By Matthew J Lee
It’s the elephant in the room. Let’s face it, regardless of economic conditions, as a shop owner, you’ve got to face two simple facts before you can overcome this and get the elephant out of there.
First, when it comes to auto repairs, the typical consumer sees you as wanting to take advantage of them. They are on the look out for you wanting to ‘pad’ the bill or sell them something that you don’t need.
Why? It’s a matter of trust and it’s not their fault. They don’t trust you because you haven’t given them any REASON to trust you. You haven’t demonstrated it to them.
Like it or not, people buy from those they ‘KNOW, TRUST and LIKE’. Think about it for a minute; You do the same thing, don’t you? Would you trust your personal finances and planning to somebody you don’t trust? I don’t think so.
How did that person EARN your trust? Well, in a nutshell, they demonstrated it to you. They may have told you stories about how they helped others, given you special reports about saving and financial planning or even gave you a free consultation when they first met you. They showed you different things that provided you the PROOF that they were credible and trustworthy.
The second reason is that nobody likes to spend more than they have to. But then why is that people routinely make purchase like big screen TV’s or the latest electronic gadget or newest phone and they spend hundreds doing it when they don’t really have to. (Yes, life goes on without a 52″ flat screen!)
The fact of the matter is that people buy on emotion and then justify it with reason AFTER. Yes, I bought that 52″ big screen because the picture is great and besides, I needed a new television anyway. There’s the justification!
How do you fix this?
When it comes to trust, you can overcome that by demonstrating that you really do know what you’re doing. PROVE it to your customer. You can do that when they’re waiting for your quote by
Letting them read customer testimonials: You can say all you want about yourself and how good you are, but that’s always viewed as self serving statements. After all, what else would I expect you to say. But when you publish testimonials about how you helped other people or how you saved them a ton of money, that becomes your social proof. What your customer says about you is 100x more powerful than anything you can tell them.
Special Reports and Service Information: Simple one or two page reports that prove you know what you’re doing. Consider a series of reports like “Did you know this about your car’s battery?” Just provide the information that addresses problems and solutions. How about a title like “Oil – Your car’s Lifeblood and things You Need to Know about it”? Right now you may be laughing because this is all common knowledge. But it’s common knowledge to YOU; Not your customer! Give them the information in a format that THEY will understand and build your credibility with your customer by proving you know what you’re doing.
Your Customer Newsletter: If you don’t have one, you need one. Keep the current copy of your customer newsletter available for customers to read. It doesn’t have to be fancy (and in fact, it shouldn’t be fancy) Your newsletter is one of the best methods you can use to build your credibility and your customer’s trust.
When it comes to spending more than they have to (or want to) you’re getting resistance because you’re not appealing to their emotions. Remember, people buy on emotions and justify it with reason AFTER.
When you do up a quote and present it to the customer, you’re not appealing to any of their emotions. In fact, that quote is all about YOU, not them.
Have you explained any safety issues to them about the repair? One of the biggest fears a car owner has is experiencing unexpected roadside breakdown. Yeah, what do you do at night on a lonely road? Who do you call?
I’m not suggesting that you ‘scare’ them into a repair or try to sell them something they don’t need. I neither support or condone that type of selling and neither should you! But if you can get them to stop and think about their safety and that of their family, you really do start to touch their emotions.
Compete Against Yourself for the job: I know, you’re asking yourself “how do I do that?” It’s really simple. Give your customers options. I strongly suggest that you use a written quote system because people better understand what they SEE instead of what they HEAR. (Remember, they’re already thinking about a bunch of other things like ‘what’s for diner tonight’ or ‘why didn’t she call me back?’ – more words from you about your quote just adds clutter to their thoughts!)
Secondly, your options should show the ‘good – better – best’ scenario of each repair. And don’t forget to add charges for extended warranty or protection to your ‘BEST’ package. You’ll be surprised how many people will relate the price to quality.
As an auto repair and service shop owner, overcoming price objections (or the so called Elephant in the Room) should be a strategy that you’re prepared to address all the time. No, they’re not just ‘cheapskates’! They’re not buying because you haven’t developed a trust and your credibility and you haven’t appealed to their emotions.
The only thing you’ve really done is given them a quote looking for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. That doesn’t work!
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