Tire dealers must stop helping colleagues who refuse to help themselves! Helping them actually hurts the industry's image and limits your store's ability to earn the service fees it deserves.
Talk to teachers, social workers, counselors and policemen about the people with whom they deal. You'll see an obvious pattern. Namely, some people are truly unlucky and really were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Given a chance to get themselves back on track, these folks prove their mettle by again becoming productive citizens. People who want to improve themselves find a way to do it.
Meanwhile, genuine losers just keep losing, squandering opportunities to rebuild their lives.
The parallels to service shops are so striking it's scary.
There's an element within this industry that any third-party observer would likely label ``loser.''
Like other losers, this scurvy segment constantly whines and gripes about everything but takes no steps toward improvement. Give these losers an open ear and they'll rant endlessly about the lack of cooperation, timely technical information etc.
Unfortunately, experience shows most losers neither join nor participate in trade associations that are trying to solve the problems they decry.
Trade association members and recruiters agree losers talk big until it's time to fork over dues, attend a meeting or write letters to congressmen.
Usually, losers don't hesitate to beg for technical help. But they're also the last people you see at training classes. They've always got a litany of excuses why they can't attend seminars.
A recent incident brought into clearer focus the impact of helping the wrong people. A seminar sponsor and I were lamenting the fact that we always see the same faces at every class. Service personnel within the sponsor's sales territory who desperately need training seldom show up.
Two ``regulars'' who arrive early for every class made small talk with us. These fellows work at a first-class service center on the most heavily traveled street in town. Both men were concerned because business was unusually slow for the time of year.
After the seminar, I learned many other shops in the area were slower than usual. However, I agreed with my host that misdirected charity probably was aggravating the situation. Here's why.
While making sales calls in that area, the sponsor said he came upon these technicians diagnosing cars free for another shop. Sometimes, he saw them helping out at the other shop during their lunch breaks.
The shop they were helping is a down-at-the-heel, side-street operation you probably wouldn't find unless you knew where to lookfor it.
Although the shop's crew is generally known as ``good guys,'' its equipment is outdated. The most modern thing at the facility is a recent coat of paint outside.
Good guys or not, no one's seen these fellows at a class anywhere in the area. But instead of dragging each one by the ear to a seminar, local technicians pity the ``side-street'' staff and help them diagnose problems gratis!
They perceive these side-street losers as disadvantaged people who deserve their help. Other guys think it's a quaint, harmless, minor-league outfit that warrants help from ``more fortunate'' shops, the salesman explained.
The bottom line is that during economic downturns, the side-street shop's lowball prices help keep it extra-busy with cash-strapped, bargain-hunting consumers. Meanwhile, business languishes at their benefactors' shops-including the classy repair center on the main drag!
The longer we talked, the more I realized I'd seen this scenario many times in other towns. Instead of allowing scabby, unprofessional businesses to die out, big-hearted service personnel con-sciously or unconsciously help them survive by embracing their underdog status.
Let's face it, we all love underdogs, and helping a neighbor in need is a natural and admirable reaction for many fellows.
When it's apparent that neighboring service shops aren't interested in self-improvement, it's time to embargo them.
When they call for help, be sure your best technicians are unavailable.
Explain to your staff why they should be polite but tight-lipped with these fellows.
If they've been leaving vehicles for free ``look-sees,'' cheerfully alert them they're entitled to 25 percent off standard diagnostic fees.
Losers don't serve consumers well in the long term and they cheapen the image of shops trying to boost professionalism. Besides, opportunities await losers in the field of sanitation maintenance and engineering!