What’s The Difference?
By Terry Greenhut – America’s #1 Automotive Aftermarket Sales Trainer
What’s unique or different about what you sell? Do you have anything to offer that the competition doesn’t? Is there something special about your service’s name, promotion, or packaging that would set it apart from everyone else’s?
If your service is just like the one everyone else offers, why should people seek yours out? Is it less expensive? Is it more economical? Is it a better value to the consumer? Is it higher in quality? Does it have a better track record? Does it come with a better warranty? Is it improved over a previous offering?
Are you willing to provide a higher level of service than your competition? Will you tow for free? Will you tow the vehicle back for free if the customer won’t okay the work? Are you willing to work special hours to accommodate customers? Would you pay for a rental car if it became necessary to close a sale or in a comeback situation? Will you give a customer a ride home or to work? For how long or how many miles past the end of the warranty are you willing to cover repairs at no cost, some cost, or full cost to the consumer?
All of the above questions provoke answers that can become your unique selling proposition. First you have to decide what you are willing to offer, and then you need to figure out how you can show your customers that your offering is different or better than the competition.
Your unique proposition can be sold by way of advertising to retail potentials, an outside sales effort to wholesale and fleet accounts, and to existing customers through follow-up mail and phone calls.
Any promotion in which you engage must be designed to educate the consumer as to the differences between you and any competitor. Your advertising must tell the story of your business and show customers how much more they will get by doing business with you. In other words, when you have additional benefits, you must advertise them. The fact that you know about them certainly isn’t enough.
When you advertise transmission services remember that your customer never wants to believe he or she needs a transmission replaced or rebuilt. So it would be best to promote the concept that they may not need one. Ask the same question in your advertising that you do on the telephone, “Would you want to pay for a transmission you don’t need?” Of course the answer to that is always the same, “No.” On the phone you would go into agreement with them and say something like, “I wouldn’t want to see you do that either, so why don’t you stop in and we’ll check it out to see if I can save you some money?”
The concept of saving them money is a very unique selling proposition when it is obvious that everyone else is looking to take their money by talking about installing rebuilt transmissions. In fact, every time they call another shop and are given a price over the phone it reinforces the idea that if they go to one of the shops that gave them a price, they will be buying a transmission. When everyone does things a certain way, work very hard at being the opposite. Give the customer a clear-cut choice between you and everyone else.
When doing print advertising, try to stay away from the worn out phases like rebuilt, resealed, replaced, and adjusted. Those terms have been used forever. Consumers already know we do all those things. Your unique selling proposition is that you have certified transmission technicians. You will diagnose the vehicle correctly with your “State of the Art” equipment. You will not sell them a transmission they don’t need. You will do everything possible to save them money by exhausting all external possibilities before condemning a transmission, by doing the job right the first time, by offering priority service, by offering a loaner car, a shuttle service, or a rental car, by providing a better, “no hassle” warranty, by offering free towing, etc.
If you advertise on the radio design your commercials to sound like you are talking directly to customers, telling them how you are going to try to save them money when they bring you a car to look at. “Transmission Problem?” “It may not be as bad as you think. Bring it in and give us a chance to see if we can save you some money.”
If you do outside sales, find out what your competition offers and find a way to do it better. For example; if they don’t offer pickup and delivery, you do. If they can do a job in three days, you can do it in two. If they have a certain length warranty, you have a longer one. If theirs is local, yours might be regional or coast-to-coast.
Your presentation needs to be as unique as your offer. For example; if you find out that the transmission shop they use now does not offer pick up and delivery you can use the following means to offer it. Ask how he goes about getting a vehicle to that shop when it needs transmission work. He will tell you that he has to send two people. Ask how long they are out when they do this. He’ll have to say, “About a half hour.” Then ask, “When the vehicle is finished, how do you get it back?” The answer will have to reflect the fact that he sends the same two guys out and spends another half hour. Next say, “Based on what you’ve just told me you send two guys out for an hour apiece to bring and retrieve the vehicle. That’s two hours of productive time. How much do you charge per hour?” If he tells you his labor rate is $70 an hour say, “That means it’s costing you $140 every time you need to bring a car to that shop. Now, you said my price was higher than the shop you’re using now, and it is. But it’s not $140 higher. So even though you may pay us a few dollars more, with our free pickup and delivery service, you will still save money and leave your people free to work on other productive projects.”
If your unique selling proposition is that you can do the job faster than the competition, this again may have importance to a customer, especially a commercial account. Ask how long the other shop takes to complete a job for them. They might tell you three days on average. Then ask how much it costs them per day when that vehicle is down. If they tell you $400 a day, say “If I could do those jobs for you in two days and save you that additional $400 would you consider giving us a try?” If the customer agrees that cutting a day off the turnaround time would be a great saving, but asks how you can prove that you can do it, say, “I’m so sure I can do it, that if I can’t, I’ll pay you $400 a day till the vehicle’s finished. Based on that would you be willing to give us a try?
The big question is, “How willing are you to back up your claims?” The most important component of a unique selling proposition is that you are willing to prove your claims. That, in itself, is unique.
When you offer any product or service you need to be able to back up your claims. Your customers have been promised many benefits by scores of salespeople all their lives. The credibility factor can be more important than the actual offer. While you can’t be all things to all people, you can be the one they rely on for integrity and honesty in your business dealings. That way whenever you come to them with a new offer they will be receptive to at least listen to what you have to say. They might even look forward to your visits.
About the Author: Terry Greenhut is a highly sought after Automotive Aftermarket Sales Trainer and Key Note Speaker. He has authored numerous Automotive Aftermarket Sales Training Articles in many of the major automotive trade journals over the years. His best selling Automotive Aftermarket Sales Training Course is recognized as the industry standard. You can learn more about Terry by visiting his website at www.terrygreenhut.com
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