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Selling High-Dollar Repairs to a New Customer Base

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When Jon Iverson started a mobile repair shop after 22 years as a technician in a Mercedes dealership, he had to take on a completely foreign position: He had to become a service advisor.

Iverson started Mountain View, Calif.-based Mobile Mercedes Doctor in 2007, and immediately learned he needed to develop skills as a service advisor to go along with his abilities as a technician, including how to sell work, what the cost of parts are, and the entire labor side of estimating.

In the September issue of Ratchet+Wrench, we'll take a look at Iverson’s business, including how he identified a gap in his marketplace and how he staffed and invested in everything needed to build a successful mobile repair business. Another major aspect of his story, however, is how Iverson overcame one of his biggest obstacles: effectively communicating with customers about their repairs.

Being a self-described “people person,” Iverson found it easy and interesting to interact with customers. However, he soon found there were several situations where he had to learn how to sell major repairs, and deal with occasional sticker shock. Working on a giant repair ticket was one thing—but Iverson soon found out that selling it to a customer base was a major obstacle.

“Selling someone a $5,000 dollar job when I myself had a challenge buying a $5,000 job, that made it tough,” Iverson says.

This meant he had to take service advisor classes, and learn the trade from experts like Cecil Bullard. He eventually learned to let go of attaching his own emotions to a customer’s money, realizing they were willing to pay what it took to keep their Mercedes vehicles in top shape.

Additionally, Iverson learned how to “interview” the customer on what they need, doing initial interviews over the phone to pinpoint the exact services the customer’s vehicle would require. This meant not only asking questions about the condition of the vehicle, but also where that vehicle would be serviced to avoid going out to a dangerous neighborhood.

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