-204 The Service Advisor's Sales & Survival Guide
Books and Job Descriptions
P-204 The Service Advisor's Sales & Survival Guide
This is a hardback book
One afternoon many years ago when I was working as a dispatcher in a large service department, I was summoned to the service manager's office. Fortunately, the past several one-on-one conversations with the service manager had been relatively painless and I made my way to his office without breaking out in a cold sweat. Bill Scott, one of the best service managers I've ever known, called me in to ask if I wanted to move up to a service advisor's job. At that time, it was no secret that the other service advisors made a decent living. They had predictable hours, kept their hands clean, and didn't take much baloney from the shop's crusty technicians. From my perspective they had the best jobs in the shop. In fact, the job was good enough that some of them actually had cars so new that they still had factory warranties! It took about a millisecond for me to accept the offer. Bill then congratulated me and immediately gave me all the service advisor training consistent with the times; he said, "Great, get yourself a jacket like Glenn's and be ready to go to work Monday morning at seven. When you get in, ask Jenny for a stack of repair orders and don't forget to bring a pen."
Monday morning I found out very quickly why the advisors, Norb, Glenn, and Frank, made more money than the other hard working people in the shop... they worked their tails off from dawn 'til dusk! Although I worked within a short distance of them for over three years, I had no idea how demanding their jobs were until I walked a mile in their shoes. Writing repair orders and dealing with other people's problems... both mechanical and emotional... was a very difficult way to make a buck.
That was over twenty-five years ago. The service manager had trained all of us the same way he had been trained. He figured if we could write, knew a distributor cap from a gas cap, and could talk to customers without getting in a fist fight, we were already trained. Like other service managers of the era, his experience dictated... take'em to the end of the pier, push'em in, and see if they can swim. After clawing my way to the surface, many more times than I will ever admit to anyone, I learned how to swim, sell, and survive on the service lane. I did all right. It was easy then.
More formal education, lots of long hours, and maybe some luck allowed me to move to other things. Eventually, I ended-up creating training programs and consulting in the automobile industry. Over many years, I have had the pleasure of knowing and have had the privilege of picking the brains of some of the most gifted people in the business. The accumulation of ideas presented in this book is to a great extent, a result of their willingness to share their hard-earned expertise with others. There are altogether too many people to list, but there are a few who always come to mind and will find themselves in this book. When I was actually writing service way back when in Milwaukee, Bob Stewart, Glenn Neuhaus, and Norb Behm showed me what to do and saved my neck more than a few times. Once I found myself responsible for training others, the likes of Alan Mahan from Birmingham, Alabama, cannot go without mention. Alan worked for the same service consulting firm I did, and was, without a doubt, THE service guru of the time. He is well known by thousands of dealers, service managers, and service advisors who benefited from his extensive knowledge, unquestionable talent, and enormous amount of energy. Terry Carlisle, who is also famous in the same regard, is one of Alan's most gifted students. In the dealership world, there are a few people who I have called on over the years to help in my work and have directly contributed to the writing of this book. They were all service advisors at one time and all moved on to very responsible positions in some of the best run dealerships in the country. I offer special thanks to Bill Wrubel, Jim Hartman, and Mike Caughlin who are some of the most progressive and respected service directors in the country. Two of my current associates also deserve credit for their talent and contribution. George Haas and John Powell, both highly respected service consultants in their own right, took the time and gave some of themselves to this book.
I know each of them will agree that the auto repair business is not the same as it was twenty years ago. It is infinitely more difficult and demanding. Mind-boggling advancements in vehicle technology have made it extremely difficult for technicians who are "less-than-motivated" to survive on-the-line fixing cars. Today's technicians have to be (1) smart, (2) highly trained, and (3) very motivated to make it. Service managers not only have to know the mechanical aspects of the cars and trucks they service but also... be business persons. A service manager who is not skilled in contemporary personnel and financial management techniques is a dinosaur. They are quickly becoming extinct. Service advisors have certainly been impacted by technological advancements and changes in the "business" of service. However, the combined impact of technology and contemporary business practices is overshadowed by the evolution of the consumer into a different kind of buyer. The consumer revolution changed everything for the service advisor. The demands placed on service advisors are enormous today. It was tough to make it twenty-five years ago and do well long term. It is infinitely more difficult now.
When I was given the challenge of writing this book, I immediately remembered how ill-prepared I was when I started writing repair orders many years ago. I saw it as a golden opportunity to help those who have found themselves in the same position and those who certainly will in the future. As I collected and organized my thoughts, did research and called on the wisdom of the wonderful people I have met over the years, I was searching for something "profound" to be the centerpiece of the book. I wanted something in the book that was truly unique like a magic pill or microchip for success! I did not find one. This book contains hundreds of simple ideas that are organized and coordinated into a blueprint for success based on common-sense, hard work, and positive attitudes. It is written for ordinary people like myself who simply want to do better. Hopefully, its readers will find truly worthwhile direction in it and be better prepared to sell and survive on the service lane.
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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 18 May, 2005.
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