by Jeff Stankard
Preventive maintenance has long been a sensitive issue with vehicle owners because many of them feel like the recommended services outlined in their owner’s manual are unnecessary, especially if their vehicle “seems” to be running well.
But is their vehicle performing as well as it could be? Are they getting the best gas mileage? Are they making an investment in their vehicle for the long term?
The answer to all of these questions is likely “no.” So, how do you keep your customers’ best interests in mind, maintain their vehicles at peak-performance levels, help them get the biggest return on their investment and keep their vehicles running safely?
With the goal of providing you with ideas to effectively recommend preventive maintenance services to your customers, Babcox Research asked a sample of shop owner readers for their ideas on this topic. We received dozens of great responses, so thank you to those of you who responded.
10 Ideas to Improve Preventive Maintenance Sales
1. Use an educational approach, rather than a sales pitch, to teach your customers how preventive maintenance can extend the life of their vehicle, improve performance and use less gas.
2. Hold car care seminars to educate your customers, and empower them to make informed, good decisions about their vehicles’ upkeep.
3. Offer vehicle maintenance educational brochures in your customer waiting area. (Go to www.carcare.org to obtain copies of the Car Care Council’s Car Care Guide.)
4. Thoroughly inspect every vehicle in your bays for worn or damaged parts, write an estimate and discuss the necessary repairs with your customers. You must ask to get the sale!
5. Create a safety checklist for your techs to use, making sure they inspect the vehicles’ vital fluids and refer to maintenance mileage intervals.
6. Interview customers about their vehicles’ repair history and make recommendations based on known-wear items that have not been checked.
7. Offer a quarterly $10 L.O.F. service, with a free multipoint inspection, to give your techs the opportunity to identify any needed repairs. Stress the importance of customers’ maintaining their second biggest purchase and getting to high mileage on their vehicle without major repairs.
8. When you discuss necessary repairs with customers, always leave them with the feeling that you have their financial interest and safety as priority #1.
9. Provide your customer with a copy of his or her vehicle’s next maintenance schedule with each oil change.
10. Do not “oversell” preventive maintenance or use fear tactics. You will lose your credibility and customers’ trust.
If you would like to offer additional ideas on this topic, just send me an e-mail and we’ll add it to our listing on the website.