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Hi, Chris Collins here and Mario. In this video we’ll talk about the five keys to instantly connecting with customers. I think, probably the thing that bothers to more than anything else is to how to instantly connect with customers, there’s fun stats out there where they say that men would give forty five seconds to connect with them. So a guy in the service drive will give you forty five seconds to connect with them. That’s how long men will give you. You’re being very, very judgmental.

You should know that as a service advisor that females are a lot more judgmental than men, and it’s important how you approach a car, what your tone is, your energy, your look, and what you’re saying, what is coming out of your mouth.

I want to give you those five keys;

The first one is you want to be a pattern interrupt. You want to be different than anybody else. In a normal service drive, you pull into the service drive, and the customer will get out of their car, most of the time they will go and look for an advisor. So they have to walk in. Maybe the advisor is with somebody and they have to wait. Maybe they go get a cup of coffee, but they are disconnected from their car completely. And that’s the kind of industry standard that what we see in most dealership now. If we go into the customer’s point of view, maybe there’s a greeter, but advisors are not coming out to the car. So you want to be a pattern interrupt to your customers and be different than what everybody else is like.

I have a great example of a pattern interrupt, from the other day I was in Chicago and it was a Friday afternoon, I was flying home to Los Angeles, and I get to the ticket counter and I handed my luggage and she hands me my ticket and she said, “Oh, your flight is delayed.’ And it’s a Friday; I just want to get home. My flight landed like ten at night. And I’m like, “How delayed is it?’ She said ‘A couple of hours.” I said “OK, great.”

So I go through security and I go through the gate and I was sitting at the gate and probably about an hour before the flight was suppose to go, and the gate agents come on in the microphone and say “Hey everybody, we want to play a game, and we’re going to give away a free round trip ticket to anywhere you want to go in Virgin America and whoever can make the best paper airplane and fly it the farthest. So people are going crazy now at the gate.

They handed paper to everybody, and I’d say probably, I videotaped it with my phone, and I’d say probably fifty people all at the gate were making airplanes, and they we’re standing up, like five at a time and throwing it and people are cheering and yelling and screaming. And the one person who throws it the farthest will stay on until somebody could beat them. Eventually, somebody won and everybody gave him a hand and everybody was cheering and right about before the hour was over, the plane got there and we boarded and we we’re boarding the plane.

And then when I got on the plane, the stewardess recognized me and brought me green tea. I was drinking green tea on the plane and she was like “Hi Chris!” and she waved at me five way too much and everything was great. I have never seen an airline handles something like that; it’s a total pattern interrupt. Most airlines when there’s a delay, you see the gate and it’s kind of you stand there and somebody is yelling at them, and they’re just turning white or red and very upset and awkward tension in everybody, I just want to get out of here. Virgin kind of change waiting into a fun thing. They gave away the airplane ticket, I know don’t know how much that cost them, but it made a huge impression. They got everybody at the gate really, really excited. That’s pattern interrupt.

So for us, when the customer pulls up in the drive, the advisors should be going out into the car and greeting the customer at the car and being a pleasant welcome surprise, and being different and setting themselves apart from anybody else in the industry that makes the customer walk in look for an advisor, get ignored, not really know where to go. Go right to the car, greet the customer, and do your walk around the car, and don’t let your customer separate from their car and worry about where they’re suppose to go.

So that’s the first.

The second one is, when you walk up to the car and you’re greeting the customer, you want to talk to them about the things different in their car. You want to connect with them, about what their plans are for the day, where they’re going to work, nothing about their car, really. So the first thing I would say now when I was an advisor, we just walk out and say “Hey, what did you do over the weekend,” or” What plans do you have for the weekend,” “Where are you headed today.” Just talking about their day and not about their car. I don’t just talk about myself, the point is to get them talking. Not about the car.

Third one goes hand on hand with two, is that your car is a commodity, and everybody else in this industry can sell them a car. What they can’t give them is you. Let’s say that it’s a Toyota dealership, there is a lot of Toyota dealership that can sell them a car and service the car for less. And if you always want your service department to be about discounting and low effective labor rates, then don’t connect with your customer. But it you want to run a good business and a profitable one, you need to connect with your customers and understand that the car is a commodity, the people are what’s more important.

Number four is you want to talk about what’s important to people, not about the car. In number three we say car is a commodity, number four is you want to talk about what is important to people. There is a great profile, My Engine, say that people forgive what you did, forget what you said, but will never forget how you made them feel. And the way to make customer trust you and like you is to talk about things that are important to them. So, you’re talking about soccer balls sitting in their car, you’re talking about their kids, you’re talking about their jobs and their career, what they did for the weekend, what teams they root for. You’re talking about that and the car is secondary.

You have to remember that you got to bring energy involved with it too. You can’t discuss about the car and have this flat voice that you want to shoot yourself up or anything like that. You have to bring in some energy and that usually translates into the customer and say, “Hey, I want to have energy like this guy, why is he so excited about.” Then you get them talking like that. It’s contagious, like a smile.

It does help if you like serving and helping customers. It does help if it does make you happy and you get out there and help customers. Some service advisors sometimes look like they might be better working in the post office, even in Walmart, at least they’re smiling there.

And then number five is barbecue. That makes no sense in service advisory, but it’s like, if I invite you over to my house for a barbecue and you showed up in my front door and you’re with your girlfriend and you showed in my house for a barbecue. And I open my door and I’m like “Hey Mario, Hi Sheniqua, I got this opportunity for you, you could make a lot of money and still hang around, are you interested? Right there at my door when I invited you for a barbecue?

I got to bring Mario into the house, I got to give him beer with the barbecue, we got to talk, I got to find out about Sheniqua, where she went to school, what she does for a living. I got to be a good host, I got to make her feel at home and I’m not selling Amway or anything. It’s annoying to people when you don’t build any rapport and there’s no relationship and you’re like “Hey, you wanna buy? You wanna buy?” And that’s what service advisors do all the time. They walk up to the car, they do a walk around, or they don’t do a walk around, and they pull the customer inside and say like “Hey, you need to do a 30k, you need to do a brake fluid exchange.” And there’s no rapport whatsoever with the customer. And the customer is like “Really, but you’re just trying to sell me something. So it’s very important to understand the barbecue analogy. Customers are like coming into your barbecue when they drive into your service drive. You need to make friends with them, you need to find out about them, make them comfortable, make them trust you, and then if they’re due for something, recommend it.

But a lot of time, when the customer is a first time customer or customer that you don’t know by name, I would be sowing the customer work on the hub. That means that I would have the technician inspect the car and then I would call them. I would plant the seeds and ask the customer, “Okay, when was the last time you had an alignment, or when was the last time you have the fluids changed, or new 30k. But I wouldn’t sell it upfront. I might plant seeds, but that’s it. You would not want to sell it and pull it back where they feel they like, “Hmm, maybe they just want to pick up my dollars.” Weave analogy is an analogy where you can shave the sheep a long time over or skin a sheep once. If you don’t have that rapport with the customer and you haven’t connected with them, and you go “You wanna buy something?” you completely turn the customer off and you lose trust and you’re going to lose customer attention and they’re not going to come back and ask for it.

So it is very important to understand how that works in the system and how to really connect with them first and buy them to your barbecue and make them feel comfortable and then if they’re in for something and need some repairs, recommend it once you have that relationship established.

So the five keys to instantly connect with your customers is number one, be a pattern interrupt, be a pleasant surprise to the customers. Number two is connecting with them with what they want to do, what their plans are, where they headed today, what they got going on. Number three is the car is a commodity, remember that. Anybody can sell and service that car, the difference is you and you can connect with the customer. Number four is talk about things that they are interested in, their kids, their work, everything but the car. And number five is don’t invite somebody over to a barbecue, open the door and try to sell them something. Invite them in, serve them some of your famous barbecue, give them a beer, make friends with them, and then if they need something, help them with it or recommend it. But get their trust first. So, those are the five keys to instantly connecting with customers.

Thank for watching.

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