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Sell what customers want to buy — and stop selling parts and labor with dollars attached to them

Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment of a multi-part series, “Workflow to Cashflow,”  by Dave Schedin, of CompuTrek Automotive Coaching & Training, who has more than 40 years in the automotive field and has coached shops to higher profitability since 2006.

In Parts One, Two and Three we looked at labor rates, parts pricing and value package pricing to increase cash flow. Pricing labor and parts is important, but they’re NOT what “Mr. or Mrs. Jones” wants to buy. Stop selling parts and labor with dollars attached to them!

Dave Schedin

When I was told that, back in 1995 by my coach, my head went sideways. It made no sense. It’s how we make money. But what he said next brought understanding of his declaration: “What is it that Mr. or Mrs. Jones want to buy?” As he let his silence do the heavy lifting, he waited for me to answer and, ultimately, revelation.

At first, I responded with a few statements like, “Customers want good value, they want to do business with someone they can trust, and they want their vehicles fixed right the first time.”

Feeling pretty confident about my answers and thinking that I had completed my exercise, my coach smiled and asked, “Those are good, yes, but WHY do they want all those things?”

“Well,” I responded. “I guess they want to feel confident they can rely on their vehicles to get them where they are going.”

“Close,” he said, “and what does confidence give them?”

I replied, “Peace of mind?”

“Exactly!” he exclaimed, “Dave, have you ever said, ‘peace of mind’ to your customers or have you just presented parts and labor with dollars attached to them?”

Lights went off in my brain and it hit me I was never presenting what they wanted to buy in a language they would understand. I thought I was doing a good job of talking about the features of the repairs and the quality of parts and labor. You know, the technical jargon that made me feel smart but not what they really wanted to hear.

So why go to this length to expand on a simple subject? 1.67 hours to 3.33 dollar hours per RO in 4.5 days is why. Since that moment I have done two things in verbiage that have continued to create higher hours per RO. TIP: Never end a sentence on the dollar amount and convey some form of “peace of mind” during your presentation that matches the content, value and dollar amount of what you’re presenting.

Think about that for a moment. Presenting only parts and labor with dollars attached, explaining a bunch of features, only ever yielded 1.67 hours per RO. Switching presentations to the two elements above, my hours per RO went to 3.33 in 4.5 days — not weeks, months or years. Having a coach, on-site and in real time, coaching me through this new language was a pivotal element toward the success of my business.

Peace of mind is what customers want when they leave your shop today. You tee that up from the very first phone call, to making the appointment, when you greet them, during the initial and follow up sale and, most importantly, when you deliver the vehicle and the RO. Remember you may not see them for another three to six months and you want them walking away believing and feeling they have peace of mind — not just thinking of the $1,500 less in their wallet.

The “science” of peace of mind math. Yes, you can put a number to it. Over the years I’ve “experimented” with different ways to say peace of mind as well as how many times I would say some form of peace of mind based on the dollar volume of the RO. Here’s the math for what closed most from my value presentations:

  1. RO value of a simple lube, oil and filter change (LOF) to $500 – ensure to say “peace of mind” 2-3 times
  2. RO value of $500 to $1,000 – 3-5 times
  3. RO value of $1,000 to $2,500 – 5-7 times
  4. RO value of $2,500 or more – 7-10 times

Other language that says “peace of mind” around the vehicle overall or a specific vehicle system:

  1. Trust
  2. Dependable
  3. Reliable
  4. Safe
  5. Long lasting
  6. Best option, method or process
  7. Best value

Peace of mind is not just about them trusting their vehicles again, it’s about trusting you and your staff and that they received great value, quality and that your warranty will cover them if something happens and that they feel honored to be a customer.

Go pro. Be professional in your value presentation skills with your customers. Service advisor workshops and webinars are a good place to start. It’s not uncommon for those leaving our workshops to gain .6 hours per RO in less than 30 days but they never take the place of on-site coaching for maximum results. Think through what it is you are actually saying to your customers. Get a coach.

Your customers’ peace of mind is really your peace of mind. When they buy more, they are showing you loyalty to your business. This brings increase to your cash flow and that in the end, brings you peace of mind.


** Forward this “Aftermarket Matters Weekly” to another shop and cc Coach Dave (email below). CompuTrek will email you Coach Dave’s e-book on Value Words and Reasoning’s for FREE!

Next from Coach Dave in the Workflow to Cashflow Series: Part 5 – Active Delivery: How to launch your customers back into the community singing your praises! Dave Schedin can be reached at 800-385-0724,, and A complimentary 30-minute discussion is available for the asking.

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