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Typically, when I am asked to write an article on maximizing opportunities on the service drive, I respond in kind with techniques, word tracks, and processes that instantly deliver results. But I have learned that being able to execute a process, repeat word tracks, and use selling techniques are just a few of the steps. How you prepare for, manage, and execute your day is just as important. Over the past 30 years, I have mastered this part of my day. Not only that, I have shown many people how to do the same, and nearly all have reported back that my methods changed their lives instantly and increased their productivity by 100 to 150%! What follows was inspired by my studies of those like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban, Teddy Roosevelt, and General/President Ike Eisenhower, just to name a few.

Step 1. Focus Your Thoughts on the “Right Things.”

Remember why you are going to work. You are going so you can support and create security for yourself and those whom you hold most dear. You are going so you and yours can live life to the fullest. A.Have the mindset that from the first second you walk out your door in the morning, you are at work. All your focus and all your energy from that point forward should be focused on maximizing the opportunities you have for that day. Opportunities that, if handled correctly, will allow you to reach and surpass your goals. B.Since the average American drives fifteen minutes each day to his or her place of work, commuting is an excellent time to train yourself, motivate yourself, and prepare yourself. No ride to work should ever be without a motivational podcast or audio training of some sort blaring through your speakers. Listening to your favorite music may get you physically pumped up, but playing training loudly will get you both physically and mentally pumped up. C.Arrive at your workplace at least 30 minutes before your shift starts so that you can prep.During this prep time, you should get your computers/tablets up and running, and you should review your pre-work orders and incoming customer list. By doing so, you can prepare for the various personalities you will be working with that day. You can review prior rapport topics. You can prepare for the product presentations you will be making. You can ensure you have all your tools—flashlights, pens, tire gauges, etc. By doing this, you will be relaxed, confident, and ready to go from the very first customer, wasting no opportunity. Consider this: on average, the first five customers an advisor writes up generate over 80% of his or her daily heat and are where the highest number of one-line repair orders are created. Why? Advisors being unprepared.Warning: Doing what is about to be recommended can be habit forming, relaxing, and something you start looking forward to every day.

Step 2. Free Your Mind of Destructive and Negative Thoughts.

This is the area where most people lose control of their day and the many opportunities they have. In today’s world, it is so easy to be distracted by things that have absolutely nothing to do with the task at hand—which, again, is to work and maximize your opportunities.

A.You must ignore your personal cell phone calls, emails, and texts. When I was growing up, my mom and dad had a work-related rule: “NEVER CALL THEM AT WORK UNLESS SOMEONE WAS BLEEDING!” Why? They were at work and on their employers’ time. I employ this rule with my friends and family. I only check my personal texts and emails twice a day if I am at work: at the beginning of my lunch break (3 to 5 minutes max) and when I get in my car to go home at the end of my workday. Since employing this, I have increased my productivity by over 150%! This is a hard habit to get into (or rather a hard one to break), but if you try, you will find it becomes very easy to do very quickly. According to a New York Post article published in November 2017, the average person looks at their personal cell phone once every twelve minutes! That is five times an hour. Since it takes your brain ten minutes to fully focus on whatever it is you are working on, you can see how this bad habit is highly disruptive and costs you substantial amounts of money and time.

B.You must ignore workplace politics. I personally do not care or want to hear about the person who gets to habitually show up for work late or the one who gets to leave early or the one who gets to “whatever.” If the conversation is not going to advance my cause, my productivity, my income, or my lifestyle, then I do not need to talk about it.

C.You should work on limiting your time in “watercooler” conversations. You want to be friendly with your coworkers. You should care about them and show an interest in them and their families. But, when at work, you do not have the time to spend five minutes with every person in the building hearing how well their kid played ball last night. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying, “I am so glad Tommy won the game last night. I will be in the lunchroom today at 11:30 for half an hour and would love to hear the whole story.” It is actually better because the person telling the story wants to be heard and now feels like you truly do care and are interested. There is a time to talk and a time to work. I will admit that there have been many times I have been told or heard someone say that I am “work-minded” when in the office. The way they say it implies I am odd, unsociable, or uncaring. Wrong on at least the last two things. I am anything but unsociable and uncaring. It is just that I am at work to provide for my family and to be as effective as I can be.

Step 3. Feed Your Mind with Positive Thoughts and Training:

Warning: Doing what is about to be recommended can be habit forming, relaxing, and something you start looking forward to every day.

A.Listen to training on your way to work. Training includes any instructional or motivational audiobook. It includes podcasts or recorded live events of the same nature. Turn your vehicle speakers up—way up! Just like you are listening to your favorite song. Like I stated earlier, while music may get you physically pumped up, playing training loudly will get you both physically and mentally pumped up.

B.Train or read at lunch for the same reasons as above.

C.Put post-it notes with positive messages anywhere and everywhere you can. Set reminders for positive messages to pop up on your computer throughout the day. Invest in desktop calendars with daily motivation and tips about sales. Everywhere you can, place pictures of the most important people in your life and of the goals you are working to accomplish. If you were to visit my work or home office, you would see the walls plastered—very tastefully—with these things. You must surround yourself with the people and things that will get you motivated, prepared, and “work-minded.”

In a nutshell, here is what I have learned from some of the most successful people our country has been lucky enough to call its own:

  1. Work mode starts the second you walk out the door of your home, not when you get to your desk.
  2. Replace loud music on your car ride to work with loud training and motivational audio.
  3. Focus on your work calls, emails, and texts, not your personal ones.
  4. When interacting with work colleagues, the conversations should be geared more toward increasing productivity than last night’s baseball scores.
  5. Enrich yourself with thoughts, actions, and processes that keep you motivated, focused, and work-minded.

And if anyone ever accuses you of being overly work-minded and odd, the best way to shut them up is to switch the conversation to the benefits of maximizing opportunity as you show them pictures of your recent vacation to Europe.

Jeff Cowan

Jeff Cowan has been helping automotive dealerships & service centers Succeed for over 35 years.

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