Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Leading Cause of Low Car Count at Your Shop

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.Anais Nin

He got out of a Ford Crown Victoria with no hubcaps. He had a full shaggy beard, a white t-shirt, jeans with holes in them, and flip flops. It appeared that it had been a while since he last combed his hair!

This is how Dave Ramsey describes his sales prospect, “Chris” in his book EntreLeadership, 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches. This encounter occurred back when Ramsey sold expensive custom homes as a Real Estate professional.

During his sales training, Dave was taught to make judgment calls about customers based on the car they drove, what type of shoes they wore, their style of haircut, and other external indicators of success.

Their sales process was time-consuming, so these judgment calls were made to help the seller invest their time with serious buyers.

Dave would usually walk the prospect through the home, demonstrating the unique features and benefits it had to offer. Since he believed Chris wasn’t a serious buyer, Dave just pointed Chris in the direction of the model homes and allowed him to fend for himself.

He felt irritated when Chris came back and asked for a brochure. He became agitated when his wife returned to ask questions about the kitchen. He got frustrated when Chris stopped by again to ask how much one of the model homes would cost.

This was a busy Saturday, and Chris was keeping him from working with the “real buyers.” Dave was surprised when Chris asked his next question, “Is it Ok if I pay in cash?”

What Dave didn’t know was that Chris had become a multi-millionaire by writing software for a startup company that went public.

Dave suffered from the same problem that’s the leading cause of low car count at your shop: He allowed his perceptions to interfere with the process. 

Have you allowed your perceptions to interfere with the process?

Keep reading to discover how this problem may be affecting you, and what you can do about it.

My Shop Is Different

Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room. By now you’re probably thinking, “Great story Twiggs, but my shop is different! Car count is down because of the weather, the economy, and my customers who are still recovering from the government shutdown!”

Before you press the delete button, consider this: I was recently speaking with two shop owners who are located in the same zip code. They had the same weather, their customers had the same median income average, and both had a similar percentage of government workers in their database.

On the first coaching call, the owner was struggling to make payroll and tapping lines of credit to stay afloat. We spoke at great length about all the external reasons for his results.

During my call with the second shop owner, these same factors never came up, because he was too busy discussing how he just had his best January EVER! What was the difference?

The first owner allowed his perceptions to interfere with the process. When we were speaking about the external problems, he had plenty to say. When I asked specific questions about the process, all I heard was the sound of crickets!

Since he believed that the economy was his problem, he stopped doing RO audits, he stopped using the phone log, and he stopped making follow up calls.

What can be done to overcome this leading cause of low car count? Focus on right now!

Focus on Right NOW

The Navy Seals had a problem. 76% of their potential candidates were dropping out of their six-week training program. They called in the renowned psychologist, Dr. Eric Potterat to review their training techniques.

What he suggested resulted in a 50% increase in their graduation rate: Focus on Right NOW.

Thanks to Potterat, the Seal candidates were trained to only focus on the task at hand. For example, while doing a 20-mile run, they only focused on finishing the run.

They didn’t think about dinner. They didn’t think about what they had to do that night. They only focused on the task at hand.

When it comes to improving your shop, the key is to focus on right now. I challenge you to treat your business as if you were a Navy Seal embarking on a 20-mile run.

Don’t think about the weather. Don’t think about the economy. Don’t think about the government shutdown. Just focus on the task at hand, which is delivering an exceptional customer experience to the person in front of you.


So, there you have it. Instead of allowing your perceptions to interfere with the process, focus on right now. If you embrace the perception that every customer is a millionaire in disguise, you won’t have a car count problem!

P.S. Email to receive 5 Tips to Treat Your Customer Like A Millionaire!
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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.