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The 5 Dumbest Things Service Advisors Say After Getting a “No”

There’s nothing more annoying than a sales objection. Getting a “No,” from a customer after pitching them a solid sales presentation is pretty much the bane of every Service Advisor’s existence. 

Well… That, and the Parts Department.

But what do you do after you get the “No”? Well… I’ve heard some dumb stuff before, but never anything as dumb as the 5 Dumbest Things That Advisors Say After Getting “No.”

But before we get to that, here’s some cool auto news:

Hyundai recently unveiled a new electric concept car, the Prophecy, which looks like something from Blade Runner on the outside… but inside looks like Groundskeeper Willie threw up on the upholstery. I’m a bit more open to experimental design choices (we’ve already talked at length about how I feel about the Tesla Cybertruck), but Jeremy isn’t a fan of the turquoise plaid look. Still, it’s really sleek! I’ve always thought that Hyundai should get more aggressive in their design like that.

Another thing before we move onto audience questions… Did you know that in today’s business environment, a person in a leadership position could be overseeing people from as many as five to six different generations? It’s crazy! We’ve got these guys going around who are “generational consultants.” They’re teaching companies the nuances of five different age groups currently occupying the workforce. They’re mainly focused on the workplace, but we can also take that information and use it on the customer service side as well.

We actually have a training module about this on our OnDemand Training platform, because we created it for Top Dog. It’s really something to think about and understand, because I learned a lot going through the process of leading a team of people from several different age groups.

I hear a lot of people complaining about younger generations… “Oh, Millennials, blah blah blah,” or whatever. I remember absolutely hating it when people said that about me as a kid, because I was Generation Y. We were the first generation where our parents wouldn’t stay together for the kids because they were so caught up in their own wants and needs that the kids didn’t matter. We were essentially the first generation to raise ourselves.

So when we complain about Millennials and Gen Z, they’re still growing up and becoming clients, and you need to match your client’s preferred methods of communication. They want a text? You need to text them. They want an email? Gotta email them. If they’re the type of person who’s more hands on, doesn’t believe anything somebody tells them over the phone, and wants to come down to the dealership to look at the vehicle with the technician, then you better be prepared to do that in-person presentation.

You have to understand how to modify your communication style to match your customers!

But enough about Millennials and their blah blah blah or whatever… It’s time to answer some of your questions! Remember, when you submit a question and we read it, we’re going to send you out some swag which includes a Service Drive Revolution T-shirt, hat, coffee mug, and stickers. Show your Service Drive Revolution pride!

“How does someone get the f*** out of corporate where there’s a budget for pay plans, and get into a different dealer group without shooting themselves in the foot by being transparent during their job search that they have a DWI on their driving record?”

That’s a tough one. If I hated corporate and I had a DWI, I think I’d open my own shop.

You can’t lie about it. It’s not good to lie and you’re going to get caught so if you have it, go start your own business.

I don’t know…. I’m not a big fan of lying about stuff. If you’re in corporate, you’ve got to be in corporate and you gotta play their game, play their politics, and perform if they’re giving you a paycheck so I always tried to adjust my feelings on things to who’s writing me a check and doing the best by them. 

My grandfather always said, “Always give somebody twice as much as what they’re paying you for.” So if they pay you $10 an hour and you give them $20 worth of value, you’ll always be in demand. That’s where my heart comes from, and I wouldn’t lie about having a DWI.

I don’t know you, but you’re definitely in a pickle and you might want to start your own shop.

And definitely don’t get another DWI! Did you know you can’t even go to Canada if you got a DWI? Jeremy had to cancel his trip when he found that out.

Anyway, next question…

“Do you have any stories of customers that are just insane, and there was no way to talk them down? I have a few and one of them I had to call the cops.”

Oh, yeah, I’ve seen that. I’ve had customers tell me to f*** off on the phone plenty of times.

I once had to fire my top salesperson, because he said it back to the customer once, believe it or not. He was a good salesperson, and I didn’t want to fire him, but there’s no way you can overlook something like that.

Now, the question is probably talking about face-to-face encounters with customers, and I don’t know about that… The craziest experiences I’ve had were times when there were guns or drugs in the car. I’ve had that quite a few times– a 9mm under the seat and a brick of marijuana in the back. I didn’t know that stuff still came in bricks after the 70s!

I’ve had situations where there was cash in a car, and supposedly the cash disappeared. I’m not sure if you know this… but the kind of people that sell drugs and carry a ton of cash in their car usually aren’t that understanding. So they’d come back and threaten me or someone on my team, and I’d have to call the cops.

And then there are the ridiculous customers who are just crazy. I’ve only had two times in my career that I ever had to fire a customer. I’m not a big fan of firing customers, and both times I had to do it, they wanted to come back.

I’ve put up with a lot of abuse, but when a customer crosses a line and I have to fire them, I would say something to the effect of, “I’m really sorry that you feel this way. We’ve clearly let you down. We’re not a match because I’m not going to be able to live up to your expectations, but I understand your expectations and we obviously are falling short of that,” and just about then they start going, “No, no,” and they want back in.

With that uncomfortable business out of the way, let’s move onto…

5 Dumbest Things Service Advisors Say After Getting “No”

Just so you understand what I’m talking about: you’ve done your job up to this point, you’ve made a good presentation, and then the customer just stonewalls you and flat out says, “No.”

I’m talking about your reaction afterwards. What do you do once you get, “No”?


The first thing on this list is when an Advisor asks the customer, “Why?”

Now, why is that a dumb thing to say? Because it puts the customer on the spot, and you put a lot of pressure on them. I talked earlier on generational demographics and certain age groups just want to leave it at no, and you can damage the relationship if you keep pressing the issue.

You want to go beyond that “no” without putting the customer on the spot or making them feel like you’re attacking them.

“Well, the other things that you declined weren’t that bad anyways…”

This one makes me want to kill them and, for legal reasons, I mean that figuratively.

What I mean here is that they’re trying to validate the customer by agreeing with them, but that’s ridiculous because it’s a sigh of insecurity! It comes from the same place as some Advisors that won’t ask, right?

They want the customer to like them and they think by letting the customer leave in a car that’s going to break down, then they’re going to have to come back.

What?! No! That’s going to leave them broken down on the side of the road, dummy! How is that better than telling them the truth?!

When an Advisor tells a customer, “Well, it’s not really that bad. We can do it next time,” what they’re really trying to do is set their next sale up but what they’re really doing is completely ruining their credibility. You should never ask for something you don’t want to 100% believe in!

“Do you love your kids?”

What? What the hell kind of question is that? Did you have someone take them as hostages while I was bringing my car into the shop?!

That’s right up there with, “Well, what do you want to do? Slide into a school bus full of kids and kill them?!”

Do NOT sell based on fear. Period. It’s not only terrible, it doesn’t work.

“What if I gave you a discount?”

Now, last week we talked about waiving diagnostic fees to save a sale, but this isn’t really the same mindset.

Still, why should you not offer a discount at this point in the sales process? You made your presentation, you asked the customer to buy, and they said no. Now you’re going to try to throw the life ring out there and save the sale by offering a discount. You know what message that sends?

You’re devaluing yourself and the shop. What you’re telling the customer is, “We discount a lot because our normal pricing is too expensive.

If the customer makes the first move and asks you for a discount, you can always hit them back with, “Well, I’ve already given you the best price that I possibly can. The fee for the service would be ____. Can we move ahead with it?”

You gotta keep asking questions and get that closing question in there instead of going right to the discount.

“It’s the Parts Department’s fault.”

Well, I guess that one’s not so dumb.

Just kidding, we love the Parts Department. We not only want to help Service Advisors on the show but any parts managers that watch can learn to revolutionize their department, too.

Thanks for tuning into Service Drive Revolution. Be safe, and we’ll see you again next week!


What are some of the best ways for a Service Advisor to overcome a customer's sales objection? Find out what they AREN'T, only on this week's Service Drive Revolution. Now streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube!

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