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I was flipping through some TV channels the other day and stayed on one stupid comedy movie that was mildly amusing me for a few minutes. A couple of guys were in the woods camping or something, and they looked up to see a grizzly bear standing up on his hind legs, a little too close for comfort, with dinner clearly on his mind.

So then one idiot said “Let’s run!”

His little buddy answered, “You can’t outrun a grizzly bear.”

Without missing a beat, the first guy replied, “I don’t have to run faster than the bear…I just have to run faster than you.”

That gag line got me thinking about what Og Mandino once told me:

“In order to be a success in an endeavor you only need to do a small measurable amount more than the average individual, because most people are content with mediocrity.”

Those people willing to settle for “good enough” aren’t the customers; they’re the sales people and the service people. One of the best things about being a service advisor in the automotive industry is that your competition, well… they’re not that competitive. You don’t have to be a genius to beat them; you just have to be one step above average.

Whether or not you’re a cut above the average service advisor might not be the first item of priority on the customer’s list before they buy, but the closer they get to giving up their cold hard cash, the more they think about how they feel about your service team. You might have the best product at the best price, but if they don’t like you or trust you, you’re not going to earn their business.

So stop and think about why they don’t like the other service advisors:

They’re pushy…so don’t push.

They make stereotypical assumptions about people and pre-judge somebody before the sale, often passing over serious buyers. It only takes a few questions to qualify a buyer, so don’t assume anything.

They ignore women or talk down to her…so be female-friendly.

Every person on the planet with at least one arm is capable of greeting potential customers with a warm handshake, a big smile, and a cheerful greeting. That alone puts you head and shoulders above most of your competition as a service advisor.

Women make two-thirds of all the household buying decisions and play a major role in 80% of big ticket purchases. She may not know everything about the intricate workings of an internal combustion engine (neither do most guys anymore, FYI) but she will never trust her vehicle to a guy who talks down to her, or who tells her “not to worry her pretty little head” because “he’ll just take care of everything for her.”

You might as well tell her you’re a prince from Nigeria. She’s just as smart as you, so make her feel like she can always trust you to give her service options she can understand and select intelligently.

Here are a few more tips that will give you a leg up on the average competitor:

DON’T let the prospect lead the conversation;
DO lead the buying process by authoritatively assuring them that you can quickly and easily give them just the information they need.

DON’T assume the client is only concerned with price and benefits;
DO ask about them, analyze their needs, and find out what is really important to them.

DON’T think that selling means talking people into something;
DO understand that selling is helping people get what they want and need.

DON’T just learn enough to get by;
DO develop your skills, and never stop learning about your product, industry, and competition.

DON’T think of the client as secondary to the sale;
DO make a friend, develop a rapport, and create a relationship.

It just takes a little insight, common courtesy, and respect to stay one step ahead of your competition and avoid being eaten alive by a bear market. It’s just not that hard to be smarter than the average bear, if you have the proper service department training.

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