Multi-Point Inspections: A Low-Pressure Sales Approach!
The key to a low-pressure sales approach is to educate, rather than sell.
For more than 30 years, I’ve been hearing comments like this from automotive service personnel all across North America. Listen up:
“I’m not a salesman; I’m a technician.”
“I’m not a salesman; I’m a shop owner.”
I’m not a salesman; I just write down what my customers tell me that they want.”
“I’m not a salesman. Why, I don’t even like salesmen. I would never do that for a living!”
Breaking news: If you are in the automotive industry, then you are a salesman! The day you cease to be a salesman is the day you’ll go out of business.
To be fair, when people make the above comments, I think what they really mean is “Hey, I don’t want to high-pressure one of my customers into buying something they don’t need.” I agree 100 percent. That’s not salesmanship, it’s fraud, it’s dishonest, and it’s wrong.
Selling, at its core, is simply educating the customer and giving them enough information to make a wise decision, then gently asking them to buy: “Can we go ahead and perform this service today while we have your vehicle in the shop?”
What does selling service have to do with multi-point inspections? The answer is that they complement each other; in fact, you can’t have one without the other. If you are inspecting cars but never going over it with the customer and never asking for additional service work, then you’re just wasting the technician’s time. If you are selling service at random without the technician getting their hands and their eyes on the car, then you’re just guessing and don’t have the customers’ best interests at heart.
Granted, some things are obvious: bald tires, burned-out tail lights, foul smells in the air conditioning vents, etc. But the most successful sales presentations are made after the vehicle inspection.
When presented correctly, the multi-point inspection process is a low-pressure way for the adviser to communicate with the customer. After receiving the inspection back from the tech, the adviser contacts the customer and says, “Mr. Customer, our ASE master certified technician, Robert Baldwin, has inspected your SUV. Robert’s been servicing cars for more than 22 years and he’s worked in our shop for more than 15 years. I’m telling you, Robert knows SUVs and Robert recommends that you …”
The beauty of this approach is that, first of all, it’s truthful … second, it’s technically factual … third, it reassures the customer that we’re not “just trying to sell them something,” and lastly, it works!
This process lets the service adviser make his presentation to the customer based on the professional recommendation of a highly skilled technician who deals with automotive issues every day. Wow, you talk about relieving some pressure … from both the adviser and the customer!
The Multi-Point Inspection Process works like this:
• Meet and greet the customer.
• Write up the primary item.
• Take the odometer reading.
• Pop the hood latch (this allows you to raise the hood at the end of the walk-around process).
• Turn wheels to the right (this allows more access for measuring the tread depth at the beginning of the walk-around process).
• Give customer a blank copy of multi-point inspection form and menu. Say to the customer, “Mrs. Customer, here is a copy of the multi-point inspection form our technician will be using to give your vehicle a thorough looking over. That way, if he finds any concerns on your car in the area of safety, repair or maintenance, then I will bring it to your attention right away, OK?”
• Initiate a vehicle walk-around process (starting at the driver’s front wheel and progressing to the rear of the vehicle and back around to the hood).
• Verify contact information and escort the customer to the waiting room, your courtesy shuttle, or to their “ride home.”
• Technician diagnoses the primary item and completes the multi-point inspection. (Important: Return inspection form to adviser quickly, before beginning any repairs!)
• Adviser contacts the customer to sell additional service (safety – repair – maintenance) within
15 minutes of receiving the form from the technician.
• During vehicle delivery, the multi-point inspection form is used to review the work that was done, to highlight the work that was declined, and to set the next appointment.
There are literally hundreds of multi-point inspection forms floating around out there. Most of them are either too complex, too simplistic, or too disorganized, so I created my own a couple of years ago (see the attached graphic).
It follows a logical progression of around the car, under the hood, underneath the car, and done. If you’d like a copy of this form or if you need some help implementing the process, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy inspections, happy sales, and happy New Year to you!