By Bob Cooper of Elite
1. Know your customers’ buying habits. You’ll need to know your customers’ buying habits as well
as their service histories. You should always request your first-time
customers’ service records, and should ask them about their service histories
verbally as well. This information can be extremely helpful during any sales
process, especially when it comes to selling
maintenance. Great doctors are always interested in a patient’s medical
history, just as great service advisors are always interested in a customer’s
service history. This information not only indicates which maintenance
services are due, but will give you valuable insights to your customers’ buying
habits as well.
2. Have the right tools available. People believe what they see, so whenever possible, you
should get your customers visually involved. At Elite we are big supporters of
complete vehicle inspections, proper documentation, and visually showing your
customers what was discovered. Since third-party documentation is usually
viewed as a credible source, you should use your customers’ owner’s manuals,
their service records, and print-outs that show industry recommendations,
maintenance brochures, and repair orders that show the high cost of repairs,
failed components and fluid samples.
3. Emphasize the benefits. You’ll need to know the key benefits of every service you
offer by heart. You’ll need to know, in very specific terms that your customers
will understand, how they will win by authorizing the maintenance services that
you recommend. You’ll need to make sure they know it can maximize their fuel
economies, protect the value of their vehicles, protect their warranties, help
them avoid unexpected and costly repairs, and provide them with peace of mind
in knowing that they’ll have good, safe transportation. Not only should you
know these benefits by heart, but you should write down the benefits of each of
your most popular maintenance services, and then review the list of benefits
before each and every sales presentation. When it comes to selling maintenance,
the overwhelming majority of shop owners and advisors put the focus of their
presentations on the parts and labor, and unfortunately, that’s a mistake. As
is true with all sales, your customers will be motivated by the benefits
they’ll receive, not the parts and labor that go into the job.
4. Be prepared to cost-justify. When it comes to selling maintenance, one of the single greatest
mistakes that shop owners and service advisors make is being unprepared to
cost-justify the services. You’ll need to be able to quickly explain to your
customers, in clear financial terms, why the service is a great investment for
them. Here’s an example: If you estimate that a customer is going to invest
$600 in maintenance over the course of a year, then you need to break that
number down into a daily amount. This way, when you are recommending your
services, you can remind him that although he feels that $600 is a good amount
of money, he’s going to be able to benefit from the service for a long time. By
following your maintenance schedule over the course of a year, the customer’s
investment will end up being just $1.65 a day ($600/365). In essence, for less
than a couple of dollars a day your customer will protect his warranty, he’ll
be protecting the value of his vehicle, he’ll be squeezing every mile out of
every gallon of gasoline, he’ll be reducing the risk of costly breakdowns, and
he’ll have the peace of mind that he’ll have safe, dependable transportation.
If you are not prepared to cost-justify the investment, then you can rest
assured that the only number your customers will hear will be the price of the
service. This will not only lead to lost sales, but if your customers don’t
experience a breakdown within the next few months (that is attributed to the
declined service recommendation), then they’ll look at the service you offered
as nothing more than an attempt at an unwarranted upsell. At this point, you’ve
not only lost the sale, but you’ve lost your credibility as well.
5. Let the customer know you have great news. When you call your customers, make sure you begin your
presentation by telling them that you have some really great news. This will
not only set the tone for your presentation and put your customers at ease, but
it will send a strong message that as a professional, you feel the service you
are about to recommend is truly a great value.
6. Use an assumptive close. Instead of asking your customers if they would like you
to perform the recommended maintenance services, you should say, “All that I’ll
need is your go-ahead, and we’ll get started on it right away.” Assumptive
closes send a strong message that there is no logical reason for your customers
to decline the services that were recommended.
7. Schedule the next appointment. There is no better time to schedule the next appointment than at
the time of car delivery. Your customers are standing in front of you,
they feel comfortable with you, and it’s easy for them to say yes. If your
customers leave without making an appointment, then they’re going to be fair
game for all of your competitors. In addition, taking good care of your
customers’ vehicles is a process, not an event, so it stands to reason that
you’ll need to see them again to perform the services that will be due at that
time, to complete a periodic safety inspection, etc.
8. Never put money ahead of people. Here’s one of the best kept secrets to not only selling
maintenance, but to building a great business. Customers are intuitive, and
they can quickly tell if a service advisor is interested in their credit card
or their well-being. If you sell from your heart, and if you never put money
ahead of people, it will show through every single time. Not only will this
help you increase your sales, but
it will help you generate lifelong customers at the same time.
For additional help increasing your
shop’s sales and CSI scores, learn more about Elite’s industry acclaimed Masters Service Advisor Training.