The 5 Unexpected Ways for Your Service Advisor to Drive ROI

There’s so much opportunity out there for auto repair businesses! But shop owners and their service advisors need the right approach to capitalize. 

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That was just one of many points covered by Jeremy O’Neal, shop owner and President at AdvisorFix, in a recent AutoLeap webinar

During his presentation, O’Neal discussed: 

    • Industry opportunities (and future concerns) 

    • Anticipating trends for aging vehicles 

    • Replacing components vs. repairing systems 

    • How to sell the system 

    • Strategies for working smarter 

Let’s dive in! 

Your opportunity is now

New vehicle sales are down. Broken cars are everywhere. Shops are at full capacity. Appointment calendars are backed up. 

It’s a great time to run an auto repair shop! “There is so much opportunity out there,” adds O’Neal. Shops can realize record profits with the right strategy in place. 

But achieving that maximum growth potential will require some adjustments. “We have to work smarter and be more selective in the jobs we invest our time and resources into.” 

Keeping a careful eye on the future

All sounds great, right? O’Neal shares your enthusiasm for the next five years in auto repair. But he does understand that technological advancements will affect the industry.

The technology gap in automotive continues to narrow with the emergence of hydrogen vehicles, EVs, and hybrid models. Those developments will undoubtedly continue to accelerate. 

The good news? O’Neal only received about three requests for Tesla repairs in recent years at his California shop. Change will come, but the opportunity window remains wide open. “We still have a great opportunity now to capture the market we’re in.” 

Other changes will also occur. As vehicles age, owners will contemplate whether to invest in expensive repairs. They may instead buy a new vehicle, which pushes back the timeline on your shop’s services. 

Your shop will need tools to work smarter and stronger. These tools will even help you achieve results faster. 

Let’s break down one of those tools: focusing on vehicle systems over components. 

Replacing components vs. repairing systems

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A customer asks you to replace the water pump in their vehicle. Sounds good! You complete the job and send them on their way.

But they soon return, upset that their vehicle has a related problem. Do you see the issue in this scenario? “Not much thought was given to the other components in the vehicle’s system,” says O’Neal. 

Customer requests for components drive repair orders in the aftermarket industry. But shops need to evolve their approaches and focus on system-based repairs. 

O’Neal says this process will take time for your shop to master. But as you will soon see, it’s well worth the effort! 

With this approach, you don’t oversell. Instead, you give your customers a choice. “Stop selling components and start looking at the system. Let your customer choose what to fix.” 

Inexperienced advisors will let a customer lead the conversation. But experienced advisors know what to ask and focus on the vehicle’s concerns. They encourage a full diagnostics exam to understand the health and safety of the customer’s car. Then they provide a complete picture of what the vehicle needs. “Be the expert on the car you service,” adds O’Neal.

How to sell the system

You now understand the system approach. But how can you even sell it to your customers? After all, they may only care about the individual part and have no desire to spend extra money. 

First, you need to get a complete understanding of the customer’s goals with their vehicle. What is the timeline they envision? When will they move on from the car? 

Here are questions you can ask to uncover those details: 

Is their vehicle seven years old with over 100,000 miles? They may not have plans to complete full system-based repairs. But if the vehicle is much younger, they may have interest in repairing systems and addressing root causes. 

This information will help your service advisors feel prepared for every interaction. They will have all the context they need to meet with customers. “Have this information to prepare for your customer sales presentation.”

Reasons to sell in systems

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So why should your shop avoid selling components and move to a system-based model? O’Neal says it comes down to adopting a 100% client-focused approach! 

A customer bringing their vehicle back to your shop for a related issue is not a good look for your business. Right or wrong, they can interpret that as poor service on your part. “The system-selling method will help your shop eliminate comebacks,” says O’Neal. 

This tailor-fit approach to service will lead to more profitable repair orders. It will also ensure accuracy and build trust with your customer base. 

Top 3 systems to sell

Here are the three systems that O’Neal recommends your service advisors focus on with customers: 

  1. Cooling system (radiator & heater)

  2. Steering and suspension

  3. Check engine light diagnosis 

Vehicle ages should line up with these recommendations. Is the vehicle older than 2015? Bring up the system. Include these details in your estimates. 

How to work smarter

You understand the system-selling process for shops and its appeal to customers. But what about the upside for shops? 

When you work in system-based selling, techs benefit too! O’Neal says your mechanics can complete system jobs in half the time it takes to address individual component jobs. 

One key for this system to work is the delivery of your service advisors pitching it. It will take a complete understanding of the systems in vehicles and how all the components interact. Your advisors will have to become comfortable delivering that information with clarity. 

Customers are smart! They can read through people who don’t know their craft. When your service advisor has to relay their question to a technician, you risk losing their business. “Put yourself in the position to be an expert for your customer.” 

Closing thoughts

A system-based selling approach and prepared service advisors can help your shop take advantage of the industry’s massive opportunity window. Use the webinar insights shared by O’Neal to turbocharge your business’s growth. 

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