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Hung Up On Price? How to Focus on the Real Problem at Hand

Having spent the last few years listening to hundreds of thousands of inbound sales calls, I can offer one great piece of free advice: Don’t continue to get hung up on the price.

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Having spent the last few years listening to hundreds of thousands of inbound sales calls, I can offer one great piece of free advice: Don’t continue to get hung up on the price. Price doesn’t always mean price! Price can mean “Help, I need to get back on the road!”

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Here’s just one scenario. I’m sure you’ve all been there:

Ring-a-ling-a-ling….

Sales rep: Thank you for calling “XYZ” tire and auto. How can I help you?

Customer: Yeah, how much for an alignment?

Sales rep: Alignment, no problem, that’s $79.95.

Customer: Thanks a lot! Click….

The service advisor and/or sales rep happily hangs up the phone thinking, “Job well done! The customer was satisfied. They asked for a price, and I gave them a price.” But, that’s the wrong attitude. Information was exchanged, but no commitment to any action was exchanged.

I hear it all day long when we observe shops before we start working with them. It can be a flat repair, LOF, brake job, check engine light, tires, you name it. Many sales reps or service advisors will get hung up on price without ever making a commitment in the form of a promised appointment during which they would take care of the customer’s needs. 

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This “making a commitment” sounds simple enough, but, unfortunately, it’s a challenge more than 95% of the time in our industry. The enTIRE industry is hung up on price. But price is not the real game; it’s about exchanging commitments.

Sure, the customer calls and asks for a price on an alignment, but what the customer really wants is an appointment to come in and get their car aligned and/or repaired so they can live their life without worrying about their safety. The customer will often ask for a price because that is what they are conditioned to request. They just don’t know what else to ask for to initiate the real conversation they need to have to achieve their goal. In reality, the customer is begging the rep to take the lead and walk them through the process. Lead the dance, so to speak. 

With a simple tweak, the scenario can just as easily go like this:

Ring-a-ling-a-ling…

Sales rep: Thank you for calling “XYZ” tire and auto. How can I help you?

Customer:Yeah, how much for an alignment?

Sales rep: Alignment, no problem. I can help you with that! With whom am I speaking?

Customer: Bob Smith

Sales rep: Thanks so much for calling today, Bob! I have the best alignment tech in town. I can check your alignment for free first, and, if needed, it’s only $79.95. I’ve got availability for you at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. today. Which works best?

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Customer:Actually, 10 a.m. would be great! I’m not really sure what I’ve got going on with the front end. I’d really love to get it checked out!

Sales rep: Great! I’ll pencil you in. Let me get your number for my schedule, and when you come in, ask for me, and I’ll take great care of you!

A much better result for everybody involved, wouldn’t you agree? The customer gets their price and the appointment, and the rep easily steers the customer to one of two open appointments in his busy schedule. A win-win for everybody, you might say.

 It’s not that difficult to turn the tables. Instead of dumping a price, try offering to help the customer fulfill their primary concern, which is getting their car repaired, feeling safe while driving and getting on with their life. They are asking for your commitment to help them. They can’t fix the car themselves, and that is the real issue at the moment. The caller can’t go on with their life due to a car issue.

The customer calls and asks for a price on an alignment, but what the customer really wants is an appointment to come in and get their car aligned and/or repaired so they can move on with their life.

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Instead of the customer calling and asking for a price, they hang up with an appointment to come to your shop for service. So, don’t continue to dump price information without offering a commitment in the form of a rock-solid appointment to go along with it. And, while you’re at it, offer two times for the customer to choose from. It’s called a choice close, and it will improve your appointment closing rate dramatically.

If you offer the customer the choice of two appointment times effectively in the form of a personal commitment, they are very likely to choose one of the two times offered because that’s what they want. Your appointment closing percentages and car count will dramatically improve when this simple alteration is made to your approach. The numbers just don’t lie. We measure it.

Fortunately, the pricing cycle can easily be broken with effective training, coaching and measurement. I hear proof at shops all the time. In fact, it usually doesn’t take long for a service advisor to break the cycle of “dumping prices” and learn to close more appointments and sales by shifting the focus of the sales conversation to one of commitment.

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Instead of getting hung up on price, why not go for it and offer the customer available appointment opportunities and see the positive results for yourself?

You can thank me later for the free tip, full work schedule and increase in your closing percentage!

Brian Padden is a Vice President of Sales Call Analytics for Molloy Sales Development Group. Learn more at https://www.molloysales.com/. We also invite you to take advantage of our 20% Growth Blueprint, as part of our 20% in 2020 program.

Check out the rest of the May digital edition of Tire Review here.

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