Most calls to my detail shop start with this question. My success converting these “feeler” calls into appointments–we’ll call it “batting average”–might be the most important skill I have as a detailing business owner. Here’s three simple tips that have greatly improved my “batting average” over the years.
1. Speak slowly, clearly, and confidently.
Believe in yourself and the product/service you are selling. Customers can sense whether or not you are coming across as having their interest at heart. Showing your confidence in your product will reflect in your conversation. Knowing your product or service inside out and being able to communicate what differentiates it from your competition is key. Practice in the mirror selling a potential customer on the key aspects of your company vs. the competition. Have a basic script ready for when you answer the phone and stick to it. For example: “Thank you for calling ABC Detailing, Scott speaking – How can I help you?” Speak slow and clearly. Call your competitors and listen to how they answer their phone with how you as a customer would think of the person you are speaking with. Use the best of what you hear and avoid the mistakes you encounter.
2. Control the conversation.
Customers can ramble. You don’t have the time for this, so ask questions that give you control. Here’s two that get the conversation on track:
1. “What size car”? This reveals how much “real estate” you’re working with: an Expedition is 2.5 times the size of an S2000.
2. Why are you needing a detail? CRITICAL. No one details a clean car. You want to get to the bottom line as to why they’re paying $200+: pet hair, paint swirls, overspray, waterspots, odor, carpet stains, car for sale, etc. Knowing this information will allow you to more accurately sell your customer what they actually need as opposed to letting them steer the conversation to just acquiring prices about different packages that may or may not address their specific needs. ASK QUESTIONS!
3. Offer appointment times.
After the customer gets the information they need, let them know what’s available this week: “we have this afternoon, all of Tuesday, all of Thursday, and Friday morning available.” You’ll often name the exact time/day they were hoping for and they’ll book the appointment…without calling the next competitor on their “call list.” Spending some time in advance will easily increase the amount of sales you will make on the phone.
A great example of these tips working well happened when I had a customer call regarding shampooing the interior of her SUV. She called requesting a price but it wasn’t until after I asked some relevant questions that she admitted that she had spilled a large quantity of chili in her cargo area. Getting that information allowed me to know what I was up against and “sell her” on the quality of our service without just throwing out a price on a job I couldn’t accurately price until I saw it in person. She ended up coming down for an estimate in person and ultimately getting the job done because I asked questions, provided the correct information based on what I was told and quoted her based on what she needed as opposed to just giving a generic price.
Scott Perkin is the owner of Scotty’s Shine Shop in London, Ontario.