How To Sell The Complete Estimate
Eric M. Twiggs
“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect" W. Clement Stone
“Ted” has owned his shop for thirty years and is the face of the business. He had always been the only service writer and customers ask for him by name. With certain people, he would prioritize the ticket before they raised any objections, clarifying what had to be done in the current visit, and what could wait until the next one.
He believed his longtime customers would keep coming back as long as he was there to give them the lowest price. This belief kept Ted at the shop working IN the business, and made him reluctant to recruit for a service manager.
After coming to the first ATI shop owners class, Ted realized the importance of working ON instead of IN the business and decided to hire “Rick” as his service manager. Ted’s first order of business was to bring Rick up to speed on his customer’s buying habits.
One of his patrons named “Alan” dropped off his Ford 150 requesting front brakes and oil maintenance service last week.
Ted has known Alan for over twenty years and Alan NEVER invested in recommended services beyond what he came in for. When the technician came back with an estimate that included lower ball joints, struts, and a transmission service, Ted knew it was time to warn the new guy.
“I’ve known Alan for twenty years, so don’t feel bad when he declines the additional work. He’s got two kids in college and money’s tight.” Armed with this knowledge, Rick called Alan and presented the estimate findings.
The call only lasted seven minutes, so Ted was pretty sure of what happened. He went to console his new hire, but before he could say anything, Rick interrupted him with the following statement:” Everything has been approved, and the parts are on the way!”
The original work that Alan requested was around $300. The final ticket came to $3,100! Ted now understands the difference between his perception and the customer’s reality.
The sooner you realize that your perception isn’t always the customer’s reality, the better you’ll get at selling the complete estimate! Stay with me to learn to strategies that will help you embrace this mindset.
Acquire The Beginners Mind
I began my career in automotive as a service advisor in a tire store with no background in automotive. As a beginner, I consistently produced the best Road Hazard and Average Repair Order results in comparison to the other four advisors at the location.
They had been working on cars their entire life, and had worked at the location for an average of five years. What gave me the edge?
My lack of industry experience gave me the beginners mind. Unlike my coworkers, I didn’t know that our customers didn’t purchase road hazard. I didn’t know that our area was different from the rest of the locations in the district.
My selling skills at the time were average at best and not as strong as the others. Since I didn’t have any perceptions about the customer’s reality, being new was my competitive advantage.
Noted Author Shuryu Suzuki is quoted as saying: “In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.”
I challenge you to approach your customer interactions with the beginner’s mind, so that you experience the possibilities.
Leave Your Wallet At Home
I was having a conversation with the service manager of a former client, who suggested that we lower his prices because he was losing customers. I asked him how many he’d lost and he said he didn’t know. I asked how many customers had complained, and he said he hadn’t heard any complaints.
I thought this was odd until I spoke with his shop owner. She mentioned that the manager was going through a divorce and experiencing some financial problems. And then it hit me. HE was the one who thought it was too expensive, not his customers! He was selling with his own wallet.
The key is to know the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is when you feel compassion or express understanding for a customer’s situation based on your perspective.
Empathy involves getting out of your own head and viewing things through the eyes of the buyer. This begs the following question: What do your customers really want?
According to a 2011 American Express Survey, 70% of the respondents said they would be willing to spend more money with companies that provide excellent customer service.
While money is important, the most common consumer concern is receiving value for the money. You will be positioned to deliver value, if you leave your wallet at home and embrace the customer’s perspective.
So there you have it. Ted’s new service manager has helped him to acquire the beginners mind and to leave his wallet at home.
As a result, he’s having his best sales and gross profit year ever! If you embrace these strategies, you will sell the complete estimate, and have more money to put in that wallet you left at home!
Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach
PS. Looking for a tool to increase your writer’s belief in selling maintenance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you an article that spells out the true cost of not maintaining your car.