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How do we sell them on using us over the parts guys?

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Our shop is just a few blocks away from a parts store that offers to pull codes for free. We regularly get customers calling us to compare prices or wondering why we’re charging for our diagnostics. How do we sell them on using us over the parts guys?

Mark Hambaum, consultant, MDH Automotive Services

To a lot of people, a brake job is a brake job is a brake job. They wonder, “Does it really matter that much where I go?” With that kind of mentality, people are going to respond to marketing.

The fact of the matter is that there are parts stores out there doing the free code pull and consumers are going to go for it. You need to do something about it.

In some cases, it’s best that if you can’t beat them, join them.

I’m never an advocate of giving away a technician’s time for free. But having said that, your role as a shop owner is all about developing customer relationships.

Let’s say someone has a check engine light and they’re asking, “What’s it going to cost me to have this looked at?” Let them know that the first step of the process is hooking up a scan tool and analyzing the situation. You can mention that a lot of parts stores will do this for free, but the reason they’re doing it for free is because they’re going to try to sell you a part that goes with the code. You can tell them to come in so you can retrieve the code, and you can talk from there.

They’ll ask how much that will cost them, and you can say you won’t charge them this time around.

And they’ll be on their way over.

Once you’ve got the vehicle in your parking lot and the customer at the counter, your chances of converting that into a job is going to be better than doing all of this over the phone.

Obviously, this requires some good communication skills, and some good selling skills. You have to sell this right to the customer. You have to have those skills in play, but it works very well.

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