By Bob Cooper of Elite
Many years ago when I was still working on cars, I came to the realization that I would someday own my own shop. I also realized that in order to do so, I would first have to learn how to sell service. The challenge I faced at that time was not only did I not know how to sell, but I also had little respect for salespeople, because I viewed them as people who would take people’s money, and more often than not do little in return. So I was actually faced with two challenges; having to somehow learn how to sell, and also deal with my internal struggle of becoming part of a profession that I had little, if any, respect for. So here is what I did.
I went to the local book store looking for books that would help me learn how to sell, and hopefully help change my perception of selling at the same time. To my amazement, I found a book that I knew would be perfect for me. It was written by the nation’s top car salesman at that time, and I thought even though he sold cars instead of service, it was likely more closely related to the auto service industry than any other book I would find. I bought the book, I hurried home, and I began reading each and every word. As you can imagine, I was thrilled with what I was learning, so I was circling key phrases, and taking pages of notes. And then I came across a part I will never forget, where the author said that every time he was selling a car, he would look across his desk at the customer, and he would view them as a bag of groceries. He said the reason he would do this was to convince himself that if the customer didn’t buy that car that day, he would not be able to eat dinner that night.
As soon as I finished that passage, I folded up the book, and I put it away. To this day I never finished the book, but it still sits on my bookshelf for one simple reason; to remind me of everything I never want to be. With all due respect, that author may have transferred a lot of titles, and he may have ran up the numbers, but the one thing that he appears to have forgotten is this: The people he was dealing with were your moms and dads, and your brothers and sisters. They were people with hearts and souls, not just commodities, or a means to an end.
Ironically, at the same time I was also captivated by two people; the late, great John F. Kennedy, and the late, great Martin Luther King, and what I learned from these two was something that has been with me ever since. It’s the understanding that selling really has nothing to do with money. It never has, and it never will. You see, what selling really is, is helping people believe in what we believe. President Kennedy was able to unite America by helping us believe that we were the greatest nation on earth, and Doctor King was able to help us believe that all mankind is equal, regardless of the color of our skin.
Over the decades I have hired many superstars, and as a company we have trained tens of thousands of advisors, so I can tell you with a clear heart that the best advisors in America have a number of things in common. Most importantly, they never put money ahead of people, and they understand that just because someone authorizes a repair or service, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they were sold on the service. The true superstars will always sell from their hearts, and they know that when that magic moment occurs, and the customer believes in what they believe, then and only then, have they closed the sale. The money? Interestingly enough, there is another principle that I have learned over the years, and it’s another one that is timeless. It’s the one that says, “If we do the right things for the right reasons, the money will follow.” Selling service is one of the easiest and most rewarding jobs on earth as long as you believe that the service is the right choice for the customer, and as long as you sell… from your heart.
For additional help increasing your shop's sales and customer satisfaction in a professional and ethical way, learn more about Elite's industry acclaimed Masters Service Advisor Training.
By Bob Cooper of Elite