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  Management Feature

Get S.M.A.R.T.

Posted 1/16/2012
By Jeremiah Wilson

Be on target and set S.M.A.R.T. goals for the new year.

Get S.M.A.R.T.What do you want your 2012 revenue to be?

Have you thought about this question? Hopefully.

Have you written down a specific goal for this question? Maybe.

Do you have a specific strategy to reach that goal? Probably not.

Do you know what tools and tactics you need to reach that goal? Most people don’t.

Our purpose here is simple: help you set and achieve goals for your business in 2012.

For purposes of simplicity, let’s talk about revenue. Let’s say each of your shops is generating approximately $900,000 in revenue each year, and you want to improve your revenue by 20 percent. Let’s figure out how to do that.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Maybe you’ve heard of the goal-setting acronym, S.M.A.R.T. The S stands for Specific, M for Measurable, A for Attainable, R for Relevant and T for Timed.

Now we’ll discuss them one by one and figure out how you’re going to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Specific

A goal has to be specific to be achievable. A specific goal establishes exactly what needs to be accomplished by a certain date. When you set specific goals, everyone in your shop will know exactly what’s expected. Specific goals answer “W” questions such as What do I want to accomplish? (You want to increase your revenue by 20 percent to $1,080,000.)

Why is this goal important? (List the specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.) This will benefit your shop by allowing you to expand and grow. Remember, if you are stagnant, you are moving in the wrong direction.

Which things must happen for you to achieve your goal? Your shop must book 20 percent more appointments. How do you do that? There are two ways: first, you must advertise and market more effectively so more people call you; and second, each technician must book an average of 20 percent more appointments. (Certainly, building a new building or being in a new location would help as well, but those probably aren’t happening soon. You have to change the things you can immediately control).

Measurable

Measurable goals are … measured. You should be able to check the progress of your goal each day, week and month of 2012. If you cannot measure the progress of your 2012 revenue goal in March or May, then you will likely not achieve it by December. To set measurable goals, you must figure out how much revenue you need each week, month and quarter to get on track and reach the 2012 revenue goal you have set.

What are your milestones?

A goal without a deadline
isn’t a goal; it’s a wish.
Commit to an overall deadline and commit to incremental deadlines. This commitment creates a sense of urgency.

Assuming revenue will decrease during the holiday season, you must generate more revenue at the start and the middle of the year. It may not be as simple as equally distributing the revenue for each month of the year when you set your goal.

Attainable

Setting goals that are difficult, yet attainable, is important. You should stretch your employees and yourself. The best way to achieve a goal is to ask your employees what would be attainable. They may surprise you and tell you they think they can book two more appointments each day or work 30 minutes longer each day. Your 2012 revenue goal is big, but if you break it down into smaller steps, you won’t be overwhelmed. To set attainable goals, answer the following questions:

What do we need to accomplish this goal?

The core of your goal, remember, is this: each technician has to get an average of 20 percent more people to come into the shop. You accomplish this by advertising more effectively and improving the ability of your technicians to sell. Remember, they have to get an average of 20 percent more cars in your shop. How are you going to do this?

To advertise more effectively, you need to measure the effectiveness of your advertising.
Do you know which advertising methods produce phone calls and visits and which don’t?

Your technicians have to improve their ability to sell and book appointments over the phone. If you haven’t been proactively recording and scoring the calls that come into your shop, you should start. This will tell you what needs improvement.

Are your employees good at booking appointments? Where can they improve?

Relevant

Your technicians must see the relevance of the goal for them. How will achieving your 2012 revenue goal help them? What’s in it for them? If you can answer these questions you are more likely to reach your goal:

Why is this important to my team? To the company?

If you reach your goal, give your employees a bonus.

Timed

A goal without a deadline isn’t a goal; it’s a wish. Commit to an overall deadline and commit to incremental deadlines. This commitment creates a sense of urgency. Ask: What is the due date of the goal? The end of 2012.

What do I want to have done in the next month?

By the end of January you should have a system in place that tells you which marketing methods are generating business and which are not. If you don’t, you’ll never know how much money you’re losing. Additionally, you need to have a way to hold your employees accountable for their performance. You should have the tools in place (recording, scoring, etc.) that will help them improve by the end of January. Remember, to reach your revenue goal, each employee needs to book an average of 20 percent more appointments.

What are my shop’s action items each week?

Commit to listening to recorded sales calls with each employee each week. Slight improvements on the phone will yield big results. Your overall goal may sound daunting, but one or two more customers each day per employee probably doesn’t.
Conclusion

Here’s the bottom line: if you set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your shop, you will be way ahead of most competitors. If you use this S.M.A.R.T. formula, you can achieve any goal you want. You just need the tools to get there.

You can increase your revenue by 20 percent this year!

Editor's Note: This article is one of several management articles that will be contributed to AutoInc. this year by Automotive Management Institute (AMI) instructors. In 2011, AMI's knowledgeable instructors will continue covering a variety of topics designed to educate and train today's service and repair professional in AutoInc. To learn more about AMI, its courses and instructors, visit www.AMIonline.org. AMI administers the distinguished Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) program..

Jeremiah Wilson

Jeremiah Wilson is founder and president of ContactPoint LLC, www.contactpoint.com. He may be reached at jwilson@contact  point.com. Contact Point’s new product, LogMyCalls, helps shops with their marketing and sales performance.

 

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