Nick is on the front lines of customer service each day. He is a talented service advisor, with a passion for helping others. Nick and I often debate what’s more important to the customer: price or value? He’ll often tell me, “I know you preach value, Joe, but people care about price, too. In the end, price is a major concern.” I always respond, “Nick, it’s not all about price, it’s really about value. Build a strong relationship, reach the customer emotionally, have them believe in you and they will trust you. And when that happens, price will not be the focus.”
Here’s the reality. I would be lying to you if I told you that price has absolutely no bearing on a person’s decision to buy from you or not. However, are consumers only interested in price? I know that sometimes it may appear that way, but the bottom line is this: being competitive and profitable is a fine line we walk each day. When the perception of value diminishes, price then becomes the focal point. Nick, who debates me on the philosophy of value, learned a valuable lesson recently, which made him a believer that there is most definitely a difference between value and price.
About a month ago, a first-time customer called us to ask if we could take a look at her son’s tire, which was losing air pressure. Nick took the call and said, “Sure, we would be happy to help you.” He took down all the needed information and let her know that he would follow up with a phone call as soon as her son arrived.
When the son arrived, Nick wrote up the car and dispatched it to a technician and then called the mother to let her know that her son had arrived. He also let her know that he would call her as soon as he knew something about the tire.
About ten minutes later, the tech informed Nick that the tire was damaged from riding with too little air pressure and that the tire would have to be replaced. He also said that the other three tires looked new and that it would not be a problem replacing the one tire.
Nick prepared an estimate for the tire and called the customer. Nick explained why the tire needed to be replaced and let her know that we could have the tire installed and have him on his way in about an hour or so. Nick then gave her the price for the job. The mother replied with, “Ok, give me five minutes and I will call you right back.”
Fifteen minutes later the mother called, and said, “Nick, I found another shop that will install that same tire for $50.00 less than you can do it for. So, can you put air in the tire so I can have my son drive it to the other shop?” Nick thought for a second and responded, “putting air in the tire and having your son drive his car to the other shop is not safe. Here’s what I will do. I will have my technician put the spare on the car. He’ll also check the tire pressure in the other three tires. Afterall, we want to make sure that your son is safe.” The mother thanked Nick and hung up the phone.
A few minutes later, the mother called again, asked for Nick and said this, “You know Nick, you were so nice to me from the very beginning when I first spoke to you and right up to now, and you put my son’s safety first. You also didn’t try to force me into buying your tire. Please install the tire at your price.” Nick, now on cloud nine, hung up the phone and told the tech to finish up the job.
Nick learned a valuable lesson that day. He learned that he didn’t sell a tire—he sold something much greater. He sold an emotional feeling. He reached the customer on an emotional level and the price of the job became less important. Does this work with everyone? Of course not. But, if you want to make more sales and build the right clientele, sell value, sell relationships and sell a positive emotional feeling.
Later that day, Nick told me what happened. I could tell that he was proud of how he handled the situation. And he should be. I just listened as he told me the entire story and relived the moment. After he had finished, I calmly asked him, “So Nick, is it really all about price?” Nick just smiled.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on May 5th, 2020