Sales people would only be too eager to talk about the product they are selling. That is much the same to automotive service advisors immediately wanting to talk about the car. Customers will be expecting that, in fact, they may even have a prepared speech detailing their car troubles. The sooner you discuss business, the better eh? Not exactly.
Sales people and those in the automotive service advisory industry would normally interact with their customers by admiring the car or gushing about its engine. That’s a good way to start interaction, but not the best way if you want to connect with your customer. Again, this type of conversation is very much expected. Your client would probably have ready responses, grumbling his yeas and nays, wanting to get over the preliminaries and just go on to business.
Avoid this customer-advisor trap conversation by talking about other things than their car. Ask them mundane questions you would ask your neighbor. You won’t have to start a really unique conversation, just get them alert and focus on you and the things that you are saying.
Pulling into the driveway, your customer might probably be thinking of something else than his car. He could be thinking of a weekend getaway, an alternate commute to his work, or meeting a person later that day. Or he could be worried sick of the expenses he might need to get his car back into shape. These thoughts will distract him from listening to you and understanding what you need him to understand. These thoughts will prevent you from instantly connecting with your customer.
There are two things you can do to make your customer focus on you. First, distract him from his thoughts enough to make him forget about it for the duration of your conversation, or feed on what he is thinking so you can have a genuine conversation.
So what are you to talk about?
When greeting the customer, you have to give them time to look at you as a person. When they pull into the driveway, foremost in their minds is to find a solution that will resolve their problem. And the first person that they see is the channel that will provide the solution. Before you can become the solution, try to be a person first. Do not be John of Toyota, be John, the service advisor. Be an individual person, not just a part of a system. People interact better with a person, than with a machine or a system.
John of Toyota will automatically discuss the car problem, but John, the service advisor will take time to introduce himself as a person, and will try to know about the client as a person, not as somebody who will buy parts and pay for services that will earn the dealership money.
So don’t talk about the car when you greet the customer. Talk about the weather, where he’s driving to, and his plans for the weekend. Besides, knowing all these things will give you a better idea on what the customer needs, and how you can better help him resolve his problems. If the customer says he’s planning on a long trip, get the car ready for him.