Auto Laundry News - October 2011

Close the Sale — Turn a Prospect into a Customer

By Sharie Sipowicz

If you want to “close the sale” with a prospect, as a professional you need to have effective communication skills that demonstrate to the motorist that using your company to detail their vehicles is the best decision. One approach to consider is offering a “total value solution” (TVS), which provides the benefits the motorist gains by relying on your company for their cosmetic car care needs.

Your years of experience mean you should know what’s involved in a proper detail. In a competitive market you can secure new business by revealing you know what the vehicle needs and have the knowledge and equipment to do the job properly, the first time.

What are some of the benefits that a professional detailer should communicate to the motorist when trying to close the sale?

KNOWLEDGE OF VEHICLE NEEDS

Before the job even begins, a pro should be able to consult with customers to examine the vehicle and explain its needs. Explain what will be done and how (not too technical) and what equipment you have to do the job.

Assure them you and your employees will take proper care of their vehicle using seat covers, floor mats, etc. to insure it does not get dirtier than it was when they came in.

Explain the quality of the waxes or sealants you use, how long they can expect to have shine and protection on the paint, and how often they should have the vehicle waxed again.

PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT

Discuss with the prospect how your business uses specialty equipment and tools, which they could never afford to purchase and which many detail shops do not have: heated soil extractors, buffers, dual-action buffers, vapor steamers, ozone generators, interior dryers, etc.

ANY VEHICLE ANY CONDITION

A professional detailer should have the ability to handle any vehicle in any condition that comes into his shop. A motorist may be able to apply a coat of wax to the vehicle but it is unlikely that they know how to properly buff or polish out scratches or oxidation, or to remove stains from carpets and upholstery. As for boats, RVs, and airplanes, a professional’s expertise is better suited to tackle such jobs. You are the expert in the detailing field and know how and what to do.

SPEED

The ability to do the work quickly is a key selling point. Successful detailing pros should be able to quickly process the vehicle and have it done at the end of the day. You have everything at hand to finish the job quickly and correctly. If the vehicle needs paintless dent removal (PDR), touchup, or vinyl repair, have contacts that can do this for you while the car is in your possession. Let the customer see you as a “one stop” professional cosmetic car care specialist.

Customers should also be educated on your ability to provide special paint-protection warranties.

SAFETY IS AN IMPORTANT VALUE PROPOSITION

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, thousands of Americans require medical treatment for all types of injuries each year. Professionals are an invaluable resource for doing detail work efficiently and without injury. You should have a safe working environment and also comply with all applicable health and safety laws to ensure protection of employees and yourself.

PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS

If you belong to the International Detailing Association, make sure your prospects are aware of this and other training certifications you and your employees hold. In addition, stay educated on trends in the detailing field — detailers often forget this, as they are busy focusing on their business. There are various seminars and training sessions that are educational and created to help professional detailers boost their business and stay ahead of the competition.

DEMONSTRATE KNOWLEDGE

A motorist who hires a detail professional receives the benefit of years of experience. Clearly demonstrate your knowledge of detailing techniques. Customers should also know they can rely on you, the professional, to handle any complex problem their vehicle has. If you do not have the needed skills, recommend someone else who does. Doctors do this all the time.

Present the customer with perks such as dressing, fragrance trees, or a scent bottle. This goes a long way to keeping them satisfied. This can also score brownie points and leaves a lasting impression on your customers.

TOTAL VALUE

It is critical for detailers to know how to inform existing customers and prospects about their range of detail services and offerings. By selling the concept of total value, you are ultimately helping customers protect one of their most valuable assets — their vehicle. A quality wax job can boost a vehicle’s resale value. Sell your detail expertise as an investment that can potentially pay customers handsome returns upon the sale of their vehicle.

Finally, communication of your detail-service attributes will help you build a better and stronger business foundation. Professional detailers with businesses of all sizes should use these tips when working to secure their next job, which assuredly will put them in a better position to turn prospects into customers.

Sharie Sipowicz is aftermarket sales manager with Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems Inc. She has been involved in the detail industry for over 20 years, both as a vendor of products and equipment and as a hands-on operator in a retail detail environment. You can contact Sharie at sharie@detailplus.com.

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