Shops will often get calls from someone who is price shopping. They know they need new brakes. They got a quote from one shop but they’re calling around to see what other shops in the area are offering.
So how do you turn that price shopper into one who visits and buys from your shop? Tom Amero, certified elite trainer at Elite, a training company that works with the automotive aftermarket, recommended gathering as much information as possible.
“The best thing to do is to ask a lot of questions. Fact find,” he said during a session at this year’s Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision and Hi-Tech Training Expo.
Those questions can range from why the caller thinks it’s the water pump to how long they’ve been having an issue. “So think of good questions that you can continue to ask. Ask follow-up questions,” he said.
The goal is to get that customer into your shop. So you need as much information as you can about their issue so you can properly recommend them to come in and have your techs take a look at the vehicle. The problem might be more complicated than what the customer is saying — maybe there’s an underlying issue that led to the component they’re calling about failing — and no one will know until it’s in one of your bays.
“I’d hate to put a new water pump in it and then three months later, you get another broken water pump because there was something that was causing that issue,” Amero said. “So ask those questions. Lots and lots of questions.”
If you’ve asked a lot of questions, the customer will see that you genuinely care about their vehicle. Rather than saying you don’t give prices over the phone or that they need to come in first without information gathering, the customer will never set foot in your shop.
Another key: Don’t let the conversation abruptly end.
“You can speak, you can educate them, you can talk to them. But then when you’re done educating them, ask a follow-up question,” Amaro said.
Ask if you explained everything well enough. Does it all make sense? Do they have other questions?
“There are ways that you can engage them and get dialogue from them without just stopping,” he added.