No Thanks, That’s Too Expensive

How many times have you heard that objection when you make a recommendation to your customer for an extra service or part? Surely, you hear that all the time, or some variation thereof:

  • I can’t afford that much
  • The dealer does it much cheaper than that
  • My friend can do that for free
  • It doesn’t need that; it’s only a leased vehicle

Now while each of those objections can be truthful, as we all know, most of the time they are simply excuses the customer gives you because they don’t want to buy whatever it is you are offering them.

So the question then becomes: If you are being factual in your recommendation and only suggesting something the customer’s vehicle actually needs, why would the customer not agree and get the necessary services? If everything you have said to the customer makes sense to them and you have clearly explained it, there is no logical reason they should not follow your recommendations every time, right?

Oh boy — if only it were that easy! It all has to do with that magical formula of price versus value.

Price Versus Value

While price and value may seem to be connected — or at least related in some way to one another — the reality is, they actually have almost nothing to do with one another.

Price is a factual, cast-in-stone kind of thing. It doesn’t give the customer any feeling whatsoever beyond “do I want to spend the money?” By itself, without context and with regard to nothing, a price means nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Is $10 a lot of money to you? Is it possible for you to answer that question with no other information? I say no, it isn’t possible. In a vacuum, by itself and with no other reference it is not possible to determine if $10 is a “lot” of money.

If I told you that this item (which you have no idea what it is or what it does) costs $10, would you say it was worth it? Too expensive? Or maybe that’s a great deal for that item?

What if I said it was a new half-carat diamond ring in an exquisite 14k gold setting? Well, that would certainly be a fantastic (in reality and unbelievable) deal for only $10! On the other hand, what if I told you it was a brand-new, unused No. 2 pencil? For $10, that would hardly seem like a good deal, right? A beautiful diamond ring certainly seems to have more value than a simple unsharpened pencil, doesn’t it? Of course, it does!

Forget Price. Concentrate on Value.

Now, we are talking about value, not price. We previously determined that price is fixed, cannot be changed and is relatively meaningless by itself; whereas value is a totally different story.

Price is a cold-hearted, emotionless and cruel bad-guy full of negativity, yet value is a wonderful, vivacious and fun-loving friend who loves to party! Value gives you nothing but warm feelings, smiles and good news. Who would you rather spend your time with? Some rigid and gloomy buzz-kill or a fired-up, positive-minded life-of-the-party? Value is the fun one — the one you and your customer want to spend your time with! Ignore price, he’ll just bring you and the customer down with his negativity.

Value is what you want to talk about with your customer, not price. State the price, firmly and without equivocation, which will set that fact “in stone” within the customer’s mind. Then, make your presentation based around the value of the service you are promoting.

It is simple, once you understand what value is: Value is the items and details about whatever you are suggesting to the customer that will help them convince themselves to follow your recommendation and get the service.

Notice I said “help them convince themselves,” and not, “help you convince them.” If you are trying to convince a customer to do something — anything — that they are not inclined to do, you are fighting an uphill battle and will have a very hard time closing the sale. However, if the customer is trying to convince themselves to do something — anything — the simple fact of your presence, silently and subtly nodding and encouraging them to do so will almost always result in a good, firm close. The beautiful truth is that once the customer has decided to get the items or services you are recommending, they basically close themselves. What could be better than a self-closing customer?

Value Comes in Several Parts — Some Assembly Required

Building value in the customer’s mind is a simple, easy-to-do process. You need to very specifically tell them what positive results the parts or services you are recommending will achieve for them. Notice I said do “for them,” and not for “their vehicle.” Many technicians make the mistake of telling customers how a service will help their vehicles but don’t specifically tell customers what the service will do for them.

For instance: A cooling system service will remove the old fluid and replace it with new, clean coolant/antifreeze. Wonderful.

However, while your customer will generally know that new fluid is better than old fluid, that may not excite them enough to want to have the service performed. After all, the car was not overheating or exhibiting any cooling system issues before it came in. So, if they don’t do the service, they can (and often do) expect that the car will continue to drive normally once they leave with no immediate cooling-system issues. That is because you have not given them anything to think about that will immediately benefit them — the driver and owner of the vehicle. You must list, very specifically, the exact benefits that a cooling-system service will deliver to them as the driver of the car. These are the typical things I would tell a customer about the benefits of a cooling system service:

  • Help to prevent the engine from overheating — the No. 1 cause of vehicle breakdown on the side of the road.
  • Flushes the contaminants and corrosion out of the engine and radiator, ensuring long-life of engine internals and, especially, the heater-core.
  • Keeps the water pump properly lubricated, helping to prevent unnecessary repairs down the road.
  • Maintains and protects head-gaskets, preventing costly engine repair as mileage accumulates on the engine.

All of these items are clear benefits to the customer. These are things they want. Customers value the things they want.

The more the customer wants something — or in other words, the more they value something — the more likely they are to convince themselves to go ahead and purchase it. And that leads you right into that wonderful self-close!

There is a plethora of items, details and benefits about each part and service offered in your shop that you can tell your customer about. These will help build value in their minds.

When presenting extra parts of services, technicians usually make two big mistakes. One big mistake is not telling the customer enough benefits about the service they are recommending. Believe it or not, many technicians routinely don’t tell their customers any benefits about getting a service done. That’s right — zero! Then, they cannot understand why they have such a dismal track record when it comes to closing customers.

Many techs often make the wrong assumption that by telling the customer their vehicle needs a particular part or service naturally infers to the customer the benefits of getting it done. After all, you wouldn’t be recommending it unless it benefitted the customer, right?

Well, Spanky, that right there is the blunder of the ages when it comes to presenting services to customers. Don’t ever assume the customer will naturally just know what the benefits of any service are simply because you recommended it. What are they, mind readers?

The answer is: no, they are not mind-readers. You literally must tell the customer with your own words exactly what the benefits are to them. Not only does this ensure that they are thinking what you want them to think, but it also leaves no ambiguity about what the benefits of the service might be. They know exactly what the benefits are, because you just told them.

As the customer listens to and registers in their mind what the benefits of the service are, it causes the value of the service to rise because then they want it more.
 
 
When Value Exceeds Price, You and The Customer Are Winners

Once the customer perceives that the value of any item, part or service is higher than the price, there is no logical reason for them not to go ahead and purchase whatever it is that you are recommending. Tell ‘em the price, build that value and close ‘em with ease.

See ya next month, and make it happen!

Kit Sullivan

KIT SULLIVAN began as a lube tech over 25 years ago and is one of the most knowledgeable and respected experts in the fast-oil-change arena. From location manager to general manager of a 50-plus unit chain, to owner of his own six-unit chain of lube shops, Sullivan has mastered every area of successful lube shop operation. Known for his excellent training seminars, as well as assistance in developing new products tailored to the industry, Sullivan is a popular consultant and can be reached at: quicklubekit@aol.com