When last we met I was in the midst of explaining, step by step, the process of making the sale. We got up to step eight in which we presented our findings to our customer. This cannot be done until we have all of the information we need to not only diagnose the problem(s) but to determine what is needed to take care of it or them; what parts it will take, their availability and cost, what labor operations will need to be performed and their cost, and how long it will take to complete all work.
9: Prepare yourself mentally to fight for your price
As previously mentioned it is extremely important that you get the price you are asking. Can you always? It’s not likely that you will get every dollar every time, but you need to most of the time. We know that your labor rate and parts markups are based on the real numbers you need to get to run your business at a profit. If you don’t get those numbers you aren’t making money. At best you are only exchanging dollars and breaking even. At worst you are losing a lot of money.
To prepare for the fight you need to do a little self-talk. You have to keep saying to yourself, “My numbers are real. This is how much I need to get for this job, not how much I want. We are the best at what we do so it will be done right the first time and we will back up every claim we make; so we deserve this price.”
The name of this game is, “If you truly believe in the price you are asking it will be much easier for you to quote it and stick to it.” If you don’t believe in it because you aren’t sure if your numbers are right or if you feel for some reason you don’t deserve to get that much you will be more prone to back down if a customer challenges your price. How can this happen? If you have recently had a string of comebacks and are starting to doubt how well your team is performing or if you have been losing the price battle with too many customers lately and don’t know why. Those two types of events can make you more timid in not only asking for the amount you need, but in fighting for whatever the amount is that you initially quoted to the customer.
10: Discuss the benefits of doing business with you and your company
Explain the warranty the customer will receive and how they get service under it. Talk about the fact that you use only OEM or better replacement parts. Brag a little about the experience of your crew and the training they’ve received. Tell them about any special equipment you will be using to take care of their problem.
If you are going to use an expensive tool or piece of equipment it’s okay to mention what it cost you to buy it. When I bought my first diagnostic machine I told every customer that we were going to use this $27,000 machine to diagnose their problem. It’s impressive and makes you sound more professional.
11: Go over the repair order in detail
Most if not all of you now have computers with sophisticated software that you use to write your repair orders. If you allow your system to price out the job and print a lot of detail on the repair order, it will. You might have had an excuse for writing “one-liners” when you had to do repair orders by hand but you don’t anymore. Once again, one of the most important rules of selling in our business is, “The more you write on the repair order the more you get for the job,” so take your time writing it. Make sure you’ve entered all the detail you want.
When you are ready to present it to the customer either on a phone call or in person mention that you now have the repair order ready for them and ask if they have time to go over it with you in detail or if they would like you to summarize it or just get to the bottom line. Often they will tell you to just give them the total but if that total seems high to them they will then ask you to go over the entire bill in detail. Understand that you will be more likely to receive a price objection by only giving the total instead of breaking it down for them; so try to convince them to allow you to go over the entire repair order before quoting the final figure.
As you can see there are many steps involved before you quote the final figure if you are going to use the sales process in its entirety, but it will be best if you do. Any shortcut you take can, and probably will, make it harder for you to close the sale at the price you need. You can also see now why quoting a sight unseen price over the phone on the customer’s initial call cuts out the entire sales process leaving only an unsubstantiated number to look at. If the caller has already received several of those type of quotes he or she is likely to believe that we are all the same, the only difference being in the bottom line number and we know that isn’t true so we have to learn to be a little smarter than the rest if we want to win.
12: Ask for the order
Once you have finally quoted the amount you need, you can’t just stop there and wait for the customer’s response. You have to ask some kind of a closing question that will either get you the positive response you want or bring out an objection that you can then handle and close the sale.
The question itself can be a simple one like, “We can have it done by the end of the day or would tomorrow be more convenient for you to pick up the car?” One of my favorites to ask is, “Will you be taking care of this with cash or using a credit card?” These are both called alternate of choice questions. The idea behind asking this type of question is that any answer they pick is a positive and means that they are allowing you to go ahead.
The rule for asking this type of question is to always give a choice between all positives. That way any one they pick will get you the desired result. It’s a psychological factor that when given choices people will generally stay within the choices offered and only go outside of those choices if none of them come close to fitting their situation.
We never want to give a choice between a positive and a negative in any part of the sales process, especially when we are trying to close the sale.
That would make it too easy for the customer to say no and no is the answer they will choose most often if given the chance because it’s a way out. It means they are free from making any further decision or free from spending money that they don’t want to or free to look for a better offer.
At this point in the sale we are not looking to easily give customers this freedom of choice. We have already invested a considerable amount of time, money, and effort to get this close to the finish line. Now we just want to get them over it, so by offering all positive choices we may just be able to do that fairly easily.
Of course not all of your customers will immediately choose one of your positive answers. Some will come up with objections to you closing the sale in which case you will need to be ready with some answers that will swing them over to your side. Those answers need to be well practiced so they roll off your tongue quickly and easily with no hesitation. (Any hesitation to your answer can lead the customer to feel you are not really sure about what you’ve offered and challenge it.)
There are several objection they might have to you closing the sale and we will go over all of them in subsequent articles but the biggest and most often used is some form of “That’s too much money or your price is too high.” The thought that always pops into my mind when I hear either one of those is, “Compared to what?” But we can’t go back at them that way. We need to be careful how we phrase the questions we want answered if we expect to get any answer at all that will help us.
You see, any form of “Your price is too high” is not really an objection. The reason behind them saying it is the real objection, so your job is to find out that reason so you can handle the price objection and close. How do you do that? Very simply; just ask, “What make you feel my price is too high or that’s too much money?” That puts the ball back in their court. Now they have to tell you why they said it. Whatever they say now is the real objection and the one you need to handle in order to close.
Some possible reasons might be, they’ve received other price quotes over the phone without anybody actually checking out the problem, they’ve had it to another shop and were quoted a lower price, they haven’t had this type of work done in many years and the last time they did the price was much lower, they don’t feel they have that kind of money to spend or they aren’t sure if the car is worth fixing.
Next time we’ll go into how to properly handle these types of objections and different means of closing the sale.
Just to clarify, this is an on-going series and right now we are looking at the rules of selling, it’s more of an overview than anything else. We will go in depth into each phase of the sales process as we go along.