With vehicles being built better than ever before, and with service intervals continually being extended, you are going to see your customers less often. This means your service advisors are going to have to be razor sharp when that phone rings. Although there is no silver bullet that will allow you to bring in every first-time caller, there are a number of things you can do to get more appointments. In this article I would like to share some of the best practices your advisors can use that will generate immediate results.
In order for someone to buy from you, three things need to occur: They have to like you, they have to trust you, and they have to view you as a credible expert. So when your phone rings, the first thing your advisors need to sell is themselves; not the service or repair. The best way of accomplishing this goal is with a professional, courteous and upbeat greeting, such as “Thank you for calling Elite Auto Care, this is Bob. How can I help you this morning?” By using these words we’re showing appreciation, by volunteering the name of our company we’re assuring the callers that they’ve called the right number, and by providing our name we’re beginning to build personal relationships. By asking how we can help, we’re asking a question that will allow us to control the conversation. By being upbeat and using the right tonality, our likeability goes up, and the customer’s anxiety goes down.
The second thing your advisors will need to do is slow the conversation down so the callers don’t feel rushed, and they’ll have to become good detectives by asking a number of questions. By having the callers talk, it will take their focus off of the price, and it will allow them to begin to feel more comfortable with your advisors at the same time.
When it comes to asking for the appointment, one of the best kept secrets I can share with you is this: With rare exception, your advisors need to offer every caller a choice of appointment times, and whenever possible, one of those options should be for them to bring the vehicle in now. For example; “I can squeeze you in now, or would 2:15 be better for you?” When it comes to auto repair, customers love finality, which is why providing the “now” option is a powerful sales tool.
Now here’s the absolute best-kept secret for dealing with the tough first-time callers. At Elite we have trained thousands of service advisors, and over the decades we have learned that understanding how callers think is critical to success in sales. There is a misconception about phone shoppers that they are only interested in the lowest price, yet in reality that’s the furthest from the truth. The reason most people ask for a price is because they don’t know what questions they should be asking. For example, if a call comes in from a lady who says she is calling around for prices on behalf of her husband, and if she states that her husband has the vehicle so she can’t bring it in for an inspection, your advisors should say something like this –
"Well Mary, I know price is important to you, and if I were in your position, it would be important to me, too! But I have to tell you, if you call 10 shops today you'll more than likely get 10 different prices. Mary, do you have a pen and piece of paper? Great! When you are calling around, I'm going to recommend that you consider asking some other questions as well. You may want to ask the shops you're calling how long they have been in business. Another question you may want to ask them is whether or not they have ASE Certified Technicians. (This is when your advisor can explain to the caller what the certification means, and how they will benefit.) Some other questions I would encourage you to ask are how they go about diagnosing vehicles such as yours, what warranties they offer and whether they are in writing, and whether or not they provide options in their service recommendations."
I used this procedure in every shop that I owned, and found it to be so effective and powerful that Elite now teaches it in all of our sales courses. The reason this procedure works so well is pretty simple: Your advisors will be providing the caller with the kind of information they need to choose the right shop, and showing them that you care more about them than their credit card. You can also rest assured that the shops they call will stutter and stammer when asked these questions, and every time the caller asks the recommended questions they will be thinking of one thing – your advisor.