“It’s not my fault, it’s the area,” said Matt, a service manager who worked for me back in 2001. “We can’t find good people because of the low unemployment rate and high median income.”
This shop had a history of being understaffed on tire technicians and mechanics. Matt was the third manager in the last twelve months, and the two previous managers had the same explanation for being shorthanded.
Maybe his shop was different from the rest of my locations. I was starting to believe Matt, and I, too, blamed our failures on the area. Matt and I had 50 ways to blame another!
Then something happened that forever changed my perspective. Matt resigned and I was forced to bring in a new manager from a different location named Roger. Three weeks later, he had the shop fully staffed! Roger hired two mechanics and three tire techs, who each became top producers in the market.
This experience taught me the following reality: There’s always a “Roger” out there who can get the result that I’m struggling with. In other words, I should always be open to the possibility that it’s my fault!
Could Roger Do It?
Remember your customer who “didn’t have the money?” There’s a Roger out there who would have made the sale. Can’t find technicians because of your area? Roger could come in and find that “A” tech you’ve been looking for.
Do you have a habit of blaming external factors for your failures? If so, you have 50 ways to blame “another.” It’s always another person, place, or thing that’s responsible instead of you.
The key is to shift from playing the blame game to taking ownership. As you read on, you will learn two questions to ask that will change your perspective.
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Who is the “Roger” in your market or 20 group who’s getting the results you’re struggling with while dealing with the same obstacles? Back in 2010, a shop owner told me about how he couldn’t maintain strong margins because he was in a college town and the students didn’t have any money.
He was forced to change his perspective when I introduced him to my client Dave Mays, who is in the same town and has been very successful. They still talk to this day and Dave has given him several best practices to improve his business.
What is your Roger doing to achieve the desired outcome? In the college town example, Dave shifted his marketing focus from the students to the college faculty, who were more stable and had a higher income. He also hired a service manager who possessed the right attitude and personality to go with years of successful selling experience.
I agree with Tony Robbins who says to model someone who is already successful because success leaves clues. Asking the “what” question will lead you to those clues.
You won’t fix what you don’t believe to be your fault. Asking the “who” and “what” questions will help you to start owning the problem instead of blaming another person, place, or thing.
At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.