Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How to Close More Sales at Your Shop

“In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.” John Lilly

There’s a familiar story that is told of a new insurance agent named “Jack” who was struggling to make sales. He would contact ten leads and come away with ten rejections.

He believed that business was slow due to the bad economy in his area and the fact that many of his customers were focused on getting their kids back to school. I’m sure his insurance vendors told him, “everybody’s slow.”

To change his luck, he scheduled a meeting with “Bill” the leading sales expert in town. Bill agreed to provide Jack with ten of his most qualified leads on the condition that he contact them immediately and report back to him with the results.

The following week Jack met Bill at his office to provide the update. “Bill, those were excellent leads!” said Jack “I sold policies to eight out of the ten referrals you gave me.  Thank you for giving me such great leads. Do you have any more?”

Bill smiled and replied, “I’m very busy right now, but I’ll be glad to give you my main lead supply source, so you can start calling on your own.”

“Great!” Jack replied. “If they’re your leads, I know they will be good!”

Jack’s facial expressions changed as Bill handed him a big yellow book. As it turns out, the leads weren’t qualified. Bill had picked ten random names out of the phone book for Jack to call!

Here’s the big takeaway: Jack’s results changed once his beliefs changed. Now you may be thinking, “That’s a cute story Coach, but what does this have to do with me?” Well, think of a business result that you’re unhappy with. There’s probably a limiting belief that’s the root cause of your problem.

Here are some common examples:

Car Count: “I’m in a small town and my customers don’t like to schedule exit appointments.”

Sales: “I’ll lose new customers if I tell them everything I found on the estimate.

Gross Profit: “I’ll lose my good customers if I raise my labor rate.”

I have some good news: If you change your limiting beliefs, you will close more sales at your shop. If you plan to change your beliefs, you must change your assumptions. Keep reading to learn two specific changes that will help you to close more sales.

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI Members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies for how to change limiting beliefs, improve your bottom-line, and grow your business. Register for a webinar at

Change Your Assumptions About People

Several months ago, a man with worn-out clothes and a beggar’s cup sat in front of a church as the members of the congregation were gathering for the Sunday service.

Although several members greeted him with kind words, their gestures, tone of voice, and body language told a different story.   They looked at him with pity and made an obvious effort to avoid extended conversation and physical contact.

Later during the service, the Pastor introduced the guest speaker for the morning, and to everyone’s surprise, it was the same homeless-looking man they passed when entering the building! At the end of the service, the members embraced him and encouraged him to come back.

This Minister had a habit of visiting churches in disguise just to see how he would be treated. He was saddened to realize that his earlier interactions with the congregation were based on their inaccurate assumptions.

What would happen if a wealthy customer visited your shop wearing worn-out clothes while driving an older vehicle with 200,000 miles on it? You could say the right things, but your gestures, tone of voice, and body language would tell a different story

It’s possible that your buyer says he doesn’t have the money because you’re treating him like he doesn’t have the money.

It’s possible that your customer doesn’t like the exit appointment because you presented it with the assumption that she doesn’t like the exit appointment.

I would attribute much of Jack’s sales success to a subtle change in his tone when he assumed the sales leads came from the sales guru. If you change your assumptions about people, you can change your results as well!

Change Your Assumption About Problems

I recall interviewing a service manager candidate who had worked in three shops in the last three years. When I asked him why he left the first shop, he said it was because he had problems with his co-workers. I asked about the second shop and he said he had a problem with the general manager. For the third shop, he said he had a problem with the owner.

It was at this point that I felt the need to invoke “The Bob Principle” that was coined by John C Maxwell in his book Winning With People: “When Bob has a problem with everybody, Bob is usually the problem!”

The main reason “Bob” was unemployed was that he assumed his problems were outside of his control. If he would have worked on fixing “the man in the mirror” he would still be working.

The key to closing more sales at your shop is to assume that all sales problems are your fault. When it’s the customer’s fault you can make excuses, but when it’s your fault you can achieve excellence.

For example, when it’s your fault you will send more digital pictures. When it’s your fault you will visit the car with the customer. When it’s your fault you will spend at least five minutes a day watching a sales training video. Changing your assumption about problems can change everything!


So there you have it. If you commit to changing your assumptions about people and problems, you will close more sales at your shop. Embracing a belief that doesn’t line up with your goals is just as crazy as looking through the phone book for qualified sales leads!

Non-ATI Members: For more tips on how to achieve specific results and run a productive, profitable shop, register for a webinar at

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.