The minute details of a perfectly executed process are what fall between the cracks. There are always internal and external barriers that get in the way of performing a process consistently. The goal is for the process to be easily repeatable and based on discipline to enact at every opportunity.
Stay True to Successful Processes
One such process is your customer intake that sales associates can use successfully and consistently. Again, the key is for it to be repeatable — the process requires discipline and a desire to perform it well. A snapshot of a successful intake process for sales associates is:
- Walk out to the vehicle with the customer and acquire basic information about the vehicle. Then, begin a dialogue with the customer at the car (establishing rapport) — use their name often during your conversation.
- Return to the terminal and begin creating the work order. Ask open-ended questions that will allow the customer to describe and share the requested work — the more information, the better.
- Based on the mileage of the car, check the suggested maintenance for that mileage.
- Check Carfax, check existing history, and ask, “Have you had these services performed anywhere else?”
- Ask them if they want to perform any of the services while their vehicle is here today.
- Remind them the tech will perform a visual courtesy check or digital inspection and that you will share the results with them.
- Offer complimentary alignment checks on any vehicle — this is good for you and the customer, especially when you notice tire wear on your walkout, when you sell tires, and when you do front-end repairs. Then, work to presell the alignment at the counter.
- The work order then goes to the technician, who performs the courtesy check and begins the work. The tech then gives the ticket back to the sales associate, and the associate creates an estimate.
- Now it’s time to share your findings with the customer and ask for the sale.
Non-ATI Members: Looking to improve your customer intake process and lay the groundwork for the sale? Use ATI’s Vehicle Walkout Sheet to get out from behind the desk, gather more information, improve rapport, and create a customer for life.
Fear, anxiety, and low confidence are all internal barriers that prohibit a sales associate from leaving the front counter. As a result, some associates stay hidden behind the counter, protected from their fears when collaborating with customers.
Here are ways to ease that fear, anxiety and build up confidence when you come face-to-face with a customer — and get out from behind that counter.
- Open with honesty and truth: Remember that you can and will make a great first impression with everyone you interact with by sharing correct information. The process, the walkout sheet, is a tool to begin the dialogue.
- Focus on the key points from your observations and from the information they share with you. Review material well before sharing it with the customer or asking them to act. Know what you are talking about and review two times or more to be sure you were thorough.
- Support your suggestions with evidence. The why is important, the source is key, and what you found is vital — the manufacturer, the technician, etc. Practice, practice, practice.
- Ask for action to be taken with confidence.
External barriers are the personal behaviors and habits that prevent a sales associate from performing the process correctly. Here are common external barriers:
- Poor scheduling. You’re not able to implement the process correctly without causing issues. The fix — perform the process correctly every time, no matter what. Be polite, honest, and upfront with everyone; let them know you will take care of them as soon as possible. Negative feelings may come up but hold to your process; be polite and honest. You will be retraining your customer to know this is how you will be conducting business moving forward.
- Churn and burn. Moving too many cars in a day prohibits you from running your processes correctly. Slow down to do more. The intake and the courtesy check processes are the first to go when you are “too busy.” Train your customers to know how you work. Follow each step of the intake process outlined above.
- Address one customer at a time and maintain processes perfectly every time. Will feelings be hurt by some customers, possibly? However, you will have done them all a great service by managing their vehicle with their best interests in mind — you provided quality. Otherwise, you will shortchange your customers from receiving the best care you have to offer.
Consistency Yields Results
The intake process sets you up for success in servicing your customers’ needs with your utmost ability and quality — perform it every time with your best effort and most pristine behaviors, and you will create customers for life. Consistent, repeatable, and disciplined processes produce extraordinary results, so stick with it. Customers will learn how your systems and processes work and will know it is in their best interests.
Download ATI’s vehicle walkout sheet and give the process a chance. There is so much your sales associate will discover by leaving the counter behind.