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Prospect or Suspect?
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 2/15/2010 57 Replies

I did a Webinar last week for AMI and my good friend and fellow Instructor Margie Seyfer sat in on it. The subject of the Webinar was handling price-shopper phone calls. I've done extensive research on this and have found that a substantial percentage of shops are more concerned about cautioning the caller about all the possible things it could be and things that could go wrong and all the extra charges there may be to the point that many callers will just go to the next place to call.

Margie said my approach was interesting and asked me if that many shops really do regard the caller with that much trepidation. She called me the next day to tell me she had consulted a very prominent shop owner for his own opinion on the price shopper. She asked him point-blank, "Do you consider the price shopper phone caller a prospect or a suspect?" He replied with no hesitation, "Suspect".

Do we really get burned that often or do we just remember that one in 6 months that drove us nuts?

Is this the same fear of the public that leads us to put up stupid signs, like "No out of town, 2-party checks". Well, duh!

Could our overt fear of covering certain body parts actually result in them not being exposed at all, since the caller gives up pretty quick in most cases and finds another shop to call?

I've always looked at that phone as the key to my bank account and welcomed every single ring as the sound of opportunity.

My position is that far too many of us mis-identify too many price shopper callers as true price shoppers when I believe that a substantial percentage of them aren't really shopping for the low price at all, they just don't know how else to talk to us. They don't really have a clue what's wrong with the car, either. We're so sick of dealing with people that we happily dismiss them, hang up the phone and then complain about how bad business is lately.....

Maybe if we learned a few tips about selling, understood that not everybody out there really does want the cheapest possible job and decided to look at the phone caller as a reflection of our own marketing efforts, we'd feel better about some of this.

It's our marketing that projects our image, you know.... ;o)

George from Nebraska

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