Editor's Notes: Whistle While You Work - Body Shop Business
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Editor’s Notes: What Would Your Business Look Like If Disney Ran It?

While Disney World and the auto body business might seem light years apart, there are several lessons the auto body industry can learn from the “happiest place on earth.”

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Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

If Disney ran your business, what would it look like? Wow, what a question. I must say I was intrigued about the presentation by John Formica, a former Disney executive, at the Sherwin-Williams A-Plus Network Vision Group Conference Dec. 9-11 in Houston.

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While Disney World and the auto body business might seem light years apart, Formica’s point was to sell an “experience,” which is what Disney does. Wow people to the point where they’ll gab about you to others. Don’t reinforce people’s stereotypes of auto shops by having a dirty shop with out-of-date magazines and stale coffee and chairs so filthy you’re scared to sit in them.

Disney does have a built-in advantage. For example, Formica would ask a guest how their Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles were, and they’d say, “Man, they were the best waffles I ever had!” What Formica didn’t tell them was that the waffles came out of a box. His point? “Everything tastes better with mouse ears on them.”

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He showed a picture of a Disney security guard asking a little girl dressed as a princess for an autograph. He told her he had always wanted a real princess’s autograph and was awed to be in her presence. Having the right people who believe in what you’re selling makes a huge difference.

Make sure the person you have greeting and interacting with customers is a “people person.” If they’re a cold grumpmeister with a permanent scowl, they shouldn’t be out front.

I never thought how Disney World is operated could apply to other businesses, especially ours, but Formica convinced me it can. It really opened the eyes of the 140 Sherwin-Williams customers in attendance and will no doubt help them better their businesses.

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