If Your Advisors Don't Know the Value of an Inspection, How Can You Expect Your Customers to Know?

sales Jul 22, 2019

What is your value proposition on an oil change? Do your customers know why they should change oil with YOU instead of going to a chain store, quick lube, or whoever has the month’s cheapest coupon?

I have found that many advisors can’t answer this question, or they answer it in a very weak way. If that's the case, how do we expect our customers to know?

Why should a customer change oil at your shop every time? Is it because you're the fastest? Is it because you're the cheapest? Is it because you wash the windshield or vacuum the car? Or is it because you have an ASE certified technician inspect the vehicle every single time? What customers need to be made to understand, is that there is a big difference between having a real automotive technician change their oil compared to a chain or quick lube place.

We can get our teenage children to vacuum our car or wipe the windshield. Having an ASE certified technician, often a master technician, inspect the vehicle for a low cost, or even free of charge, is the most valuable thing we could ever offer the general public.

When do most people have an ASE certified technician inspect their vehicle? It's when it breaks and that's not often enough. Plus, it’s a terrible strategy for caring for a car. When they choose to have a real technician do their oil changes, they keep ASE eyes on the vehicle all year long. This is very valuable and must be explained to all customers. Proactively inspecting the vehicle before there are big problems is in the best interest of the customer and that’s why they should have a real technician do oil change services. If it can be the same set of ASE eyes, it’s even more valuable as we can now get to know their vehicle as it ages and help keep an eye on things, alerting the customer to items before they become critical.

I recently spent some time with a gentleman that owned his own shop for many years and is now a service advisor for another company. He told me, like many others have in the past, that he never thought to sell the value of his inspection on oil changes because it was free. He always struggled with questions from his customers about why the oil change could not be done quicker or why he didn't vacuum the car like other places did. His answer should have been that anyone could do those remedial tasks but only he could provide an ASE certified technician that inspects the car for free, and that's the most valuable thing he could ever offer anyone!

We often make sure our advisors can properly explain things and sell most services. What we don't do, is make sure that they can stand up to challenges and hard questions from customers. Questions like, “Why does the oil change take longer here?” Or “Why don't you vacuum and clean the windshield?” Or “Why should I care about the inspection?” Or, most importantly, “Why should I be willing to pay more and wait longer to have my oil changed here?”

Train your advisors not only how to explain different services and sell specific repairs, but also how to sell the company! Also teach them how to add value to an oil change. How to explain the differences of having a real technician change their oil versus a quick lube or chain.

Most customers have never thought about it this way and don’t understand the differences. When you tell a customer that if they let a real technician consistently do their oil services combined with the thorough inspection that only an experienced ASE certified technician can do, and that you are attempting to put them, the customer in financial control of the vehicle instead of the other way around, and that most people spend their entire lives with the vehicle being the one in control, they tend to start listening. Most customers can’t imagine being able to plan ahead for vehicle repairs and maintenance because they focus on time and dollar amount for oil changes instead of steady ASE eyes inspecting it all year long. I like to ask customers if they enjoy being told, out of the blue, that they need to “spend money on a repair or service right now or else”. I tell them we don’t like to have to ‘spring’ things on people either and that’s why a consistent inspection from a real technician is the only way to properly care for an automobile.

Let’s start by explaining these basics to our advisors and follow it up with real training. If we do thi, we can transform how customers think and, therefore, transform the entire industry.

By the way, in case you were wondering, that gentleman that owned his own shop, and now works for another automotive company? He stopped doing oil changes a year and a half ago. His ARO went up nicely but he ran out of cars to work on. I wonder if his customers went to try another shop for oil changes only, but found out that that shop could do all the work and they explained the value of having one technician for everything.

Jason M. Servidio