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Episode Description

Episode 25: the evolution of the independent auto repair industry in the last 25 years and where our industry is headed in the next 5-10 years, our guests are:

ATI Director of National Accounts: Jim Silverman

Westlake Independent Automotive Shop Owner: Bruce Nation

Rizzoli’s Automotive Shop Owner: Kyle Rizzoli

Episode Transcript

*This transcript was generated using Artificial Intelligence. Errors may occur. If you notice an error, please contact [email protected].

Tom Dorsey (00:01):
All right. Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to episode 25 of the Digital Shop Talk Radio. Today is July 24th, 2019, and we’re going to be talking today about the evolution of the automotive repair industry over the last 25 years. So I invited on a couple of dinosaurs and a third generation shop owner to tell us all about those changes. No, just kidding. I’ve got Bruce Nation from Westlake Independent joining us today, Jim Silverman from ATI, and we got Kyle Rizzoli from Rizzoli’s Automotive out in California to come on and tell us a little bit about how they’ve adapted to the changes in the marketplace in the industry, and what do we see forward on how we can incorporate some of this digital technology in the digital shop process to be prepared for those changes. So welcome gentlemen. I really appreciate you taking the time to join us today.
Kyle Rizzoli (01:00):
Tom Dorsey (01:01):
Good morning. And so we’ll run it a little casual because I’m sure all of you’re going to have pretty heavy opinions. And so if you feel like jumping in, feel free and we’ll just kind of get it started off. And I’d like to start with style because I think your story is really interesting and really relevant to what we’re talking about today is I imagine you grew up in the shop
Kyle Rizzoli (01:24):
For sure. Yeah. I mean, I was definitely working at the shop at a very young age. As soon as I could walk, I approach had a mop or a broom in my hand doing something around the shop. There was all sorts of child labor laws. I’m sure that were not followed, but I think when you have, as I say the correct last name, you do whatever it takes to make the family business to operate. So yeah, so I’ve been involved for a long time with the business and seen a lot of changes from grandpa running it to my dad and now to be over the last couple of years taking over. So definitely industry’s changing. It’s changing at a very rapid rate as well.
Tom Dorsey (02:05):
And so when you got those reigns, I mean, what was kind of the first things that you had identified as needed to be changed to maybe modernize the shop or just be able to operate in a way that you felt comfortable?
Kyle Rizzoli (02:21):
Well, obviously I got thrown into the wolves. I was at that point, a 26-year-old kid just graduated or just coming out of college with a mechanical engineering degree with very little actual business experience and trying to manage older, skilled gentlemen and trying to prove to them that I was supposed to be here once again, not just having the correct last name. So I had that transition. I’d say from an actual business standpoint, one of the first things that I identified, especially relating back to changes in the market, was really our marketing and advertising. We had relied so heavily on word of mouth back in the day. We’d also had the same logo on the shop for about 20 years. It was a sweet like Burgundy, red, red with some wood grain in it. It was really, really straight from the seventies. So that was one of the big things I really identified right away. We had to ramp up marketing and figure out how to market the new generation. So that’s really been a big focus of mine and my sister has been really instrumental in helping us move forward with the marketing.
Tom Dorsey (03:42):
So a little rebranding and then just modernize, use some of that digital marketing to capture some of those internet consumers. And how’s that working out for you? Have you noticed a shift in your customer base and you feel that your efforts are paying off?
Kyle Rizzoli (04:00):
Yeah, I mean, we’ve been real fortunate over the last couple of years. I mean, our car count between both the shops has been increasing, which I think industry wide trend is not normal, but I think we’ve all struggled with knowing that we can’t rely on oil changes to drive customers in. With the extended service intervals coming up, it’s no longer every 3000 miles. A lot of cars we’re working on, especially European stuff, we’re looking 10 to 15,000 mile service intervals. So trying to figure out how to get customers in on a more regular basis, not just because of oil chain services and then just the new generation. They want instantaneous feedback, they want instant information. So really trying to figure out how to communicate effectively with them and then to give them a really clean sounding board if there is any problems or issues that they can communicate with us with. Because I think all of the shop owners, I think we all have a real love hate relationship with reviews and online reviews and specifically Yelp.
It’s really hard to see someone come in there and just rip us apart when this is our baby. It is like they’re down there just we’re doing the best we can, and yet they just go in there and rip us apart. So we’ve decided to go not just try to put our head in the sand about reviews, but to really go on the offensive and ask for as many reviews as we can and give customers all the opportunities to voice their concerns if we did have an issue. So just through follow up with every single customer, text messages, phone calls, whatever we could do to make sure we’re doing right there. And then that’s, I mean, from the marketing shift, from word of mouth to relying heavily on the new word of mouth, which is reviews.
Tom Dorsey (05:50):
And that’s been a huge difference. I mean, that’s a huge change from 25 years ago. Bruce, how long have you been in Westlake Village? How long has your shop been up in there?
Bruce Nation (05:57):
I’ve been in business 30 years open December 15th, opening day December 15th, 1988. Wow. I got my first job in a dealership 43 years ago, and I’ve seen some definite changes.
Tom Dorsey (06:13):
You sure have.
Bruce Nation (06:16):
You’re looking at what changes I’ve seen the most significant has been the same changes the rest of the world has seen where you’ve seen us go to computers from where we measure everything with computers, write everything with computers to internet. When I opened, there was no internet and handwritten repair orders. I think probably 92 I started writing repair orders with a computer, maybe 91, 92, something like that. And it’s been
Tom Dorsey (06:50):
Lemme ask you something. What was more difficult adopting the point of sale or adopting the digital shop? The digital inspections and digital marketing.
Bruce Nation (06:58):
The digital shop. The digital shop. But when I started writing repair orders on computers, it was actually cross. It was, didn’t have any trouble with that at all. But going to the digital shop has been an upheaval. That’s the biggest change I believe I’ve seen in all the time I’ve been in automotive repair as far as managing, I mean the cars have changed immensely, but the actual, the way we manage the shop, that’s the biggest single change I’ve seen. And since I’ve done it, I can tell you that if you’re not embracing that type of change in your shop, then your days are a number.
Tom Dorsey (07:46):
Yeah, well, and it’s like one of those things, right? It’s almost like a necessary evil. You got to do it, you might as well get into it now, get used to it, and then adapt over time because it’s not going to stop. And if you push it off and push up, I finally gave up my flip phone or my pager, my beeper, and now I got to a smartphone and I have to try to figure it out instead of incrementally learning as the technology develops and then it’s less invasive in the shop, it’s going to be a hard thing to say finally, oh my gosh, I have no choice. I have to do this and then try to learn it all. But would you go back?
Bruce Nation (08:22):
Would I go back?
Tom Dorsey (08:23):
Yeah. Would you go back? No,
Bruce Nation (08:24):
I wouldn’t. There’s so many challenges that I faced over the years that this fixed. One big challenge that I had before going with AutoVitals was I had a really hard time getting uniform inspections.
Tom Dorsey (08:41):
Yeah, sure.
Bruce Nation (08:42):
Consistency. You got six guys working, you give the same car to six different guys and you get most of the same stuff, but you get a variation. You don’t get exactly the same inspection from them. And one guy might miss something or then another guy picks up, but another guy picks up something that maybe it’s borderline. And there’s this argument about, well, did it really need it or not? And it was a big problem and it went on for a long time where the service advisors had to basically mediate every single inspection. Now we still do some of that because you still have six guys looking at things differently, but the format and the way they’re inspected and the dropdowns, the choices, all of that really make it uniform. Really make it
Tom Dorsey (09:29):
Uniform well, and it’s nice to archive those results as well because if you do have a question about it at some time in the future, you can always go back and look and then not only just see whatever, somebody maybe eyeballed and wrote down a measurement, but see a picture. See the, if we’re taking pictures of our measurement tools and stuff and have actual verify,
Bruce Nation (09:49):
I get phone calls from people, my car’s in another shop, I’m out of town and they’re telling me I need breaks. Okay, well lemme look at your last inspection. So 4,000 miles ago, your front pads were at five millimeters. I doubt seriously need breaks. That helps a lot.
Tom Dorsey (10:09):
Yeah, it’s really great for that. So Jim, you guys work with Jimmy’s from ATI and you guys have been around forever and you work with a lot of shops, and so that’s one, I imagine the evolution in the automotive industry is something that you wrestle with on a continuous basis.
Jim Silverman (10:25):
So first you come a dinosaur,
Bruce Nation (10:29):
I dunno, usually when Jim and I are together, he’s buying me dinner.
Jim Silverman (10:34):
Then you ask about evolution. And so it’s like, which part of this is it? The biggest thing, first of all, I hand wrote repair orders and I did handwritten accounting in the dealership.
Tom Dorsey (10:48):
Jim Silverman (10:49):
I came in before the systems. I remember when I started with Mitchell 20 years ago, selling systems and I would walk into shops and people say computer, I don’t have any dang computer. So we have definitely come a long way as far as what we talk about at ATI. The reason that I like digital inspections personally is because I’m a fanatic about consistency in your inspections like Bruce said. And so the worst thing about an inconsistent courtesy inspection is that if somebody comes in and you make a recommendation today because your guy that leans toward front end stuff and he’s looking at it and he sees that your alignment is this far off and he says, you need to do this and they can’t afford to do the work today, but they come back 90 days from now and your guy that’s an air conditioning guy looks at the inspection and misses the front end.
Which time did you lie to him? The guy you said you said he needed it or the time you said he didn’t. And so when you’re doing a consistent courtesy inspection, number one, you have to have your process done, which we preach processes all day long. But if you don’t have your process done where everybody does ad cd, and then if your courtesy inspections don’t have everything on here, you’ve got people that are actually inspecting ’em, not pencil whipping. You’re going to have a decent inspection and you’re going to do two things. We all know that you make more profit on maintenance instead of repair, so you’re going to make more profit. Your technicians are more productive on maintenance than they are on repair, so they’re going to do better. And your customer benefits because their vehicle’s being taken care of, their investment, so they’re going to come out ahead. Why wouldn’t somebody maintenance and do a good inspection?
Tom Dorsey (12:39):
Yeah. Something really interesting is happening is it used to be right, you would get a second opinion because you didn’t trust the guy. He couldn’t really prove anything. It was his word. And you went, I don’t really know so much about my car. I’m going to go find out more information. Go ask my dad, go ask another shop. Right now, what’s almost happening is that the digital motorist is trusting the digital inspection results so much. They use it to hold the shop accountable on the next visit. Are you guys experiencing that, Kyle? Are you experiencing that Bruce, where somebody comes in and if you don’t give them their inspection results, they say, Hey, where’s my inspection result? How do I know that this needs to be done? Or what are you trying to pull here? Give me my inspection results so that I can make an informed decision.
Kyle Rizzoli (13:27):
That’s right. Yeah, I agree. The interesting thing, when we first started rolling out the AutoVitals a couple years ago, and the thing that surprised us was when we would say, put something on, take a picture of something on the inspection sheet, and then my advisors got caught a couple times where they didn’t estimate it, and then the customer would call back, well, what about the picture of that belt that was cracking? Or something like that. And literally the customers were selling themselves. And I think that’s kind of what really my advisors were like, okay, wow, this thing actually works
When they were calling back and saying, what about this, this, and this? And it holds everyone accountable. And that’s I think one of the beautiful things with AutoVitals system general is the accountability, the reports. And I could see, especially with how multiple shops, I don’t have to be there to know that the guys are doing it right. I can run the reports and be there and see what’s happening. But yeah, it’s really cool. The digital side and the inspections, it gets back to people want the information now. They want it to be accurate, they want it to be, they want to know the truth. What it comes down to, and it’s hard. Pictures don’t lie. A picture says a thousand words. You have the best service advisor, but one picture that’s taken well and well annotated can sell a lot of work very, very easily. So it’s pretty cool
Tom Dorsey (15:01):
Without effort. And that’s ideal. That’s exactly what we’re trying to get accomplished is be able to send that information out, scale. You can send it out to a lot of people at one time, educate themselves, identify areas that, like you said, they sell themselves and then call you up with buying questions and then build a plan to take care of this stuff. I might not get it all done today, but thank you for letting me know and now I can plan out my return visits to get all this stuff done.
Jim Silverman (15:29):
It legitimizes your repair order.
Tom Dorsey (15:32):
Jim Silverman (15:33):
Because the computer doesn’t lie. If it’s out on computer, it’s accurate that if I hand wrote it, it might not be.
Bruce Nation (15:42):
Yeah. The other big thing that we spend, we’ve been in business a long time, and everybody I know that’s in business and has been in business a long time has strived to change. They’ve had to be open to change. They’ve constantly had to look for what’s next in their industry and in their business. They’ve constantly had to set themselves apart from their competition. And that’s something that’s difficult in any business, but I think it’s difficult in this business. You have to be looking ahead all the time at what’s the next thing? What is it that’s going to set my business apart once the water starts getting murky in this project? So right now, digital inspection, AutoVitals in particular is the, that’s what’s setting me apart, that’s setting my business apart from my competition. And I’m sure everybody who’s using it, it’s setting you apart. Unless there’s other businesses next door that are using it, you’re different.
And I would even go so far as to say you’ve got so much leeway in how you do your inspections and how your inspections are presented. I’ve looked at different shops inspection reports that what they send to the customer, none of ’em look like mine and none of ’em look like each other’s. You still get to put your own, your fingerprints are all over it and nobody else’s. It still looks like yours. And I don’t know what’s coming next after this, but for right now, I foresee this as my clear, clean, blue ocean for at least the next five years.
Tom Dorsey (17:28):
Yeah, sure. And really where we’re going to be going towards that is being able to take big data and then do some more kind of intuitive or AI based recommendations to your customer. That would, I mean, ultimately what it’s going to do is help pre-sell, help efficiency at the front counter. Because in other words, we can start to recommend work that can get approved and parts can be on order before the car even comes down. The service writer doesn’t really have to do much other than just facilitate that process and check the boxes when the order comes in. But that’s stuff that we will be developing. So ultimately it’s ways to help you to be more efficient, grow your margin. And still, because what Kyle said was very prescient is to say that the market today demands immediate information, and if you can’t provide it, well then you might as well be a dinosaur because I’m going to go look for somebody who can, or I’m going to get myself into a customer service experience that fits that need. And it was really interesting. I think it was episode 10, we had John Long on from shirts, automotive, I don’t know if you all remember that, but he said he establishes the hit by the bus rule in his shop. And that’s really what the digital shop will allow you to do is because if he got hit by a bus, the next guy could step in, pick up your information, and be able to pick up that sales process or give you the educational information in a consistent experience regardless of who’s standing at the front counter.
And from a customer service experience, that’s exactly kind of checks those boxes that Kyle was talking about. I get immediate information, I get a consistent experience that I know what to expect because I mean, are you guys experiencing this one of the big changes in the last 25 years? Nobody wants to talk to you on the phone anymore.
Bruce Nation (19:23):
No, that’s true. We deal
Tom Dorsey (19:24):
With that.
Bruce Nation (19:26):
Yeah, there are a few, but even me, text me, send me a text. Yeah, I don’t have time to answer the phone. The phone’s ringing and I’m talking to a customer or talking to somebody. I’m not going to stop and answer the phone. But if it’s a text, as soon as I’m finished, I pick it up and I know what’s going on. I don’t have to call back. It’s telling you phone calls.
Tom Dorsey (19:46):
It’s highly convenient. And so when people are preferring to communicate that way, and it’s a big challenge if your sales process is based off of talking to somebody on the phone. Right?
Bruce Nation (19:56):
That’s right.
Tom Dorsey (19:57):
Kyle, how do you seen that in your shop? I mean, you’re in a college town, so I’m sure it’s a pretty big challenge for you.
Kyle Rizzoli (20:04):
Yeah. Yeah. I’d say another thing just bring up would be the shift from emails to text and seeing just how it’s so much quicker and it is how people do want to be talked to is via text message. So yeah, it just adds, it’s a different way of selling. And it’s the older advisors, they do struggle with it. They want to pick the phone up, they want to talk to that person, and that’s their comfort zone. And I don’t say we haven’t figured out yet on text message selling, but the digital inspections is definitely the first step to helping with that. It is starting to sell for us and prepping that, because obviously in a perfect world, I mean we send the inspection sheet out and they call back and say, how much? And you come a price and then you’re done. In a perfect world. Now, I don’t think that happens five, 10% of the time, but if we could get closer to that in the long run to get, we could get more sales through that. We want to keep doing that. So I think we’re all kind of on this precipice of this is really, really cool technology. It’s what people want, but it’s figuring out how to apply it to these older systems that we’ve all developed in our shops to make sure everything works as designed. So pretty interesting.
Tom Dorsey (21:27):
And that’s the trick is you got to get your crew to buy in. You got to get them to trust the process, trust that communication. Because really what we’re talking about is that the digital inspection, if you build it correctly and you add all your good annotations and educational content, it’s replacing the phone call. It’s replacing the conversation on the phone.
Jim Silverman (21:48):
Well, it’s selling the maintenance that you need. It’s making it easier. It’s making it easier for the customer to say yes.
Tom Dorsey (21:56):
Jim Silverman (21:57):
They don’t have to wait for you to get through them into a meeting while I’m talking to you. I could pick up my phone and read the message and set it back down. It’s a tremendous improvement.
Tom Dorsey (22:12):
Yeah, no, and from ATIme it takes to get approval from the ability to multitask or to scale and do that effectively and most importantly, make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. We’re not cherry picking stuff. So we give ’em a hundred percent of the recommendations, educate them on what needs to be done. And then like Kyle said, just kind of, it’d be great if they say approve everything, but if not, you have an opportunity to schedule out the recommendations over time and you captured a loyal customer, you’ve actually sold the entire ticket. You just do it over.
Kyle Rizzoli (22:50):
Just to continue on the topic too, I think one thing that we’re seeing with the customers these days, they don’t enjoy high pressure sales. And I mean, I think all of us, we try, we all know that we’re trying to look after the customer’s best interest, but obviously we have a bad reputation of where we’re trying to oversell them constantly. I mean our industry as a whole. So the digital inspection lets them make their decisions on their own timeframe where they don’t feel like they have to make a decision right now. And that’s something that I think we all have to continue to look for and adjust our processes for that. I mean, a topic that we’ve been talking a lot about with my advisors and with the shops is it’s not necessarily just average ARO per visit, but it’s more average ARO per visit per year for a customer. So even though we don’t necessarily get that sale this time, let’s say that person comes in first time customer, we do just an oil change, but we find a list of recommended items. If that person comes back in and does $1,200 the next service, what’s that person’s average ro?
So it is looking at a little bit more long-term. It’s really hard because of course we all want the sales now, but these processes we’re putting in place, those people will come back if you do it. So that’s a big thing we’ve been focusing on, and I think it’s going to pay off. Like I said, it’s a hard concept to wrap your head around though.
Tom Dorsey (24:26):
Yeah. Because the flip side of that is you scare ’em off and you lose that follow up visit. And then if we’re talking about folks that don’t want to talk to you on the phone, it’s like you said, if you got ’em at the front counter and they don’t understand anything you’re saying, well, you got to make a decision. I got to a line. What are we going to do here? I’m going to say no, I’m going to default to, I don’t get it. So no. And so you lose sales.
Bruce Nation (24:48):
The thing that I went to the digital conference last January in Marina Del Rey, it’s fantastic.
Tom Dorsey (24:54):
Yes, it was buddy.
Bruce Nation (24:56):
The one thing that I heard at that conference, something Uwe said, I was listening to him speak and I heard this, and I think about this more than anything else I heard at that conference. He said that customers want to buy but they don’t want to be sold to. And what he was just talking about hits that. I mean, it’s just as simple as it can be. Think about it. You want to buy things. You have a lot of things at your home that you bought. If you didn’t want to buy things you wouldn’t have probably half the things you own right now. But we don’t want to be sold to. I want to buy a new car, but I don’t want to deal with a car salesman.
Tom Dorsey (25:36):
And so if I can do the research, if I can make up my own decision, exactly like you said, I mean how many times, I mean, gosh, you hit Cyber Monday or something and half the country is on Amazon searching through stuff. Exactly. Doing that. I want to buy some, I don’t know what, but man, this money’s burning a hole in my pocket right now.
Bruce Nation (25:57):
That’s right. People want, they don’t want to be sold to.
Tom Dorsey (26:00):
And it’s a great conversation to have in the shop to align the need to do regular maintenance to give them that need to buy stuff. And what is it? It’s peace of mind. It says, I’m maintaining my vehicle, it’s going to hold, its better resale, it’s going to be safer. I don’t have to worry when I’m taking the kids to soccer, whatever it might be. That’s a value proposition. And all you have to do is use that inspection sheet to educate ’em on the need to come back three and a half, two and a half, three times, three and a half times a year and just get the work done. Peace of mind. It’s almost like because we do that now with cell phones and other products in our life, that’s another huge change in the last 25 years is to say, I’m going to get a phone. My phone works perfectly good, but they got a brand new one out. I’m going to go turn it in, get a new one, kind of maintain this technology over time so that I have the best and for whatever reason, it could be an ego thing or I just like to have the latest technology, but
Bruce Nation (26:59):
Buy the latest. I think people buy the latest a lot of times just because they want to keep up.
Tom Dorsey (27:05):
Because they want to keep up. They want to
Bruce Nation (27:07):
Keep up. They think, okay, the latest will have the latest technology. And if I’m exposed to the latest technology, that’s me keeping up and it’s difficult to keep up. It is. I don’t care if you’re young or old. It’s difficult to keep up with the pace that the technology is advancing.
Tom Dorsey (27:24):
Jim Silverman (27:25):
And when your customer sees you doing something that’s high tech or that’s newer, new technology, if you’re doing a digital inspection and they see you doing the digital inspection and they’re seeing you do it because they’re watching you do the inspection or they’re seeing you do it because you’re sending ’em the pictures, they know that you are keeping up with the times and you are actually performing the work to the higher technology and the newer technology based things. And somebody that walks out with a pencil and a legal pad doesn’t give the same confidence level and the same comfort level to the customer.
Tom Dorsey (28:03):
No, exactly. I mean, that’s a brilliant point, Jim, because I know I’m driving really, I’m driving in a rolling computer right now in my car. I know that. And if I were to pull up in front of a shop with big piles of rags everywhere and it’s just a mess and pipe laying around or whatever, and I’m like, ah, I’m not going to take, I don’t even want to park my car in that bay. I come up to a place that’s clean that’s promoting the digital inspection process that’s transparent, nice waiting area, the whole thing, latte machine. And I’m not saying go out and remodel your shop tomorrow, but really what happens is we make those judgment calls almost right away, almost instantly, right? First impression. And I might just keep driving and you just don’t even know it, right? And so if you’re not, you might be doing the digital inspections in your shop, but promote ’em, right? Put it out in your advertising, put it up on your website, hang some signage, attract that customer to say, come in and say, oh, the digital shop, what’s that all about? I’m driving around in a digital car. I better go see what’s going on. And maybe they’re better, have some different service than maybe the guy I’ve been using over the last however many years.
We’ve got guys have the digital inspections on their website, a big video background, people putting it in window clings and things like that, incorporating it into their branding because exactly like you guys said is that I think it’s going to attract that type of consumer and that’s the future of your customer base. And so you might as well get started now.
Jim Silverman (29:39):
I was at a shop a few weeks ago in Arizona, and his service advisors use the AutoVitals tablet and they film the car as they do their walk around. They do it to cover my ability to make sure there’s no damage on the car, but they explain right? While they’re doing it to the customer. This is part of our inspection process. You inspect your entire vehicle. They’re doing it to make sure that somebody doesn’t say You dented my fender, but they’re telling the people about the inspection process while they’re doing it. Thought that was pretty cool.
Tom Dorsey (30:18):
And it’s a certain, Bruce does something like that. I don’t know if you’re still doing that. I thought it was brilliant, Bruce, when I first heard about that idea. But instead of calling it an inspection, calling it a vehicle health
Bruce Nation (30:31):
Tom Dorsey (30:33):
Yes. And then health
Bruce Nation (30:34):
Tom Dorsey (30:35):
Yeah. Actually, why don’t you tell us what you’re doing there and how you position that? Because like I said, I think it’s brilliant.
Bruce Nation (30:43):
Well, we try to sell everybody on the inspection. I mean, I try to get people to pay for it. We call it a minor service. We used to do a major minor intermediate services. Now everything’s a minor service and then sold from the inspection. The inspection. It’s just terminology to the customer. It’s a comprehensive vehicle health inspection. And it adds value to everything you tell somebody. It’s $120 to change your oil and rotate your tires. Well, that’s a lot of money. But when you throw in that comprehensive digital vehicle health inspection, and even over the phone, if somebody’s calling in, they’ve never been to you before. The dealer’s going to do their minor service, whatever they call it. It’s a Honda, it’s going to be a B one or an A one service for $89 and I’m 125. But the trick is before you tell ’em the price, try to get their email and send them a sample of the inspection that they’re going to get. Just send them just anything that you’ve got that you can send it. And by the time they’re off the phone, they don’t care about that money.
Tom Dorsey (31:59):
And so are you still telling, are you still doing the, Hey, this is, we do this. Every time your vehicle comes in, we’re going to give you, this is normally it costs this much money. We’re going to give it to you complimentary as long as you continue to come in on your regular maintenance. So we can update our vehicle health
Bruce Nation (32:18):
School. That’s correct. I may have to pay for the maintenance. The maintenance has the cost of that included. But we policy is we do it one time, free per car, per customer. But it’s like crack. And if you give somebody an inspection report and it shows five or six different things that they need, if they don’t buy any of, you’re not going to do that inspection for them again for free. They’re not going to buy it again. Or they’re taking your inspection somewhere else. They’re shopping for prices. Now that doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, you don’t want to do their inspection again for free. You want to make sure they pay for it, they’re getting value, they need to pay for it. And they’re really not your customer unless they start buying.
Tom Dorsey (33:00):
Yep, that’s right.
Bruce Nation (33:02):
They’re really not.
Tom Dorsey (33:04):
So I think it’s a really great way to position that even changing the terminology, get away from the connotation of, oh, an inspection. They’re just trying to find stuff to sell me to, Hey, vehicle health score or vehicle health checkup check. Yeah, this is my benefit.
Bruce Nation (33:19):
I’ve got to look over here and see what we actually call it. I don’t have that program running comprehensive health inspection. Yeah,
Tom Dorsey (33:28):
That’s correct.
Yeah. And so you guys that are struggling to set that and position that, that’s a great wait, try it out. Try what Bruce is doing, change it up, make it part of the expected service, add the value to it. Tell ’em that as long as they come back regularly that you’ll maintain that health score for them. A complimentary as a part of the service. But if they miss the time, hey, we’re going to have to update it and it’s probably going to cost you. And it says, I better get back in there to make sure they’re not having to recharge me to get that checkup
Bruce Nation (34:02):
Done. Guy, I have a customer in my shop right now lives in Santa Rosa now Santa Rosa is about a five hour drive north of here, the area. He was a customer here for a long time and he’s down here visiting his son and he gets his car serviced when he’s here because where he’s at in Santa Rosa, he doesn’t have any, he doesn’t know anybody. He doesn’t have anybody that’s doing this. And this is why he’s having it done here. Now I got an 18 pilot with 24,000 miles on it. And because of our digital inspection, his bill today is just over $700.
Tom Dorsey (34:43):
That is fantastic.
Bruce Nation (34:45):
Yes. Now, and it’s all there. Everything that’s there is needed. No question about it. It’s that minor service that I talked about. It’s the cabin filter, it’s the alignment, and for some reason it’s transmission fluid. It’s dark. So I sold him a synthetic synthetic flush on top of that
Tom Dorsey (35:06):
On 2014. That’s incredible.
Bruce Nation (35:11):
And all for the bargain price of $700.
Tom Dorsey (35:13):
That’s right.
Bruce Nation (35:17):
If it hadn’t been for that digital inspection for AutoVitals, their inspection, that car would’ve come in, it would’ve gone out. The most I would’ve sold would’ve been a cabin filter, maybe an alignment. So I think that right there is an example of what the perfect example of what AutoVitals can do.
Tom Dorsey (35:40):
Bruce Nation (35:40):
I was shocked myself. I looked at the ticket and I’m like, wait, got 24,000 miles on it. What’s going on here?
Tom Dorsey (35:47):
Bruce Nation (35:47):
At it. And there it’s, it’s all there.
Tom Dorsey (35:49):
That is.
Bruce Nation (35:50):
And we had ATI breaches the margins if it hadn’t AutoVitals. When you put that combo together and you’re making the money you need to make on everything you do, and you’re getting everything that you need to do, presented to the customer in a manner that makes them trust you and trust exactly what you’re doing and what you’re telling them, that’s That’s a winning combination every time.
Tom Dorsey (36:18):
That’s the recipe for success. Absolutely. And that is gold nugget right there. Everybody in the audience, write that down. Go tell your boss. If you are the boss, go tell your staff. Because you don’t want a charity, right? You don’t. Don’t prejudge 24K comes in, sells $700 ticket. So we’ll do the consistent process each and every time. Don’t try to judge anything. Educate, educate, educate, educate. Do not sell. And you’ll win 100% of the time. You might not win today. You might win half today, but you’ve built a customer, they’re going to come back, they’re going to engage with you over time and you’re going to be the GoTo spot.
Jim Silverman (36:56):
And if you use it right, it’s going to keep your margins where they
Tom Dorsey (37:00):
Bruce Nation (37:00):
Yeah, that’s right. That’s exactly right.
Kyle Rizzoli (37:03):
Yeah. And on that line, it is kind of what my guys say and what I tell the guys is, we got to go out there and chop wood every day doing the inspections. And it’s not an easy process, but that’s our chop in the wood, and that’s what’s going to make it so we have our fire to burn for years to come, is doing those consistent inspections every single time. Like Bruce just said, not prejudging a car because it’s a Honda of 24,000 miles on it. Look at the car, give the customer the information, let them do it. And if say they don’t buy it now, it’s going to be on the information they’re going to get marketed to appropriately and they will come back. So
Bruce Nation (37:41):
Tom Dorsey (37:42):
No, that’s brilliant guys. I mean, we’re out of time. I could go on another hour with you guys. I mean, really appreciate you coming on and sharing your experiences and just how you’ve adapted over the 25 years and kind of a vision on how you’re positioning yourself and your strategy for the future. And I think a lot of people that listening today are going to be able to take away some really valuable help from that. And so I appreciate it and I really want to thank all of you.
Kyle Rizzoli (38:07):
Thanks for having me.
Bruce Nation (38:08):
Thank you for having me. I’ve learned a lot.
Tom Dorsey (38:11):
Kyle Rizzoli (38:12):
Me too.
Jim Silverman (38:15):
And I appreciate it as well, Kyle. It was nice to meet you, Bruce. I will be in Orange County in September, so I guess I’ll make a trip and come take you to dinner.
Bruce Nation (38:23):
Yeah, very good. Very good. I’ll be in Baltimore next week.
Tom Dorsey (38:26):
Oh, really? I’m going to be, I’m leaving Saturday.
Really? I’m flying out to Baltimore, so I’ll see Jimmy tomorrow and then I’m back. And then Bruce, I’ll see you Saturday at the workshop. I’ll be there Saturday. I’ll be in Santa Barbara Saturday, Friday night. No, I just have to make a trip next week up to San Luis Obispo and see Kyle and I got it all knocked out. I just think the same thing. Thank you guys. Yeah, thank you. Take care. So yeah, next week, tune in, same time, same place. Wednesday 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern, right on Facebook live streaming. If you didn’t have time to watch the whole episode, we’ll have it recorded and up on the website for you tomorrow. We’re going to be skipping the webinar because I’m going to be out in Baltimore talking to some ATI coaches. And so we’ll pick the webinar series up again next week. But we’ll talk to you next Wednesday on the next episode of Digital Shop Talk Radio. Till then, get out there and make some money, put all this information that these guys just laid down on you to use and go make some more money out of it. Alright, thanks guys. Thanks.
Thanks guys.
Thank you.

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