Jeremy O’Neal of Advisorfix has been a Service Advisor Performance Coach for the past 10 years. During that time Jeremy has logged more than 12,479 hours of coaching Service Advisors to peak performance. He shares how his clients are generating massive results with the RepairPal certified shop program.
The RepairPal certified shop program is an amazing program that helps shops generate more inbound leads. What I love about this program is that it not only provides the shop an amazing opportunity with an auto repair client who has an immediate need, but it is one of the best mystery shopping programs a shop could invest in. When I interview a potential new coaching client, one of the things I’ll ask is if they are a RepairPal certified shop, when they say yes I smile! Not only is this shop going to get a lot of great opportunities in the future, but it helps me with the coaching because now we have a recorded phone call of a live customer (not some fake mystery shopper) and we get to analyze and coach on the real performance of the shop. It’s fabulous! So, let’s take a look at how a shop can convert more of these inbound phone leads.
#1 – BE FRIENDLY AND ACCOMMODATING: It’s amazing to hear so many phone calls where the person answering the phone is just not friendly. One critical link to success for Service Advisors is to ensure you are fully present when you answer the phone and that you deliver a friendly greeting. On most inbound calls the customer is going to ask for the price and this is where the majority of shops can fail at converting the lead. Anytime a customer requests anything from you, your response should be accommodating. Here is the specific verbiage we teach in our Becoming a Trusted Service Advisor Advanced Sales Course:
Service Advisor – “It’s a great day at Advisorfix Automotive! This is Jeremy speaking how may I help you?”
Customer – “I was calling to get a price on replacing my timing belt on my 2008 Honda Odyssey”
Service Advisor – “Ok, I’ll be happy to help you with that. I’ll just need to get a little more information from you.”
Keep in mind the conversation above takes less than 30 seconds. This is a powerful opening statement as it starts out with an enthusiastic, friendly greeting. You then listen to the customer’s request and then you let them know that you are going to get them the information they are requesting and that you’ll be happy to do it! What a powerful way to open up the phone call.
#2 – GET THE FACTS: At this point in the conversation you don’t have enough information to deliver the price to a customer. There is more information you need, and we get this by ASKING QUESTIONS. The top performing Service Advisors understand that the person asking the questions is in control of the conversation and they understand how to ask the right questions at the right time to lead the caller to an appointment.
Key questions to ask:
What is the year, make and model? What is the engine size? Is it an automatic or a manual transmission?
#3 – GIVE THEM THE STARBUCKS TREATMENT: Years ago when Starbucks was an up and coming company they did something amazing. They found a way to make people feel good by using their name 5-7 times during a transaction. The lesson we can take from this is to get the caller’s name as early in the conversation as possible, and use their name throughout the conversation. This is how we get the callers name:
Service Advisor – “By the way my name is Jeremy, may I ask who I’m speaking with?”
Caller –“This is John.”
At this point in the transaction you want to begin building the relationship with the caller. I personally like to ask them how their day is going. I use their name again, “Thanks for calling John, how are you today?”
#4 – GAIN THE LEVERAGE FOR YOUR INITIAL ASSESSMENT: Now it’s your time to shine, at this point in the conversation I need to get the leverage from the customer that helps them understand that the best thing for them to do is to bring the vehicle in for an initial assessment. We do this by asking the following questions:
“John, I’m curious what specifically is going on with your vehicle and why do you suspect you need a timing belt?”
Understand that this line of questioning works very well for most situations. Your focus here is to help the customer. The reason for asking this question at this point in time is to flush out any hidden concerns the customer might have. The goal is to get to the root concern the customer has. Are there any drivability concerns, any warning lights that are on, is the vehicle overheating etc? You’d be amazed at how many times a customer is calling in and asking for a specific component and the root concern is something totally different. It’s your job to uncover the root concern. Once you gather this information we then ask for the appointment. Here is how you do this:
#5 – ASK FOR THE APPOINTMENT:
Service Advisor: “John, anytime your vehicle has a concern like you’ve described it’s in your best interest to have one of our ASE certified technicians perform a thorough assessment of your vehicle’s condition as well as identify the root cause of your concern. I have an opening right now or I also have an opening at 2pm today which of those times works best for you?”
At this point in the conversation, two things will happen. Either the customer will take you up on the appointment or the customer will ask for the price again. If you were successful and made the appointment, congratulations! If the customer asks for the price again, then use the RepairPal estimator and fair pricing model to your advantage.
#6 – USE THE POWER OF THE REPAIRPAL ESTIMATOR AND FAIR PRICING MODEL TO YOUR ADVANTAGE:
The caller is still insisting on a price. At this point you need to stay in rapport and let the caller know you are going to get what they are asking for. Very important, there are 2 things you must do before you give them a price:
- Get their information including a call back number and an email address
- Deliver your U.S.A. (Unique Shop Advantage) let the customer know the reasons they should do business with your shop and also the unique benefits you provide with this job. What is your competitive advantage? Do you provide a longer warranty? Same Day Service? Association Discounts? Etc.
Here are some tips to close this lead:
Service Advisor – “John, I’m going to look up the pricing now, in fact I’m going to use the RepairPal estimator to ensure we follow a fair pricing model and get you the best price on this job. John, while I’m looking this up can I get a good contact phone number for you? 555 – 1212 and an email address so I can email you the estimate when we’re done? firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.”
“Also, John while this is loading it’s important for you to know why our shop is the best shop for your Honda Odyssey. We’ve been in business for 47 years, our technicians are all ASE certified technicians so what that means to you is they have the specialized knowledge, skill, and expertise, to do the job right the first time. Also we provide the best warranty in the industry on these jobs with a full 5 year 105,000 mile warranty on the timing belt job. Does that make sense?”
“John, based on the RepairPal fair pricing model it looks like the timing belt replacement on this vehicle should fall between $473 – $603”
Service Advisor – “John, based on our experience our price for the basic timing belt job will be $545.00. Please understand that there are some additional components that might need to be changed while we are in there, however let’s start with the initial assessment and identify exactly what your vehicle needs. Again I have an opening right now or at 2pm which works best for you?”
At this point the majority of customers are going to take you up on your appointment and you have closed the lead. Please understand that it takes a lot of practice to master closing phone leads. You should plan on spending at least 100 hours of dedicated practice time to master this skill. Of course not every call will go according to plan, which is why you need to practice. The best Service Advisors in the world record their presentations, they practice and rehearse, they are students of the game of sales. You can achieve the success you desire if you put in the time and work. If you need assistance on how to practice or you’d like more information on how a service advisor performance coach can help you visit www.Advisorfix.com.
Jeremy O’Neal is the President and Founder of Advisorfix.com a Service Advisor coaching, training, and support company based in California. Jeremy is an ASE Certified Service Consultant and an Accredited Automotive Manager through the AMI. You can reach Jeremy by visiting Advisorfix.com.