Management trainer Kelly Bennett has a lot on his plate these days.
Not only is he promoting a new online training program called “65 Ways to Increase Your Car Count,” but he’s also putting the final touches on a brand new educational facility at the Automotive Retailers Association’s headquarters in Burnaby, B.C.
The newly renovated facility will offer a wide range of classes to help people run automotive businesses.
“The plan is for a training facility that will attract shop owners from all across Canada, and the U.S.,” says Bennett. “I am so excited about this!”
Between setting up the training facility’s classroom, and devising a complete management curriculum, he’s never been busier… and that’s saying something!
But as excited as he is about offering in-class training, he knows that it is sometimes a challenge for shop owners to travel – even if there are definite benefits to getting away from day-to-day distractions and meeting like-minded people.
That’s why he began developing a series of instructional videos that could be viewed online.
Working with Newcom Business Learning – owned by the company that publishes Canadian Technician magazine – he wrote and filmed “65 Ways to Increase Your Car Count.”
It’s a subject he says is of critical importance in the automotive repair and service world.
“One of the biggest problems in the industry is consistent car count,” he says. “It might be great one week, when you’re run off your feet. And next week there’s no work. How is it that possible? To go from crazy busy to dead? It is so important to even out the work.”
Bennett says the 65 Ways program is the product of more than 25 years of management consulting and training in the Canadian automotive aftermarket.
“This represents the best practices of lots and lots of very smart people. We started out with 21 ways to increase your car count. Now we’re up to 65.”
Most of the new items come from audience participation in his popular management classes.
“What I do in every single class, even now, is ask everyone what has worked best for them to increase their business. Of all the things they’ve tried, we want to know what worked best,” he says. “And there are always new ideas that we hadn’t thought of. Always.”
Collecting all the ideas and preserving them on video so people can watch online makes sense for a lot of reasons.
“I’m very aware that some people just can’t get out to an event,” he says. “And in some ways this is much better. Because you can’t pause the instructor when you go to a workshop. But you can pause this, and go over it again if you need to. Or invite someone to watch it with you.”
He believes that having access to the videos will make it much easier for owners and managers to sell the ideas to their coworkers.
“If you try to recount what you learned at a seminar or a workshop, first of all, you’re not going to remember everything, but even what you do remember, sometimes it’s not easy to explain to others,” he says.
“You have to really understand the ‘why’ behind the idea, because you know someone is going to say, “So… why are we doing this?” It’s not good enough to say, ‘Because Kelly said so.’ This gives you a chance to let everyone hear it first-hand.”
Each segment in the 65 Ways program offers a chance to figure out what you’re going do with the strategy you just learned about.
“I think that’s a useful feature. In a workshop, the information is coming at you like a fire-hose. In the video, you can stop, and think about what you’re learning. And when it asks you what you’re going to do with the idea, you can figure out how or if you’re going to implement it at work,” he says. “That’s huge!”
He suggests watching the videos and using them as a jumping off point for filling out a marketing calendar with staff.
“Some of these ideas are strong enough that if you try just that one thing and nothing else – but you do it properly – you will solve your car-count problem,” he says.
“After a workshop I often hear people say, ‘That’s a good idea.’ And I want to say, ‘But it’s not an idea. It’s what some people are really doing. And it works,” he says.