Know Thy Customer

Know Thy Customer
Why your service customers trust you, is key to keeping them coming back.

When selling service and parts, you need to know what kind of customers you’re dealing with, and what their hot buttons are.

Generally, there are two main groups of vehicle owners. You might call them the A to B group, and the OMG. You have to market to and sell to each group differently. The A to B folks see their vehicles strictly as transportation, while the OMG group love their vehicles.

Selling to the A-Bers is relatively straightforward: Your manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance program is very important to this group. The entire raison d’être for this program is to ensure long, safe vehicle ownership. The A to B people need to know that their brakes have been inspected regularly and replaced as required. For them, not only are scheduled maintenance tasks such as regular oil changes, transmission and coolant flushes, and other maintenance items important to their vehicle’s life, but they provide a level of personal comfort in knowing they can safely and reliably count on their ride to get them where they need to go when they need to go.

This is an important tool for your service advisors. This piece of knowledge can help make a tough sale happen. An important thing for your staff to realize is that for some of these customers, scheduled maintenance is not a “should do” but it’s a “have to do.” Do not oversell. But do make sure these customers get the peace of mind they need.

The fun group

Your OMG owners, on the other hand, need the same services, but for entirely different reasons… in their minds, at least. For instance, regular oil changes aren’t required for safety and reliability—they are required to keep their engines operating at peak efficiency, providing power when and where it’s needed.

Similarly, brake services, including inspections, and periodic pad and rotor replacement, are a safety issue to some degree, but again they want their rides to be operating in peak condition all the time—starting, running and stopping.

Additionally, the OMG crowd will spend money on accessories. Add-ons and other services designed to enhance their driving experience. Do your store a favour and involve the parts department with these customers. Top of the line floor mats, steering wheel covers, seat covers, license plate holders, etc. And don’t forget about lifestyle accessories like hats, jackets, key fobs, and so on.

Tough competition

Your parts and service departments do not operate in a vacuum. There is a great big world of big-box retailers and small specialty shops that are ready, willing, and able to service your customers. Many have the same tools at their disposal, and they know how to identify the A to B gang and the OMG crowd. You have to USE your advantages to the fullest.

The A to B people need to know that your knowledge, experience, and specialization, combined with original equipment parts and accessories, are what is meant for their vehicles—what is best for their vehicles. They trust you.

The OMG individuals may be tempted by the wider array of goodies available at aftermarket specialists, but you have the pride factor working in your favour. These folks are proud of the vehicle they bought and deep down want to show off their pride. An aftermarket accessory or service may be good, but it’s just not the same as the genuine original.

That’s your ticket to success.

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