What’s the fastest way to get a “no” from the customer? Ask them to buy a service they don’t understand.

It seems like a pretty simple mistake to avoid, right?
Yet often, service advisors fall into the trap, mostly because they’re busy or not armed with the latest vehicle information. And when it happens, they lose the opportunity to show customers the value and quality of the dealership service experience.

Service Advisors Tell the What Sell the Why - Dealer-FX

Common Assumptions

What’s not so simple is how to demonstrate the value of quality service. In fact, there are a few common misperceptions that service advisors and managers have when it comes to how well customers understand their vehicle’s maintenance needs:

  1. They won’t spend money on service.
  2. They get the work done somewhere else.
  3. They understand the value of the service.
  4. They already know what they want.

Most of the time, these assumptions aren’t true – and they lead advisors into a classic mistake by asking yes or no questions. Here’s an example: “do you want to flush the brake fluid?” Clearly, the easy answer is no. When that happens, many service advisors will shrug their shoulders, check the box, and move on. But here’s the problem: with every rejection, the service department loses sales and an opportunity to create a bond of trust with the customer. In fact, this situation does the customer a disservice.

Be Successful at Selling the Why

Don’t walk into an easy no – educate your customers by telling the what and selling the why. Instead of asking the customer if they want a service item they know nothing about, explain why they need the service and what makes it valuable. In this way, the conversation about a brake fluid change goes something like this:

Your car is overdue for a brake fluid flush. This is important because brake fluid absorbs moisture, and excessive moisture can cause steam. Because brakes work in a high heat and friction environment, that can lead to brake fade, which increases stopping distance. It can also cause the caliper piston to freeze, so the brakes won’t work properly. On average, brake fluid accumulates moisture at the rate of 1% per year, and anything over 2% (two years) is considered too high. Would you like to add this service?

When customers understand the importance and value of the service, they’re far more likely to opt-in because it saves them time and creates peace of mind.

How to Sell the Why

To better “sell the why,” start by preparing your service advisors with talk tracks and relevant knowledge. In turn, they will use that knowledge to educate customers and build trust. Your service department should strive for a consistent “why” performance from all advisors, a goal that’s achievable when your appointment and check-in technology includes detailed information and reminders about key service items.

Ultimately, advisors are most valuable when they do exactly that – advise customers. This way, they guide and provide customers with the necessary information to make wise decisions about their vehicle. By keeping the “why” in mind, they can better educate customers and build a reputation as a trusted advisor – something customers should expect when they come to a dealership for service.

By Ridge McCoy

Ridge McCoy is a regional performance manager for Dealer-FX. With 20 years experience in the automotive space as a technician, service advisor and shop manager, Ridge has participated in over 1,800 hours of sales, leadership and customer service training. He holds an Automotive Management degree from AMI, a business degree from Northwest University and has served as mechanical chair of the Automotive Service Association in King County, Washington.

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