Quantcast
Jump to content


Recommended Posts

A woman called her dentist the other day and asked how much would a root canal cost. Her dentist replied, “Sure, hold on, let me look that up. Ok, that’ll be around $1400 for that job. Would you like to come in and have that root canal done?” Ridiculous scenario, you’re thinking? I agree! A dentist would never give a price over the phone without first examining the patient.

 

Why do some shops continue to give prices over the phone? Even something as simple as a wheel alignment price can lead the customer and you in the wrong direction. Do you really know the car needs an alignment?

 

Pricing over the phone is the same as giving them a diagnosis. When a customer calls for a price on a water pump and you give a price, you are saying to them, “Yes, it IS the water pump and here’s the price. And then you get the car in the bay and it needs hoses, a thermostat, and the radiator is leaking, not the pump.

 

Giving prices over the phone also tells the caller to please judge you on price alone; a road I refuse to go down.

 

I know this is going to push a lot of buttons today, but my tip today is to resist giving prices over the phone. Get the car into you bay, perform the inspection and/or the proper testing and then when you know what the problem is, sell the job.

 

We are professionals, no different than the Dentist.

 

Your thoughts?

 

 

We do estimates with a 30 percent success rate , we try to find out what their after since a lot of clients only know to ask about price . We ask Several Questions are you looking for a long term repair , Have you had any other estimates , Are you looking for the cheapest repair , The Best repair Etc. We do not do the Estimate over the phone while waiting , We call back that way We have a contact to follow up and listen to them// by then most price shoppers will have other estimates. We can explain the differences of what they got quoted and what the competitor is quoting , We also can talk with them more about our Value differences - Free Courtesy car's , 3Yr - 36,000 mile warranty , six months same as Cash , Free Towing , This gets them away from price and hits home I need Transportation more then price etc. In closing if your in an Area that is blessed with too much work great , but for most of us that is not the case. [ 2016 - Get Out and Vote ]

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Alas, Joe - what a doozy of a post to throw out on a Friday! :)

 

I couldn't agree more about not giving prices over the phone. The only pricing my staff is allowed to give over the phone is that which is represented by any of our advertised, "most cars" pricing, such as oil changes, fluid exchange services,basic A/C service, etc.

 

As a matter of fact, I've proven time and again that if a price-shopper calls us on the phone asking for a price for repair service, giving them the price over the phone is a near-guarantee that we won't win the job, and earn their business. On the other hand, handling price shoppers according to our process DOES, in fact, increase our car count, new customer count, and increases our sales exponentially over caving and thinking we're somehow doing them a service by yielding to their ridiculous request. Again...a dentist doesn't quote prices. A doctor doesn't quote prices, (and they even make you pay for the, ahem, testing...EVEN if you buy the medicine they later prescribe), nor does any other professional person...unless its a packaged, "Most Cases" type service.

 

The first thing we need to do is make sure that the person we're talking to falls into the category of "Price-Shopper". This is NOT just anyone that happens to be asking for a price. The basic premise I fall back on when training an advisor is that they need to educate our customers just enough to give them the ability to make an informed decision about the nature of the recommended services their vehicle needs. You can't do that over the phone. One of the simpleset, most powerful ways we accomplish this is by injecting the following into the conversation: "Mr. Smith, I understand why you're calling, and believe me...no one knows better how costly some repairs can be than we do, but I can tell you what the single most expensive part is that you'll EVER put on your car, and I'll always be correct. Since he apparently wants to talk about prices, I inform him that the most expensive part you'll ever put on your car is the part that you absolutely don't NEED.

 

With that in mind, I explain to him that the process we have in place is intended to protect him from ever having work done that doesn't target his primary concern. (As a side note, by the way, this is a BEAUTIFUL place to tell your garden-variety price shopper all about Repairpal.)

 

I like the previous comment regarding our value proposition. (Ok, those are MY words) Are you the low-price leader in your marketplace? If you are, then throw prices at everyone that calls. Most of us are not.

 

I take the time to practice selling them on why they should come to us, and let us "throw our hat into the ring" with all the rest of our competitors who apparently have no problem giving a price on the phone. There's ALWAYS an angle, and no matter what they say, our advisors are trained to give the answer that results in one thing, and one thing only: GET THE CAR TO THE SHOP.

 

Price shoppers who have been rightfully convinced that it is truy in their best interest to allow us the privilege of offering a free "quick-peek" inspection (If you're inclined to offer that), have come in with sometimes as many as 7 or 8 other estimates jotted down on a piece of paper, only to gleefully give us permission to service their car, sometimes at a final price that was 10 or 20% more than their best "phone estimate"

 

Why? Because we're able to show them how much we truly care about getting the job done, getting it done right, not wasting their time, and the 50 other reasons that all build VALUE into the proposition of allowing us to work with them in achieving their vehicle repair/maintenance endgame scenario. Heck...it's become standard practice to tell people that in the end, if they take us up on our offer to give them a free inspection & the estimate of their asking, that if they like what we have to say, then GREAT. If not, we always tell them they are authorized to ball up the estimate, and throw it back at us, and we can all still be friends. We are in the business of meeting people and making friends...and you can't do that as effectively on the phone, only.

 

The hardcore, meanie-head, sometimes crazy sounding automatons that just keep repeating, "But I need a price. I need a price." Those guys? They represent a VERY small minority of the market, (I've read them to be as low as only 11% of the universe of prospects) and you'd be smarter to LET them be mad at you and go elsewhere so they can give your competitors a hard time, cut corners, and beat them up on every last little thing, wasting their time, while YOU focus on the customers that are more interested in keeping their cars maintained, and those who appreciate a professional, capable, honest mechanic.

 

What's the very best thing that can happen? They finally come in because you caved, and told them it will be $125? If so, you better not try to charge them for a gasket that is also necessary, or worse yet, tell them their widget wasn't the problem all along...either way, those kinds of people will always want to make someone ELSE responsbile for the troubles they have on their vehicle, and conveniently forget that it was all in response to the campaign they launched to squeeze the last nickel out of someone over the phone.

 

Nah. I'm ok if they go somewhere else. I just make sure to plant the seed (politely) that if it doesn't happen to work out for them wherever they end up ,that I'll be happy to give them that inspection on their first visit, andmke absolutely certain we'll work as hard as we have to in making sure we meet or exceed their expectations.

 

Just one man's blissful avoidance of people who'd rather argue over $5 than have the doctor give them a real assessment.

 

A lot of wisdom here. Bookmarking this answer. Right now, I am the leader for low price repair in my immediate market but I don't plan on being so for long. And the customers you are talking about.... those are the customers I am ending up getting....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For sure its hard to do, since there are a lot of shops that do give out prices and online estimates, parts stores are posting prices all over the board. Customers are getting used to it. But also Its important to keep in mind that price is still a very common question for callers. And there is an opportunity to turn them to loyal clients.

We ask our clients to bring their car in for no obligation "Courtesy Inspection". Let me be clear that "Inspection" is not the same as diagnostics/testing. We also explain that we have a fee for Testing if the initial inspection warrants a test procedure. We then explain or show the procedure to the client. We do this to educate the client on our process, justify the time spent and cost for testing and bring trust as well as credibility into the mix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are a shop with highly competitive prices (and when I mean "competitive" I mean its going to be hard for a price shopper to find a lower price) then by all means give a price over the phone.

 

If you are a shop that sells value and benefits with your service then the only way for you to effectively get that across is to show the customer. Over the phone and with a price every shop looks the same. There is no way for you to win that battle. You win by having them visit you and your facility and give them an amazing experience where price is the last thing on their mind. At that point you have sold them on your shop and your people and not on a price.

 

Also lets keep in mind if you are dealing with a true "price shopper" then your goal is to get rid of them as fast as possible and let that customer be someone else's problem. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate between someone who is looking for only a price rather than a person who doesn't know what to ask or has been "inceptioned" by a friend/colleague/family/neighbor/other shop.

 

Good points there mspecperformance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

A lot of wisdom here. Bookmarking this answer. Right now, I am the leader for low price repair in my immediate market but I don't plan on being so for long. And the customers you are talking about.... those are the customers I am ending up getting....

 

It's always terrible to be on the receiving end of customers that just have to have a price and ask why it's so expensive - all over the phone.

 

however, i've always taken it as someone who doesn't understand the gravity of the work required and as such, the only metric is 'price'.

 

the best way so far is to have them come in and we can find out for ourselves why they were asking for a service. The guys in our immediate area shop around and never dare to tell you that they did. I would rather they be honest and tell us they did. I just don't see the point with hiding things if the whole point was to get something fixed. the thing is, they may not even be shopping based on the solution. It might just be a misguided diagnosis and now they're just running around asking for a useless service. *shrugs*

 

I find the guys who come in to the shop and allow us a good look at the car, to be more sincere customers because they see the big picture. If they spent their time shopping based on price alone, they're just missing the whole point of finding the right solution. The ones i've encountered, just end up fixing item upon item up item without actually clearing up the fault...

 

low prices never did businesses any good. high prices too.

 

however, i find that giving prices for basic services online helps to give customers a ballpark and i maintain that it's a ballpark. If they wanted something accurate to the dollar, contact us!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an situation we need to be aware of.   I got a call the other day for a price on a Timing Belt for a Honda.  I asked the caller,  "Have you been shopping around, and if so, what prices have you gotten?" He relied,  "Well, that's the problem, I have different prices from different shops."  

To shorten up this story; this caller was getting prices on the Timing belt job with different options; with a water pump, with belts, with antifreeze service....and the exact opposite....with only the T Belt and labor, and other combinations.  So, this confuses the consumer.

Bottom line, I am not hear to tell anyone how to conduct business, but just think about this:  We all do business a little different from each other.  If you do decide to give prices, you better be sure the customer is comparing apples to apples, if not, the price you give may be "perceived" as too high, when in reality, it's not.

Food for thought...and your thoughts?

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a scene that hasn’t been mentioned yet.

A potential customer calls to find out what you charge for a water pump or radiator. They were told it was bad.  You convince them to bring it in to confirm. You check it out and charge them. And then quote the job. But, it’s higher that the other quotes they got (or they don’t like you or the shop) so now they’re sort of stuck. Because when they go to another shop, they will get charged again to check it (no shop is going to fix a car on another shop’s diagnosis). You’ve now created an uncomfortable situation, just ripe for a bad online review, because you didn’t quote a simple radiator with the warning that it may need something else.

I don’t see these callers as price shoppers. They are researching a new shop to take their broken car to. And probably just want a fair deal at a fair price, not the cheapest and not the most expensive. (disclaimer: we work on German cars

Someone or some repair shop told them they need a water pump. So they call 3, 4 or 5 shops and figure they will eliminate the highest and the lowest and pick from what’s in the middle. And probably eliminate the shop that won’t give a price. It seems you want them to arrange to drop off their car, get a ride or Uber, then maybe pick up their car – all because you won’t quote a water pump? Of course you inform them it may not be the water pump or may need something else.

I understand the concern, but in no way am I diagnosing the car to need a water pump. I make that totally clear on the phone (then say it again when they come in). If it’s not the water pump, a simple explanation should take care of that

I don’t just give a quote, I will sneak in some shop promotion as I’m looking up the quote and building rapport. People buy from who they know, like and trust. If you don’t give them a quote, but simply tell them to bring their car in for an real inspection, they are wondering why. I say give them a quote: others have.

Personally, if I call 4 shops and get water pump quotes, and one shop that doesn’t, why would I go there? What if they are the highest? Do I grind them down and be one of “Those Customers?” I have to waste unnecessary time because I didn’t get a simple quote. UNLESS I get a GREAT reason why they are the best shop to go to.

Side note: If you quote list on labor and parts, you probably won’t get the job. But what I think is more important, you won’t get the new customer – who has friends and co-workers, who is not a price shopper, who is looking for another shop, for whatever reason.

If you don’t want to quote, at least get them in the ballpark by saying you are either in the middle price-wise, a little below or a little above.

Check out my article in Shop Owner magazine on the maligned Price Shopper:

https://www.shopownermag.com/converting-price-shoppers-using-a-different-approach-can-win-them-over/

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I first opened I was willing to spend the time to research parts, labor and work required and call back with a price.  I spent a lot of time for very little return.  But there was some return.

Then I read advice that a shop should never give a price over the phone but instead encourage the caller to bring the vehicle in for an inspection.  So I stopped giving prices over the phone, even for the exact job I had just completed for a different customer.  I booked exactly ZERO appointments/inspections.

Then I decided to take a new approach, to research the required work, the parts and labor and then call the potential customer and talk with them.  In the first call I would almost always ask them if they had had the vehicle inspected already.  I know that I can trust the diagnosis of most of the shops in my area.  We really don't have any incompetent or dishonest shops anymore.  But by talking to and LISTENING then EDUCATING them about what the repair, the PROPER repair I have closed many jobs.  What I do is answer Joe's complaint and example of the timing belt, explaining to them the difference between doing the job and doing the complete job and why it is in their best interest to do the complete job instead of the minimum job.  And then like newport5 wrote about the customer multiplying their costs with inspection charge on top of inspection charge.

I have very often heard from people that called for prices that I treated in this way that I was NOT the cheapest but because I took the time to explain to them the process and why they should do what they should do, I made them feel like I cared and at that point price didn't really matter.  What mattered is I built trust with them by actually doing what they asked, see beyond the question they asked, "How much" and answering, "What needs to be done, why does it need to be done, what does it cost, why does it cost that and what are my options?"  The customer who calls and asks for a price is RARELY just asking for a price.  They just don't really know how to ask what they really want to know.  By refusing to engage with them and giving them a price, we are dismissing them and disrespecting them. Why should they trust us then?

And like in original post, the dentist would likely not give you a price over the phone, but they wouldn't just say, "Come in, pay us for an office visit and some x-rays and then we will tell you hos much it will cost you."  What they will probably do is ask a few questions, talk to you and have a better idea what they need to plan for when they offer to set an appointment for you.  You educate them, they educate you and then you both can work together to meet your, the customer's needs.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...