By Joe Marconi
If anything good came out of the recent recession, it’s that many people have learned to budget their finances. We are all well aware that there are times when the customer can’t afford all of the services and/or repairs that we are recommending. For example, a customer comes in for a 60k service and you discover that the car needs brakes on all four wheels and tires. The customer, due to budgeting reasons, declines the 60k service, but authorizes the brake work and tires.
If it comes down to prioritizing work, then we must advise the customer accordingly. Safety will always take precedent over service work. But, please bear in mind that preventive maintenance is always in the customer’s best interest, and this must be conveyed to your customer.
I do not take any declined work lightly. If I recommend something today, it’s because it needs to be done. If the customer is on a strict budget and you opt to select certain services to be put off, you must set up a schedule and timeline for the customer to return. If you merely accept the declined work without giving any thought to getting the customer back, you have just told the customer that what you just recommended was nothing more than a suggestion, and not that important.
One of the biggest reasons for lost future sales is not properly setting up a timeline for the customer to return for the services recommended. Communicate with the customer; ask when they can return to complete the services. See if there are any options you can offer that will make the customer feel more comfortable. Find out how long the customer is planning to keep the car, who drives the car, and what the car is primarily used for.
Asking questions is a great way to keep the lines of communication open. It allows the customer to be part of the decision-making process. This alone will improve your sales ratio.
So remember, if you and the customer decide to hold off on some of the work you recommend, emphasize the importance of your recommendations, work with the customer to set up a timeline and book the next appointment. Do not leave it to chance that the customer will return for those declined services.
This article was contributed by Joe Marconi. Joe is one of the 1-on-1 business coaches who helps shop owners through the Elite Coaching Program, and is the co-founder of autoshopowner.com,