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Overlooked Sales in the Service Department

The backbone of sales is prospecting, constantly looking for new sales opportunities. Let’s do some prospecting close to home, in the service department.

If you read our article on ‘Marketing Inspiration from Amazon,’ you know that customers will tell you what they want to buy, but you have to know how to listen. Here are four examples of common customer needs that get overlooked.

The ‘Should I Keep My Car or Trade It In?’ Inspection

How many times have you sold a big repair ticket, then see the car come back in a month or two needing something else? Then the customer says “If I had known that my car needed more work, I would have traded it in instead. I’m not happy.” That type of situation can be tough to fix, and you normally lose the customer for life, along with all their future business and referrals.

Here’s a way to prompt customers to ask for what is really on their mind. List a few unusual services on your menu board. Then let customers use those ideas to start a conversation with an SA.

Don’t be afraid to sell two hours of time to check a car over really well. Include time for a technician consult with the customer – that’s a valuable service. And don’t forget to reward technicians who lose a big repair ticket to a new or used car sale. It’s an in-house referral from service to sales, and it’s worth money in the deal.

The ‘Going Away to College’ Service Package

People don’t buy repairs from you – they buy peace of mind. That’s why it’s not good business to only list oil changes, tire rotations, brake jobs and the like on your menu board. That breeds miscommunications because customers will pick services off the menu that won’t fix their car’s problems. They don’t think in technical language like we do.

Here’s an example. How many times has a customer said “My son or daughter is taking this car to college out of town. I want to get it into shape so they won’t have any trouble for two semesters.” Then the SA suggests a few services from the menu board. That’s an incomplete sale, and it did not address the client’s primary concern, that they don’t want to worry about the car.

Put a name on it. Perhaps call it the ‘Back to College Service’ deal. Package some services that make sense together for one price. Bundle. Also, include time for the tech to check the car over for other needed repairs and maintenance and to make recommendations. The tech’s recommendations are value added in situations like this. Don’t give your time away for free. Other professionals don’t.

Other Packages that Sell Well

Not selling enough alignments or wheel balances? Try offering a ‘Vibration, Wobbling and Steering Service,’ which is a thorough steering and suspension inspection, tire rotation, wheel balance and alignment, all for one easy to understand price.

Rather than listing ‘Add Freon, per pound’ on your menu board, try this. Offer an ‘Air Conditioning Tune Up’ instead. For one price, the customer gets refrigerant oil, refrigerant, a thorough leak check and a new cabin filter. Don’t nit-pick on individual prices, but price by averages instead, as other industries do.

Bud Scannavino
Bud Scannavino
Bud learned the trade of automotive mechanics after high school, earned the A.S.E. credentials CMAT with L-1, and owned a repair shop. Bud eventually changed careers, earning an MBA from Yale. For a day job, Bud’s career is in financial services. As a freelance writer and advertising consultant, he writes automotive articles, blogs and advertisements. His clients enjoy his explanations of complex technical, management and marketing issues in easy to understand language, along with a touch of wit and humor.

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