Beware of the Gatekeeper

Michael Mobile Technician Clinton, Utah Posted   Latest  

Many of us on here are mobile guys. We sell our service to shops that don't want the hassle of programming or complicated diagnostics. Often while soliciting I run into office staff I call the gatekeeper. It feels like if you handed them a bar of Gold to get them to bring the decision maker up front they would not do it. Many times they are defensive and state they do not need our services. It is funny that the same shop will call back months or years later and say that Bubba down the street uses you, could I have you come over and program one for me?

Shop owners, what can we do as businessmen to attract your attention and business? How do we get past your gatekeeper? What part of mobile programming and diagnostics is most important to you? How do we earn your business? How is the best way to present our services so that you would want to learn more?

+5
Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime
 

Michael, you wrote "the same shop will call back months or years later and say that Bubba down the street uses you, could I have you come over and program one for me?" I'll complete the sentence with what I usually hear... "sometime in the next hour / this afternoon / immediately?". Usually followed by some sad story about how much they already have in parts on the vehicle (that it didn't

+6 Ð Bounty Awarded
Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime
 

Now that the rant's over, let me say THIS about the majority of shop-owners and gate keepers. They're busy doing things the way they think works for them. So many other salespeople have preceded you with a similar promise to make them more money, save them time, etc., etc. that may not have worked out so well. If we can get them to think for a few minutes, away from the distractions of running

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Diagnostician
Holt, Michigan
Michael
 

Yes man this sure hits home. I have found that most that I have stopped in at are full of pride which is fine I suppose but I'm there not to step on their toes but provide support and tooling they likely dont have. Funny thing is most of the shops have no issue sending it to a dealer to get a guess on what will fix the vehicle. When I was in the shop I would have the local Chrysler dealer send

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Frank Service Manager
Las Vegas, Nevada
Frank
   

As an owner that spends a great deal of time and effort to train my staff to protect me from cold calls, try this: 1. Be very brief on why you are calling (gatekeepers are far to busy to hear your pitch) 2. Ask what is the best way to get X information to the decision maker 3. follow up with a direct mail piece (post card, letter) 4, be very clear "I want to know what's in it for me" i

+4 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hi Frank, I know first hand how well you train your gatekeepers. They were respectful which means a great deal. The rude and arrogant ones are the ones that ruin your day. When I got in your gates, I had to be invited in with Meyers Auto Parts to show you and a tech a tool a few years ago. I do like your answers. Following up on snail mail and using the contact us page are ones that I have

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Frank Service Manager
Las Vegas, Nevada
Frank
   

Thank you for that information about the team. Glad to know they were respectful. Hope the information helps!

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Nick Manager
Culver City, California
Nick
 

I like what Frank suggested. In addition to that, you might try building rapport with the service advisers at the shops you are visiting. Ask them if they have a diagnostic tech on staff to handle the various diagnostic issues that come in to their shops. You may find that the advisers are more in touch with where their techs skill levels are and there could be an open door there for you. If

+4 Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Mobile Technician
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Mike
 

If it helps I struggle with the same thing. I'll offer up my approach and see if it has any value to you. I have learned to read the counter person when I walk in (I only do walk ins or did as I've hit every shop in town). Some shops are thrilled to have a mobile tech as an option. As for the ones that don't, I don't have a formula for this but I'm usually able to tell right away whether they

+5 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Diagnostician
Holt, Michigan
Michael
 

I like everything you wrote in this and think I will try to use this approach. Thank you for sharing some of your wisdom with all of us.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Adrean Diagnostician
Bakersfield, California
Adrean
 

Yeah micheal what mike said was great .. use that when u go Into shops

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Adrean Diagnostician
Bakersfield, California
Adrean
 

Greta response and great way of reading the gatekeepers as a sales driven or prideful.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Eric Owner/Technician
Peoria, Illinois
Eric
 

Why deal with the gatekeeper. We do not have to cold calling much anymore. When I did -I walked directly into the shop and asked a tech for the PM or GM. Word of mouth is the best advertising for mobile service providers.

+3 Ð Bounty Awarded
Frank Service Manager
Las Vegas, Nevada
Frank
 

I do not recommend that. You’d get run out of my shop if you tried to walk in. And not by me.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Eric Owner/Technician
Peoria, Illinois
Eric
   

Duly noted.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Robert Mobile Technician
Newark, Delaware
Robert
 

I learned early on that I was wasting my time trying to sell myself to shops. I've been laughed at, kicked out, had my business card that I just handed them thrown in the trash, and even flat out asked why I was trying to sell them on my services when they already had techs in their shop. I just kept pushing forward and impressing the few shops that did give me a chance. Before you know it you

+6 Ð Bounty Awarded
Adrean Diagnostician
Bakersfield, California
Adrean
 

Nice write up Richard , And I like how u added that warren buffet quote..

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hi Robert, I agree that there is a natural progression. We have had an "official" programming and diagnostic business a little over two years. The business has doubled both years. I would really like to get to the point that there are multiple employees working for us so that we can take a vacation once in a while. Being unhappy with the natural growth, cold calling is one way to build the

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Owner/Technician
Asheville , North Carolina
Mike
 

The fact that you use the term"Bubba down the street" tells me that is how you may see your customers. I do a lot of programming for other shops and a couple do programming for me on some models. Shop owners who have managed to put together a shop, staff it, make payroll and last more than a few months hardly qualify as bubbas. When we're busy I will gladly pay for programming to prevent taking

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime
 

Hi Mike, I didn't interpret Michael's statement in that way at all. He was referring to what the "new prospect" might say when calling on him. I just re-read it again, and am pretty sure what he meant.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Owner/Technician
Asheville , North Carolina
Mike
 

Maybe so but "Bubba down the street" was his choice of words, probably not what the shop actually said.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hi Mike, "Bubba" was just used as a generic name. Referrals from "Bubba" or anyone else are always appreciated. No offence or insult was intended. The point of that statement was that we had dropped information to the shop that called and it was not until a referral was made by another shop that we were contacted. Making cold calls more memorable would be the goal.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Owner/Technician
Asheville , North Carolina
Mike
 

You and I both know that bubba and goober have always been a derogatory name for technicians. I'm just saying that if you really want to succeed in your business you have to have respect for those businesses you want to deal with. I also solicit business from other shops for programming and alignments including some dealers. You have to approach it as one business to another. You are right, some

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

I do not know nor have ever known any mechanics or technicians named Bubba to me it is just a name. I am familiar with Goober from Andy Griffith, who was mighty smart as I remember. And Kuter from Dukes of Hazzard that did some pretty cool mods to the General Lee. I get your point though. The stigma attached to mechanics / technicians is why we can't make what other skilled tradesman do. The

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Owner/Technician
Asheville , North Carolina
Mike
 

One of the things that mobile techs deal with is the problem of trying to diagnose it immediately while the shop has generally had the vehicle several days and now they are against the wire. You have to be good, fast and accurate. A difficult job when you have to do the backtracking to simply get back to the starting point. A good shop with a good diagnostician knows when he needs help and

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

I believe I drove by your shop last May on a sales trip to the Outer Banks area. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn there in Asheville. I usually like to visit shops but we were running a little behind and had a long way to go. I do have a customer in Greenville, TN not too far from you. If he pulls the trigger on a tool we are discussing, I may stop by.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Lane Mobile Technician
Louisville, Kentucky
Lane
 

Great topic and some awesome responses! I started my mobile business June of this year. So I was doing A LOT of cold calling. Business card and flyer in hand. I was never really run out or laughed at, maybe some cold shoulders. I would try and present myself as humble as possible. Most repair shops get offended if you push diagnostics, so I sold my ability to program to them, and as we know that

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hi Lane, We have had the experiences that you have in word of mouth growth. Right now, this being winter overall shop work slows. (at least where I live) I have some time to fill with cold calling. It sounds like one just has to roll with the punches armed with some of the aids discussed here.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded