Communication may be the best weapon in the service provider’s arsenal when it comes to selling ride control work.
The category is notoriously difficult to sell because consumers generally don’t notice the fading performance of aging shocks and struts. They become acclimatized to the “road feel” of their vehicles. Improving it with new components is rarely top of mind.
But there are very good reasons to suggest a ride control refresh on older cars… and it has little to do with comfort. Instead, the strongest case to be made for new shocks and struts centers on the safety of the vehicle.
Maintaining contact with the ground, and ensuring the proper responsiveness of steering, brakes, and suspension components relies on properly functioning ride control parts.
For independent auto repair shops, the imperative to capture this kind of work is particularly important, given their performance compared to new-vehicle dealerships.
In Canada, according to J.D. Power & Associates, new car dealerships have a good hold on the market, capturing nearly half of all ride control service work (47%), compared to the 38% that goes to independent repair shops.
So how to improve sales? The answer may be as simple as understanding how to effectively communicate the benefits of new shock and struts to customers
A recent survey, published in our sister publication Jobber News, indicates that sales of ride control work can jump dramatically after training.
More than half of service providers polled acknowledged that ride control sales increased significantly in the quarter immediately following training. The largest group (29.5% of all respondents) indicated that sale of ride control work increased between 6 and 10 per cent after they took part in training.
It seems clear that service advisers who have learned how to talk to customers about ride control – how it works and how it relates to safety – become extremely adept at selling the work.
The training itself comes in a number of different forms. Available online, in self-study modules, informational videos, classroom training, and special “ride-and-drive” events, each method has its unique strengths. Predictably, survey respondents found the online courses, videos, and self-directed correspondence courses to be not only the least interactive, but also the least effective. Head and shoulders above those methods were classroom training, and ride-and-drive events.
The ride-and-drive events were particularly helpful as they gave service professionals the chance to compare driving on worn shocks and struts, with driving on brand new, latest-technology components. It truly drives home the point that degraded ride control components can dramatically affect handling and braking.
It’s why ride-and-drive events keep popping up in summer months. Participants find uniquely personal ways to communicate the importance of new shocks and struts to their customers.
Classroom work tends to focus on the importance of inspecting components for signs of wear, and understanding the key replacement principles the ensure a successful job – key skills that lead to more jobs.
If you want to improve sales of ride control work, look for training that will help you understand the importance of inspecting every vehicle for sales opportunities and effectively explain the benefits of properly functioning shocks and struts.
If nothing else, it will give you the confidence to make the recommendation to your customers.