ESTIMATING — The Art of the Sale
An old car sales adage notes that:
“ A person doesn’t step on the lot
unless he or she is planning to buy.”
The same can be said of customers who contact your shop for an estimate. They’re looking to give you business. Unfortunately, too many shops don’t jump on these opportunities by taking the few extra steps needed to close every deal. Sharpen up your sales skills with the
Think of the estimate as an audition. If you’re simply looking at damage and discussing costs, you’re on the wrong path. The estimate is your opportunity to make the case for your shop getting business. Break down the estimate into a sales process where you explain your services and actively convince the customer to buy them.
Remove any mystery. Keep in mind that customers are usually coming away from a traumatic event, an accident, and walking into a great deal of uncertainty. Build understanding. Set aside time to answer questions. Carefully walk customers through the repair process, explaining the steps to be taken and the time involved. Go over insurance issues and note how your shop will handle these concerns. Don’t hesitate pointing out that once you take the keys, the customer’s worries can end.
Create familiarity. Offer a tour of your shop and introduce customers to staff members who will be caring for their claim. Point out your latest
equipment and note the experience and training of employees.
Remove negativity. Never say anything off-putting about a competitor, insurer or any aspect of a claim. Your job is to build confidence, not ill will or fear.
Keep it personable. Some of the most successful repairers in the nation claim that they no longer fix cars—they repair customers. They create an environment that puts customers at ease. This means always doing the little things: Ask customers how they are; shake hands; smile; learn names and where customers work and live.
Be prepared to take extra steps. Offer to cover an extra vehicle rental day to get a job through your doors sooner. Perform remote pickup and vehicle delivery. Spending a few extra bucks up front is a small price for capturing thousands
of dollars later.
Ask for the job. This might be the most overlooked part of the sale. Tell the customer, “We really want to help you out. Can we begin scheduling the job?” Don’t be pushy or insistent. Just ask. Making a request to someone going through a difficult time may seem counterintuitive, but in this case it’s not. You’re actually demonstrating an interest in helping.
Providing this assistance, ultimately, is a shop’s job. An effective sales pitch is just one more necessary task that makes this happen.