Ask The Guru

ATG (May/June16) – Tools of the Trade

GB Writes:  What are the tools of the trade?

According to Roger:

That is a very broad subject consisting of many area’s. We need to narrow that down to sales or technical. However, they both are required to be successful in the industry.

From a sales standpoint you need
a staff that understands relationship selling and features and benefits of a given product. The staff needs to be of a personality  friendly and outgoing character (you cannot buy that). Grumpy or introverts cannot do this job. So you have to have an out front team that is friendly but knowledgeable in the market place. It is not about, “here is a product” and just buy it. Your team has to understand that product and present it in a professional manner. Whether he or she is selling a car, service, or just a part, they have to understand the features and benefits of that product. I really do not recommend in this industry using spin or other sales techniques that can offend. This is a small market and it can carry from mouth to mouth quickly.  Stay with the word “servant”.

Serve your customers and treat them with a warm “how can I serve you”. That is missing everywhere in the country. It has become how can a customer serve us! From travel and talking to many clients that are successful they are just plain and simple “how may we serve you”? Basically, meaning relationship selling. Bring that customer into your family sort of thing. It is a lost art, so, some work will need to be done to get there. That is about having the right personnel to perform that. For years in my past way back into the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s I was teaching sales staffs. Guess what it is now into the 2016 and you know what, it is still the same process. It is just that we have lost track of that process. Me has to be replaced by We and not Give Me,  replace that with “Can I Serve You”.  When you put that formula into place it works. Arrogant and aggressive sales in this market offends clients deeply. Back off and treat them as equal and part of the family. It is better to listen to your client. This industry is not at a size of the large retail and monster industries. We are small and still need to see it that way. Just a bunch of “good old boys” if you will. Plain and simple.

Service, well that runs deep! What I am seeing is we have not kept up with the changes the market has made. Technology has moved forward, and requires special tools and knowledge to keep up. No longer is the industry based on a service mentality of a “mechanic”. It has passed that up! Mechanics is not by any means a bad thing and is a Great career! However, you must understand the golf car industry has gone past that. Yes, you still need mechanic’s to perform day to day add on’s or installations. But the market has made some really radical changes that require a technician to understand electronics and reading of schematics. Trouble shooting which is a lost art and believe me I see that every day! You have to hire people that have some sort of technical degree whether it be electronics or automotive  is a must. But understand, yes the cost is greater but the rewards are way past the cost. You have to have that “guy/gal” that is old school follow procedure and understand the new market. They have to have new tooling that can allow new control system pin-out testing and electronic understanding. Technically, a Technician must follow procedure and when hiring the person they must understand that. Back in my time “way back” a mechanic could just hear a sound and say, you need this. It it not that way any longer, you have to actually follow procedure and understand that procedure. I teach that every day! I make clients follow procedure and not just say “yep” I hear that and this is what you need. It is a matter of proving and finding that unknown. It takes a different breed and if you intend to go to that next level you have to understand that. Hope this gives you some insight to the tools. To sum this up, take it from an old man that has been around a really long time “serve, don’t be served”. That is the greatest tool of them all!

MZ Writes:  What tools do you recommend?

According to Roger:

Other than the normal hand tools such a 1/4” drive to 1/2” socket sets, combination
wrenches, screwdrivers, torx bits, allen wrenches, torque wrench, and other
miscellaneous hand tools. We are better served looking at other larger items.

The market has grown so much in the past few years more specialized tools and
testing equipment are needed. Time is a problem area and things we can do to reduce time lost and labor lost is a must.

A) A car lift will cut down on installation time and give personnel better working conditions with less effort. Helps with heavy lifting or awkward stances to perform a given task. In return less work injuries and lost time.

B) Battery Discharge Testing equipment such as a Discharger. This gives you documented proof of battery condition you can relay to your customer base.

C) Bushing Reamers for fitting components properly to OEM specifications.

D) VOM and self penetrating test probes. This is a must to prevent damage to connectors and wire form improper testing methods. Programmers or Lap Top.

E) Battery lifting equipment or carriers

F) Battery terminal refacing tool and cleaners

G) Battery cable crimping tools and cutters

H) Cleaning supplies and hand wipes or towels

I) Parts washer

J) Oil disposal and or hazardous material containers

K) Acid spill kits

L) Oil dry in the event oil is spilled

M) Drill Press, Bench Grinder. N) Hydraulic Press, Air Tools

O) Band Saw, Air Compressor

P) Floor Jack, Large Work Tables, Vise, Storage

Q) Jack Stands, Drill Bits

R) Shop supplies like brooms and shop cleaning supplies

S) RPM Gauge, Vacuum Gauge

T) Compression Gauge

U) Ammeter or Shunt

V) Drills, Torque Wrenches, Rotor Cutter/Dremel, Hand Saw, Hand-held Grinder

W) Lights, light stands, drop lights, you can never have too much light

X) Safety glasses, goggles, gloves, welding protection

Y) Welder and torch set

Z) Lubricants and funnels

This is only a starter list and as you go along you have to fill in things to keep up with market demands. For me to sit down and list every little item is impossible. I can only mention the basics. My suggestion is only buy things as you need them. Otherwise lists can overwhelm, and cost a lot of money. See what the need is before buying things you will never use. You can be assured the list above will put you at a good starting point. Your business has to have that look of professionalism to gain a customers confidence in you. For someone to show up at a million dollar home with a pair of pliers and hammer totally destroys that confidence. I have always taught people to use the right tool for the job being performed and you have to think that way.