-by Sally Whitesell for AutoSuccess Magazine
It’s hard to think about fall and winter when summer has just arrived.
We have visions of backyard barbecues, family vacations and an ice cold…well you fill in the blank. But this is an awesome time of year; not only for fun in the sun, but for growing our business! We can always count on being busy in the hot summer months as our guests prepare for vacations and the heat takes its toll on their vehicles. But imagine what it would mean to your store if everyone who serviced their car in June, July and August returned in the winter months?
Take a moment to think about last September through January. Were your profits, paychecks and bonuses a little lighter while your days seemed a little longer? In our business it’s critical to plan ahead for those times that are typically slower in order to level out our incoming revenue and therefore our income.
If you’re an sw Service Solutions client, you have heard me emphasize the importance of setting up your guest’s next visit at the time of write-up many, many, many times! Everyone nods their heads excitedly and says they can see the benefits, but few follow through.
It only stands to reason that if you are busy today and reschedule everyone for their next visit, that in the fall and winter you will be busy again.
So why don’t advisors take this easy step? After all, your clients are already trained to take this step by multiple professionals such as their doctors, dentists and hair stylists. It’s because they make the mistake of asking. If you ask a client if they want to set up their next visit four, five or even six months from now they usually have trouble with planning that far out and say that dreaded word…”No”. Advisors hate that word and try to avoid it at all costs.
What we may not realize is that this fear of hearing “no” is costing us a fortune and putting our income on a roller coaster.
Google market research: The Road to Winning Drivers indicates that only 20% of drivers go to a dealership for all services, and many go wherever it’s convenient.
“If my regular mechanic is too busy, I’ll just look for a chain service shop for basic stuff.”
“I get the routine stuff done wherever’s convenient on my way to or from work. For bigger stuff I go to my family’s mechanic.”
What does this mean to you? It means that if your customer has an appointment set, they’re not going to be looking around for what’s “convenient.” When you set up your client’s next visit, you’ve provided them convenience by taking care of their future needs.
Let’s give them the convenience they are asking for and build a consistent business by using a very simple, but effective word track:
“For your convenience I am going to set up your next check-in time. This means you don’t have to worry about when your services are due because I will keep track for you. I will even give you a call a few days before to make sure this time is still convenient for you. It looks as though you are driving about ______ miles a month so I am going to reserve a time for you ____ months from today. Is this a convenient time of day for you? Great! I have you all set then. I appreciate your business and want to take responsibility for keeping you updated about all of your service needs.”
It’s really hard for someone to say no when you are doing something for them. Most of your clients will love that you are taking the responsibility off of their shoulders. They will feel like your team truly does care about their well-being and appreciate their business. At this point you will become “their auto repair facility” and they will tell all of their friends about their great advisor that they trust and depend on. It’s very important that everyone on your service team is aware of your follow–up and reminder system. Many outside companies send notices randomly and we don’t want customers to get mixed messages.
Not only will your fall and winter months begin to fill up today, but new clients will be lining up for this same exceptional service. Ho, ho, ho!