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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Richard Holland

Richard Holland Managing Director

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Time Isn’t of the Essence

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Imagine a customer that is in for a routine oil change at your dealership. As part of the complimentary inspection your store provides, it is discovered that the vehicle’s brake pads are severely worn and it would be unsafe to continue driving the vehicle much longer without replacement.  The service advisor brings this to the customer’s attention. Rather than making the immediate decision to do the brake service that day, the customer takes the work under advisement, pays for the oil change and goes on their way.  It could be that the decision was purely financial (not expecting to spend more money that day).  Regardless, the consumer is now armed with the information that they need a brake service and it plants a seed in their mind.  Perhaps they believe they were trying to be sold a service that wasn’t completely necessary, (or not needed yet) or perhaps they need to do their own due diligence before spending the money.  That same customer may go online to research brake service. Or they may talk to a friend or use social media to invite opinions.  Perhaps they will call another dealer or even another car repair company down the street to get an estimate.   In the process, before the decision to actually perform the work is done, they may have touched more than a handful of resources besides your dealership’s service department. Will your dealership earn the business? Will the customer be loyal to you?  At this point, you can only hope so.

 

Consumers by nature have a tendency to not trust everything they hear until they have heard it from multiple sources, or have received the information multiple times.  Therefore, before the decision to spend is made, the consumer may need to educate themselves. And one such way is to use third party information online, or to talk to others - whatever it takes to help them reinforce their decision to purchase.

 

How about helping the consumer in this decision process while building credibility for your dealership? As an example, provide evidence of the needed service (show the customer how thin the brake pads are). Then support that with a third party video or YouTube video that demonstrates what is done in a brake service and how it will benefit the customer.  Assuming you are competitive with your prices, it may also be worthwhile to show the consumer a list of advertised prices from nearby service centers.  It’s upfront, it builds customer trust and in the end it can mean retaining the customer for this service as well as further services down the road.

 

Impulse purchases aren’t usually made when it comes to servicing a vehicle. What is the “fun” in getting a transmission fluid change or brakes replaced? There is little consumer satisfaction in spending their hard earned money in this manner, even if it is a necessity. In a perfect world, we would all like every customer to come in, make their purchase and return again soon.  However, since car dealerships aren’t the convenience store down on the corner where a customer runs in for a Slurpee and ends up with three candy bars as well, make good use of each opportunity you have to provide informative, helpful information. Ensure that when the consumer is ready to make their purchase, your dealership is the one they choose.

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