Savvy sales professionals recognize that reason eventually conquers emotion in successful transactions.
A true professional cannot and does not allow a prospect's passions to rule or overwhelm a sale.
At the risk of oversimplifying the sales experience, sometimes the sales pro has to be the proverbial “adult in the room.” The child — your prospect — may want to rant, rave, whine and disrupt or derail the discussion. Still, the adult must politely but firmly rein in the child and clarify the automotive maintenance and repair facts of life.
Many readers may recall that I have worked at the service desk. I also have watched countless service transactions occur while working as a technician, reporter and equipment salesman. Some potential elements of a transaction never change — emotion being one of them. Surely you cannot remove emotion from a sales transaction because it's an integral part of each and every sale.
However, you can and should prevent some emotions from disrupting your discussion and explanation of the facts. Don't let a motorist's passions take the focus away from calm, focused recommendations from an automotive professional — that's you. Sometimes, providing a calm, focused response may frustrate an emotional motorist so much that he or she storms out the door and never returns.
It's wholly unrealistic to think that you can close every single sale at the front counter. What's more, anyone in this business for very long realizes that a prospect who bolts probably wasn't worth having as a customer anyway.
In my last column, I encouraged service sales pros to sell diagnosis with pride. Proper diagnosis is an investment well spent when troubleshooting today's complex vehicles. One of the more common antics I've seen is consumers trying to circumvent the need for diagnosis with arguments that are passionate but illogical.
Don't be distracted or overruled by these tactics, such as a motorist who's frustrated because other service facilities did not solve his or her car's problem(s). Or, perhaps this person is an avid backyard mechanic who is stymied by some symptom(s) or other.
The fact that someone else already attempted and failed to fix a vehicle should be a red flag to any conscientious service writer or manager. That's a huge clue that something still isn't right — otherwise, the car would have been fixed correctly by now.
Regardless, suppose the motorist disputes your recommendation for a thorough diagnosis.
What's more, suppose the person whines that another shop already has replaced “everything” relevant to the symptoms but the problems persist. OK, simple logic dictates that if the other shop really did replace “every” relevant part, then the problem would have been solved. If the other shop's approach was valid, then the problems were solved and the fellow wouldn't be at your service counter now, right?
Another example of resisting a thorough, professional diagnosis is the motorist who insists that he or she paid for another service facility to test “everything.” Or, perhaps the vehicle owner thinks an “expert” buddy already checked everything there was to check. Sounds good, but it's really a nonsensical use of the word “everything.”
Once again, logic dictates a different outcome here. If someone really had tested “everything,” then the root cause of the car's trouble would have been identified.
I'm convinced that some service personnel have heard these two arguments so often they're numb to the fact these approaches are strictly emotional — not to mention pure baloney, any way you slice it.
Calmly stick to the facts: The vehicle still isn't fixed, so proper diagnosis and/or repair hasn't occurred. That's bad news to any cost-conscious consumer. But it's also a reminder that all service facilities were not and are not created equal.
When in doubt, motorists should seek personal referrals to reputable tire dealers and service shops. Make sure your shop is at or near the top of their list.