January '18

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108 • RV PRO • January 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S Don't Become Complacent in the Service Shop Always strive to improve the tech- nical skills of the staff in the service shop. Don't allow them to get mired at their current proficiency levels. Annu- ally compile a new training objective for each technician that takes him or her to the next level: new-hire to registered tech, registered tech to certified tech, certified tech to master certified tech. Seek new training programs as they are developed and take advantage of industry-sponsored events. It only increases the bottom-line potential! Gary Bunzer, aka "The RV Doctor", president Bunzer Consulting (consulting and training firm) When You Need to Raise Prices, Be Bold Keep your finger on the pulse of your gross margin. There are only two ways your gross margin can deteriorate – an increase in cost of goods sold (COGS) and/or the practice of dropping prices just to close a deal. The latter can be avoided by training your salespeople how to handle price pressure and/or tighten up the latitude you give them to offer discounts. When COGS rise, you must be prepared to adjust your prices upward to sustain the desired gross margin. Putting off a price increase is ill advised, but I recommend giving your "A" (best, most frequent) customers ample warning – 30 to 60 days – before enforcing the higher prices. Vince DiCecco, president Your Personal Business Trainer (consulting and training firm) Connect with Customers After the Purchase Often, customers are offered other products to buy after the purchase, with offers like "come in and get 10 percent off these items" or "this month only, all lighting and lavatory items are 25 percent off," etc. These are points of contact where the customer is being "sold to" – but do they make your customer feel cared for? An idea would be to find or provide products, solutions, or services that enhance your customer's RV experience while they are enjoying the RV lifestyle. A good example of this could be a mobile service unit that is readily avail- able to provide nearby "convenience" ser- vices to RV owners in the area, such as A/C repairs, slide-out repairs, refrigerator repairs, etc. This may provide you other opportunities as well as alleviate some demand on your on-site service center. Dan Lopez, president RV Solutions Group (consulting and training firm) Pick the Lowest of the Low-Hanging Fruit The throughput of units in the ser- vice department impacts many areas of the entire store – not the least of which is customer satisfaction and, of course, department profit. There are several some- what complicated ways to address this area, but my tip for you is to go for this one first: Technician lost time. One hour a day lost per technician in a 12 technician shop equals more than 3,000 un-billable hours for the year. Don Tipton, president DTC Retail Consulting (consulting and training firm) Size Up Your Revenue Streams Size up your most profitable revenue streams and know their net and what makes them win. If F&I is not one of them, you are either giving too much away or not producing very well. Don't be generic in how you look at it – be specific and get advice. Are the processes and profit opti- mized? You won't know without a second perspective. Also, be open and diligent about exploring additional protections. They are beneficial for everyone involved and exist for a reason. Jeff Wyatt, principal DLR Financial (F&I services firm) Embrace Retail Technology For 2018, I recommend that dealers embrace retail tech- nology because this is truly a trending topic in general retail. In a recent study by Zebra Technologies, more than 80 percent of retailers polled stated that they intend to make such investments. From mobile point-of-sale systems to virtual reality promo- tions to electronic price labeling, the number of available (and affordable) options are numerous. These tools can automate routine tasks and lower labor and other costs of execution. Lastly, it can enhance your images with tech-savvy shoppers! Val Byrd, manager of customer merchandising NTP-STAG (distributor)

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