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I Can’t Afford it Today

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Great article. and, in some cases... it does turn out to be "Well, I can't afford "not" to do it, then sometimes... it still doesn't work. Just depends on the way the customer is looking at the problem and/or their budget.

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I do not like pressure selling. Do they need the tbelt. Absolutely I fell you just do the best you can to help them understand the need for it and the cost involved if it does break. If they do not have the 4 they dont have the $. Scare tactics and pressure are things I refuse to do. I have no issues sleeping at night and looking ppl in the eyes knowing I did what I felt was right.

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I Can't Afford it Today


Recently, at one of our service advisor's meeting, I questioned why a customer declined doing the timing belt. This customer was informed at her last visit that the timing belt was overdue and she also received a post card reminder from us. The customer's response when the advisor mentioned the timing belt? "I know, I know, but it's the start of the school year and I just can't afford it today". It was a busy day, and the advisor simply informed her that we will set up a reminder for the next visit. Good customer service? Of course not!


Joe with all due respect I disagree. Your adviser did there job and gave the customer the necessary information and let them make the decision.


This customer is already overdue for the timing belt and if it breaks and does internal damage, who will she be looking at and blaming? You bet; US!


I don't think so. And if they did then for one you have the reminders as proof of such. Second a customer with an attitude such as this is not a customer... They are a consumer... They consume your time, efforts and just make stress. Weed them out!


I constantly reminder my service advisors that we are not peddlers at a county fair trying to sell our products and need to convince people that our product is in their best interest. We are selling services and products that the customer absolutely needs in order to maintain a safe and reliable vehicle. And equally important, what we recommend will save the customer money down the road by decreasing the odds of a costly mechanical breakdown.


And if they did this and the customer choose not to have it done then I don't feel you should pressure your advisers to push your customers to the point they may walk out the door.


When a customer states to you that they can't afford what you are recommending, it may be true from their perspective. But do they really know what the cost of the repair will be if they choose no? Does the customer know that if the timing belt breaks, without warning, it may do internal damage which will lead to a repair that may be 4 to 5 times higher than replacing the T belt?


Then make sure they know and let them decide.


When communicating with customers, ask the right questions; Is this a car you plan on keeping? Do you use this car to commute to work each day? Is this also a family car you use on weekends? If you get a series of, yes, yes, yes, you are making the customer understand that what you are suggesting is in their best interest. Lastly, let the customer understand the down side of not performing the service or repair today. If you have done your job correctly, the customer will be saying, "Well, I really can't afford Not to do it".


Agreed a good way to present it and make your point.




Have a good day



Edited by Spence
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  • 3 months later...



When communicating with customers, ask the right questions; Is this a car you plan on keeping?



I've learned to steer clear of this question. I am not sure how it is in other markets however in New York City, it seems that many of my customers are always looking to either save money and get into something newer, bigger, better. Although most of these customers who claim they are "getting rid of the car in 6 months" very few do however they will be adamant on not spending money due to the fact that they are "selling the car" or "trading it in". Its kind of annoying to hear this because it really derails any type of recommendation selling of services the car actually needs. Even explaining repair costs vs car payments doesn't really help. Unfortunately most of these customers are people that will not care about leaving the car a lemon for the next buyer.


I know the response will be "these are not qualified customers for your business" however most of these people are either customers who have spent some money with me (over $1000) or over time spend a nice amount of money ($2000+) but they will always give you the same stupid story. There is also a balancing act of not pushing too much Recommended service on them to give them more of a reason to actually buy a New car.

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Sometimes by asking a series of questions, you can make the person understand that you are only looking out for their best interest. For example, the other day we had a customer with an original battery come in for a State Inspection and a LOF. The tech noticed that the car turned over sluggish and tested the battery once in the bay. When the advisor informed the customer of the needed battery, the customer said, "Let me hold off, I need to get over the Christmas bills". The advisor then said, "Isn't this your daughter's car who is home from college"? The customer responded by saying, "Yes, and shes going back upstate to college in a few weeks, maybe we should that battery while she is home".


This is not a hard sell, it's just speaking to somone the way you would speak to a family member. Connecting with the customer on an emotional level is key.



Awesome advice, I try my best to do this with my customers. Going back to the "I can't do it right now" customers, I just finished a series of e-mail in which we replaced a customers water pump where as the warranty covered most of the costs. The T-stat was stuck open and I recommended to replace that as well. When I informed the customer the warranty company would not be covering this part, his reply was of course, "I can't do it right now". This is after I explained to him the dangers of over cooling etc. Customer also said "I am not keeping this car passed the summer." Everyone has different priorities and for some people its drastically different.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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