However, as an alternative to the ‘hard sell’ approach, Mr Purfield explains they will be more successful engaging people in service plans if rather than asked to buy, potential customers are instead 'invited to participate'.
Rob Purfield gives an example this: "When I’m selling service plans, instead of saying 'Can I interest you in…' I say 'As a VIP customer, I’d like to invite you to participate in…'"
Mr Purfield explains that changing the mind-set from one of the ‘hard sell’ to the ‘invitation’
Mr Purfield goes on to say that service advisers can also create an offer for their customers along the lines of “Here’s a special offer for you. It gets you discount on your labour and parts, it’s inflation proof, it helps you with your monthly budgeting. And there are no big bills at the end of the year!”
The analogy he gives is that of how people pay for their gas or electricity bills. Instead of paying one large lump once a year or even quarterly, many people instead pay by direct debit. He points out that although gas or electricity customers don’t have to pay by direct debit, and that the gas or electricity company didn’t force their customers to sign up for their service plans, they do provide incentives to increase take-up.
He explains that service advisors can do just the same with their car service plans, because with this softer approach to selling, he says service advisors are inviting people to participate in the same way that the Gas Board invites their customers to participate in their direct debit schemes.
Mr Purfield goes on to explain that service plans benefit the customer because paying is monthly is much easier to budget and helps financial planning.
However, he explains that service advisors need to help customers understand that service plans are inflation-proof, for the period of the plan, and that because most plans offer discounts on parts and labour, the service plan is not only inflation-proof, it’s also cheaper too.
"Service plans can even make customers feel like they’re receiving services for free, when their car is serviced under a service plan—because they’ve already paid for the service ‘up front’, by monthly direct debit for example, they’re not lumbered with the large bill they might otherwise have received! Some Dealers also offer an immediate 10% discount on the current bill if customers sign up for a Service Plan on the day." reports Mr Purfield.
He goes on to explain that service plans benefit the seller because, from a business perspective, they facilitate customer loyalty, business planning, and up-selling.
"For example, because we know we have a particular customer for three years, we can ‘plan them in’, and we know they’re going to be coming back. Cash-flow is always good too, because you, the business owner, receive payment upfront… although the cash doesn’t immediately belong to the business - it stays in ‘the customer account’ - the business owner can still be assured that they are going to be paid because the money is already there." advises Mr Purfield.
According to Mr Purfield, getting as many customers as possible to participate in service plans is a good thing on lots of levels, both for the customers and the Dealers.
"Service plans provide a great customer service to those who opt in; they help the customer with their financial planning, give them concessions and discounts that they wouldn’t normally participate in, and make payment much easier. Plus of course, upselling people who have Service Plans is so much easier, because without a big bill to pay, its so much easier to say ‘yes’ to an extra £30 for upsell items as opposed to paying on top of the whole bill they would normally receive." explains Mr Purfield.
Mr Purfield concludes with the bold statement that "Every Dealership and every Service Adviser should be offering service plans to every customer at every opportunity!"
To find out more about how to get people to engage in service plans, visit http://www.RobPurfield.com