The Automotive Service Advisor and the Oversold Customer

Are people whispering about your Service business? You know the type of whispers I’m talking about? Whispers in the service drive? Or how about the whispers that get back to you from “that guy down the street?”

These are the whispers of “they always pressure you here to buy something” or “every time I come in here they find something else wrong.”

Then those SCARY whispers turn into SCARY RUMORS!

They that start off with “Yeah, I heard some of their customers went down the street to Joe’s Garage because they were being oversold here.”

WHAT? Oversold? WTH do you mean by that?

Oh wait, you mean UNDERSOLD, don’t you? Undersold…that’s where the Service Advisor cuts corners….oh…you’re not aware of an “Undersold” condition? That’s because in your store it is ALWAYS the CUSTOMERS FAULT, isn’t it.

Lately I have been hearing these caaaarrraaazzyyyy fairy tales. Oversold. What a crock of gear grease.

Oversold means that the Customer somehow got the impression that the only thing that matters is how much money you Mr. or Ms. Service Advisor can get out of their pocket. Basically, they are calling you crooks…right?

Let me ask you this. How many of you reading this would say that you are a person that would do or say anything to a Customer merely to allow you to take that persons money? No One? I thought so.

Here is another one. How many of you would say that you work with a co-worker that does this? No takers?

One more. Would you say that most people are honest and want to do a good job? Now we have some hands raised.

Do you know that studies conducted over the years state that over 90% of Americans believe themselves to be honest? And those same studies say that we want to do a good job. Which means that someone else is that person. The person who is dishonest and does a poor job.

So, lets go back to the “Oversold” statement. How can your Customers be oversold if over 90% of you are honest and believe you are doing a good job? And that you believe your co-workers are honest as well?

Do you know why your Customers have that perception? Because you don’t think that your communication skills and sales techniques are bad. They are! When was the last time you tested your Listening Skills there sport? Or had a Telephone Training Session? Huh? Yeah…you are on top of your game…

If your Technician has inspected the vehicle and written down what the vehicle has wrong with it based on observations, tests, wear, appearance, end of service life, etc. and you tell your Customer what is wrong, as honestly and straightforward as you know how, how is it that your Customers are being oversold?

If it’s worn out, broken, leaks, buzzes, steams, burps, chortles, chugs, chirps, squeaks, bleats and screams for mercy your tech should be writing it down. The vehicle is what it is. You know why they are being oversold…you know…because you are not prepared, ready and Trained to talk to your Customer.

You have been doing this for so long…you know exactly who will buy what, when they will buy it, how much they will pay, how much you think they’ll pay, what they did the last time in and everything else that prevents you from doing a simple estimate preparation with each item listed in order of importance (just in case your Customer asks you a question), why it’s important to them to have it done (it’s called a feature/benefit analysis), what will happen if they don’t (not scare tactics like “If take this car out of the shop and you drive it, you die”), what is the cost breakdown per item (think budget) and how long it will take.

You don’t do your homework before you call. Nope.

Because you’ve been doing this so long, you just grab the Repair Order, start estimating parts and labor off the top of your head, write everything down as “$69.95” (of course that doesn’t sound made up) while dialing the phone and with no regard to prioritization and start off the conversation with exciting and wonderful phrases like “You knew this call was coming” and “I told you I’d be calling you back when you came in” (aren’t those wonderful icebreakers) or some other witty opening line all the while explaining to the Customer and adding numbers on your little desk calculator like some bizarre Las Vegas act (“Oh folks, you gotta see this guy…..he’s amazing!”)

You do this while completely ignoring the fact that your Customer has placed their trust IN YOU to give them the best ADVICE regarding their vehicle (look at your job title, it doesn’t say Service Adder Upper, or Service Unprepared Phone Caller Person) and when you finally get done explaining the whole thing to them ending with “So, you want to get it done?”… you have the gall, the chutzpah, the cohunes to say something like “I can’t understand why our customers feel oversold?” Right…..

Get a grip on the reality ride pal. You need a different mindset. One that is in FAVOR OF THE CUSTOMER and not in opposition to!

3 Steps to take RIGHT NOW if you want to change what you are doing and get results!
1. Become a better LISTENER and not a better talker! Practice the 2-1 Rule, Listen Twice As Much As You Speak!
2. Become a better COMMUNICATOR by talking to the Customer about what is MOST IMPORTANT TO THEM! Prioritize your estimates in the correct order. Primary Concern, Safety, Reliability, Maintenance and Time.
3. Become a better RE -CONTACTER/FOLLOWUPPER Advisor by calling your Customer not only when it’s done but TO GIVE YOUR CUSTOMER UPDATES!

Do these 3 Steps Right Away and you will begin to make difference. Now go get some TRAINING!