Auto Shop Coaching Blog

It’s Not About the Price—It’s About the Money

A few weeks ago I was working with my service advisor on overcoming price objections and dealing with price shoppers. One of the points I was making is that with most callers asking for a quote, it really is a matter of the caller not knowing what else to ask. They looked the problem up online and are trying to find out what it takes to fix it—or they have a diagnosis from another shop and don’t trust that shop enough to give them the go-ahead.

My point is it’s not about the price; it’s about the money. Money represents your customer’s life. It represents the time they exchange for a paycheck and the things they prioritize in that life. If they don’t feel that the service you provide is worth more in benefits and value than the money they are going to exchange for it, they will look elsewhere.

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What’s Your Focus?

Your front counter could fail to do what is in your customers’ best interests by focusing on this same issue. If your service advisor isn’t treating every customer like your best customer—if they decide at the drop whether that person will buy or not based on the age of the vehicle or the appearance of the customer—they are missing the point. Some of your best customers will be people who found your shop because they need their state inspection sticker and you treat them like royalty. If you service Interlock devices, you should be converting those customers to full-service customers by making them feel welcome and wanted.

A fellow shop owner shared with me that their service advisor had a customer come in a few weeks ago asking for the cheapest tire he could sell him. One look at the vehicle told the story that he really needed 4 new tires. The service advisor took the time to explain why the cheapest tire would not be a good choice long-term, then pointed out that he had payment options, including no interest for 90 days. Immediately the customer perked up and asked for a quote on a set of 4 new, better quality tires. It wasn’t about the price—it was about the money. The service advisor fixed the money issue and now that customer is in a safer vehicle—and has referred 3 friends already.

How do we get our customers and our service advisors to shift from focusing on price to focusing on value? Here are 5 steps to get started:

1. Build Rapport at the Phone Call

Treat it like the person you have a crush on is calling! It can be difficult to slow down, smile, speak clearly, and take the time to ask meaningful questions when someone calls asking for a price over the phone. Take the time to have a conversation, engage the other person, and share the benefits of choosing your shop. It is essential for converting that phone call to an appointment.

2. Build Rapport at the Drop-Off

Come around the counter with a smile and greet them by name if possible. Take them with you to walk around their car. Ask more questions about the issue they brought it in for, what they like about the vehicle, and how long they plan to keep it. Use this information to identify what’s important to them (money = priorities) so you can let them know how you plan to fulfill their expectations.

3. Build Rapport at the Update

Depending on your shop’s processes, you will be contacting the customer next by email, text, or phone. If you send a digital inspection, make sure that the issue they brought it in for is addressed first (either in the message or at the top of the inspection). Wow them with clear, easy to understand photos and notes. Prepare them for the call. Wow them during the call by taking time to explain the steps taken to identify the issue and how you are going to fix it for them. Then go over any additional recommendations, taking time to share how they will benefit the customer long-term. Give them the total out the door and when you can have it done. Ask for the privilege to take care of their vehicle.

4. Build Rapport with Payment Options

Having options that allow your customer to make payments will keep their vehicle safe and reliable. I recommend working with at least 3 financing companies. Don’t be the bank but do provide options.

5. Build Rapport at the Pickup

Your greeting when they return to pick up their vehicle should not be determined by what they spent—it’s determined by the impression you want them to leave with. Walk around the counter with a smile AGAIN. Take the time to go over the work completed, explain your warranty, discuss when their next service is due, and offer appointment options. Let them know you sincerely look forward to their next visit.

These steps work for every shop, whether you are located in a high-end district or a lower-income rural location. Decide what the added value and benefits are that your shop provides: a great customer experience? Lifetime maintenance program? Extended warranty on all repairs? What else do they get for the price of the service?

People will always pay more for a higher quality experience—because it’s not about the price. Is your shop offering an experience that makes it worth the exchange of their money (their livelihood) to do business with you?

At ATI, we help owners achieve their goals through one-on-one coaching, in-depth training, and ongoing support and resources. Check out our free webinar for more information.

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Charlene is an Executive Coach at ATI, a Certified Profit First Professional, a former shop owner, and has been coaching since 2014. Charlene helps clients find the right solutions to their challenges and encourages them to make the changes that result in having the life they dreamed about when they got into business ownership.