The Auto Shop Whisperer with Chris Cotton, Episode #4


In episode 4, we welcome Chris Cotton, founder of AutoFix SOS to the show.  Chris spends his time helping automotive repair facilities improve their processes and, in many cases saves their business.  Several years ago, Chris and his wife sold their home and a good bit of their personal belongings. They bought a fifth wheel and that is how they visit their clients.  We envy his ability to be flexible and change his work environment while delivering excellent value to his clients.In addition to the morning routine mentioned on the show, Chris spends 45 minutes daily on Duolingo learning to speak German, Italian and Portuguese.  Talk about a true Renaissance man!

In today’s episode of The Power Producers Podcast, David Carothers and co-host Kyle Houck, interview Chris Cotton, owner of AutoFix SOS. Chris travels around between states in a mobile home with his family coaching auto shop owners to help them run their business. This podcast discusses how business coaches can get struggling businesses to make a profit, and goes into the details that auto repair shops need to succeed in the current market, such as digital inspections.

Episode Highlights: 

  • Chris talks about how he and his family changed their life course as they started AutoFix. (2:15)
  • What does Chris Cotton’s daily routine look like? (5:26)
  • How did Chris originally get into auto repair? (8:45)
  • What led Chris to leave his shop and do road coaching and consulting?  (16:15)
  • How does Chris determine who he wants to work with? (18:35)
  • How does Chris go about giving people advice on how to fix their business? (21:55)
  • Provide unemotional guiding and accountability, and focus on educating them about the things they don’t know. (22:35)
  • Embrace technology and make sure your social media is up to date. (22:35)
  • People want you to guarantee results. (26:10)
  • How does Chris hold people accountable for following the process? (27:20)
  • The process is like math, and if you follow the proven process you will get the right answer. (28:10)
  • When Chris is building a relationship, he tries to leave people in thought so that if they don’t follow through they will feel responsible for that. (32:25)
  • Chris considers experiences to be bad when people do not follow through with the plan or stop taking phone calls. (34:55)
  • Focus on learning from your successes as well as your mistakes. (38:50)
  • Chris’greatest success story, what did he learn from it, and how is he replicating it in other shops. (40:15)
  • How does Chris help shops navigate social media? (44:15)
  • Facebook is (essentially) free, take the time to make 2 posts a day, and make a video for your page. (44:45)
  • The future of the auto repair is in Facebook ads, as far as cost-per-click and return on investment. (45:38)
  • Digital inspections for cars can help bring shops up to current standards and gives people visuals for their car’s repairs without requiring any phone calls. (50:50)
  • Digital files also help protect your business because there is minimal risk of losing information and provides accountability. (53:55)
  • What percentage of shops are actually using digital inspections? (55:10)

3 Key Points:

  1. If you hire a business coach, follow the process they give you and trust the process will work.
  2. Learn from your successes as well as your mistakes.
  3. Stay at the forefront of technology and ensure your business is existing in the 21st century.

Tweetable Quotes: 

  • “There’s not anybody who’s really too small to work with.” -Chris Cotton
  • “If during the coaching process, I say something that hurts our feelings or motivates you to want to do better, that’s where the real change happens.” -Chris Cotton
  • “As long as you’re with me I’ll be with you ‘till the end.” -Chris Cotton
  • “I think so many of us deal with the old chiche of failing forward and learning from your mistakes and learning from your losses and everything else that you don’t take the time to learn from things that you win at.” -David Carothers
  • “You are way more successful if you have a visual or if you can show somebody versus trying to paint a picture over the phone.” -Chris Cotton

Resources Mentioned: 

The Power Producers Podcast where we are refining and redefining the sales game.

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David Carothers

Kyle Houck

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