Sell more custom work by being 'Magnificent'

Publish Date: 
May 20, 2014
By Dave Koshollek

THE 1960s movie “The Magnificent Seven” is a timeless western that I love to watch over and over. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn all stand out as gunslingers with consciences, epitomizing strength of character, great courage and resolve to do what’s right, even when the going gets tough. The Magnificent Seven were so convincing that the villagers who hired them took their lead, risked -- and in some cases lost -- their lives and fought off the bad guys. Talk about a sales job!

Ask the customer one question for each area of customization: comfort, purpose, looks and performance.

So, it got me thinking. What would it take for service advisors to strengthen their resolve to sell more custom work, more often? Customization is a lucrative and exciting part of our business, but not being advantaged like it should be.

Now, I’m not going to tell you what to sell. You’re the experts in that regard. But I am going to give you the seven ingredients of a magnificent customization consultation that will help you build that area of the business. Trust me, I  know they work because I’ve been teaching them for more than 14 years.

Break the ice and build the relationship by learning and using the customer’s first name. Get customers talking by complimenting their vehicle and asking simple questions like, Your bike is in great shape. Do you do your own detailing? The idea is to develop the relationship and break down the “you vs. them barrier” so the customer is willing to participate in the next step.

Interview customers to learn their hidden wants and needs. Think of this as fishing: if you don’t throw your bait in the water, you won’t catch many fish. Your bait is to ask at least one question for each area of customization: comfort, purpose, looks and performance. For example:

  • Do you and your passenger feel completely comfortable and confident on the bike?
  • What type of riding do you enjoy? Any longer trips coming up?
  • What ideas did you have to enhance the look of the bike?
  • Are you getting all the performance you want - or would you like more?

With information gathered, it’s time to make recommendations with a reason. This is the technique that positions you as a friend, not a high-pressure salesperson.