Here are a few basic rules for getting the best impact on the phone
Get the customer’s contact information
Get the customer in the shop
Always answer the phone as fast as you can.
Always be polite on the phone and ask for permission.
Smile when you pick up the phone.
Have a standard greeting.
Answering the phone with a standard greeting is a great tactic for this. Here’s a great one I like to use:
- I explained our shop’s name. I want to make sure they’re getting the right place they’re calling for. If your customer used Google or saw an ad, they will want to know if they got the right place.
- I told the customer my name to let them know who they’re talking to, establishing the relationship.
- I explained my unique selling proposition (USP). “Home of the lifetime warranty” differentiates my shop from the others. This nails down what makes us different right on the first call. Your shop doesn’t need to have a “lifetime warranty”, but say right away what makes you different from the rest.
Some examples include:
- Home of the never oversold guarantee
- Home of the free diagnostic inspections
- Home of the free car wash with every service The majority of shops miss this one step that greatly improves your call in conversion rate.
- I didn’t say “how can I help you” but rather “I can help you.” What I am doing here is taking away doubt the customer has on if I can help them or not. I am reassuring them that I can help them. Even if for some reason you can’t serve them, you can still help them by pointing them in the right direction.
Get customers in the shop without giving a price
Let’s talk about the importance of the phone call.
Now we need to prioritize your attention and time on the phone. This is vital to your shop’s success.
What happens when you are being called by two customers at the same time?
Price shoppers, yuck! We all hate them.
The problem is that most shops can’t tell the difference between price and value shoppers. This is because often, both ask the same question.
How much is this repair going to cost?
They ask this because they don’t understand the value you offer yet. They don’t know how you offer more value over the competition. Price is only a concern in the absence of value. A customer only shops for price because he/she doesn’t understand the value yet.
Most people want great value, not the best price.
If this wasn’t true, we would all be buying $1 coffees from McDonald’s or gas stations. Instead, most people opt to pay over $5 from Starbucks because of the added value. I guess that’s OK if you like the taste of burnt coffee. (I’m not a fan, can you tell?)
When you answer the phone communicate the value you offer right away.
Your answering script might be something like this.
“Thanks for calling Joe’s Garage, home of the the three year, thirty-thousand mile warranty. My name is Mike, I can help you today.”
Even if your competition offers the same feature at the same price, they’re not saying it on the phone as you are. You’re immediately establishing that this is a value difference that you offer.
Ask for their contact information right away.
Say that you want their name and number in case you get disconnected. Always collect this customer’s contact info before getting any deeper into the conversation. This way you’re not asking for it after they decide to “call around”.
You can always follow up a day later, or even a month later. Why would you not follow up a month later? Ask if they got it taken care of, by who, and were they happy?
This simple follow up shows you care. I bet they didn’t even get a follow-up call from the shop that did the work. You’re building a case for them to choose you the next time.
Next, you ask what the issue is.
Ask why the customer is calling. They might say something like they need a new alternator. The next question you ask is why they think this. The customer will tell you their background and knowledge on the subject. Now you know how to have the conversation with him.
If he says that his car has trouble starting and that the same thing happened to his brother. That means he’s using personal experience to come to this conclusion.
If he says his cousin the mechanic told him on the phone that it’s most likely an alternator problem, it’s different. This guy has another shop in his back pocket. This means you have to be careful about what you say. This customer is going to report back to his cousin for accuracy.
Or he might say
“I brought it to this other shop and they told me that the alternator was getting weak. They said I should get it fixed so I’m calling to get an idea for what this is going to cost.”
You can reply
“well, if they diagnosed the problem for you, why didn’t you go there?”
They might reply that the other shop was too expensive. So then you can ask what price they were quoted. Depending on their answer, you can determine how to present more value with your quote.
How to respond to a price shopper
If you think they’re a price shopper, you can tell the customer “We pride ourselves for doing quality work. As you heard on the phone we have a great warranty. To do that, we can’t do work at the cheapest price. You might want to go to the shop that can do it cheaper if the price is your biggest concern.”
A price shopper will thank you and move on. A value shopper will say something like “I’m happy to pay for good work, I just didn’t know around what this costs.”
Here’s another way you can present value to get them in the door.
“Sometimes our customers call us thinking they have a big problem. But when we look at their vehicle in the shop, it’s something simple like a corroded cable. This is much cheaper than replacing the alternator. It’s better if you brought your vehicle down here so we can give it a proper inspection. That way we have a more accurate idea of the cost.”
You’re now offering a more affordable option and removing the customer’s fear of price.
Now you need to get them into the shop. Here is your go-to script.
“I can get you in today or tomorrow, and we can get you a ride back home or to work so you can get along with your day.”
By offering today or tomorrow you’re removing the option of yes or no. Remember, your customers are looking to you for guidance and solutions. For them to get the best result, you’re the only option. The only option is when.