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Business Management

Secondary Season Service Sales Strategies

The prime selling season has passed, but that doesn’t mean your attention to great service should expire, too.

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It’s August and that means two things for many of you: the prime selling season has passed and, for some, the secondary season is about to begin.

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When a customer asks, “When can you service my unit?”, the following tactics might help you answer that question and close more business.

Create Immediacy
If they ask, “When can you do the work?” tell them to bring it in right away because you can squeeze them in. Even though all shops, including yours, are busy right now, say you’ll make time for them.

This makes the customer feel as if they are your No. 1 priority. You might be slow, but they don’t know that! Don’t tell them to “bring it by any time;” that gives the impression that you’re not busy and they can take time to shop around.

If you are busy and you need to schedule a specific time, try the assumptive close. Ask, “When can I schedule this job for you?” or go straight to, “How is Thursday at 3 p.m.?”

It’s OK to ask, “When would you like to bring it in?”, but it leaves the call open to discussion. The more feelings of immediacy and commitment you can create with your customer, the better.

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Don’t Diagnose Over The Phone
If the customer calls you up and begins to try to diagnose the unit over the phone, divert the conversation. Tell them it’s best to have one of your mechanics look over their unit. Sell what you have, which is a staff of trained professionals.

Use word tracks like, “Our guys have seen these issues many times in the past, and there could be numerous issues causing these symptoms. Bring your unit over Tuesday at 11, and we will take good care of it.”

Ask Qualifying Questions
Knowing a little customer history and asking some qualifying questions when you check in the unit can help you build repair options for the customer. Here are some example questions:

  • What are the goals and objectives for the repair?
  • What are your riding plans for the rest of season?
  • What is the unit’s service history?
  • What kind of condition is the unit in?

Present Options
Customers like options, and I usually have three to five prepared when trying to sell a major repair.

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Best: This option should include performance upgrades. Get together with your parts department and gather some information about upgrades and all the things the customer might like to do in a dream scenario. If you are taking a part off, it sure is a good time to install some accessories and upgrades.

Better: This option should include replacing some stock parts with extras along the way. If you need to tear into a motor to do some work, this might be a good time to add a few little bits. Get with your parts department and find out if they have any ideas for your customer. Usually, the parts guys see what other customers are adding to bikes. Sell this work to the customer: “Hey, we’re already in there, so the labor time is the same to reinstall some chrome.”

Good: This should be a quote on a full and complete repair. Just quote the needed items to get the job done.

Minimal: This should be the absolute minimal cheapest way to go. It should include only what is required to get the customer down the road and possibly, if you have to, a little discount. This should be one of the last courses of action.

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Time For Something New: If the cost of the repair will exceed the value of the unit, it is a great time to get your sales manager involved to open the discussion for a unit sale.

As seasons change, and your department gets a little slower, it’s time to get a little more creative and forward-thinking. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you service and sell more units, more profitably. 


C.R. Gittere and the Service Manager Pro team specialize in service department efficiency, elevating customer service and increasing department profitability. His monthly column focuses on best practices and unique ways to get the most out of your service department.  More information about Service Manager Pro can be found at www.servicemanagerpro.com.

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