Issue Date: Service Advisor Apr 1, 2010, Posted On: 4/3/2010
Why selling labor can feel like such hard work One of the service advisors in a Philadelphia area Chevrolet dealership looked depressed at the end of a long day. It was the 25th of the month and he had just added up his labor sales thus far. His goal (set by his pay plan) was to book 750 hours this month, and he was only at 565 hours and it didn't look hopeful that he'd hit the target.
When asked why he felt that sales were slow he gave the typical responses: the economy, the mix of work he got in, and other distractions. While it is certainly true that those things all have an influence on labor sales, the same was true for the other three advisors in the Chevy shop and they all were at 650+ hours for the month-to-date.
The better question is to find out why customers were declining the service advisor's recommendations.
There are five common objections to any purchase. Recognizing which objection is being given to you is the first step in countering the objection.
Need - This is the most common objection in automotive service. Quite simply, we haven't explained to the customers the value and benefit of a service so as to prompt them into action. If customers don't believe they need the service they won't buy it. Explain the importance of maintenance for the reliability of the vehicle, the warranty requirements, and to prevent more costly repairs later.
Relationship - If the customer has never done business with us in the past it can be difficult to gain their trust for a $400-$500 maintenance service. If this is a first or even second visit you need to work on the relationship aspect early in the process. When you do the vehicle walk-around try to notice something about the vehicle and strike up a conversation. "I see you have a trailer hitch, what do you usually tow with it?
No familiarity with the product - Then there are people who are just unfamiliar with your services, your maintenance menus or special products (like fuel injection cleaning). Any type of brochure or handout you can give (or even fax them) might help them become more knowledgeable about the offering.
Financial capacity - This is one that might be a little tougher to overcome. The customer just might not have the ability to pay for the repair. If it is a major job, say like an engine replacement, you should offer any financing deals your dealership or manufacturer offers. One thing to keep in mind is that it is the rare customer who actually sets aside money for vehicle repairs. So everyone has to scramble a bit with their budget for all but the least expensive services. In other cases, you might look for other ways to help the customer make the repair more affordable, which leads to our last objection.
Price - While some customers will immediately balk at your price, they are probably covering for another objection. They know you really can't do much about the price so they throw it up thinking they have a rock solid roadblock. Part of your job is to ferret out the real reason behind their objection to price. If you quote $400 for a wheel bearing replacement, it is tough for a customer to understand the value implicit in that cost estimate. But if you explain that the whole steering knuckle needs to come off and be placed into a press to remove and install the bearing, they might understand the value.